Tuesday 11 March 2014 88 °F
Today was my penultimate full day in Bali, Indonesia. The morning and early afternoon was spent mainly relaxing and swimming at our villa, and then at 3 in the afternoon, our driver Made (pronounced Mardey) picked us up and my family went on a shopping/sightseeing spree. A lot of it was just looking around shops, which didn't particularly interest me, so I won't expound on that dry topic.
Our first interesting stop was at a waterfall to which Made had wanted to take us the entire week. Here are some photos of the beautiful scenery, including the waterfall, at that stop:
Within minutes, I spotted movement on the opposite wooded wall of the canyon that included the waterfall. I zoomed in at this monkey from two hundred yards away and manage to snap this documentation photo:
After a bit more shopping, Made took us to a special place to see monkeys because he learned that I like them. When we arrived, our family and I had the option of getting out of the car, paying a fee to enter the forest, and then possibly being bitten by a monkey (they are aggressive here) and having to get a rabies shot in a third world country. We also had the option of observing the many monkeys around the parking lot from Made's car, for free. We of course chose the second, more reasonable option. Here is a photo of three monkeys in one shot:
The destination of the driving tour was the trail my dad and I had taken on the birding tour a few days ago. This time, however, my whole family came because my dad remembered a cafe along the trail in the middle of the rice patties. He thought it would be perfect for dinner and good for birding since it was in the area I had gone on the birding tour just a few days ago.
And it was great! After ordering my food at the cafe, I excitedly jumped down into the rice fields and started birding. My target birds were little marsh birds in the rail family.
Upon finding two small rocks on the ground, I dashed back into the rice fields and started clicking the rocks together and turning my head at every movement in the fields surrounding me. People from the cafe and working in the rice fields looked at me like I was absolutely insane, which I ignored and accepted as an appropriate response to a random person sloshing through rice fields clicking rocks together. The only people who would slosh through rice fields clicking rocks together are either 1) insane or 2) birders. Luckily, I qualify for both.
Anyway, you must be wondering why I was clicking rocks together? Like I mentioned, rails were my target birds today, and since they have an affinity for rice fields, it was perfect habitat for them. Their calls sounds like small rocks clicking together, so the most desperate, crazy birders (like me!) take matters into their own hands and click rocks together themselves in order to get these small chicken-like creatures to poke their heads above the rice.
It payed off. Within minutes, I had at least a dozen different marsh birds excitedly calling around me. Waterhens, coots, snipe, bittern, you name it! It was miraculous.
The best rail photo I got was of this WHITE-BREASTED WATERHEN which looks a bit like a penguin lost in the marsh:
I also got documentation photos of two rarer marsh species seen: Cinnamon Bittern and Pintail Snipe. Note that these photos are for documentation purposes only and are not even remotely artistic photos:
Cinnamon Bittern in flight:
The Pintail Snipe in this photo is the blurry figure flying just above the tree. Note that these are one of the fastest flying birds in the world, so that is a good excuse for this crappiest-photo-in-the-world:
Also seen was a nice ZITTING CISTICOLA which is always a treat to photograph. Cisticolas are related to old world warblers but now their taxonomy is being debated over just how related they really are:
Then, my "internal clock" chirped and I headed back to the cafe. Almost immediately after I sat down, my pizza came out, which was quite some good luck!
At one point during the meal this interesting lizard briefly joined us:
My parents' main reason for going to this cafe, however, was watching the beautiful sunset over the rice patties:
While my mom was watching the sunset, she proclaimed it to be the most pleasant meal of the year so far. I wholeheartedly agreed with her...until the walk back on the path to Made's car. I developed an acute stomachache on the walk back, and well, let's say, you can just assume how the rest of the evening was for me.
Thankfully, I am feeling much better now and I am sure that my stomach problem was not serious.
It was overall a nice day. Bird-of-the-day to the only life bird seen today, CINNAMON BITTERN. Runners-up to my two favorite marsh birds of the day, WHITE-BREASTED WATERHEN and PINTAIL SNIPE.
Another reminder to subscribe to my photo stream "Birding Bali and Singapore," because it is a much easier and quicker way to access my last few birding photos of the trip before I go home. Contact me at the email address below if you would like to subscribe:
I will maintain a photo stream for my entire Europe tour later this spring.
Stay tuned, because tomorrow will be my last full day in Bali, Indonesia.
World Life List: 639 Species (1 new life bird today: Cinnamon Bittern)