Monday, January 10, 2022

Please, Help Hans Mandacan for His Eye Surgery

Dear Friends,

I am writing to ask you for help because I have got very serious eyesight problem.

In August 2021, I was cutting grass in front of the Lorikeet guesthouse in Arfak mountains of Manokwari regency using grass-cutting machine. It hit a small gravel which then flew directly onto and hit my right eye. Because of that my right eye could not see well. 

Hans Mandacan, a local tourist guide in Arfak mountains

Hans' injured eye that needs surgery

I have gone to a local public health clinic but the health workers there could not cure it. The local general hospital could not treat it either. The health workers there said that I need eye surgery in Jakarta. 

I am raising fund now to pay for the plane tickets, accommodation and land transportation and eye surgery during a few months treatment in Jakarta. 

The amount that I am raising is Rp. 80,000,000 rupiahs. 

You could send donation in any amounts to my account at the following details:

Hans Mandacan

Bank Rakyat Indonesia (Bank BRI)

Account Number: 4957 0101 5034 530

Swift Code: BRINIDJA

I hope that you could help me during this difficult time. 

Thank you

Hans Mandacan

Whatsapp: +62821 9946 9312


Bird Watching in West Papua During Pandemic

There have been small number of tourists who travel to West Papua during pandemic. They enjoy birdwatching in the forest and snorkeling at sea. Arfak mountains are important birding destination in Indonesia because their forest is the natural habitat of a lot of endemic avifauna including Western Parotia, Vogelkop Bowerbird, Magnificent Bird of Paradise, Black Sicklebill, Long-tailed Paradigala and Vogelkop Superbird of Paradise. 
Endemic birds from Arfak mountains, photo by Charles Roring
Endemic Birds of West Papua

Other birding sites that are also worth visiting including Teluk Wondama regency, Fef Town in Tambrauw regency, Klatomok village in Sorong regency and Waigeo island in Raja Ampat. 
Visitors who enjoy birding activities in West Papua often have to endure long walk in dense forest, hiking up steep slopes or walking along muddy path whose surrounding bush is infested with mosquitoes leeches. That's why I suggest that visitor bring insect repellent lotion and wear clothing that can protect their exposed skin from mosquito and leech bites. Because of long walk in the jungle, visitors may experience muscle stress in legs and backs. From my personal experience, I apply oil and give massage to sooth and relieve tension in the muscles. Taking a shower or splash bath with hot water will also help relieve the muscle stress. 
Drinking ion water, and eating salty instant noodle soup can resupply our body with liquid, minerals, and nutrients after a long hiking trip in the forest.
European visitors were taking rainforest tour in Manokwari
Domestic birdwatchers who come from other provinces need to undergo PCR tests and vaccines (I hope that when the pandemic has been over, it will not be needed anymore) in order to be allowed into West Papua. 
Regular daily flight services between Manokwari (the capital of West Papua province) and major cities in Indonesia are provided by Lion Air, Batik Air, and Sriwijaya Air. 
International visitors who want to travel to Indonesia need to read the entry procedure from the official website of Indonesian immigration office at this address: Visitors must also follow strict health protocol during their trip to Indonesia. Because most of the birdwatching trip is conducted in remote forest, visitors will not interact with crowded people such as public areas in cities. 
After spending time in the forest to watch birds and other wild animals, visitors could enjoy swimming at the beach. There are a lot of coral reef sites in West Papua. Important marine protected areas include islands in Teluk Wondama Bay, and Raja Ampat. 
Swimming at the beach is considered as a good way to neutralize the itches on the skin of visitors caused by insect bites. 
Visitors need to bring their own mask, snorkel and swim fins. 
marine tour in Waigeo island
Some European visitors were enjoying snorkeling
These snorkeling device will allow them to see beautiful marine life at the beach.  This was written by Charles Roring.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Wildlife Watching Tour in Wondama Regency

Wondama is a beautiful regency in West Papua province of Indonesia. It is a destination for visitors who like to explore the tropical rainforest that is the habitat of colorful birds, reptiles, mammals, and unique insects as well as the coral reef that is teeming with abundant marine life.

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita)

The islands of Wondama regency are surrounded by pristine coral reef. To enjoy swimming and snorkeling there, visitors need to bring their own snorkeling device such as mask, snorkel and swim fins. Striped-surgeonfish, Moorish Idol, Butterflyfish and Anemonefish are some of the many fishes which visitors can see while snorkeling over the coral reef. 

After traveling around the beautiful tropical islands, visitors can go hiking in the forest of just a little outside Wasior town and its surroundings to see Blyth's Hornbill, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Palm Cockatoo, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Red-cheeked Parrot, and a lot more. There are cuscus possum, monitor lizard and deer in the forest of Wondama. Visitors need binoculars, spotting scope and camera with telephoto lens such as Nikon P1000 to take pictures of these animals.

To reach Wasior town, visitor can fly to either Jakarta, Denpasar, Surabaya or Manado city in Indonesia. After that, they could continue their trip to Manokwari city. Airlines such as Sriwijaya, Batik Air and Lion Air provide regular domestic flight services from the above cities to Manokwari. From Manokwari, visitors could go to Wasior town by passenger boat MV Margareth or by small passenger aircraft - the Cessna Caravan operated by Susi Air. 

flight route to Manokwari city and to Wasior
Flight route to Wondama

At the moment, visitors who want to enter Indonesia need to undergo strict health protocol and procedures in order to visit Wondama. 

I hope that the situation will be improved in the future so that more visitors could travel to West Papua again. 

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Birds of Paradise in Sketches and Drawings

Birds of Paradise are beautiful animals. Before the covid pandemic, I often guided visitors on trips across West Papua to watch them. We spent between 3 and 21 days to watch as many of them in the forest both in lowland, lower montane and higher montane forests. Some of the 42 species that I have seen in West Papua include Glossy-mantled Manucode, Lesser Birds of Paradise, King Bird of Paradise, Magnificent Riflebird, Magnificent Bird of Paradise, Western Parotia, Black Sicklebill, Long-tailed Paradigala, Vogelkop Superbird of Paradise, Red Bird of Paradise, and Wilson's Bird of Paradise. There was a bird whose physical appearance was similar to Ribbon-tailed Bird of Paradise that I saw in Tambrauw mountains but I was not sure which species it was because I did not take pictures of it. I was soaking myself in a river when I saw it flying above me over the river. I saw Wallace Standard Wing in Halmahera. 

Digital art of Bird of Paradise created by Charles Roring
Vector illustration of Lesser Birds of Paradise

drawing of cendrawasih kuning kecil
A colored pencil drawing of a male Lesser Birds of Paradise

Because my hobby is drawing, I like to make sketches, drawings and watercolour paintings of these beautiful birds. Although I don't draw birds very often now, I still have got some photos of the artworks in my folder. 

paradise bird art in watercolor painting
Male and Female Lesser Birds of Paradise in watercolour
The availability of digital drawing application such as Autodesk Sketchbook has enabled artist to create illustration directly from the surface of their cell phone and tablets using a stylus. The artwork can then be offered to customers as printed illustrations on a lot of products such as t-shirt, mugs, skirt, cell phone case, pillow, shower curtain, and a lot more. I used to create vector illustrations using Macromedia Freehand and Inkscape. Later, I decided to use a bitmap based drawing app - the Autodesk Sketchbook. Drawing with stylus is more intuitive than with a mouse. 
illustration of Cendrawasih Merah created using Autodesk Sketchbook
Digital drawing of a Male Red Bird of Paradise
However, I still like creating sketches and drawing of animals, flowers, boats, fish and human figures manually using pencil on paper. I have got more freedom when I hold a graphite pencil. 
Most of the artworks are now available to anyone who is interested in having it as printed illustration on various goods such as t-shirts, mugs, and even bed cover on the following online shop: Birds of Paradise and Wildlife Art. Your purchase of products in this shop greatly helps me maintain this blog. This is written by Charles Roring. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Where to watch Birds of Paradise

According to Wikipedia, there are 42 species of birds of paradise that are known to science. Most of them live in tropical rainforest of New Guinea (i.e. Papua New Guinea + West Papua). Some species can be found in Halmahera, Aru islands and Australia. Their population is experiencing serious pressures due to hunting, ilegal logging, conversion of their natural habitat into human settlements, roads, mono-culture palm oil, cocoa, and coffee plantations and a lot more. 

Birdwatching tourism is still considered as one of the most viable solutions for the protection of birds of paradise and other wild animals in the forest, as well as the preservation of rainforest as a whole.

Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor) in rainforest
Lesser Birds of Paradise
European tourists in rainforest of West Papua
Visitors from Poland were walking in Tambrauw mountains to watch birds and other wild animals

In West Papua region (the provinces of Papua and Papua Barat) of Indonesia, the birdwatching tourism attracts thousands of visitors from abroad and inside the country. There are a number of villages and forest areas which tourists can visit to watch birds. Here are some of them:

Birding in Wondama Bay Regency

  • Yoppangar Village
  • Aisandami Village


  • Susnguakti forest
  • Dopi river
  • Mesirokow forest
Arfak mountains
The forests in the villages of Syioubri, Kwau, Maibri, and Mbenti are important birding sites because they are the habitat of a lot of endemic paradise birds such as Long-tailed Paradigala, Black Sicklebill, Western Parotia, Vogelkop Superb Bird of Paradise; and other tropical birds such as Vogelkop Melidectes, Masked Bowerbird, Vogelkop Bowerbird, and etc.

Sorong regency
  • Klatomok Village in Klasouw Valley
  • District of Klayeli
  • Sorong's ridge forest of Batu Lubang village
  • Mangrove forest
Tambrauw Mountains

  • Weyos Beach
  • Ases Valley and Mount Sakofsiah
  • Ayapokiar village
  • Fef
For Raja Ampat, the endemic birds of paradise are Red Bird of Paradise and Wilson's Bird of Paradise which can be watched in Waigeo, Gam and Batanta. However, islands such as Misool, and Salawati also have got some species of birds of paradise that are the same as the ones in lowland and lower montane forest of mainland West Papua. 
Most birders will bring a pair of binoculars (famous brands such as Swarovski, Nikon, Zeiss are their preferred choice), and a field guide book. In a group of birdwatchers, a leader will bring a spotting scope. 
Birdwatching tourism enables indigenous people to generate income from the forest that they have through the selling of services, and goods. They can work as guides in the forest, porters, sellers of fuits, and vegetables to visitors, homestay owners and handicraft makers. 
Male Western Parotia (Parotia sefilata)
A Male Western Parotia
When the indigenous people get the positive benefits from rainforest, they will protect their precious environment. They cannot easily be tempted by investors who want to buy their land for mining concession or massive palm oil plantation. This is written by Charles Roring. 

Also read:

Dear Readers,
I am raising fund to buy binoculars and spotting scopes for local guides who accompany visitors watching birds of paradise in the jungle. Please,