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Susan Myers on her on-going tour, Indonesia: The Moluccas

October 10: Susan Myers on her on-going tour, Indonesia: The Moluccas

The inaugural Wings tour to the far flung islands of the Moluccas in east Indonesia is about half over and so far it’s been nothing but an outstanding success! I’m writing this from my comfortable hotel room on the little known island of Kai Kecil, from where we ventured out this morning to the neighboring island of Kai Besar. Our main target was the diminutive Little Kai White-eye, sometimes perhaps more romantically known as Pearl-bellied White-eye. A speedy boat trip took us to the sleepy town of Bombai and we climbed on board the little local bus that took us for a bumpy, but fun, ride up to Bukit Indah – the Beautiful Hill. The hill is still cloaked in wonderful floristically diverse tropical rainforest and we soon connected with the small island endemic whilst taking our morning tea. We then turned our attention to some other fancy specialties of these islands of Wallace fame, which are such hotbeds of faunal diversity shaped by millennia of natural selection. All the while we were accompanied by an astounding array of different and fancy butterflies. An early encounter with the scarce Kai Cicadabird (or Cuckooshrike) created much excitement and we chased this very handsome member of the caterpillar-eater family as it flitted through the trees – presumably living up to its name, disappearing and then reappearing on cue.  Later we found our first Varied Trillers (a possible future split?), Black-faced Friarbirds, Island Monarchs, Kai Coucal and very cute Yellow-capped Pygmy-Parrots. Maybe the biggest hit for the morning, though was a stunning White-tailed Monarch, another fascinating endemic of the amazing islands of Maluku!

The fast boat to Kai Besar

An unknown but spectacular orchid emblematic of the natural richness of the Moluccas

Morning tea in the field with our helpful crew

Searching for the Kai Coucal

Mistletoebird, or Salvadori’s Flowerpecker if split

White-tailed Monarch

Posted: October 10, 2017