Alfred Russel Wallace has landed here, a peculiar-shape island in Indonesia as part of his 8-year adventure in the Malay Archipelago. To Wallace curiosity, this island also shows peculiar wildlife and has fascinated him so much that the idea of zoogeography region was published in the international naturalist community. He visited the island three times since 1856. The ‘Wallace line’ was named after him and was imaginary laid next to this island.
I guess this ‘Wallace enthusiasm’ has brought me to this island again and again. Sulawesi has 4 provinces, the North, the Central, the South, and the Southeast Sulawesi. Work and school have brought me at least to Central and South Sulawesi for quite a while. But, I’ve been to the rest of the provinces for a short visit.
In my last stay in Buton, an island in the Southeast, I had to wake up at 4:30 AM, got ready to chase the dawn chorus of birds. My bird’s point count started at 6:00 AM and had to finish at 9:00. Wallace noticed the peculiarity of the animal and sensed the transition between Asian and Australian influence on the biodiversity. Butterflies with larger size and pointy wings, less Phasianidae (pheasants) but more Psittacidae (parrots). I noticed different things. At least to what I’ve experience, you can always do birdwatching at any time of the day in Sumatra. Birds are probably less active at noon, but there are always chances to see them. In Sulawesi? You really need to be familiar with bird calls. Birds are reluctant to be seen. They are probably there and don’t go anywhere, and maybe just watching you from the dense canopy. That was one reason that I had to finish my count at approximately 9:00 AM because the forest got quiet afterwards.
Sumatra, an island on the west part of Indonesia, holds 465 resident birds and only 6% are endemic to the island (meaning that the species can only be found in that particular place). This peculiar-shape island holds less (224 species) but 33% are confined to this island of Sulawesi. The Megapode birds, maleo (Macrocephalon maleo), the Red-knobbed hornbill (Rhyticeros cassidix), and many more. It’s a great challenge to see them in the wild. And I never get bored to come and come again to this island just like Wallace, even if I have to wake up earlier (and get rest sooner).