Surprisingly good birding for the middle of Jakarta! Worth a morning just for Sunda Coucal.
Key bird species:
Javan (Sunda) Coucal; Black-winged Myna (Starling), Javan Myna, possibly also Javan White-eye and Christmas (Island) Frigatebird
Muara Angke Nature Reserve lies at the mouth of the Angke River in north-west Jakarta. It was formerly surrounded my more marsh land to the west, but has now become surrounded by housing estates. Despite having urban developments on all sides, and despite the river resembling an open sewer at times, Muara Angke remains surprisingly good for birding, and is probably the easiest place in Indonesia to see Javan Coucal.At the end of 2014 the reserve was closed because the boardwalk had become too dangerous. Official access at one time was to obtain a permit from the Forestry Department Office in Jakarta (an address is given in the comments section below). Unofficial access to visitors has it seems on occasion been granted since the closure, through the staff on the gate. Comments below suggest that the boardwalk was in the process of being repaired in 2016, with new higher ticket prices for visitors, and the continued uncertainty of whether a permit/ticket is required from the Forestry Department, or whether access can be officially granted at the gate. When the raised board walk is repaired, this provides the best birding. If you can access the ‘beach’ and get views out into Jakarta Bay you may have a chance of seeing Christmas Frigatebird or Aleutian Tern. Yet another alternative is to try and hire a small boat and take a slow ride along the river. This is another good way to look for Javan Coucal. All else failing, viewing the marsh from the main road at dawn, particularly around the entrance can be good for Javan Coucal. Other birds to look out for here include Black-winged Myna. A small population of this increasingly rare species has been present for a number of years. Their provenience is unknown, but they are of the western form, so who knows? Muara Angke used to be a pretty reliable site for Javan Plover also, but as the housing estates have developed around the reserve they have become less and less likely to be seen. Far better sites exist to see Javan Plover nearby (such as Pulau Dua, Pulau Rambut, Pamanukan), so if you don’t connect at Muara Angke best try one of the alternatives. Other interesting birds that can be seen in the reserve are Black Bittern, Cerulean Kingfisher, Chestnut-winged Cuckoo, Javan Myna, Duarian (Purple-backed) Starling, Yellow-rumped Flycatcher and possibly also White-capped Munia. Records of Javan White-eye have been provided recently on eBird (2016).
Access and Accommodation:
If you are on your own trying to find Muara Angke, a taxi is probably the most efficient way. However, despite being in the middle of Jakarta, few taxi drivers will have heard of ‘Muara Angke’. A better bet is to ask for ‘Pluit’ or ‘Pluit Mall’ and then when you get there try and get the taxi driver to ask a local for the reserve (try asking for “taman burung” or “taman alam”) or the road that the entrance is on ‘Jalan Pantai Indah Utara II’ (means literally ‘beautiful beach road’!). From central Jakarta the ride to Muara Angke will take around 40 mins, depending on the traffic. From the airport the time is around the same.
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