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