Welcome to Birdquest
Friday 9th November - Saturday 1st December 2012
This was our third Birdquest to the ornithologically little visited islands of Buru, Ambon, Haruku, Yamdena (Tanimbar Is), Kai and Seram. The tour ran very smoothly, and our bird list of 244 species eclipsed the totals recorded in 2008 and 2010. The bird of the tour was undoubtedly the Black-lored Parrot that we scoped and photographed as it fed quietly in a roadside tree on Buru. This near-mythical bird had not been claimed in the daytime since 1980, and the photographs in this report are the first ever taken of the species in the wild. There were numerous other highlights amongst the 109 diamond and other interesting birds that we recorded: Spotted Whistling-duck, Little Curlew, Oriental Plover, 1000’s of Red-necked Phalaropes rafting off the Buru coast, scope views of Buru Green-pigeon, Barred-necked Cuckoo-dove, a range of beautiful fruit-doves, both Buru and Seram Mountain-pigeons (split from Long-tailed), a pair of Purple-naped Lories - a species that we never seriously hoped to see for a second tour running -, multiple sightings of Salmon-crested Cockatoos and Tanimbar Corellas, scope views of Red-breasted and Yellow-capped Pygmy-parrots, multiple sightings of Buru Racket-tails and Moluccan King-parrots, Pied Bronze Cuckoo, Moluccan Scops-owl, three owl-splits in the form of Buru, Seram and Tanimbar Boobooks (formerly lumped in Moluccan), Lazuli Kingfisher, superb views of Blue-breasted and Elegant Pittas, Green Figbird, Seram (split from Slender-billed) and Tanimbar (split from Torresian) Crows, Buru Thrush, many sightings of the shy Fawn-breasted Thrush as well as Slaty-backed Thrush, Tanimbar Bush-warbler, Buru Bush-warbler (split from Chestnut-backed), Buru, Seram and Kai Leaf-warblers (all split from Island), Streak-breasted Jungle-flycatcher, the neat little Tanimbar Flycatcher (split from Rufous-chested), both the Buru and Seram forms of Cinnamon-chested Flycatcher, Black-bibbed, Black-tipped and White-tailed Monarchs, Tawny-backed and Long-tailed Fantails, Island and Grey-headed Whistlers (the latter split from Grey), the outrageous Long-crested Myna, Buru, Drab and Olive Honeyeaters, two forms of Wakolo Myzomela, the restricted-range Great and Little Kai White-eyes, and Grey-hooded Dark-eye. Away from the birds, we had several species of cetacean, including a magnificent Pygmy Blue Whale off the north coast of Buru. There were numerous stunning butterflies, many of which were regional endemics, and some of us also took advantage of the snorkeling opportunities off the north Seram coast.