Batu, Malang near Surabaya weekend

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….

Mount Panderman oin the background

Mount Panderman in the background

 

drying corn in the village

drying corn in the village

 

cultivated melons

cultivated melons

pretty flowers by the road

pretty flowers by the road

 

beautiful tree formation

beautiful tree formation

at the end of the road was a beautiful bamboo forest

at the end of the road was a beautiful bamboo forest

 

And I was very happy exploring here...there were a few birds

And I was very happy exploring here…there were a few birds

 

Sooty headed bulbul with orange vent

Sooty headed bulbul with orange vent

 

getting excited

getting excited

 

autumn like colours on Panderman

autumn like colours on Panderman

 

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…

coban rondo waterfall

coban rondo waterfall

 

close up view of the widow's waterfall

close up view of the widow’s waterfall

 

Silorodjo dam was disappointing but I saw a few interesting birds….

Javan Munia

Javan Munia

 

Very cold...so the munias huddled together

Very cold…so the munias huddled together

 

Sunda woodpecker

Sunda woodpecker

 

Hello

Hello

 

Sunda woodpecker

Sunda woodpecker

 

the elephant grass gatherer

the elephant grass gatherer with the dam in the background

 

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….

 

Roadside cafes perched precariously on the edge of the hill

Roadside cafes perched precariously on the edge of the hill

 

barbecued corn..talk about memorable food moments...didn't need sugar or butter...just au naturel

barbecued corn..talk about memorable food moments…didn’t need sugar or butter…just au naturel

 

view of batu/malang as the sun set, eating sweet corn...

view of batu/malang as the sun set, eating sweet corn…

 

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.

 

steep path up hill, not all paved or stepped like this

steep path up hill, not all paved or stepped like this

beautiful primary forest

beautiful primary forest

 

the sun rose and the leaves caught the light

the sun rose and the leaves caught the light

 

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The insects were buzzing….

 

and the flowers were pretty

and the flowers were pretty

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…

only bird of the morning

only bird of the morning

 

another view

another view

 

We did get to see some monkeys which were very curious and active….

Kindly looking mama monkey

Kindly looking mama monkey

 

here's looking at you

here’s looking at you

 

uncanny how the monkey sits with the same posture as us

uncanny how the monkey sits with the same posture as us

 

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.

Bird enclosures

Bird enclosures

 

Bird's eye view of the forest from within the cage

Bird’s eye view of the forest from within the cage

 

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..

 

Arjuna

Arjuna

 

cafe on the hill

cafe on the hill

 

Mee Bakso noodles

Mee Bakso noodles

 

carrot fields with mountains in the background

carrot fields with mountains in the background

 

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…

 

 

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