We flew to Padang from Medan, Sumatra, and stayed at accommodation
mentioned in the Lonely Planet guide. It was Wisma Mayang Sari and around
the roof of the bank opposite a Savannah Nightjar can be seen at dusk. We
were visited by our drivers for the next journey who spoke perfect English
and were used to taking birdwatchers to Kerinci. One of the drivers, Jimmy,
(Djamilis Djamin) gave us his card with the following contact numbers:
Jalan Tanlung Karang Block C 12 Siteba Padang 25146 Sumatera Barat
Phone (0751) 41439 Fax, (0751) 53845. Not only did we have a very good
trip but he was able to instruct other drivers to return us to Padang via
the coast and via Mauro Sako, 49 km south of Keresik Tua.
Hill forests can be the best birdwatching regions. Many are accessible,
the climate is comfortable, and the birds are less secretive. Here you
will hear the rapid, three-note call of the Black-browed Barbet
Megalaima oorti and the curious buzzing note of the Fire-tufted Barbet
Psilopogon pyrolophus chlorolophus, or glimpse a vocal but secretive
Wren-babbler. The Bronze-tailed Peacock Pheasant
Polyplectron chalcurum and the Salvadori's Pheasant Lophura inornata
are endemic to the mountains of Sumatra.
For Kerinci we stayed at Homestay Keluarga Subandi in Keresik Tua.
Accommodation was very cheap, food excellent, the owner Pak Subandi,
arranged for motorbikes to pick us up at 6.30am after we'd had breakfast.
The bikes cost us about $5 each day but it was worth it to be in the forest
early. There is a shop next door where lunch provisions can be bought.
The view at dawn of the vulcano free from cloud, rising out of the tea
plantations and covered in dense rainforest is breathtaking. There is an
important book at Homestay Keluarga Subandi where birders write
up what they saw and draw excellent maps of exact localities. This was a
great help to us although we did not see Schneider's Pitta, we were able to
go to the areas where they had been seen. The bird did not call at all.
Some people saw them often. There was mention in the book of a valley
where even more could be seen if you dipped.
We birded probably only the first 2 km maybe 3 into the forest and
certainly did not feel the need to go further. There were plenty of birds.
Interestingly all of us had been in rainforest throughout the world and
commented on how fantastic this rainforest was. It was amazingly beautiful
to move through, no leaches, no bities, just great birds. For the five days
we were there, we almost had five different lists of birds. We slid down a
few steep banks into a dry river a couple of times and one lead us to be
at the top of a waterfall which gave us a view over the rainforest canopy.
Best mammals here were Black Gibbon, and Striped Leaf Monkey.
Going in the minibus from Padang, a compulsory stop was the Letter W
Waterfall. We went back on our last afternoon and spent two hours and saw
more good birds. The last evening we stayed at the Aroma Hotel at Sungai
Penuh to give us an early start at Mauro Sako. This was where our driver
left us when we struck good rainforest, and let us meander down the
road birdwatching, then he picked us up at the bottom.
On the journey back to Padang we had a puncture about 94km south. No
problem, while our driver fixed it I saw 5 lifers in the rice fields
part 2 the birdlist
Trevor & Annie Quested
Phone +61 2 9955 6266
Fax + 61 2 9959 4005