A small patch of degraded forest that is surprisingly good for some of the lowland forest Javan endemics.
Key bird species:
Javan Owlet; Brown Boobook; Barred Eagle Owl; Collared (Sunda) Scops Owl; Oriental Bay Owl; Javan Frogmouth; Banded Kingfisher; Lineated Barbet; Black-banded Barbet; Javan Banded Pitta; Javan Cuckooshrike; Fulvous-chested Jungle-Flycatcher; Javan (Grey-cheeked) Tit Babbler; Crimson Sunbird; Javan Sunbird. Javan (White-breasted) Babbler also occurred at this site, but there have been no records in recent years.
Carita is the name of a small patch of protected forest on the western end of Java. The forest is pretty degraded, but remains one of the most easily accessible places to see a number of Javan lowland forest endemics.From the coast road between Anyer and Labuan, a small side road heads east towards a range of easily visible forested hills near the village of Banjarmasin. After about 200m the road enters a mature tree plantation and then rises further to a small car park (by taking the left fork within the forest). From here the main trails head north-east towards a distant waterfall, and smaller trails radiate from the car park in all directions. For the best daytime birding, take the main trail, or any side trails that look like they go towards nice looking habitat. None of the habitat is pristine here, so you are in the right place! Barbets are regularly seen and heard along the first few hundred metres of the waterfall trail as it follows the side of a steep valley. Javan Banded Pitta can be seen and heard almost anywhere here, including in very degraded areas and the plantations. Banded Kingfisher is most often recorded in the big trees near the start of the waterfall trail (where it changes from a car track to a footpath and a small shop is sometimes present). Javan Babbler used to be seen along the trail to the waterfall in areas of dense forest, but it has not been recorded in last few years. Halimun Salak now seems to be the most reliable location for this Javan endemic. By night Carita is a lot of fun. The first section of the track from the forest edge to the car park is great for Javan Frogmouth, and the area around the car park is good for Javan Owlet. Try taking the small footpath heading uphill from the carpark just to the south of the main track. Javan Owlet are regular along this trail and can even be seen by day. The Owlet has also been recorded from the forest remaining around the bungalows by following the road rather than taking the trail to the waterfall. Collared Scops Owl is common, and Brown Boobook is also present. You will be doing well to see Oriental Bay Owl or Barred Eagle Owl, but there have been recent records of both species, so they are still here. Javan Ebony Langur, Colugo and Leopard Cat are also seen here.
Access and Accommodation:
Carita lies on the main coast road from Merak/Anyer to Labuan. This road is lines with hotels and resorts for its whole length. Look out for a range of low forested hills appearing on your left as you drive south, these are at the closest to the road in line with the village of Banjarmasin. If you then spot the Sunset Beach Resort you are almost level with the turn off. This hotel is also a popular choice with birders as it is within easy walking distance of the action, but other accommodation and food options abound if it doesn’t suit you.By car getting to Carita is simple (about 3-4 hours from Jakarta). By public transport it is not hard either. The simplest way is to first get to Cilegon, near Merak (from where the ferry goes to Sumatra) and then get any bus heading south as far as Labuan. Look out for the hills and Sunset Beach Resort as above, and jump off. If you overshoot and get as far as Labuan, simply retrace and repeat until you find it! Buses from the bust terminal at Jakarta International Airport go to the Ferry terminal at Merak, and will drop you off in Cilegon. From here a local Angkot or Taxi along the coastal road will deliver you to Carita. There is an occasionally manned booth at the car park within Carita forest where you may be asked to pay a small entrance fee.
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