Sunday, January 5, 2020

New Year Birding in Susnguakti Forest

From 2 to 4 January 2020, I guided Sue, an American tourist who likes hiking, in Susnguakti forest of Manokwari. She took a long flight from the United States to Seoul of South Korea, to Jakarta of Indonesia and then to Manokwari city of West Papua province. When she arrived at the airport, I arranged her transfer to the forest. I met her later in the afternoon and then started our exploration of the tropical rainforest to watch paradise birds. The first bird that she saw was Hooded Butcherbird. I used a scope, Kinglux 20-60×60 and a tripod to spot and watch the bird. This bird has got very beautiful songs.
Charles Roring's basecamp in Arfak range
Basecamp for Tourist in Arfak range
The next morning, we went to a blind near our basecamp to watch the Magnificent Riflebird. We went there early. We reached the blind before he landed on the branch where he usually sits to attract his female partner. When the sunlight reached the canopy of the forest, the male Magnificent Riflebird came, he started to call his female counterpart. He straightened and cleaned or dried his wings. We watch the bird using the scope again. After that we continued our adventure in the forest by hiking to the lek of Lesser Birds of Paradise located around 5 minutes from the Magnificent Riflebird (Ptiloris magnificus).
King Bird of Paradise (Cicinnurus regius) - Burung Cendrawasih Raja
King Bird of Paradise
We saw the Lesser Birds of Paradise but not long enough. The birds moved to other dancing site. It was around 08.30. We returned to our basecamp to have some tea. At the basecamp, I asked my friend and a villager to accompany Sue to higher elevation area where they could watch King Bird of Paradise. 
We provide dome tent, mattrass, pillow and blanket for tourists
Dome tent, mattrass, pillow, and blanket that we provide for tourists in Susnguakti forest
I asked two villagers to return to the lek of Lesser Birds of Paradise. We went there to build a screen made of leaves so that we could conceal our bodies while we watch the paradise birds through small holes that we made in the screen. 
Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor)
Lesser Birds of Paradise
At lunch time, we returned to the basecamp. My friends returned with good news that they were able to watch several King Birds of Paradise (Cicinnurus regius). They also saw Brown Cuckoo Dove, and Common Paradise Kingfisher  (Tanysiptera galatea) as well as other tropical birds. 
Sue Draheim, a tourist from United States, was watching and taking pictures of birds of paradise.
Sue Draheim was taking pictures of the Lesser Birds of Paradise
Sue took a rest inside her dome tent after lunch. I and some villagers continued our routine works, clearing and sweeping the footpath. We used brooms made of the bones of palm leaves. We made several clearing areas near some big trees as our new birding sites.
Night walk was arranged. Sue was able to see cuscus possum. In the previous night, she saw glowing mushroom and a Papuan Frogmouth.
Watching Cuscus Possum
Cuscus Possum
The next morning, we went to the lek of Lesser Birds of Paradise again. This time Sue was able to watch and take good photos of the beautiful birds. We still did some tours in the forest where we saw Pink-spotted Fruit Dove, and Olive Flycatcher.
Suddenly the weather changed. It started to rain while we were watching the fruit dove. We had to walk back to our basecamp. Lunch was served earlier. When the rain had stopped, we packed our things again and left the forest for the main road and then returned to the city by a public transport vehicle that we chartered.

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