9 Days North Sulawesi Birding Tour
Day 1 Airport - Hotel
Upon arrival at in Manado, transferred to quality hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 2 Manado – Gunung Ambang
After an early breakfast we leave Manado for driving to Gunung Ambang (MT. Ambang). Some stops would be made for birding en-route before having lunch in the homestay close to the mountain. The afternoon birding on Gunung Ambang to search for White-bellied Imperial Pigeon, Ornate Lorikeet, Sulawesi Woodpecker, Superb Fruit Dove and with some more luck Golden-mantled Racquet-tail. As dusk approaches, we move to the forest interior to start looking for the recently described Cinnabar Boobook. Other owls present are Speckled Boobook, Sulawesi Masked Owl, Ochre-bellied Boobook and Sulawesi Scops Owl.
Day 3 Gunung Ambang – Tambun - Doloduo
A half day on Gunung Ambang where we concentrate on some of the more difficult species in the forest interior, especially Scaly-breasted Kingfisher and Matinan Flycatcher are priced here . Others to look for include Purple-bearded Bee-eater, Yellow-vented Whistler, Sulawesi Blue Flycatcher, Rusty-bellied Fantail, Crimson-crowned Flowerpecker, Lesser Sulawesi Honeyeater, Malia, Cerulean Cuckoo-shrike and Chestnut-backed Bush-Warbler. We should head down for an early lunch today though, as we are due to visit Tambun in the afternoon, a 2 hour drive away. Maleo come down from the hill forest to lay their eggs in the volcanic soil or to roost on the breeding grounds at Tambun and this is why we plan our first visit to this superb birding site in the afternoon. Other birds at the site might include our first Knobbed Hornbill, Green-backed Kingfisher, White-necked Myna, Maroon-chinned Fruit Dove, Ivory-backed Woodswallow, Yellow-billed Malkoha and Ashy Woodpecker. The rare Blue-faced Rail performs here if lucky. At dusk Great-eared Nightjars hawk overhead and with luck we may glimpse the resident Sulawesi Nightjar as well.
Day 4 Naniwarta Bone National Park (Tapakolintang, Toraut)
This morning we drive for Toraut, where the tall forest remnant holds such highlights as Sulawesi Dwarf Hornbill, Yellow-breasted Raquet-tail, Maroon-chinned Fruit Dove, Red-bellied Pitta, Lesser Fish Eagle, Sulawesi Kingfisher and Sulawesi Hawk Eagle. Speckled Boobook has been here on a day roost in an old building for years so lets hope it's waiting for us on our next visit as well. After lunch, we may visit the reserve at Tambun a bit more thoroughly. As well as being a safe back-up for Maleo, a second visit to this interesting area should give us opportunities to find any species missed previously. But we're flexible and with the Tambun specialities in the 'bag' we could choose to give Tapak Kolintang a first try.
Nights on the Dumoga-Bone leg of our trip in Kotamobagu.
Day 5 Doloduo - Manado
Our last morning within the Dumoga-Bone (Bogani Nani Wartabone) National Park. Easy but excellent roadside birding awaits us at Tapak Kolintang where the more humid hill forest is home to decent densities of Knobbed Hornbill. Other gems to look for are Black-naped Fruit Dove, Sulawesi Dwarf Kingfisher, Bay Coucal, Purple-winged Roller, Sulawesi Black Pigeon, Sulawesi Crested Myna and Large Sulawesi Hanging-Parrot. After lunch comes the time for the transfer back to Manado where some modern comfort awaits us in the comfortable hotel.
Day 6 Manado - Tangkoko
An early start and less than 2 hours drive will see us at the fantastic Tangkoko Nature Reserve. It is good to have this diverse place on the North-Sulawesi leg of our journey last to visit as it provides the opportunity to catch up on any species missed at Dumoga-Bone while it is certain to still give us a number of lifers not likely seen earlier on. These include Lilac Kingfisher, Red-backed Thrush, Black-billed Kingfisher, Tabon Scrubfowl, Pied Cuckoo-Shrike, Isabelline Bush-Hen, Sulawesi Black Pigeon and Stephan's Dove. Additionally, a few species are easier to come by at Tangkoko, count on Red-bellied Pitta, Green-backed Kingfisher, Sulawesi Dwarf Kingfisher, Ashy Woodpecker and Silver-tipped Imperial Pigeon. Tangkoko is a good place to see some amazing mammals too. We will certainly visit the Spectral Tarsiers coming out of roost in the evening and the critically endangered and impressive Sulawesi Crested Macaque has its stronghold here.
Day 7 Fullday Tangkoko
Another full day at Tangkoko where our local guide is likely to show us yet another couple excellent stake-out birds. These might include daytime roosts of Sulawesi Nightjar, Ochre-bellied Boobook and Sulawesi Masked Owl. In the afternoon we set out on the enjoyable boat trip in a quest to see the Great-billed Kingfisher in a mangrove line channel. It's an opportunity to add quite a few species to our list additionally, several Tern species frequent the bay as well as a few waders, White-bellied Sea-Eagle and Lesser + Great Frigatebirds are another possibility. Sulawesi Masked Owl can often be seen here on its day roost up the cliffs that border the bay and in August 2010 we where lucky enough to observe a group of Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphins perform some fine spins fully clear from the water surface.
Day 8 Fullday Tangkoko
A last morning in Tangkoko and a special one at that... we will visit a superb viewpoint overlooking plenty good forest. This spot might rank as the 'birdiest' in Sulawesi. White bellied Pigeon, Raquet-tails and other Parrot species with another good chance on Sulawesi Crested Myna at this site if not encountered earlier on.
Day 9 Tangkoko – Airport
After breakfast at homestay, transfer to airport for your departure.