Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Birding in Waigeo island of Raja Ampat

Palm Cockatoo in Raja Ampat
I had a great birding experience in Waigeo island last week. I spent 4 days/ 3 nights exploring its forest to watch and take pictures of a lot of tropical birds. However, I did not walk into deep forest area. I only did birdwatching along the main road of the island. I carried with me a good pair of 10×42 binoculars, and a Canon camera with a telephoto lens. I did not bring sound recorder and player. I relied on my eyes and my friend's eyes to find birds among the dense tropical trees of Waigeo.
Puff-backed Meliphaga in Waigeo island
My real birding trip occured on the second day of my tour when I went towards the northeast road of the island. I left Waisai town at around 09.30. It was late for a real birder. I did not expect to see many birds that morning.  First, I saw several Sulphur-crested Cockatoos sitting in a tree near a waterfall. I immediately aimed my camera at the birds. After making several shots, I continued my trip. There was a cattle egret on a hill near the place where people make terrakota bricks. I did not get out of the car. I only lowered the side window and shoot the bird. Some parts of the road near a river had collapsed due to heavy rain. Twenty minutes later we reached a village near the entance of Mayalibit bay. I walked to the jetty to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the bay. There were repeating calls of Beach Kingfisher from magrove trees that stood the edge of the strait. I was there for around half an hour and decided to return to Waisai. Around five minutes after leaving the village, I saw Brahminy Kite, Male and Female Eclectus Parrots. They were quite common in this eastern region of Waigeo. Blyth's hornbill were sitting on the branch of tall tree on the left side. There was Red Bird of Paradise too. I made some good photos of these beautiful birds. I arrived in Waisai at around 11.00. I decided to continue my bird trip to coastal area near the airport.
Red-cheeked Parrot in Waigeo of Raja Ampat
There, I saw a female Red Bird of Paradise eating fruits in a tree at the roadside. There were also some Willie Wagtail birds. A juvenile Brahminy Kite was flying over me. At 11.30, I returned to Waisai for lunch and than took a rest until 16.00 where I went birding again to the road that goes to airport area. Hooded Butcherbird, Red-cheeked Parrot, Brown-headed Crow, and Pinon Imperial Pigeon  were added into my list.
Pied-Imperial Pigeon


The next morning, I enjoyed snorkeling at a beach in the south of Waigeo. I saw a lot of reef-fish such as Anemonefish, Striped Surgeonfish, Parrotfish, Grouper, Damselfish and a lot more. My snorkeling gear was simple: mask, snorkel, and fins. I did not wear weights. To take pictures of fish, I used Fujifilm XQ2 with a waterproof housing. There were some big trees that surrounded the beach. In this secondary forest I added my list with such birds as Palm Cockatoo, Dusky Scrubfowl, Lesser Frigatebird, Eastern Osprey, and Pied-Imperial Pigeon. Birding in Waigeo was a nice experience for me. I really enjoyed it.
If you are interested in birding and snorkeling in Waigeo island of Raja Ampat and want me to be your guide, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.
Also read:
Birding and Snorkeling in Raja Ampat
Birds of Paradise watching trip in Raja Ampat

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Wompoo Fruit Dove

Wompoo Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus magnificus)
This is the photograph of Wompoo Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus magnificus) that I saw in the forest of Vogelkop region of West Papua last week. The bird can be seen from lowland to medium elevation forest of New Guinea. I like the bird because it has got beautiful colors such as green, purple, yellow, grey, and black.
Several days ago I visited a village at the foot of Mount Sikor. While I was walking along the road, I saw the Wompoo Fruit Dove sitting on her nest. Perhaps, she was incubating egg. The nest was around 2 meters above the ground under the branches full of thick leaf. I approached the nest carefully until I was around 5 meters from the bird. Slowly I raised my Canon 200D with Tamron 150-600mm at the bird and then shot her several times.
According to a report from NSW Scientific Committee, the Wompoo Fruit Dove also lives in Australia particularly in areas that have tropical forest. Both male and female share the responsibility of incubating the egg. They build the nest, and also raise their chick together.
During my recent tour in Vogelkop region, I also saw a lot of other birds such as Blyth's hornbill, Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo, Vulturine Parrot, Eclectus Parrot, Palm Cockatoo, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Yellow-faced Myna, and Pinon Imperial Pigeon, and a lot more.
If you are interested in traveling to Manokwari city and enjoy birding in this region, please, contact me by e-mail to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.
Also read: Birding in Aibogiar of Tambrauw mountains

Friday, November 9, 2018

Vulturine Parrot

Vulturine Parrot in West Papua
Vulturine Parrot or also called Pesquet's Parrot is a species of bird that is endemic to New Guinea. Continuous hunting by local people, massive logging and conversion of forest into huge monoculture plantation has significantly reduced the population of this bird. That's why IUCN put the bird into the status of vulnerable.
For me, as a birdwatcher, the bird has always been in my target list. I am lucky because I have seen him several times in its natural habitat. The first was in the lower montane forest of Vogelkop region when I was guiding two Swedish tourists. The location of the high population of Vulturine Parrot was very far from Manokwari and Sorong.  To reach it, we need to go by 4wd car. Because the cost of chartering 4wd car during the tour is very high, I highly recommend that visitors travel in a group of 3 to 4 people to share it.
I have just returned from a hiking and wildlife watching tour in the Andaer forest of Vogelkop region of West Papua. I spent 5 days-4 nights exploring its pristine tropical rainforest both along the ridges and valleys. My exploration of the forest allowed me to watch several important species of tropical birds including the Vulturine Parrot (Psittrichas fulgidus).
A couple of Vulturine Parrot in West Papua
My daily rituals during the trip would be waking up early in the morning, having some coffee and fried sweet potatoes and then leaving the village for the forest on foot.
I carried a small D-SLR camera, Canon 200D equipped with a telephoto lens - the Tamron 150-600 mm G2. I also carried my 10×42 mm Visionking binocular. With these devices, I was able to see and take pictures of such birds as Lesser Birds of Paradise, Magnificent Riflebird, Magnificent Birds of Paradise, Mountain Peltop, Wompoo Fruit Dove, Brahminy Kite, Long-tailed Buzzard, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, and Black-capped Lory.
It was early November 2018, we were entering rainy season. For a lot of birdwatchers, it could be seen as a bad sign. In the contrary, it was a good time to watch birds and other wild animals. There were flowers and fruits in the forest. They attracted birds to fruiting and flowering trees. Rain began to fall in the afternoon. But later it stopped at around 15.00 local time. That's the time when a lot of birds flying out of their nest and hiding place.
I offer hiking tour in the Vogelkop region of West Papua to visitors who are interested in seeing rainforest environment from closer look. During the tour, visitors will have the chance to see plants; watch birds, butterflies, dragonflies, as well as other animals in the jungle.
If you are interested in taking the tour, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by e-mail to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.