Friday, October 25, 2019

Birding on the Way to Anggi Lakes in Arfak mountains

I visited Anggi lakes a few days ago. These lakes were located in Arfak mountains at elevations of around 2,000 meters above sea level. I went there by a 4WD car. I was with some friends of mine who were also interested in seeing the lakes and meeting the head of the local government of Arfak mountains regency. Our car left Manokwari city in the morning at 05.00. We moved fast towards District Oransbari and then to Ransiki town. After that we turned right at the street junction. The sounds of birds could be heard in the morning as our car climbed the slopes of Arfak mountains. Some Blyth's hornbill flew high. Minutes later, the slopes became very steep and zig-zag.
Lake Anggi Giji as seen from Kobrey peak
Lake Anggi Giji

Some Grey Wagtails jumped and flew fast away when our car showed up in the next turn. I could see their tails wagging up and down when they landed on the sides of the road. When we did a short stop to let everybody went to pee in the bush, I could hear the call of Sulphur-crested Cockatoo and Black-capped Lory from the surrounding trees.
Amboyna Cuckoo-Dove (Macropygia amboinensis)
We crossed small rivers and climbed steep slopes again until we entered cloud forest area. There, I could hear the sounds of Mountain Mouse Warbler, Vogelkop Melidectes and Black Fantail. Unfortunately, our car did not stop. It continued running fast towards Anggi Gida lake (meaning lake woman). There, the scenery was very beautiful. We stopped for a while to take pictures. When everybody had taken their selfies, we continued again to Kobrey Peak (approx. elevation 2,500 meters/ 8,202 feet. above mean sea level). Here, the view was even better. Flowers such as Rhododendron zoelleri, Rhododendron Konori and Rhododendron Laetum were blooming. I also saw pitcher plant and several other species of flowers which I could not identify. I tried to find Grey-banded Mannikin which was an endemic bird to this region. Unfortunately, I was not able to see it at this elevation.
Rhododendron flowers at Kobrey peak of Arfak mountains
Rhododendron flowers at Kobrey Peak of Arfak range
We continued our trip to the capital of Arfak Range Regency. Entering the coastal area of Anggi Giji (meaning Lake Man), I could see Mountain Swiftlet flying over the garden and the water. We met the regent of Arfak range at his house where we talked about the development of Arfak range as tourist destination, and then had lunch at an eating house near the police station.
In the afternoon we return to the Kobrey Peak again to enjoy the beautiful scenery and to make some selfie pictures. After that we returned to Manokwari city and arrived at 17.00 local time.
Birding in Arfak mountains of Manokwari
Black Fantail
The rainforest along the roadside between Ransiki town and Anggi Lakes had not been much explored by birdwatchers. It was the natural habitat of Garnet Robin, Green-backed Robin, Ornate Melidectes, Black Fantail, Friendly Fantail, Papuan Flycatcher, Mottled Berryhunter, Black-winged Monarch, Masked Bowerbird, Black-breasted Boatbill, Fairy Lorikeet, and even the New Guinea Vulturine Parrot. This area was very potential to be developed as destination for birding tourism. 
Even though the slopes were steep, birding along the roadside was very easy. We only sat behind the car and it took us to the lakes.
Government are now building better road. Significant parts of this road have been paved with asphalt layer. The steep slopes have been cleared and hardened. This road can only be explored by 4wd car. 
When the road has been fully asphalt paved, it will become a very important birding area very soon. Charles Roring