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A Report from

Notes on a short visit to Ujung Pangkah and the Lemahan River mudflats on December 20th , 2003.,

Mark Schellekens

The village of Ujung Pangkah (coordinates 6°51'S - 112°33'E) was primarily visited because of the heronry mentioned in Birding Indonesia (PJ, 1997) and the nearby mudflats. Upon arrival it became apparent that the heronry had disappeared. Locals stated that the trees of the heronry started dying and that the birds did not have a place to roost anymore. It is more likely that the award-winning pond-keeper, who died a few years ago, did not have a follow-up pond-keeper (his son, Bas van Balen pers.comm..) who wanted to look after the bird-colony. Also, most of the mangrove-bushes and swamps have sadly disappeared and more fish- and shrimp ponds have been laid out. Luckily, the mudflats proved to be very fruitful and also the boat trip from Ujung Pangkah out to the mudflats was very relaxing and some very good birding along the river edges. An annotated checklist which follows M&P (1992) both in taxonomy and sequence.:

Australian pelican                                  Pelecanus conspicillatus
total of 58 birds were seen at two locations on the mudflats. A flock of 5 and a flock of 53 birds.

Little Black Cormorant                        Phalacrocorax melanoleucos
A total of 25 birds were noted in groups of up to 5 birds. Mainly seen over flying the delta but several were seen sitting on broken-off tree branches on exposed mud with following species.

Purple Heron                                        Ardea purpurea
Over 10 birds, mainly seen standing singly on the water’s edge and estuary river sides.

Cattle Egret                                          Bubulcus ibis
Twenty-three birds in fishponds about 5 km South of Ujung Pangkah. All birds in breeding plumage.

Pacific Reef-egret                                 Egretta sacra
Several dark-morphed birds were seen, mainly seen feeding in the water.

Great Egret                                           Egretta alba
Common, with over 30 birds seen. All black-billed and plumed.

Intermediate Egret                                Egretta intermedia
Numerous birds seen feeding on the mudflats but also perched in trees along the river. Breeding plumage.

Little Egret                                Egretta garzetta
Hundreds of these birds observed on mudflats, river edges and trees, many in breeding plumage.

Striated Heron                          Butorides striatus
Several on river sides and fish ponds near Ujung Pangkah.

 Javan Pond-heron                                 Ardeola speciosa
Over a 1,000 of these birds were seen in all types of vegetation and on the mudflats. Most birds in breeding plumage.

Milky Stork                             Mycteria cinerea
Just a single adult and an immature bird were seen standing perched between hundreds of Egrets.

Glossy Ibis                               Plegadis falcinellus
Four birds were seen foraging on the river edge close to the sea.

Sunda Teal                               Anas gibberifons
pair was seen over flying the estuary before disappearing inland.

Osprey                                     Pandion haliaetus
An  adult bird over flying the river about 1 km upstream from Ujung Pangkah village.

Grey Plover                              Pluvialis squatarola
Over 15 birds on the flats.

Pacific Golden Plover               Pluvialis fulva
Common with flocks of up to 15 birds seen.

Javan Plover                              Charadrius javanicus
pair of Javan Plover C.javanicus was seen in a dry fishpond near the village of Ujung Pangkah.

Javan/Kentish/Malaysian Plover  Charadrius javanicus/alexandrinus/peronii
Many small Charadrius sp. Plovers were seen on the mudflats but were sitting too far away to make positive identification. About 15 possible C.javanicus were observed and a single C.peronii.

Lesser Sand-plover                  Charadrius mongolus
Four birds sitting together with C.leschenaultii.

Greater Sand-plover                 Charadrius leschenaultii
About 25 Birds in small groups up to 4 birds. A group of 4 accompanied by C.mongolus.

Eurasian Curlew                       Numenius arquata
About 20 scattered individuals seen foraging on the mudflats.

Whimbrel                                 Numenius phaepus
Many birds of this species seen foraging or just seen perched between other waders.

Far-eastern Curlew                   Numenius madagascariensis
At least 40 scattered over the area, sometimes accompanied by of N.arquata.

Bar-tailed Godwit                     Limosa lapponica
Just 2 birds seen close to the river mouth.

Asian Dowitcher                       Limnodromus semipalmatus
total of about 100 birds, mainly in small groups of c.10 birds and a group of 45 birds.

Common Redshank                  Tringa totanus
Several individuals scattered over the area. A total of 7 birds.

Common Greenshank               Tringa nebularia
Very common, mainly singles and pairs. A total of c.35 birds.

Wood Sandpiper                      Tringa glareola
Quite common, mainly seen on the edges of fish ponds near the village of Ujung Pangkah and river edges. Also a few on the mudflats, perched between other waders.

Terek Sandpiper                       Tringa cinereus

Four birds seen perched close to the rivermouth.

Common Sandpiper                  Actitis hypoleucos
Numerous in all types of habitat. The commonest wader of the day.

Snipe sp.                                 Gallinago sp.
single snipe was flushed from vegetation near the village of Ujung Pangkah. The bird flew low over the vegetation and disappeared back into cover after a low flight, with little or no zigzagging, of about 20 meters. No legs were seen protruding from the tail which could indicate either Swinhoe’s Snipe Gallinago megala or Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago. Seen too briefly to make positive ID of the bird.

Great Knot                               Calidris tenuiostris
Five birds seen foraging in a group of 5 Whimbrel, Common Sandpipers and Common Greenshanks.

Rufous-necked Stint                 Calidris ruficollis
Over 25 of these birds were observed feeding between other waders and Terns.

White-winged Tern                   Chlidonias leucopterus
large flock (>40 birds) seen sitting perched on the mud, often flying off with Little Terns Sterna albifrons. Scattered groups of up to 6 birds as well.

Gull-billed Tern             Chlidonias hybridus
flock of about 50 birds was seen sitting on the mudflats surrounded by 100s of Little Terns S.albifrons.

Caspian Tern                Sterna Caspia
During the visit a large Tern was observed sitting on an exposed piece of mud close to the Brantas river estuary. It was seen sitting surrounded by over a hundred Little Terns Sterna albifrons. The bird was immediately identified as a Caspian Tern  Sterna caspia. It’s large size (twice as big as Little Tern, direct comparison) and large, massive red bill being distinctive. Also noted was a streaked white black cap which indicates an adult bird in winter plumage.This is the first report of this tern for Java. This record was published in the latest issue of Kukila

Common Tern                          Sterna hirundo
A numerous tern out to sea where it was seen flying behind the chartered boat. Not seen on the mudflats.

Little Tern                                 Sterna albifrons
Hundreds and hundreds of these Terns were seen all over the area. Flocks of over a hundred birds. Also inland over the fishponds to about 10 km South of Ujung Pangkah.

Pink-necked Green-pigeon                   Treron vernans
Two of these birds were seen sitting in the scrub on the river edge near Ujung Pangkah.

Spotted Dove                           Streptopelia chinensis
Several individuals seen South of Ujung Pangkah and in the trees bordering the river.

Island Collared-dove                Streptopelia bitorquata
Several individuals and a flock of 9 birds seen perched in trees on the river edge and over flying the river.

Edible-nest/Black-nest Swiftlet  Aerodramus sp.
A flock of all black/dark Swiftlets were seen near Ujung Pangkah. No positive ID could be made as both Swiftlets mentioned are practically indistinguishable in the field.

Linchi Swiftlet                           Collocalia linchii
An abundant bird over the area. Many breeding houses were seen in the area and they all seemed to be filled with these birds.

Collared Kingfisher                   Todirhamphus chloris
Just a single bird seen near the village of Ujung Pangkah.

Blue-tailed Bee-eater                Merops philippinus
Common along the river in small flocks up to 5 birds.

Barn Swallow                           Hirundo rustica
Very common over the area, mainly close to the village.

Pacific Swallow                                    Hirundo tahitica
Also very common over the area and perched in trees along the river.

Sooty-headed Bulbul                Pycnonotus aurigaster
Common along the river and around the village. Singles, pairs and flocks up to 7 birds.

Yellow-vented Bulbul               Pycnonotus goiavier
Less common than P.aurigaster but still common, mainly in pairs.

Large-billed Crow                    Corvus macrorhynchos
Four birds of this species were seen picking at plastic waste close to the river mouth.

Zitting Cisticola                         Cisticola juncidis
Common in the reed beds along the river’s edge and in the bushes bordering fishponds. Some displaying.

Ashy Tailorbird                         Orthotomus ruficeps
Several birds seen and heard in the scrub on the river banks. Several caged birds seen in the village.

Bar-winged Prinia                     Prinia familiaris
Just a single bird in a bush on the river bank, close to the river mouth.

Pied Fantail                              Rhipidura javanica
Common in the scrub and other vegetation along the river.

Long-tailed Shrike                    Lanius schach
Just a single bird outside the village in a tree in a fishpond.

White-breasted Wood-swallow            Artamus leucorhynchos
A flock of 4 perched in a river side tree near the estuary

Yellow Wagtail                         Motacilla flava
A flock of >45 birds were seen over flying the village of Ujung Pangkah, moving from North to South, calling loudly.

Olive-backed Sunbird               Nectarinia jugularis
Many pairs around the village and in the trees and scrub of the riverbank.

Scarlet-headed Flowerpecker   Dicaeum trochileum
Just a single male seen flower pecking in a tree near Ujung Pangkah.

[ Javan White-eye                                  Zosterops flavus ]
Two White-eyes were seen crossing the river in front of the boat at eye-level and disappearing in the scrub on the river-bank. Bright yellow under-parts , light olive upper-parts and high-pitched, short “chits” might not be enough to positively identify Z.flavus over Z.palpebrosus which also could also occur at sea-level on Java but has a different contact call, with which I’m familiar, and doesn’t normally inhabit coastal areas, mangroves and river side scrub.

Scaly-breasted Munia  Lonchura punctulata
Flocks of up to 10 birds were seen near the village and river banks.

Javan Munia                 Lonchura leucogastroides
Just 2 birds in a flock of 9 L.punctulata.
Tree Sparrow               Passer montanus
Many in and around the village of Ujung Pangkah.

Notes on a short visit to the PPLH Seloliman  Centre for Environmental Education at Trawas on December 21st , 2003.

This Centre lies about 60km South (no coordinates) of the city of Surabaya and is surrounded by degraded forest. South of the Centre there is a path leading into the forest. The path leads all the way to the foot of Gunung Pananggungan, which can also be climbed. I just went to the foot of the mountain and backtracked to the Centre. I hired a guide at the centre (€ 3,- for the whole day) to show me the way but it is not really necessary. My guide did not know much about birds, although he did recognize some songs and calls but was a pleasant man with a lot of knowledge on the local environment. Good forest birding and a pleasant walk although local men airgunning birds and other animals constantly make you aware of the sad situation Indonesia’s wildlife is in. An annotated checklist which follows M&P (1992) both in taxonomy and sequence.:

Crested Serpent-eagle Spilornis cheela
At least 3 but possibly 4 birds were seen in the area. First bird was seen perched in the top of a tree near the centre.Near the foot of Mt. Panang-gungan, three Serpent-eagles were seen soaring accompanied by a Black Eagle Ictinaetus malayensis.

Black Eagle                 Ictinaetus malayensis
A single bird was seen soaring over the Northern slopes of Mt.Pananggungan with 3 P.cheela.

[Javan Hawk-eagle                  Spizaetus bartelsi]
On the way back to the centre, almost at the exact spot where the above mentioned raptors were seen, the guide attended me to some high-pitched shrieks that were coming from higher up the slopes. The guide seemed to have no doubt that the calls were from Javan Hawk-eagle. Moments later a Hawk-eagle was seen flying high above us before disappearing into the trees high on the slopes. The calls were different from the ones I’m familiar with from Spizaetus cirrhatus floris, Changeble Hawk-eagle from Flores but I wasn’t able to positively identify the bird. The guide told me that Javan Hawk-eagle does occur in the area and that many birders come to the Centre trying to find it.

Green Junglefowl                     Gallus varius
male bird was heard calling from the forest at c.350m asl. According to the guide this bird is under severe pressure from hunters in the area.

Spotted Dove              Streptopelia chinensis
single bird observed just outside the Centre. Noticeable was the total lack of other pigeons in the forest. Again, the guide expressed his worries about the pressure on the bigger birds of the forest. Many pigeons (he pointed out Black-naped Fruit-dove Ptilinopus melanospila and Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica in my field guide (M&P, 1993) are being caught for the bird trade or food supplement.

Rusty-breasted Cuckoo           Cacomantis sepulcralis
single bird was heard singing from the forest at c.400m asl.

Violet Cuckoo                         Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus
single male seen near the centre, picking caterpillars from underneath tree leaves. Another bird was heard singing in the forest.

Edible-nest Swiftlet                   Aerodramus fuciphagus
A flock of all black/dark Swiftlets were seen on the Northern slopes of the mountain. Although Black-nest Swiftlet Aerodramus maxima also occurs on Java and is almost indistinguishable in the field from A.fuciphaga I’m certain that these birds were Edible-nest Swiftlets mainly because of their grey rumps and call plus the fact that Black-nest Swiftlets are coastal and mangrove birds.

Linchi Swiftlet               Collocalia linchii
An  abundant bird over the area.  A breeding house in the village of Trawas was teeming with these birds.

Little Swift                                Apus affinis
Two of these birds were seen over flying the centre upon arrival.

Javan Kingfisher                       Halcyon cyanoventris
single bird seen near the centre in the forest and a second bird only heard calling from the forest.

Collared Kingfisher                  Todirhaphus chloris
Two birds seen perched in a Ficus sp  tree at c. 500m asl.

Chestnut-headed Bee-eater      Merops leschenaultii
Common, mainly pairs or flocks of up to 5 birds.

Blue-tailed Bee-eater               Merops philippinus
flock of three was observed hawking from a large tree at c. 450m asl.

Blue-eared Barbet                   Megalaima australis
single bird seen from the centre’s terrace in a large tree and several birds were heard singing.

Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker            Dendrocopus macei
single male bird seen anting on the trunk of a dead tree close to the foot of the mountain.

Greater Goldenback                Chrysocolaptes lucidus
Again, just a single male seen flying from tree to tree, picking ants of the trees.

Barn Swallow  Hirundo rustica
Common over the area and perched on power lines in Trawas village.

Large Wood-shrike                 Tephrodornis gularis
female bird seen perched in a tree, eating a large dragonfly.

Small Minivet               Pericrocotus cinnamomeus
Very common, mostly in pairs but also a flock of over 20 birds near the centre.

Scarlet Minivet                        Pericrocotus flammeus
Several pairs seen sometimes in a mixed flock with P.cinnamomeus.

Common Iora              Aegithina tiphia
Several scattered individuals in the area. Song often heard from the forest.

Black-headed Bulbul               Pycnonotus atriceps
Several individuals seen. Vocalizations heard that the guide thought belonging to this species.

Black-crested Bulbul               Pycnonotus melanicterus
Just a single bird seen perched in a tall tree, singing loudly for about 2 minutes.

Sooty-headed Bulbul               Pycnonotus aurigaster
Two birds near Trawas village. Also several caged birds seen in Trawas.

Yellow-vented Bulbul              Pycnonotus goiavier
Several birds encountered in woodland leading up to Trawas village. A bird seller was seen selling these birds house-to-house in Trawas.

Black Drongo                            Dicrurus macrocerus
Just a single bird seen being chased by two Yellow-vented Bulbuls, just below the centre.

Great Tit                                  Parus major
common bird in singles, pairs and flocks of up to 4 birds.

Velvet-fronted Nuthatch                     Sitta frontalis
common bird in singles and  pairs. Mixing with other birds like flowerpeckers and tits.

Crescent-chested Babbler                    Stachyris melanothorax
single bird noted in a mixed flock of Flowerpeckers and 2 Nuthatches.

Chestnut-capped Babbler                    Timalia pileata
Two of these birds were seen crawling through undergrowth near the path. Very hard to get a good look as the birds did not sit still very long.

Thrush sp.        
Several Thrush-like songs were heard from the forest. One of the songs my guide identified as Blue Whistling-thrush Myiphoneus caeruleus, although I didn’t see it.

Arctic Leaf-warbler                 Phylloscopus borealis
Several birds (>3) seen and heard from the foot of the mountain.

Common Tailorbird                 Orthotomus sutorius
Fairly common with about 5 seen and several heard singing.

Olive-backed Tailorbird           Orthotomus sepium
Two birds in the trees surrounding the centre. Very noisy.

Long-tailed Shrike                   Lanius schach
single bird perched on a power-line near Trawas.

Short-tailed/Asian Glossy Starling        Aplonis minor/panayensis
Two adult and an immature bird were seen in a dead tree near the centre but no positive identification could be made due to the sun shining from behind the birds.

Ruby-cheeked Sunbird                        Anthreptes singalensis
single female bird was observed in the forest below the centre.

Purple-throated Sunbird                       Nectarinia sperata
One pair and a single male observed from the centres’ porch.

Olive-backed Sunbird              Nectarinia jugularis
Several pairs throughout the area and the village.

Thick-billed Flowerpecker                   Dicaeum agile
Very common through the area. Mainly single birds but sometimes 3-4 birds with other flowerpeckers and sunbirds in mixed flocks.

Orange-bellied Flowerpecker  Dicaeum trigonostigma
Three male and a female bird in mixed flocks with other flowerpeckers.

Scarlet-headed Flowerpecker  Dicaeum trochileum
Three pairs and scattered individuals, especially near the centre.

Oriental White-eye                  Zosterops palpebrosus
flock of more than 15 birds was observed working it’s way through the trees just below the centre.

Scaly-breasted Munia              Lonchura punctulata
Several birds near the entrance of the centre.

Tree Sparrow                          Passer montanus
Common in the village of Trawas.

Short notes on other interesting birds noted on Java in December 2003/Januari 2004:

Grey Heron     Ardea cinerea
A single bird noted on Surabaya-Juanda airport on Dec.22nd, perched in a group of about 65 Purple Herons Ardea purpurea.

2.   Purple Heron Ardea purpurea
Approximately 65 of these herons were seen on Surabaya’s Juanda airport on Dec.22nd. The colony is located right across from the domestic departure terminal.

3.   Cattle Egret   Bubulcus ibis
Close to the Ardea colony, a flock of 33 of these Egrets were observed sitting on the edge of a platform drainage ditch on Dec.22nd.

4.   Peregrine Falcon        Falco peregrinus
A single Peregrine Falcon was seen at the Jakarta-Soekarno Hatta airport. The observation was made from the transit terminal.

Bird was seen flying in from the North, flying low over the grass lawns and runways before settling on a lamp post in front of the terminal. The birds’ dark head would indicate local F.p.ernesti race (M&P 1997). Observation was made on Jan.9th, 2004.


MacKinnon J. & Phillips K. 1993.  Birds of Borneo, Sumatra, Java and Bali, Oxford University Press

Jepson P. (Main contributor), various authors  1997. Birding Indonesia, A birdwatcher’s guide to the
World’s largest archipelago
. Periplus Edition (HK) Ltd.

Coates B.J. & Bishop K.D. 1997, Birds of Wallacea  Sulawesi, The Moluccas and Lesser Sunda Islands,
Indonesia, Dove Publications, Alderley

Pizzey G. & Knight F.  1997, Birds of Australia, HarperCollins Publishers, London   

Personal thanks to Bas van Balen for his comments and remarks on the noted birds.

Mark Schellekens
Woloara – Ende – Kelimutu
Flores, NTT, 86372

Mobile: (0062)81339165676


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