Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Birdwatching Tour in Klasow Valley of Sorong Regency

Golden Myna (Mino anais)
Golden Myna in Klasow Valley
I visited Klasow valley early this year from 31 December 2015 to 5 January 2016. I guided some American and Dutch visitors. We walked in the jungle of the valley to watch various species of tropical birds. Klasow valley was only 1.5 hours ride by a 4WD car from Sorong city. It was covered with lowland tropical rainforest. A lot of birds made the forest of the valley as their natural habitat. 
Birds were usually active in the mornings and in the afternoons. There were several ideal spots in the valley that we found suitable for birding:

  • Clearing area in the jungle village - The best time to watch birds in the village is between 16.00 and 18.00. Various species of birds can be seen flying over the village and perching on the branches of nearby trees. Some of the birds that I saw were Large Fig Parrot (Psitaculirostris desmarestii), Moustached Treeswift (Hemiprocne mystacea), Golden Myna (Mino anais), Helmetted Friarbird (Philemon buceroides), Pinon Imperial Pigeon (Ducula pinon), Dollarbird, and etc.
  • Foot Path - This was the walking path from the main road to the village. It took around one and a half hours of walking to reach the village. For birdwatchers, usually the duration would be longer. While walking through the jungle along this path, we heard the sounds of Blyth's hornbill, Sulphur Crested Cockatoo that were flying, perching or walking on the branches of the trees. Because the open space was narrow, the chance to see birds were lower. With some patience and a lot of silence during the walk, we were able to see birds including the colorful Black Lory and Large Fig Parrot, Pygmy Parrots. Pygmy Parrots live in termite nests attached on trees.
Palm Cockatoo (Probosciger aterrimus)
Palm Cockatoo (Probosciger aterrimus) in Klasow valley
  • The banks of small rivers - This is a recommended site for any birdwatchers who want to watch Western Crowned Pigeon (Goura cristata) which local people usually call, "Burung Mambruk." I was lucky during the birding trip because I could see Orange-billed Kingfisher, and Dwarf Kingfisher.
  • The Banks of Klasow river - The banks of Klasow valley have got several display trees where Twelve-Wired and Lesser Birds of Paradise like to gather and dance.  I and my guests had to wake up at 04.30 to go birding at the bank of the river. We walked for around one and a half hours to reach the display tree of the paradise birds. When we arrived, the sun had risen from the horizon and it was bright for us. Male Lesser birds of paradise started calling female Lesser BOP.

Azure Kingfisher
Dwarf Kingfisher in Klasow Valley of Sorong Regency - West Papua
To enhance the bird-watching experience in the jungle, birdwatchers need to bring their own binoculars and spotting scopes. I only have a pair of binoculars.
Nikon has launched a powerful bridge camera for birdwatchers. Its type is Coolpix P900 with 83x optical zoom. It enables birdwatchers to take pictures of birds or other wild animals in distant trees.

Field Guide
There is a field-guide book that I recommend to all birdwatchers who want to visit West Papua. Its title is Birds of New Guinea.
Meadow argus butterfly (Junonia vilida)
Besides watching birds in Klasow valley, visitors can also watch wallaby, and a lot of colorful butterflies in the tropical rainforest.

The Birds
During my previous birding trips, I saw a lot of birds that make the valley as their natural habitat. Some of them are listed as follows:
  • Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor)
  • Magnificent Riflebird (Ptiloris magnificus)
  • Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise (Seleucidis melanoleuca)
  • King Bird of Paradise (Cicinnurus regius)
  • Lowland Peltops (Peltop blainvilii)
  • Shining Flycatcher (Myiagra alecto)
  • Frilled Monarch (Arses telescophthalmus)
  • Helmetted Friarbird (Philemon buceroides)
  • White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike (Coracina papuensis)
  • Glossy Swiftlet (Collocalia esculenta)
  • Moustached Tree-swift (Hemiprocne mustacea)
  • Papuan Frogmouth (Podargus papuensis)
  • Dollarbird (Eurystomus orientalis)
  • Papuan hornbill (Rhyticeros plicatus)
  • Rufous-bellied Kookabara (Dacelo gaudichaud)
  • Shovel-billed Kingfisher (Clytoceyx rex)
  • Forest Kingfisher (Halcyon macleayii)
  • Dwarf Kingfisher (Ceyx lepidus)
  • Yellow-billed Kingfisher (Halcyon torotoro)
  • Black Lory (Chalcopsitta atra)
  • Eclectus parrot (Eclectus rotatus)
  • Sulphur Crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita)
  • Red-cheeked Parrot (Geoffroyus geoffroyi)
  • Western Black-capped Lory (Lorius lory)
  • Large Fig Parrot (Psittaculirostris desmarestii)
  • Pinon Imperial Pigeon (Ducula pinon)
  • Pink-spotted Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus perlatus)
  • Wompoo Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopus magnificus)
  • Beautiful Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopus pulchellus)
  • Western Crowned Pigeon (Goura cristata)
  • Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus)
  • Grey-headed Goshawk (Accipiter poliocephalus)
  • Dwarf Cassowary (Casuarius bennetti)
  • Hooded Pitta (Pitta sordida)
  • and etc.
Watching Butterflies
The villagers grow flower plants near our jungle hut and their houses. During sunny days, we could see butterflies fly over the flowers to find nectar. I took some pictures of the butterflies but find that it was difficult to identify them. I don't have any field guide books. My only source of information was the internet. What I saw were Cruiser Butterfly (Vindula Arsinoe), Blue Mountain Swallowtail (Papilio Ulysses), Meadow Argus (Junonia villida), and lots of colorful butterflies which I still could not identify. I had to make several searches on the internet to identify the butterflies.

How to get there?
  • Fly from your country to Jakarta - the capital of Indonesia
  • Fly from Jakarta to Sorong city
  • I will meet you at the airport to arrange your transfer to Klasow valley
If you are interested in taking rainforest and birdwatching tour in West Papua, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com. I will be happy to organize your birding trip and accompany you in the jungle.

Also read:

Butterfly Watching in West Papua

Here is a picture of Meadow Argus butterfly (Junonia villida) that I saw in the tropical jungle of Klasow valley. The valley is approximately 1.5 hours ride from Sorong city. There is a village in the middle of the jungle where I like to visit with tourists. I guide tourists to the valley to see tropical rainforest and to watch birds and butterflies.

Villagers in the jungle plant flowers around their houses. The flowers that bloom in the morning attract a lot of butterflies including Blue Mountain Swallowtail (Papilio ulysses), and Cruiser Butterfly (Vindula arsinoe) .

I personally do not have a field guide book for butterflies and insects of this vogelkop peninsula but by making several searches on the internet, I could identify some of them.
If you are interested in taking rainforest tour in West Papua to see butterflies and birds, please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com. I will be happy to guide you in the jungle.