Bali, Flores, Rinca, and Komodo

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Bali, Flores, Rinca, and Komodo

Post by Roki » February 26th, 2016, 9:47 pm

The highlight of last year for me was getting over to Bali, Flores, Rinca, and Komodo islands with my wife in late August. While much of the trip was spent enjoying ourselves we did dedicate quite a bit of time to experiencing the wonderful wildlife of the islands in addition to the amazing culture. While the dry season made it difficult to locate some species it also assisting us in being able to easily locate others. Here’s a summary of our trip and findings. Enjoy.

Upon arriving in Bali we were greeted with an wonderful sunset with hundreds of flying kites.
ImageDSC_1096 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

The next day we made our way up to the temple of Uluwatu. Famous for the temple and the world class surfing nearby.
ImageDSC_0966 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

Angry monkey. Macaques (Macaca fascicularis)
ImageDSC_0971 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

Uluwatu cave entrance to the paddle out.
ImageUluwatu cave entrance by[email protected]/, on Flickr

The waves didn't dissapoint.
ImageFun at Uluwatu by[email protected]/, on Flickr

The following day we got up before dawn and caught a flight over to Flores where we hired a boat to make out way over to Komodo island and to see some of the surrounding islands. I highly recommend to anyone going to take your time and enjoy. The islands and reefs surrounding Flores are nothing short of amazing.
ImageDSC_0006 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

Some of the clearest waters I have ever seen.
ImageP8211112 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

Clown fish off of Kelor island.
ImageP8200787 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

After enjoying some water time we headed on to the island of Rinca and were off to find dragons. It being the dry season the vegetation was sparse making looking for Komodo dragons much easier.
Dragon tracks in the sand on the beach.
DSC_1686 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

Local deer species which are the main source of food for the Komodo dragons. Sunda sambar (Rusa timorensis)
ImageDSC_1139 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

And then under a tree, there was a whole bunch of them! The Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis)
ImageDSC_1188 by[email protected]/, on Flickr
To say it almost felt too easy would be an understatement. After we enjoyed the shadetree dragon clan we quickly decided to go find some on out in the forest.

Mother guarding her nest.
ImageMama at the nest by[email protected]/, on Flickr

The claws on these guys were awesome.
ImageDSC_0032 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

After a nice hike we returned to the boat and headed off some where to park the boat for the night and I asked the crew if they had head of this island I had read about nearby the had lots of fruit bats and they said they had and would be happy to take us there. Once the sun begins to set the word was that this island's population of fruit bats takes off to go find something to eat.

While we waited we watched red backed sea eagles dive for fish between other boats also known as brahminy kites (Haliastur indus) .
ImageDSC_1413 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

The sunset was nothing short of outstanding.
ImageDSC_1350 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

Then came the bats.
ImageFruit bats welcoming the night by[email protected]/, on Flickr

Photos don't come close to doing this event justice. Thousands of bats took off over about a half hour.
ImageDSC_1523 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

Afterwards we parked the boat at a reasonable anchorage for reaching Komodo the next day.
The next morning we rose early and made our way to the island of Komodo. The ocean was very calm which allowed us to view the strange currents around the islands very well.
ImageDSC_1675 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

We also spotted dolphins on the way in.
ImageDSC_1310ed by[email protected]/, on Flickr

After reaching Komodo and checking in at the local ranger station we headed out into the forest while a huge group of Chinese tourists sat around the station. We were happy to be away from the crowd.

Sulphur-crested cockatoo (Cacatua galerita). We saw a few of these, but they were surprisingly difficult to photograph even with being so loud.
ImageDSC_1730 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

Soon after we found a dragon make its way through the forest.
ImageDSC_1712 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

Komodo was quite hot and dry this time of year, but we are from Utah so we're used to this type of thing. I was thankful of the shade though.
ImageDSC_1266 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

We also found a large female out in the forest.
ImageDSC_1740 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

And a streamside Skink (Sphenomorphus maculatus)
ImageDSC_1251 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

After a very successful hike we decided to get back underwater again and headed off to more reefs. If you ever have the chance to get out to this incredible place, please, take time to take a peek under the waves. You won't regret it.
ImageP8210939 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

ImageP8210936 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

ImageReef feather star by[email protected]/, on Flickr

ImageP8221255 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

Easily the best reefs I've seen.
ImageP8211175 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

Back on dry land we enjoyed the sunbirds and finding some delicious local seafood.
ImageDSC_0717 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

Before leaving Flores we had just enough time to check out a local cave system.
ImageDSC_0076 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

Tailess Whip Scorpion (Amblypygi)
ImageDSC_0084 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

Back in Bali we enjoyed exploring the east side of the island.
ImageDSC_0133ed by[email protected]/, on Flickr

The bat temple
ImageDSC_0160 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

At which we found our first snake species. An opportunistic reticulated python (Python reticulatus) looking for a bat snack.
ImageDSC_0156 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

We made our way along the coast and up to the Amed region.
Along the way we found several other species including this beautiful skink species.
ImageDSC_0627 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

Indian scops owl (Otus bakkamoena)
ImageDSC_0251 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

and a curious little civet in an alley way. Palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus)
ImageCurious little civet by[email protected]/, on Flickr

Amed was also amazing under the sea.
ImageP8241350 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

We even found bioluminescent jellyfish.
ImageP8241495 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

Every morning I got up and watched the chestnut-headed bee-eaters from my balcony (Merops leschenaulti).
ImageChestnut-headed Bee-eater 2 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

And everynight I watched the pond frogs. Rice Frog (Fejervarya limnocharis).
ImageDSC_0393 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

After Amed we made our way across the island to Pemuteran.

Along the way we explored the island a bit more.
Rice Terraces
ImageDSC_0668 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

ImageDSC_0563 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

A highland lake
ImageDSC_0650 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

Bali's tallest waterfall
ImageDSC_0600 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

Another wonderfully large skink species. (Eutropis multifasciata) Common Sun Skink
ImageDSC_0298 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

Pemuteran Bay
ImageDSC_0719 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

At our hotel we enjoyed the noisy and large tokay geckos (Gekko gecko).
ImageDSC_0690 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

Under the water here was also quite good.
ImageP8261555 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

Laid back island kitty. I know these guys do a number on local wildlife populations, but this little guy seemed mighty relaxed.
ImageKitty in paradise by[email protected]/, on Flickr

Eventually we ended up in Ubud. It's Bali and I had heard of the markets up there for decades so we had to go check it out.

On the way we hit Tanah Lot to find banded sea kraits.
ImageDSC_0798 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

Tanah Lot (Busy)
ImageDSC_0743 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

The country side.
ImageDSC_0902 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

ImageDSC_0677 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

ImageDSC_1065 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

ImageDSC_0928 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

The once great art markets have taken a turn into cheap tourist land.
ImageDSC_0842 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

That said, the surrounding were great and we had a fun time. From our hotel I could watch birds every morning and at night things really turned on.

The closest I have come to getting a decent shot of a kingfisher and Java kingfisher at that, beautiful bird. Java Kingfisher (Halcyon cyanoventris)
ImageDSC_0838ed by[email protected]/, on Flickr

Having looked for snakes the whole time I was beginning to lose faith, but the nights around Ubud and south of Ubud really were very welcoming to us.

(Ahuetella prasina) Vine Snake
ImageDSC_0197 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

ImageReady to strike by[email protected]/, on Flickr

ImageDSC_0203 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

ImageDSC_0271 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

The pale phase of a Mangrove cat snake that I thought was a (Boiga Dendrophil)(Boiga cynodon) Dog-toothed cat snake
ImageDSC_0098 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

Mangrove cat snake (Boiga Dendrophil).
ImageDSC_0048 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

ImageDSC_0069 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

My wife found this beautiful little slugeater snake (Pareas carinatus) Ular siput. She then immediately stepped off the side of the hill, rolled down the lower part of it and then into a flooded rice paddy. I stood in disbelief before jumping down there to help. One second she was there, the next..gone. Luckily she was fine and laughing about it. I thought for sure the night was done. I was wrong, she happily got back up the hill and we refound the snake and she took some pictures. We then went on to find 15 more snakes that night.

ImageDSC_0244-001 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

Maned forest lizard (Bronchocela jubata)
ImageDSC_0283 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

(Trimeresurus insularis) White Lipped Green Pit Viper
ImageDSC_0348 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

We found several Painted Bronzebacks (Dendrelaphis pictus)
ImageDSC_0302 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

ImageDSC_0123 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

Indo-Chinese Rat Snake (Ptyas korros)
ImageDSC_0314 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

And then one massive white-lipped pit viper to end the night and our trip on a high note.
ImageWhite-lipped pit viper kind of night by[email protected]/, on Flickr

ImageDSC_0389 by[email protected]/, on Flickr

I hope everyone enjoyed. We will definitely be returning to that magical corner of the world again.

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Jeroen Speybroeck
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Re: Bali, Flores, Rinca, and Komodo

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck » February 27th, 2016, 2:05 am

Great, thanks a lot!

Are you sure that cynodon is not just another dendrophila?

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Re: Bali, Flores, Rinca, and Komodo

Post by krisbell » February 27th, 2016, 6:35 am

Great post - is your sea eagle not a brahminy kite?

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Paul Freed
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Re: Bali, Flores, Rinca, and Komodo

Post by Paul Freed » February 27th, 2016, 7:57 am

A really nice tour of that region, well done! The Indian Scops Owl photo was fantastic! I think Jeroen is right, that Boiga is another dendrophila. Also, your photo of 'Mastigoproctus giganteus' is a Tailess Whip Scorpion (Amblypygi). Mastigoproctus giganteus is the Vinegaroon, or Giant Whip Scorpion from the southern U.S. and Mexico. I believe that the Yellow Striped Ratsnake is actually an Indo-Chinese Rat Snake (Ptyas korros). Thanks for taking us on such a detailed expedition, your photos really captured the feeling of being there.

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Berkeley Boone
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Re: Bali, Flores, Rinca, and Komodo

Post by Berkeley Boone » March 1st, 2016, 7:41 pm

Incredible, Roki! Visiting Komodo/Flores is a dream of mine. I hope to be able to go one day.

The fruit bat photos are great. My wife and I got to experience that in Cairns last year. We ate dinner each night on the balcony of the hostel and watched thousands of them take off as the sun went down.

Fantastic photos, thanks very much for sharing!

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Re: Bali, Flores, Rinca, and Komodo

Post by Roki » March 3rd, 2016, 7:25 pm

Thanks for the ID help guys and glad you all have enjoyed the pictures.

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Re: Bali, Flores, Rinca, and Komodo

Post by Ribbit » March 7th, 2016, 9:43 am

A beautiful series of photos, in such vivid colors!

I believe your "Eutropis longicaudata" is instead some species of Sphenomorphus, perhaps Sphenomorphus melanopogon.


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Re: Bali, Flores, Rinca, and Komodo

Post by Roki » March 8th, 2016, 8:48 pm

Thanks for the ID John. I had been wondering about that. I think it maybe a Sphenomorphus maculatus.

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Bali, Flores, Rinca, and Komodo

Post by Kelly Mc » March 8th, 2016, 9:34 pm

Beautiful and Beautiful many times, I love seeing Retics in situ and collect photos of snakes hunting, and snakes hunting in bat caves are a favorite.

The photo of the dragon's foot, is treasure.

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Re: Bali, Flores, Rinca, and Komodo

Post by TJA » March 9th, 2016, 10:06 am

What a great trip. Lots of amazing sights -- among many others, really like the sea krait and the civet.

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Re: Bali, Flores, Rinca, and Komodo

Post by dwakefield » March 11th, 2016, 6:50 am

Glad I peaked into this thread......awesome stuff! Must have been so cool to see a Retic in the wild......among all the other great finds.

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