Birding in Alas Purwo National Park
The last home of the tiger in Java this isolated park is great for Green Peafowl, both junglefowl and Banded Pitta
Key bird species:
Green Junglefowl; Green Peafowl; Beach Thick-knee; Orange-breasted Pigeon; Javan Kingfisher; Banded Pitta; Black-winged Starling
Alas Purwo is a large national park in the south-east corner of Java. It is less well known (and less visited) than nearby Baluran, but holds a similar range of species. The access to the main part of the park on the peninsular is difficult, but there is some easily accessible areas on the park’s western side.The road to the park ends on the beach at Triangulasi, and this is one option to base yourself. The habitat here is scrubby beach forest, but a walk of less than 1 km back along the entrance track, followed by 1.5 km along a smaller trail to the east (the second trail you come to), brings you to a large open clearing, known as the ‘Sadengan Grazing Ground’, over which an observation tower affords excellent views (assuming the tower is still standing when you visit!). At dawn or dusk this clearing is a great place to see Green Peafowl, Green Junglefowl, Black-winged Starling and even wild Banteng if you are lucky. From Triangulasi tracks follow the beach heading both east and west. To the west the tracks heads to Ngagelan where there is a turtle hatchery (turtles nest all along the beach, and can occasionally be seen at night). The habitat in this direction becomes more dominated by mangrove the further you walk, but provides good birding opportunities all the way. To the east the track follows the curve of the bay and after around 3km reaches a guard post at Pancur. It may also be possible to stay here as an alternative to Triangulasi (ask the park staff for latest information on the options). From Pancur a trail is alleged to head inland for a couple of kilometers to a cave. Assuming this is true, then the trail should pass through nice forest habitat and would be a good place to look for such things as Banded Pitta. Following the beach around to the very end brings you to the world famous surfing spot known as Plengkung or ‘G-Land’. If you don’t mind hanging out with a load of Australian kids, then there are usually a few makeshift accommodation options here too.
Access and Accommodation:
Alas Purwo is not visited by that many people, so the arrangements can be a bit chaotic and prone to change. What accommodation options there are within the park have a tendency to fall down and be replaced on a fairly regular basis. The best bet for up-to-date information would be to pay a visit to the national park office in Banyuwangi (Jl. Achmad Yani 108, Banyuwangi, 68416), or to make your way to the Entrance gate office in the village of Pasaranyar on the northern border of the park. At either of these they would be able to explain the latest situation regarding staying at either Triangulasi or Pancur (or elsewhere). Whatever you chose is likely to be basic, so assume you will need to buy whatever food and supplies you need in either Banyuwangi or Pasaranyar, and don’t expect to be able to buy anything else when you get into the park. For cooking you should have no problem using the park guard’s kitchen at either of those places (assuming that’s not fallen down also). The park staff will also be able to fill you in on their latest requirements for being accompanied by guides (which predictably seem to vary from not necessary to necessary..).To get to Alas Purwo from Banyuwangi you could hire a car to Pasaranyar, then onwards to Triangulasi, or get a bus to Pasaranyar and an ojek (motorbike taxi) onwards. If you don’t want to keep the transport with you during your stay (you don’t really need it) make sure to arrange a pick up time and day, otherwise you’ll be making the 13km walk back to Pasaranyar!
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