It sounds like you had a rewarding trip, and your report and the recent one by
Steve is one of the very few modern birding trip reports from the country.
I have a vague dream to produce an Atlas of birds in Timor-Leste, at some
unclear future point, so I'd appreciate if you could make a summary of records
for each site and send them to me. And also if anyone else has visited and has
Every bit of information helps in such a data-poor region.
It would be useful to mention the date of your visit with
regard migrants, rains and floods (presumably in wet season ?March April).
Of your records I'll make a few comments.
Imperial Pigeon - I am only speculating, but this bird is essentially a
"mountain bird" on Timor (>600m, especially >1100 m), therefore
the similar sized Pink-headed Imperial Pigeon may be more likely. If you were
on top of a ridge at say 400 m, then quite possible. If it appeared to be dark
grey that might clinch it. It is however poorly known, so lower elevations are
entirely possible (occurs at sea level on Wetar). An very interesting record.
Lapwing – about 3rd or 4th country record, around 5th
record for island, and one of very few records from Lesser Sundas over past 100
yrs. Status? – occasional/rare visitor. Not sure how often the turn up on
Ashmore Reef (where there is relatively regular info on Aussie birds heading
north), perhaps regular).
– interesting bird. Presumably will end up a distinct species, but call more or
Terns – two subspecies - Australian macrotarsa and Asian affinis have been
recorded from Timor. I don’t think I have bothered to identify to subspecies in
East Timor (was’nt aware of diffs). Did you have a close look?. Presumably these
are also likely to be considered as diff species in future.
– there are 100s of Estuarine crocodiles (I have seen and photographed
individuals at say 3-4 m length) in Lake Iralalaro, and also that entire
plateau region. They are very common. Unfortunately, in the main town of
Lospalos children have been taken
and killed recently in tiny springs smaller than Australian storm water drains.
Timor birding trip
from [Peter Madvig]
"Birding Aus" <>
East Timor birding trip
"Peter Madvig" <>
Thu, 25 Jul 2013 21:53:16 +1000
on Steve Clark's detailed report of a trip to Timor-Leste recently,
to add a few bits and pieces from our visit there in mid-June. I'll try
avoid echoing Steve....
and I went up to visit our daughter, working in Dili, but naturally we
keen to get some birding in...as you do. Spending just over 2 weeks we
able to get about a bit in Annette's 4WD - the most difficult driving
in Dili, traffic wise!! Talk about 'dodgems' - we relied on lifts here!
had visited previously in March, 2004, visiting Atauro Island, Maubisse
in the mountains, and Baucau, east of Dili. On that occasion I listed 37
including a few endemics; now added another 41 new birds, 65 for the
had a very constructive meeting with one of the managers of an
firm. For sure, you can do 'your own thing', armed with the
Lonely Planet guide as well as the field guide by Colin Trainor
al. However, you might like to check-out what is available through this
of tour and trekking firm for advice and for getting to
set ups seem well established out of Dili, but tour
as such are very thin on the ground. Road maps as we know them are
not available. Feel free to contact me off line if interested.
oh yes, when getting puzzled looks from villagers, say you are "Buka Manu
looking for wild birds!
around Dili, are as mentioned by Steve. We did have three excellent early
atop a ridge with splendid views over Dili and the coast, down to
airport, across the water to Atauro, and down to the Tasitolu lagoon. At
big round-about where one turns off to the airport, turn left instead
pass seven lanes on the rhs before taking the next turn up to a "Grotto
Park, and then climb up the ridge line following the "Stations of the
We were hoping for a glimpse of Timor Sparrows which are known to
up here, but had no luck with this species. However, Little Swift and
Swiftlet, White-breasted Woodswallow, Tree Martin and Rainbow
hawked, and an unexpected, single Timor Imperial Pigeon briefly
before dropping out of sight. Also seen, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike,
Honeyeater, several calling Brush Cuckoo, Richard's Pipit, Wallacean
Zebra Finch, Scaly-breasted Munia, Long-tailed Shrike,
Triller, and more.
at Tasitolu lakes, + Australian Pelican, Red-capped Plover,
Stilt, Redshank, Red-throated Little Grebe, Sunda Teal, a
Lapwing, Whiskered Tern.
morning's walk in the forested hills near Dare (pronounced dar-ey), near the
- Timor War Memorial, showed us Helmeted Friarbird and Yellow-eared
while a 'different' fruit dove called from the canopy.Views down to
and the coast magnificent.
travelled east with our daughter, heading for Tutuala and Jaco Island...I
high hopes for this area, part of the Nino Konis Santana National Park.
scenery along the coast is pretty spectacular, with savannah type
and woodland, changing into flooded rice paddies, where Cattle
mingled with wallowing Water Buffalo and pretty, Banteng 'wild'
spent two nights at a basic guesthouse in Com, but there is other
a wharf and a large ruined house, we were able to follow a track leading
some fields and up into forest - an area that would have been good to
further. Com and surrounds gave us a Lesser Frigatebird, Pacific Reef
(both morphs), Emerald Dove, Collared Kingfisher, Rose-crowned Fruit-dove
a type of Pheasant Coucal calling... sounded very familiar (??);
Striated Swallows, a Wallacean Cuckoo-shrike, Olive-brown Oriole (lovely
Little Pied Flycatcher, Timor Friarbird, Streak-breasted Honeyeater,
Flowerpecker, and Black-faced Munia.
rain overnight, but we back-tracked to Lautem and climbed up rather
roads to the Lospalos tableland, heading for Tutuala. On arriving
the heavens opened, the downpour threatening to wash the road away and
us to beat a hasty retreat. Out of the rain, we were able to take a
track to flooded paddocks by Lake Iralalara, which looked very promising.
usual egrets were there, as well as Black and Brahminy Kites, Aus. Pelican,
Swallow, Whiskered and Gull-billed Tern, and a Rufous Night Heron.
Crocs are reputed to be in this lake. Back on the main road, just
Mehara, Annette shouted, 'Stop - something different':- our
daughter got us on to a Timor Coucal, which fluttered between two
trees, giving us great bino-views, and a hazy photo!! This predominantly
bird is endemic to Timor Island, but I'm not sure if it's considered a
of the Pheasant Coucal?? Still, an exciting 'twitch' it was.
settled for a night in Lospalos, with the rain again pouring down. As we
in the morning, we witnessed some rather severe flooding...and still,
children hastened to school!! Back on the north coast, west of
we were anticipating a flooded river to cross, as the bridge was being
The queue of waiting vehicles confirmed this, as did a ute half on
side over a small fall in the swiftly moving current. A long line of men
pulled this vehicle out by rope, supported by cheers from all us
After watching the conditions carefully and preceded by a couple
other cars, we successfully forded the river and headed to Baucau for a
of rain-free days....further east, the deluge continued. A mob of
Crows greeted us, and from our 'Pousada' hotel, I enjoyed a flock
the last week-end, visiting the rather curiously-named "Jesus' Backside
beyond Cape Fatucama (on account of it being behind the huge statue of
'Christo Rei', east of Dili), - we 'twitched' Malaysian Plover. Various
were joined by a Zitting Cisticola. Going west to Maubara, we
a couple of very pale looking (juv.?) Wandering Whistling Duck on the
lake, but it was the cry of "whale"
from a beachside café that excited
when a scuba diver confirmed it was a Blue Whale - several having been
the last few days, but, out of season!
taxying out for take-off at Dili airport, we fittingly flushed a few
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