Friday, March 29, 2019

Birds of Paradise in Susnguakti Forest of Manokwari

Lesser Birds of Paradise
in Susnguakti forest of Manokwari
The lower montane forest of Manokwari that is a good site for watching paradise birds is Susnguakti. It is located in the south of Manokwari regency. To reach it, we need to go by motorized vehicle for 1 hour. Arriving at the foot of Mount Susnguakti, we still need to continue our trip by hiking up the steep slopes of the forest for another 1 hour to reach our basecamp. When I organize hiking, birding, and camping tour to the forest for tourists, I usually hire some villagers to carry our bags, food and camping gear. There is a base camp in the middle of the forest which we have built to accommodate tourists. This is a basic accommodation that we provide for tourists.

Watching Birds of Paradise

King Bird of Paradise in Susnguakti forest
The main tourist attraction in the forest of Susnguakti is Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor). Visitors who want to them can do it in the afternoons from 15.00-17.00 and in the mornings from 06.00 - 09.00. Bringing a good pair of binoculars such as Nikon, Leica, Swarovski 10×42 or 12×50 is highly recommended. There are birding huts that we have prepared for visitors to sit in in order to watch the paradise birds. There are other paradise birds that we can also watch during our stay in the forest. Some of them include King Bird of Paradise (Cicinnurus regius), Magnificent Riflebird (Ptiloris magnificus), and Common Paradise Kingfisher (Tanysiptera galatea). The sites for watching these birds are scattered around 10 to 15 minutes walk from basecamp.
Usually, after watching Lesser Birds of Paradise, I will continue our morning tour to higher elevation area to watch King Bird of Paradise. It is a small bird whose back and wings are red. His underparts are white. The female one is similar to other female birds of paradise. Her feather is brown. Because the active time of the Magnificent Riflebird is the relatively the same as the Lesser Birds of Paradise, I usually organize the watching session for this bird on the second day.
Common Paradise Kingfisher
The Common Paradise Kingfisher is a very beautiful kingfisher that has got 2 long tails or antennas. Alfred Russel Wallace, a British naturalist, who visited Manokwari in 1858 called it: Racquet-tailed Kingfisher. It is active in the morning at around 06.00. I usually organize a walking trip in the forest to watch this bird on the second or third day of the tour.

Taking Pictures or Birds

Most tourists like to take pictures of interesting animals or flowers that they see in the forest during the tour. Most birdwatchers know what to bring. For ordinary travelers who are not familiar to birdwatching, they might feel discourage when they find out that their pocket cameras are not able to shoot paradise birds in high trees. As a matter of fact there are cameras that are affordable and good enough for taking pictures of birds. Some bridge or super-zoom cameras that I recommend are Panasonic Lumix FZ80, Nikon Coolpix P900, P1000, B700; Canon Powershot SX70HS and Sony Cybershot DSC-HX400. For owners of D-SLR camera, a telephoto lens such as Sigma 150-600 mm sport or Tamron 150-600mm G2 lens is an affordable choice. 
Hooded Butcherbird
In addition to the paradise birds that I mention above, the rainforest of Susnguakti is the natural habitat of a lot of birds including the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Blyth's Hornbill, Orange-bellied Fruit Dove, Hooded Butcherbird, Black-capped Lory, Fairy Lorikeet, Mimic Meliphaga, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Marbled Frogmouth, Yellow-capped Pygmy Parrot, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, and a lot more. 
When I guide tourists to this Susnguakti forest, I bring my spotting scope Kinglux 20-60×60. This birding device greatly enhances the birdwatching experience of tour participants. 

Night Walk

Glowing Mushroom
In addition to carrying day trips in the forest, I also organize night walks for visitors to watch cuscus possum, Papua dragon lizard, and glowing mushroom, fireflies, ground brown skink and bandicoot. Visitors need to apply mosquito repellent lotion, wear hiking boots and torch or flashlights in order to participate in this tour.
Please, contact me (Charles Roring) if you want to take this hiking and birdwatching tour to this Susnguakti forest of Manokwari at the folling details:
Whatsapp: +6281332245180