Friday, January 25, 2019

Hiking Camping and Watching Paradise Birds in Susnguakti Forest

I have just returned from Arfak mountains. I spent 3 days/ 2 nights exploring its lower montane forest to see paradise birds. I guided two tourists from Switzerland, Katja and Be. They stayed in a dome tent that was installed inside a hut. Actually there were several huts that we (I and local villagers) had built for tourists.
Swiss tourists were hiking in Susnguakti forest of Arfak mountains
Swiss tourists were hiking in Arfak mountains
On the first day, we went hiking under the canopy of big trees to find Lesser Birds of Paradise. We were able to see them but from around 30 meters. It was quite far for birders. At 16.30, we continued our bird tour to another blind for watching Magnificent Riflebird. It was a successful trip. We saw the bird quite long, around 3 to 5 minutes. He was sitting on a branch of a tree calling his female bird. The Swiss tourists brought a pair of small but very good binoculars - Eschenbach 8× 22. The image this optical device produced was sharp and bright. Unfortunately, I did not bring my telephoto D-SLR camera to shoot the paradise bird. We returned to our basecamp at around 17.30.
Spotted Cuscus Possum in Susnguakti forest of Arfak range - Manokwari
Spotted Cuscus Possum in Susnguakti forest
After dinner, we did a night walk to find cuscus possum. The night was lighted by full moon. Our chance to see the marsupial animal was little. After doing the calls for several times, we decided to return to our camping ground. The possum did not come down from their hiding places in tall trees. We only saw a bandicoot.
However, we were quite happy with our night walk because were able to see glowing mushroom in the forest floor. They were growing on decayed parts of broken bamboo. It was in rainy season. There were various different kinds of mushrooms in the forest.
Glowing Mushroom in Susnguakti forest
The next morning, we returned to our first birding ground. My working partners built a birding site that was closer to the birds. This time, we sat in a hut made of leaves with a small hole in front of us to see the birds. We were able to watch the Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor) quite well. We spent around 1.5 hours watching them. After that we continued our trip walking up steep slopes to the tree where King Bird of Paradise usually gather. On the way to the birding ground, we saw a big cuscus possum in a tall white tree. Yes, its trunk was white. We stayed there around twenty minutes to watch him. We continued our walk again for a few minutes to reach the tree. We were very lucky, there were two male King Birds of Paradise chasing one another in the tree. It seemed that they were competing to win a female King BOP. I am surprised to find out that King BOP are in mating season during rainy season.
Toad in Susnguakti forest of Manokwari
Pygmy Toad
One the third day, we did another walk to the same site to find a dragon lizard. Unfortunately, we did not find it. Insteas, we saw a female Glossy Manucode.
In addition to birds, we also saw a lot of kinds of insects such as butterflies, grasshopper, cicada, praying mantis, ants and beetles.
After lunch we returned to Manokwari city again by a villager's car that we chartered.
If you are interested in trekking, camping and watching paradise birds in Susnguakti forest of Manokwari, and want me to organize your tour, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: or send text to my whatsapp: +6281332245180.