Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Crossing The Wallace Line to North Sulawesi

This is my 2nd time crossing the Wallace Line to North Sulawesi. The best time to travel to North Sulawesi is July & August when the weather is dry & all the animals are very active with all activities. However, I decided to go early hoping for the best.

It was raining heavily while I was at Singapore Changi Airport. It was still raining when I arrived at Manado, however, the rain subside after 2 hour drives to Batu Puteh, Tangkoko National Park.
Changi Airport
There are at least 5 home stay just outside the national park. I stay at Tangkoko Lodge slightly away from the park's entrance. If you are into birding, you may birds at this home stay too. Just ask the owner - Bobby & he will share with you all the tips that he has.
Tangkoko Lodge
After having a quick lunch and change to field trip attire (long sleeve/pants, insect repellent, camera & torch light) we head for the forest. We are just in time to watch The Spectral Tarsier (Tarsius spectrum) wake up from their sleep. Since they are nocturnal animal, they are active only at night and before dawn.
The Spectral Tarsier (Tarsius spectrum)
The Spectral Tarsier (Tarsius spectrum)
 Isn't the tarsier cute!! He is smiling at me!
Land Hermit Crab
While on the way out of the forest, I saw this land hermit crab.
Since the forest is just next to the beach/shore, not surprise to see this crab on the trail too.
 I saw this big spider waiting for me outside my room when I reach the home stay.
Tangkoko National Park
 I re-visit the forest the next day & saw this useful tips for visitors to the national park.

Stick insect, spider
There are many spiders even stick insect in the forest, they just got a free ride whenever I bump into them unknowingly.
Black sands
I head for the mangrove in the afternoon. To get to the mangrove, the best way is through the water. The mangrove direction is raining heavily and is spreading to my direction. We waited for about 30 mins for the showers to pass through us. We head to the mangrove while it was still drizzling.

Another unique sight here is the black sands beach!
Out rigger boat
To get the boat out to the sea is no child play. The boatman have to mobilize half the village to push the boat to the sea. This show that, eco-tourism really a good & sustainable way to help the locals.
Floating fishing farm
 You will see several floating fishing farm on route to the mangrove
The boat 'Captain'! I have to salute and thank him. He paddled all the way while we are in the mangrove. He switch off the engine and use his arm power instead in order not to frighten the birds away.
Sun set, Tangkoko
 The sun is setting when we came out of the mangrove.
Lookout Point
 I went to the lookout point just slightly above Batu Puteh. It was a beautiful place!
Palm sugar
 The home made palm sugar production facility at the lookout point.
 I also cross over to Tomohon and while on the way, we have to detour several time as the tree cutting is in progress in one of the village. Apparently the tree have to be cut in order to install the electrical grid line.

 Another nice place to visit while in North Sulawesi.
Sugar palm
This is a very useful palm tree, the fruits are use to produce sugar as well as alcohol. This is the plant that hopefully one day accepted by major plantation to consider so that to slowdown the forest clearing for oil palm plantation.
Tomohon market
 I always find time to visit local market when I travel oversea. That give me a in-sight information of the day-to-day life of the locals. I will write another posting on this market in the next post. The meat section of the market is not for the fainthearted one for sure...

Below are some of the sampling images I shot for the trip:
The Bear Cuscus (Ailurops ursinus)
 Do you agree this is the Panda of Sulawesi?  The Bear Cuscus (Ailurops ursinus) another endemic mamals in Tangkoko.
Red Knobbed Hornbill (Aceros cassidix)
 The very beautiful endemic hornbill of Tangkoko - Red Knobbed Hornbill (Aceros cassidix)
The Green Backed Kingfisher (Actenoides monarchus)
 The Blue Headed Wood Kingfisher or The Green Backed Kingfisher (Actenoides monarchus)

Lilac Cheeked Kingfisher (Cittura cyanotis)
 Another very beautiful forest kingfisher - Lilac Cheeked Kingfisher (Cittura cyanotis)
Sulawesi Hawk Eagle (Spizaetus lanceolatus)
 A Sulawesi Hawk Eagle (Spizaetus lanceolatus) perched high up on the tree with a rat tightly pin under the talon. If you look carefully, you will see the tail of the rat under the eagle tail.
Sulawesi Scops Owl (Otus manadensis)
 Another very cute looking Sulawesi Scops Owl (Otus manadensis)

Manado Safari Tours
Despite the wet weather, I have a great trip and is time to say good bye to this wonderful place. Thank you my very friendly guide - Mr Freedy of Safari Tours.
I use the iOS Fog of World to record my trail in this beautiful island. Hope to come back soon.

Here's the list of birds that I saw & photographed. (birds that I saw & heard but didn't managed to photograph are excluded) :

1 Barred Rail
2 Bay Coucal
3 Blue Backed Parrot
4 Chattering Lory
5 Chestnut Munia
6 Collared Kingfisher
7 Great Billed Kingfisher aka Black Billed Kingfisher
8 Green Backed Kingfisher
9 Green Imperial Pigeon
10 Grey Cheeked Green Pigeon
11 Grey Sided Flowerpecker
12 Grosbeak Starling
13 Hair Crested Drongo
14 Isabeline Bush Hen
15 Lilac Cheeked Kingfisher
16 Ornate Lorikeet
17 Pied Cuckoo Shrike
18 Purple Winged Roller
19 Red Knob Hornbill
20 Ruddy Kingfisher
21 Slender billed Crow
22 Sooty Headed Bulbul
23 Sulawesi Babbler
24 Sulawesi Crested Myna
25 Sulawesi Dwarf Hornbill
26 Sulawesi Dwarf Kingfisher
27 Sulawesi Hawk Eagle
28 Sulawesi Large Hanging Parrot aka Black Billed Hanging Parrot
29 Sulawesi Pygmy Woodpecker
30 Sulawesi Scops Owl
31 Sulawesi Triller
32 White Breasted Woodswallow
33 White Necked Myna
34 White Rump Cuckoo Shrike
35 Yellow Billed Malkoha
36 Yellow Sided Flowerpecker


  1. What a great report. I wish I could see this exciting place. Good work!

  2. This is certainly an amazing place to visit and from the looks of it, you must have had the time of your life. Wonderful images and informative write-up. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Hi Lyle & Wai Mun

    Thank you for dropping by, yes it was a good trip indeed. I''m sure will go back for more! :)

  4. Wonderful trip, any tour agent organize the tour locally in Singapore?

  5. Hi Gypsy Lala, I plan & book my trip directly with the operator in Manado - Safari Tours as mentioned in my post. I don't remember there is any travel agent in Singapore arrange tour to the Tangkoko forest. Most of them only arrange dive trips to Manado.


  6. ijin mampir......salam kenal semuanya...
    blognya kalem banget.........foto2 nya mantapbanget

  7. This looks great! How long were you there? Do you think a family of 4 travelling in July could find cheap accommodations along the route you took, plus some diving/snorkelling spots?

  8. July should be a good month as it will be a dryer month to travel.

  9. Dear All,
    Find your holiday in Sulawesi of Indonesia /