Saturday, January 12, 2019

Birding Bali Barat National Park

 Bali Barat, or West Bali National Park, is in the northwestern corner of Bali, 4 hours drive through mountains and rice terraces from the madding crowd of tourists that cluster around the beaches in the south. This park was set aside as the last habitat for the Bali starling or mynah, which is found only on Bali. These beautiful birds became critically endangered due to persistent poaching for the caged bird trade, and there are now over 1,000 individuals in captive breeding programs around the world.

Fewer than 100 Bali mynahs remain in the wild, all of which gather to breed here in the park. We were lucky to see a flock of 12 birds flying from tree to tree as we stood on a hillside looking out over the forest canopy on our first morning. The next day, we found four pairs, garrulous and stunning in their startlingly white suits and brilliant blue spectacles.