Friday, February 28, 2020

Birding in Malagufuk in Rainy Season

Malagufuk is one of the many villages in Klasow valley. I introduced ecotourism for the first time to local people in late 2014. There were only two big tents where local people lived. It was very difficult to organize birding trip at that time. There were no guesthouse, toilet, or comfortable mattrasses with mosquito nets. The walking paths were muddy. The forest was infested with mosquitoes and leeches. Every time I went there, I had to carry dome tents, air mattresses, and a lot of equipments to the village. Alone I could not carry them all. So, I hired some people to work as porters.
I had to raise fund, I saved my income so that I could help provide basic things that tourists would need during their tour in the valley. I bought cooking and eating utensils and with savings that I had collected from running previous birding tours, I bought corrugated metal roofs for the construction of simple guesthouse in Malagufuk. I also contacted Wally and Coby Vreede from SDSP Foundation from the Netherlands to help. They raised money to help with the construction of a small water weir and a water sistern with its piping installation from the nearby stream to the village. With two basic basic guesthouses, dining sets, and toilets, rainforest birding tours could now be started.
Black-capped lory in Klasow valley of Malagufuk village
Black-capped Lory
No birding guide or travel agency knew its existence. I have been guiding a lot of tourists to this village. After several years of running birding tours to the village with Nico Nauw, I began to see more visitors coming to Klasow valley.  And now more birding guides and travel agencies know about the village. Now it has become a famous destination for birdwatchers.
A few days ago from 26 to 28 February 2020, I went to Malagufuk again with an American tourist. We watched several interesting birds that lived in the rainforest of Sorong's lowland area. Some that we saw were Black-capped Lory, Black Lory, Coconut Lorikeet, Palm Cockatoo, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Large Fig Parrot, Moustached Treeswift, Metallic Starling, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Hooded Pitta, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Lesser Black Coucal, Torresian Crow, Lesser Bird of Paradise, Northern Cassowary, Yellow-faced Myna, Golden Myna, Hooded Butcherbird, Grey-headed Goshawk, Mimic Meliphaga, and Blyh's Hornbill.
Local government from Sorong regency built two more bungalows. Each of them was filled with comfortable furniture (spring beds, chair and table), small kitchen, and a nice toilet. A long wooden bridge that will connect main road and the village is being constructed too.
Common Paradise Kingfisher
Common Paradise Kingfisher
Every day and night we experienced heavy rain. The paths were muddy and slippery. It was quite difficult to carry heavy things such as camera, drinking water, binoculars, spotting scope and field guide book. So, we spent much of our time birding around the clearing area of the village especially along the edge of the forest. Because I brought my spotting scope, I was able to show beautiful birds to Michael, a professor from a medical school in the United States. He was my only client during the 3 days trip in the rainforest that was located in the suburb of Sorong city. Because the muddy paths were slippery, he fell several times in the forest. Well, it was part of the adventure and he still enjoyed the trip.
Pinon Imperial Pigeon Photo by Charles Roring
Pinon Imperial Pigeon
I also brought my camera the Canon 200D with Tamron 150-600mm lens. It was not the best photographic device but it was good enough for me to make some nice pictures that we saw in the rainforest. Local people were very friendly. They were happy to see me again.

Other places or villages that are also good for rainforest tour and birdwatching
There are several other villages in the suburb of Sorong that are located along the roadside and are good for tourists who like to explore the biodiversity of rainforest, or to enjoy birdwatching. Some of them include Klatomok, Klayeli.  If we go by 4wd cars or by ferry to Tambrauw regency, we will be able to explore pristine rainforest that is the natural habitat of hundreds of species of tropical birds.
Blyth's Hornbil Photo: Charles Roring
Blyth's Hornbill
If you are interested in taking a rainforest tour or birdwatching tour in Sorong regency, before or after your trip to Raja Ampat, please, contact me by whatsapp to: +6281332245180 or by email to:

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