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Exploratory trips, 2011

During 2011 we regularly update this page with sightings and photographs from our exploratory birding from around south-east Asia and beyond.

Boano, Indonesia   January 2011

Prior to a visit to Seram, James visited Pulau Boano. Boano home to the critically endangered Black-chinned Monarch, known only from a single specimen taken in 1918 and field sightings during follow-up expeditions in 1991 and 1994, with numbers thought to be below 200. Thankfully, after a 16km walk a number of monarchs were located, in full-song and giving great views in a wider range of habitats than previously thought. Other species on the island included the endemic taxon of Common Paradise Kingfisher, Lazuli Kingfisher and confiding Forsten’s Scrubfowl.

Banggai and Togian Islands, Indonesia   June 2011

In June Rob and Frank continued with preparations for next years Remote Sulawesi tour by visiting Togian and returning to Banggai. Togian was great, with new stake-outs found for Togian Boobook and Togian White-eye plus an interesting cyornis flycatcher that has not yet been described and might well turn out to be another island endemic. In addition to these targets there was a fine selection of quality Sulawesi birds to keep us entertained including both species of racquet-tail, Ornate Lorikeets, Silver-tipped Imperial Pigeons, some vocally distinct Northern Golden Bulbuls (another split?), Sulawesi Cicadabird and two quality mammals; Togian Tarsier and Babirusa.

Moving on to Peleng, all the Banggai Specialities including Banngai Crow, Red-and-black Thrush and Sula Pitta seen very well. The Sula Scrubfowl were a bit more difficult with the passing of the ‘Scrubfowl dog’ but was eventually seen well, Russet-tailed Jungle Flycatchers might not have been too inspiring but the wacky Helmeted Myna certainly was! Slaty Cuckooshrike, Sula Hanging Parrot increased the endemic count and Moluccan King Parrot were pleasingly common. There was also great taxonomic interest with two pigeons – ‘Banggai’ Black Pigeon and ‘Banggai’ Fruit Dove both being vocal distinct from ‘Sulawesi’ and ‘Maroon-chinned’ respectively, the ‘Banggai’ Scops Owl likewise has a very distinctive voice and an new phylloscopus discovered just the previous year will become endemic to the island once it is described.

There is still one place remaining on our exciting 'Remote Sulawesi' in November 2012 which will visit not only these two islands but also Taliabu, Talaud and Sangihe in search of some of the rarest birds in the region.