Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Birding Tour in West Papua

West Papua a great destination for birding visitors. This is the name of the western half region of New Guinea (the largest tropical island in the world). West Papua has got two provinces at the moment, Papua Barat and Papua.
Tropical rainforests that cover the mainland and the satellite islands of West Papua are the natural habitat of hundreds of species of birds that are attractive to be watched.

As a tourist guide, I often accompany birdwatchers on various trips along the coastal and mountainous areas to watch birds and other wildlife. There are a lot of places that are suitable for birdwatching and wildlife watching. Some of them are listed below:
Wondama Bay
This is a regency in West Papua province of Indonesia that is very important for tourists who like to watch birds in rainforest, along the coast and in the islands. Most of the territory of the regency is inside the National Park of Cendrawasih Bay. The regency of Teluk Wondama is a highly recommended site for birdwatchers. Visitors need to fly to Manokwari city and continue their trip by fast ferry boat or by a small turboprop aircraft if they want to enjoy birdwatching in that region.
Mesirrokow - The Lowland Forest of Manokwari
This forest is located in the northwest area of Manokwari regency. It is a good place to watch Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Palm Cockatoo, Brahminy Kite,V Goshawk, Little-ringed Plover, Large-tailed Nightjar, Eclectus Parrot, Black-capped Lory, Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Little Egret, and Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Lowland Peltop, and etc.

Susnguakti - The Lower Montane Forest of Manokwari
There is a forest in lower montane are of Arfak mountains. Its name is Susnguakti. A lot of tourists have visited it to watch Lesser Birds of Paradise, King Bird of Paradise, Magnificent Riflebird, Glossy-mantled Manucode, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Hooded Pitta, Red-bellied Pitta, Frilled Monarch, Hooded Butcherbird, Pink-spotted Fruit Dove, Yellow-capped Pygmy Parrot, and etc.
Higher Montane Forest of Arfak mountains
This is the vocal point of all birding sites in West Papua. A lot of highland birds can be seen in Mokwam region especially in Mount Soyti - in the territory of Kwau village including Vogelkop Bowerbird, Vogelkop Melidectes, Western-smoky Honeyeater, Long-tailed Paradigala, Western Parotia, Magnificent Bird of Paradise, Black-siklebill, Vogelkop Superb Bird of Paradise, Masked Bowerbird,  Green-backed Robin, Blue Grey Robin,  Papuan Flycatcher, Spectacled Longbill, Plum-faced Lorikeet, Feline Owlet Nightjar, a lot more.
Mount Sakofsiah and Ases Valley
This is another important birding site in West Papua located deep in Tambrauw Mountains. New Guinea Vulturine Parrot, Golden Myna, Dwarf Cassowary, Papua Flycatcher, Long-tailed Buzzard, Black-browed Triller, Golden Cuckooshrike, Oriental Dollarbird, Coconut Lorikeet, Red-flanked Lorikeet, Great Cuckoo Dove, Little-pied Cormorant can be found here. Much of the forest in Mount Sakofsiah and Ases Valley haven't been explored. They are important destination for wildlife watching too. When I guided 2 American tourists last year to this area, we saw deer, sugar glider, soa-soa monitor lizard, big frogs, fresh water fish, and a lot more.
Weyos Beach and Rainforest
This is a coastal area of Tambrauw regency that can only be accessed by motorized boat. Coastal birds such as Lesser Frigatebird, Willy Wagtail, Sacred Kingfisher, as well as Lesser Birds of Paradise, and Magnificent Riflebird can be seen here. Actually, Weyos is the most recommended site for nature lovers who are interested in wildlife watching. There is coral reef, nesting site for sea turtles, and various species of mammals in Weyos. Its isolated location is the ideal condition for wildlife to thrive without disturbances from human activities.
Malagufuk Village
This is important birding site in West Papua  especially for lowland birds. I and Nico Nauw were the first local guides to explore the forest of Malagufuk in 2014. Malagufuk and the nearby Klatomok village are places for watching Western-crowned Pigeon, Yellow-faced Myna, Black Lory, Northern Cassowary, Red-breasted Paradise Kingfisher, Blue Black Kingfisher, Black-capped Lory.
Although the forest in around this village has got a lot of leeches, it is still considered as an attractive destination for tourists who are very fond of birding.
Klatomok Village
This also another birding site in Klasow valley that is very nice for watching birds. This village is the natural habitat of Magnificent Riflebird, Large Fig Parrot, Golden Myna, Coconut Lorikeet, Oriental Dollarbird, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, White-bellied Cuckooshrike, Lowland Peltop, Orange-bellied Fruit Dove, Brown Cuckoo Dove and etc. Klatomok village is also located in Klasow valley and is very suitable for elderly tourists or anyone who cannot walk long distances. Birdwatching activity can be carried out along the roadside and also along the paths into the forest. There are homestays in Klatomok for visitors who want to spend a few days birding in the village.
Raja Ampat
I often go to Raja Ampat to guide tourists on various birding and snorkeling trips. There are 2 important sites for birding. One in the south which is the forest around Kabui bay and one in the north which is the forest along Warebar beach. Birdwatchers who go to Raja Ampat put Red Bird of Paradise and Wilson's Bird of Paradise in the list of targets that they want to see. Actually, Raja Ampat offers other important birds as well including Beach Kingfisher, Eastern Osprey, Eclectus Parrot, Purple-naped Lory, Spice Imperial Pigeon, White-breasted Woods- Claret-breasted Fruit Dove, Mimic Melidectes, Olive-backed Sunbird, Lowland Peltop, White-bellied Sea Eagle, and a lot more.

Birding Optics

In general, birders need to bring binoculars, field guide book Birds of New Guinea, super zoom camera, and spotting scope (optional).
On the average, it takes around 4 weeks to cover most of the above birding sites. Some tourists spend around 2 weeks to explore some of them.
As a birding guide, I offer tours to these sites. If you are interested in taking a birdwatching and wildlife watching tour to West Papua and want me to organise your trips, please, contact me, Charles Roring, by whatsapp to: +6281332245180 or by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Birding in Tambrauw

The mountain range of Tambrauw is located between Manokwari and Sorong. It is covered by pristine tropical rainforest.
Moluccan King Parrot in lowland forest near Sausapor town
Moluccan King Parrot
It is a great destination for nature lovers and birdwatchers who want to watch a lot of beautiful tropical birds.

Some of them include: Lesser Birds of Paradise, King Bird of Paradise, Magnificent Riflebird, Magnificent Bird of Paradise, New Guinea Vulturine Parrot, Palm Cockatoo, Western-crowned Pigeon, Long-tailed Buzzard, Yellow-faced Myna, Golden Myna, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Red-breasted Paradise Kingfisher, and a lot more. 
Yellow-faced Myna in the forest near Klabili village of Klasow valley
Yellow-faced Myna (Mino dumontii)

New Guinea Vulturine Parrot or also called Pesquet's Parrot (Psittrichas fulgidus) in Ases valley of Tambrauw mountains
New Guinea Vulturine Parrot
As a tourist guide, I have organized numerous birding tours to the region since 2010. Places that I like to visit with my clients include Kebar and Senopi,  District capital of Miyah, Mount Sakofsiah and Ases valley,  and coastal villages along the north coast of Tambrauw regency.
Birding tour in tropical jungle of Tambrauw

Best birding experience can be felt deep in the forest where there are no villages, lodges, or hotels. Dome and makeshif tents with air mattresses are used as our accommodation. I also bring cooking and eating utensils to serve tour participants during our birding trips in the jungle
Usually I bring my Canon 200D with 150-600 mm telephoto lens and laser pointer as well as records . I watch birds using a 20-60×60 mm spotting scope and identify them using field guide book Birds of New Guinea (written by Thane K. Pratt and Bruce Beehler).
Mount Sakofsiah and Ases Valley as Vocal Points
During the tour, we will walk along the sides of river, roads or through the walking paths in the jungle to find birds. Places like Mount Sakofsiah and Ases Valley are very important destinations because New Guinea Harpy Eagle, and Dwarf Cassowary, New Guinea Vulturine Parrot, Red-flanked Lorikeet, and Mountain Peltop live there. When I guided some American tourists on several night walks in the forest, we saw sugar glider (perhaps the Petaurus breviceps papuanus), deer, monitor lizards and fresh water fish and big frogs too.
Mount Sakofsiah and Asses valley are important birding sites in West Papua for tropical birds
American tourists were watching birds in
Tambrauw regency of West Papua

How to get there?
  • First, you need to fly from your country to Jakarta (the capital of Indonesia).
  • Second, you need to continue your trip by flying to Manokwari city. 
  • Third, we will meet you at the airport and organize your trip to Tambrauw.
The cost of the tour depends on the number of participants and the number of days you plan to stay. Please, contact me (Charles Roring) by whatsapp to: +6281332245180 or by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com if you are interested in traveling to Tambrauw.
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Saturday, August 15, 2020

Birds of Paradise in Arfak Range

Arfak mountains have been a must visit destination for birdwatchers and nature lovers for years. Before this Covid-19 pandemic hit the entire globe, I often organized birding tours for visitors to this mountain range.

Usually I started from Susnguakti which was the lower montane forest of Arfak. I and the tourists whom I guided spent 3 to 4 days in a simple base-camp.
Magnificent Riflebird
Magnificent Riflebird (Ptiloris magnificus)

We walked through the forest to watch Lesser Birds of Paradise, King Bird of Paradise, and Magnificent Riflebird, Glossy Manucode and a lot of other birds. Sometimes, we saw Pink-spotted Fruit Dove, Brown Cuckoo Dove, Imperial Pigeon, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Blyth's Hornbill, and Hooded Pitta.
Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor)
Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor)

While staying in Susnguakti forest, I often organized night walking tours in the forest to see cuscus possum, Papua dragon tree lizard, snakes, and various kinds of insects. Sometimes we were quite lucky and able to see Spot-winged Monarch and King Bird of Paradise sleeping on lower branches of trees.
King Bird of Paradise (Cicinnurus regius) from rainforest of West Papua
King Bird of Paradise (Cicinnurus regius)

This lower montane forest of Arfak range was also a great place to watch Hooded Butcherbird, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra and Yellow-billed Kingfisher.
After spending 3 - 4 days exploring the rainforest of Susnguakti forest, I and the visitors whom I guided continued our exploration of the birds of higher montane forest of Arfak mountains especially in Mokwam region. There were a few villages in Mokwam. We stayed in Lorikeet Guesthouse and did birding walks in the forest of Kwau village. There, we stayed for 4 days/ 3 nights to watch Magnificent Bird of Paradise (Diphyllodes magnificus), Western Parotia (Parotia sefilata), Black Sicklebill, Long-tailed Paradigala, and  a lot more.
The ballerina bird - Western Parotia
Western Parotia (Parotia sefilata)

We also had the chance to watch a lot of birds other than paradise species such as Vogelkop Bowerbird, Black-breasted Boatbill, Papuan Flycatcher, Green-backed Robin, Vogelkop Melidectes, Mottled Berryhunter, Masked Bowerbird, Brehm's Tiger Parrot, Feline Owlet-nightjar and etc.
Magnificent Bird of Paradise (Dipyhllodes magnificus)
Magnificent Bird of Paradise (Diphyllodes magnificus)

Indonesia government may open this country for foreign tourists next year. It will be a great opportunity for birdwatchers and other nature lovers to visit West Papua not only to see birds, wild animals and the ecosystem of rainforest as a whole but also to meet its friendly people and see their unique cultures.
I can be contacted by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.


Please, support this blog by buying art drawings and illustrations of wild animals and plants in the form of prints on various products as follows:

Watercolour Sketch of Bird

Watercolour Sketch of Bird
Fruit Dove from Tropical Rainforest

Vector Art Drawing in Inkscape

Vector Art Drawing in Inkscape
Swimming with Whaleshark

Vector art illustration in Inkscape

Vector art illustration in Inkscape
Baby leatherback turtle was reaching for the sea

Drawing of Paradise Bird

Drawing of Paradise Bird
Lesser Birds of Paradise art print on classic T-shirt

Digital Drawing in Autodesk Sketchbook

Digital Drawing in Autodesk Sketchbook
A Couple of Red Bird of Paradise