|North Sulawesi Birding at Lake Tondano
Circus assimilis, Spotted Harrier, Elang rawa Tutul
Near Manado and good for waterbirds and migrant raptors.
Key bird species:
Spotted Harrier; Comb-crested Jacana
Lake Tondano is a natural freshwater lake about 2 hrs drive south of Manado. The north-west and south sides of the lake hold some nice wetland areas, where rice paddy blends into marshland. At the right times of year there can be quite a lot of waders in this area, and Spotted Harrier is occasionally seen. The reed and vegetation fringes edges of the lake also hold Comb-crested Jacana.
To birdwatch at Lake Tondano there are two options. The first is simply to drive around the lake stopping anywhere that looks interesting. The second is to hire a small boat and birdwatch from the lake-side. You will probably see different species using either approach, so those that are interested and have time could do both in a day.
Access and Accommodation:
Lake Tondano is a popular local weekend spot, and easy to access. From Manado take a car, taxi or bus to the town of Tomohon on the lake’s northern shore. To get a boat, make your way to the lakeside and there are lots of boats for hire (by the hour, half day, day etc). To reach the rice paddy areas and wetlands, either drive anti-clockwise around the lake, or take an ojek (motorbike taxi) south-west out of Tomohon and get dropped in the first wetland area indicated on the map. From there just wander around and back again – about 2km. To reach the rice paddy/wetland area at the southern end, catch a minibus to Langowan (the town at the southern end) and repeat the process with an ojek as above. If you only had time to visit one end or the other, the northern wetlands are probably the best, in particular the road marked ‘wetland and rice paddy’ on the map near Tomohon.
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