Sunday, February 13, 2022

Bird watching in Sorong regency's Forest of Indonesia

Sorong is a city in West Papua province of Indonesia. It is also a regency that has got beautiful tropical forest. Tourists who go to Raja Ampat for snorkeling or scuba diving will need to fly to Sorong. 

There is a village in the east of Sorong city that is a highly recommended destination for birdwatching and wildlife watching. Its name is Klatomok village. It can be reached by 4WD car for 2 hours. 

Large Fig Parrot (Psittaculirostris desmarestii)
Large Fig Parrot

There, visitors can walk along the sides of the road, go hiking up the slopes or explore the forest of Klasouw calley to watch such birds as Red-breasted Paradise Kingfisher, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Sacred Kingfisher Western-crowned Pigeon, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Orange-bellied Fruit Dove, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Palm Cockatoo, Eclectus Parrot, Red-cheeked Parrot, Black Lory, Coconut Lorikeet, Blyth's Hornbill, Blue and Black Kingfisher, Shining Flycatcher, Boyer's Cuckooshrike, Lowland Peltop, Red-bellied Pitta (now also called Papuan Pitta), Hooded Pitta, Hooded Butcherbird, Black Butcherbird,  Northern Cassowary, and a lot more. 

Blyth's Hornbill (Rhyticeros plicatus)
Blyth's Hornbill

There are also King Bird of Paradise, Magnificent Riflebird, and a few other species of birds of paradise which visitors can see if they explore the forest of Klatomok village thoroughly. 

Location of Klatomok village in Sorong regency of Indonesia
Location of Klatomok village in Sorong regency of West Papua

Actually, Klatomok village is not only attractive for bird watchers but also nature lovers. They can see various kinds of plants, and animals. There are insects, mammals, reptiles in the forest. Visitors can join local villagers who go to the forest to cut a sago tree for extracting its flour or do night walk to find wallaby, bats, possum and deer.

Mothers can show how to make sleeping matrass and bags using pandanus leaves or other natural fiber.

There are flights that connect Sorong and big cities in Indonesia including Manado, Ambon Makassar, Denpasar and Jakarta. They are served by Garuda, Lion Air, Sriwijaya Air, and Batik Air. 

rainforest tour in Indonesia
A homestay in Klatomok village of Sorong regency

Accommodation

Visitors can stay in homestays that are owned by villagers. It is a basic accommodation, so the price is affordable. Buying foods and drinks in Sorong city prior to the trip is highly recommended. But villagers can also enjoy local food such as sweet potatoes, bananas, and vegetables prepared by the villagers. 

After spending time in Klatomok village, visitors can go back to Sorong city to continue their trip to Raja Ampat or taking a trip to Fef town located in Tambrauw mountains for another rainforest tour in West Papua. 

Also read:

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Birdwatching in Indonesia

Indonesia has got thousands of big and small islands between Asia and Australia. These islands attract the attention of naturalists, biologists and birdwatchers to come and study the flora and fauna of this country. According to field guide book Birds of Indonesia by James Eaton, et al., there are 1,417 species of birds in Indonesia (not including New Guinea).  

birdwatching in Indonesia
Common Paradise Kingfisher

For birds in New Guinea region, readers can study them by reading such field guide books as Birds of New Guinea by Thane K. Pratt and Bruce Beehler, et al.; and Birds of New Guinea (including Bismarck Archipelago and Bougainville) by Phil Gregory who said that there are 943 species of birds that are known to occur in New Guinea. 

Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus(
A Female Eclectus Parrot in her nest in West Papua's forest

With this abundant species of birds, Indonesia has now become the most important destination for birding visitors. From all the islands in this archipelago, I highly recommend 2 destinations, i.e. Sulawesi and West Papua. Sulawesi island is located in the transitional zone between the continents of Australia and Asia. The endemicity of birds in Sulawesi is the highest in Indonesia. For West Papua, the main attractions for visitors will be its Birds of Paradise. 

Although most of the islands in Indonesia have got birds that are different from New Guinea, for the islands such as Halmahera and Seram that are closer to West Papua province, they share some species with New Guinea. Some of them include Eclectus Parrot, Beach Kingfisher, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Sacred Kingfisher, Great Cuckoo Dove, Blyth's Hornbill, and the migratory ones such as - Rainbow Bee-eater and Common Dollarbird. 

I personally have visited some birding sites in Sulawesi islands such as Ramang-Ramang, Karaenta, Lore Lindu, Tangkoko, Mount Mahawu, Mount Ambang, and Tambun. Islands further to the east, i.e. Ternate and Halmahera are also good destinations for birding. 

Inter-insular Trading and Introduced Bird Species

Inter-insular trading in Indonesia allows ships to carry people and goods between the islands. Birds are originally from Java, Sumatra, Borneo and the Malayan peninsula such as White-rumped Shama and Spotted Dove have now reached cities in West Papua. Some birds escape to the nearby forest. Black-capped Lory, Coconut Lorikeet from West Papua have also reached Sulawesi and Java. However, they will not survive innthe forest because much of the forests in Java have been badly damaged. The introduced birds from West Papua may not be able to compete with local birds in Java in finding food inside the ever shrinking forest of the island. 

Birding 

Birding in West Papua is more challenging than birding in other islands of Indonesia. The birding sites in West Papua are often located in remote forest far from cities. Most often, birdwatchers need to use 4WD pick-up cars to reach them. Birdwatchers do not have a lot of choices for accommodation either. That's why, on the average, the cost of birding tours in West Papua is higher than in other islands of Indonesia. 

Despite high cost,  birdwatchers still fly to West Papua because they really want to watch birds of paradise.  by Charles Roring


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My drawing of Pale Blue Monarch (Hypothymis puella)
Pale Blue Monarch printed on a big cloth

bird knitting nest art print
Bird Knitting Nest-Watercolour on Paper


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Sketchbook Drawing of Reef Fish
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Watercolour Sketch of Bird

Watercolour Sketch of Bird
Fruit Dove from Tropical Rainforest

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Drawing with watercolour pencils
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Vector art illustration in Inkscape

Vector art illustration in Inkscape
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Drawing of Paradise Bird
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Digital Drawing in Autodesk Sketchbook
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