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Friday 11th June - Monday 12th July 2010
Our 2010 Sumatra tour offered something new again, with a post-tour extension to the remote Enggano Island to look for the endemic birds of this magical place off the west cost of Sumatra. We managed to see all the special birds of Enggano from the diminutive Enggano White-eye to the enigmatic Enggano Scops Owl. We also repeated the pre-tour extension to the Barisan Selatan National Park of the south in search of the recently rediscovered Sumatran Ground-Cuckoo. This year we managed to see this fantastic Asian rarity and also had Sumatran Babbler and Pin-tailed Parrotfinch as a supporting cast there. The main tour was already the seventh Birdquest tour to this endemic-rich island and it was a successful one again with a wide selection of specialities seen amazingly well. Sumatra is very well known for its extremely difficult birding conditions and most of the special birds are very hard-to-see. In 2010 we experienced wet weather despite the fact that we were there in the dry season. This made birding even more challenging at times but in some cases birds were more vocal and showy than usual, especially pittas. Both the endemic Schneider’s and Graceful Pittas were unusually easy to see for a change. We definitely experienced some hard Sumatran birding throughout the tour, however, we had many memorable encounters with most of the specialties of this remarkable place. In total we recorded 25 species of endemics, a high number of Sundaic specialities and a total of 81 ‘diamond’ species amongst a very respectable 303 species. The forests of the Greater Sundas and especially of Sumatra are in grave danger of deforestation and habitat loss. We all speak about the fast disappearing forests of Indonesia but actually seeing it progress at such an alarming rate year after year is a truly disappointing experience. The forest of Mount Kerinci is a sad sight and one can only wonder what is going to happen in the not too distant future. The number of cage birds and bird trappers is also very frustrating. We saw many birds freshly trapped for either eating purposes or for the cage bird trade. The sooner the better is most definitely the case with Sumatra!