Birding in the hills of central Bali. A good range of species can be found here, including one or two things that are not so easy elsewhere.
Key bird species:
Javan Kingfisher; Sunda Thrush; Indonesian Honeyeater; Russet Bush-Warbler; Blood-breasted Flowerpecker
Bedugul is located at around 1,200 m in the hills of central Bali, on the main road that crosses the island heading to the town of Singaraja on the north coast. The hills around Lake Beratan have some quite good forest, which can most easily be accessed through Bedugul Botanic Gardens.The formal gardens are quite open, with scattered big trees, but can still be good for the honeyeater, Javan Kingfisher, Short-tailed Starling and Blood-breasted Flowerpecker. The birding gets better in some of the more densely wooded gullies, and then better still as you move uphill towards the western boundary of the gardens. Here the gardens merge into quite good condition forest. Several surfaced paths run towards, alongside and through nice habitat, in particular a loop road in the north-west of the gardens (easily visible on any map of the gardens). From these surfaced roads, more footpaths head off in and up. The birding in these forest areas can be even more productive, with the same species as above plus a chance at Sunda Thrush, Chestnut-backed Scimitar-Babbler, and other forest species. Russet Bush-Warbler has also been recorded here, at the top of the north-western loop road. Outside of the gardens there is more forest on the hills around and above Bedugul. Visiting these areas is an exercise in asking locals for advice, or just heading off in a direction that looks interesting and trying to find a path. The birding in these forests would get you many of the same birds as above, with perhaps a better chance at some of the species that like their forest less disturbed. To look for waterbirds or common open country birds, you could also try the north shore of Lake Beratan.
Access and Accommodation:
Bedugul is easy to reach from both the north and south coasts of Bali. The easiest way is to get a taxi or hire a car and driver for the day. Once you reach Lake Beratan, take the signposted road to Bedugul Botanic Gardens.By public transport look for a bus that crosses the island between Batubulan terminal in Denpasar heading towards Singaraja, and hop off at Bedugul. From there an Ojek (motorbike taxi) would get you to the gardens, or just walk. The park officially opens at 8am, but you may be able to talk yourself in earlier. It is a good idea to avoid weekends and public holidays, as the park can get crowded at these times. There are lots of accommodation options in the area if you wanted to stay a few days and a guide book like Lonely Planet will list the possibilities to suit your budget. Alternatively most birders would probably just visit Bedugul as a day trip from their hotel elsewhere. From the Kuta area the drive is around 1.5-2 hrs.
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