Bali Bird Walks Ubud

Heron Birds near The Shala Bali

It's not just about birds

We hadn't contacted Wayan Sumardi before two of us turned up at the Murni restaurant near the Ubud bridges. There was a sign for Bali Bird Walks but no people about. Then Sumardi appeared with a welcoming smile inviting us in to get a bottle of water and soon we were in a local taxi taking us through the small streets of Penestanan.

In front of a small farm Sumardi was telling us about the crops growing there, then suddenly said look over there on the roof peak that's a yellow vented bulbul. Can you hear it call? She found another bird up on a coconut palm and we focused our binoculars on it. Then there were two and a white egret flew fast and low over the corn ripening in the sun.

We now started walking, passing down a small lane past a woman pushing a cart. The view opened wide at the end of the path and Sumardi got busy pointing out and naming birds all around us.

Panning our binoculars across the rice paddies to distant trees we followed the birds she spotted. You have to be quick. The birds don't stop in one place for long.

Then there was a butterfly on a leaf demanding a photo . Sumardi pointed out a white flower on the edge of the creek beside us. You can squeeze juice from it and after diluting with water it provides relief for tired eyes.

It was nice to see a grass roof on a nearby house. Its called alang alang and the sheaves of grass should be in two layers to give full protection for a number of years, otherwise it needs early replacement Sumardi told us.

Some mud walls of the rice paddies were newly repaired because the ducks have been breaking them down looking for snails and over there water rats have burrowed through it. A farmer looked up with a wave from his work as he raked the recently tilled liquid mud that would be receiving new rice plants in regular rows next week. How do they keep the lines straight we ask and move on to questions about the whole cycle of growing the staple crop here in Bali. We saw an area of taller sticky rice plants that need 6 months or more from planting till harvest. Normal rice needs 4 months till ripe.


We look over to see men in conical hats leaning over cutting the golden rice plants with sharp curved knives. Women thresh the cuttings, dropping husked rice onto woven mats as the