When: September 2014 Weather: Cool 20C
Leica M240, 21mmf3.4 and 35mm f1.4 summilux. Lumix FZ150 for birds
Weekend in the hill resort of Singhasari in Batu, a suburb of the town of Malang, about 2-2.5 hours out of Surabaya. The drive from Surabaya out was fine, about 2.5 hours. The resort was OK but be warned that in Indonesia, on Sunday mornings, their hotel resorts often have a ‘family activity’ morning which starts with loud booming music at 630 or 7 am! I had originally planned a quick in-out, give my lectures on the saturday morning and fly back in the afternoon to singapore. But finding out that the Cangar suburb of Batu is a birding competition site, I extended a day to explore.
So we set off in the afternoon up Gunung Panderman, a nearby mountain to take a walk….we passed through a nice little village and there were lots of attractive flora about….
Moving on from Panderman, we drove on to visit the Silarodjo dam and Coban Rondo waterfalls…all within 30 min of each other. Silarodjo Dam itself was not very exciting , too much construction around and not terribly scenic so I would say you could skip it. Saw a few nice birds there though…
Silorodjo dam was disappointing but I saw a few interesting birds….
Returning to Batu after these visits, I saw these wonderfully located cafes gloriously placed on the very edge of a steep hill…and they were selling jagung bakar or barbecued sweet corn…so we stopped to partake….
The next morning, I had really been looking forward to doing some serious birding as birding competitions are held at the forest reserve in Cangar, just an hour from Batu. Setting off after breakfast we got there at 8am; it’s just after the main entrance to the touristy hot springs resort. Parking in the car park, we set off up a steep, and I mean steep, path up the hill, away from the crowd at the hot springs.
The insects were buzzing….
Disappointingly, the bird life was sparse and whilst there was lots of birdsong, the heavy canopy made for difficult viewing of the birds….I guess I’ve been spoilt with my recent birding trips into expecting regular sightings. Saw a few unidentifiable ‘little grey jobs’ and this one yellow bird…
We did get to see some monkeys which were very curious and active….
At the foot of the hill are a couple of bird enclosures which had previously been used to exhibit local birds which had been trapped. Thankfully a local wildlife conservation group had objected vigorously to this and they are now empty.
On the way back to Batu, we saw this volcano..Mount Arjuna I believe which is still active and then I saw more of the cafes perched on the edge of a hill…..had to try the Mee bakso…local noodle soup in this wonderful environs..
The trip ended with departure for the airport, a trip of 2.5 hours…only on this occasion, there was an incident where a truck had overturned on the road..and remained uncleared for hours leading to a massive jam…took us 7 hours to get to Surabaya and missed my flight back…