Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Birding in Higher Elevation Forest of Minahasa

The higher elevation forest of Minahasa is an interesting site to visit for birwatching visitors. Mount Mahawu is the famous destination because visitors could enjoy birding along the slope of the volcano. There are Scaly-breasted Kingfisher, Sulawesi Myzomela, Superb Fruit Dove, Sulphur-bellied Whistler, Pied Imperial Pigeon, Uniform Swiftlet, Maroon-chinned Fruit Dove, Sulawesi Leafwarbler, Purple Needletail, Japanese Goshawk, Gray-rumped Treeswift and etc.

Birdwatching in Mount Mahawu
Citrine Canary Flycatcher

More birds could be watched early in the mornings between 06:00 to 09:00. However, sometimes around 06:00 A.M. fog still covers the canopy of the forest especially near the top of the crater area of the volcano. As a matter of fact, the highland of Minahasa is surrounded by volcanoes. This makes the land fertile. 

Agriculture develops well in this regency. Farmers grow rice, corn, potato, sweet potato, banana, cabbage, mustard green, carrot, spring onion, chilli, lemon grass, papaya, durian, rambutan, aren tree that produce nectar for making palm sugar, vanilla, clove. They sell their produce to cities and towns in eastern and central region of Indonesia including Sorong, Ambon, Gorontalo, and Balikpapan. 

Volcanic crater of Mount Mahawu
Volcanic crater of Mount Mahawu in Minahasa highland of Indonesia

The next high elevation forest that can be explored is Mount Lengkoan in District Sonder. This is the site for watching Sulawesi Blue Flycatcher, Sulawesi Cuckoo-dove, Warbling White-eye, White-faced Cuckoo-dove, Sulawesi Pygmy Woodpecker, Crimson Sunbird, Sulawesi Drongo, Black-faced Munia, Collared Kingfisher, and etc. Another site that is also interesting is Kanonang hill. 

Sulawesi Fantail, Sulawesi Cuckoo-dove, Sulawesi Blue Flycatcher, Sulawesi Pygmy Woodpecker
Sulawesi Blue Flycatcher, Sulawesi Fantail, Sulawesi Cuckoo Dove, Sulawesi Pygmy Woodpecker

This tour to higher elevation forest of Minahasa can be combined with walking tour and birdwatching in lower elevation forest and farmland to see Sooty-headed Bulbul, Sulawesi Hanging Parrot, Black-naped Orile, Sahul Sunbird, Black-crowned White-eye, Finch-billed Myna and a lot more. 

Farmland Tour

While watching birds and enjoy sightseeing in the highland of Minahasa. Visitors could walk through the farmland to see various kinds of agricultural produce which farmers grow such as rice, corn, tomatoes, chilli, aubergine, kangkung (also called water spinach), papaya flower, mustard green, sweet potatoes, cabbage, vanilla, coconut, clove, and etc. These agricultural produce are supplied to towns in Minahasa regency such as Tomohon, Tondano, Langowan, Sonder, Kawangkoan, Amurang, Bitung and Manado city.

agricultural produce in Sonder
Corn, vanilla, clove, rice and papaya

Palm sugar, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, chilli, brenebon bean (Dutch: bruinen bonen for kidney bean), eggs, tilapia fish, pork are exported to cities in central and eastern region of Indonesia including Gorontalo, Balikpapan, Sorong, Manokwari and Jayapura. 

Contact

If you are interested in taking sightseeing, birdwatching and farmland tours in Minahasa highland of Indonesia and want me to organize your trip and guide you, please, contact me by whatsapp to: +6281332245180 or by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com. 

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Birding in Paddy Fields of District Sonder in Minahasa Highland

I often do birding work in the mornings and afternoons to find more species of birds in the forest, farmlands, water stream, and paddy fields of District Sonder in Minahasa highland.
sightseeing walking tour and birdwatching in rice field
Some birds in the paddy field of District Sonder, Minahasa highland - Barred Rail, Purple Heron, Cattle Egret, Eastern Yellow Wagtail

Chestnut Munia also called Black-headed Munia (Lonchura atricapilla)
Chestnut Munia
In paddy fields of Talikuran and Tincep villages, I see several interesting species such as White-breasted Woodswallow, Collared Kingfisher, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Purple Heron, White-browed Crake, Barred Rail, Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Chestnut Munia (also called Black-headed Munia), Scaly-breasted Munia, Eurasian Treesparrow, Gray Teal, and Sunda Teal. I used to see Cinnamon Bittern but not so frequent. 
White-breasted Woodswallow  (Artamus leucorynchus)
White-breasted Woodswallow
The paddy field off Talikuran village is quite hidden from car traffic. It is an ideal site for visitors who want to enjoy walking tour for sightseeing and birdwatching. 
The White-breasted Woodswallow like to sit on electrical wire at the roadside along the edge of paddy fields. But they sometimes fly higher and land on palm leaf or the branch of tall tree, when they feel threatened by my presence. I often try to walk closer to photograph them.
Collared Kingfisher (Todiramphus chloris)
Collared Kingfisher
More Cattle Egret could be watched if there are farmers who in the paddy fields running their plowing machines. The bird like to follow from behind to feed on small fish and other water animals that are exposed by the plow blades. 

Collared Kingfisher like to stand on tall branches of trees at the edge of paddy fields. To take pictures of the bird, birdwatchers need to use a digital camera that is equipped with telephoto lens of a length around 400 to 600 mm. 
Zebra Dove (Geopelia striata)
Zebra Dove in District town of Sonder, Minahasa Highland
There are also Rock Pigeon (Columba livia) and Zebra Dove (Geopelia striata) that like to walk on the concrete floor that is used by farmers to dry their harvest of rice grain under the sun. It is not only water birds that we can watch when we do the walking tour.
Where is Sonder? How to go there?
Sonder is a small district town in Minahasa regency of the Province of North Sulawesi. The entry point to visit this region is Manado city. 
Every day, there are flights between Manado city and major cities in Indonesia such as Jakarta, Surabaya, Denpasar, Balikpapan, Makassar and Sorong. 
International direct flights exist between Manado and Singapore served by Scoot Air; between Guangzhou and Manado city served by China Southern Airlines.
Flight route to Manado city

traveling to Minahasa highland
Land route to Tomohon town and District Sonder in Minahasa highland
Most tourists travel to Manado city to enjoy scuba diving in Bunaken, Manado Tua, Siladen and Lembeh Strait. 
They can combine their marine trips with this walking tour in District Sonder during their trip in Indonesia.
Booking
If you are interested in taking a birding tour in District town of Sonder in Minahasa highland and want me to organize your tour, please, contact me by whatsapp to: +6281332245180 or by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com. 

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Monday, June 10, 2024

Walking Tour, Birdwatching and Butterflywatching in District Sonder of Minahasa highland

Sonder is a small district town in the highland of Minahasa regency. It has got birdwatching sites that are easy to be explored on foot. These birding sites are located along the forest edge, the farmland, fish ponds and paddy fields.

Birders can go by car to higher elevation forest of Sonder to watch such birds as Crimson Sunbird (Aethopyga siparaja), Warbling White-eye (Zosterops japonicus), White-faced Cuckoo Dove (Turacoena manadensis), Sulawesi Cuckoo Dove (Macropygia albicapilla), Sulawesi Blue Flycatcher (Cyornis omissus), and Sulawesi Pygmy Woodpecker (Yungipicus temminckii), Sulawesi Drongo, Black-faced Munia (Lonchura molucca), and a lot more.

Sulawesi Cuckoo Dove (Macropygia albicapilla)
There is an asphalt paved road that reaches this area. It enables car to bring birdwatchers to the highest point where they can enjoy birdwatching by walking down the slope to lower elevation forest and farmland. 
Warbling White-eye (Zosterops japonicus)
Formerly called Mountain White-eye, now the bird is called Warbling White-eye
Crimson Sunbird
Crimson Sunbird in higher elevation forest of Kecamatan Sonder in Minahasa Highland
Black-faced Munia (Lonchura molucca)

Butterflies

There are flowers that grow on both sides of the road. They attract various kinds of insects especially butterflies such as the Blanchard's Ghost (Idea blanchardii), The Common Birdwing (Troides helena), Blanchard's Wood Nymph (Ideopsis vitrea), Meyer's Jay butterfly (Graphium meyeri), Sulawesi Leafwing (Doleschalia polibete celebensis), Manado Yellow Tiger (Parantica manadensis), and etc.

tropical birds in Indonesia
Turquoise Flycatcher, Pale Blue Monarch, female Sahul Sunbird, Barred Rail, Gray-sided Flowerpecker, Black-crowned White-eye
Blanchard's Ghost (Idea blanchardii)
Blanchard's Ghost Butterfly

Inside the District town of Sonder, there is a small forest. It is located behind GMIM's Siloam Hospital. The small forest, stretches along the slope of Tounelet village. Visitors could watch birds such as Chestnut Munia, Scaly-breasted Munia, Brush Cuckoo, Gray-sided Flowerpecker, Yellow-sided Flowerpecker (Dicaeum aureolimbatum), Turquoise Flycatcher, Sooty-headed Bulbul (Pycnonotus aurigaster), Sulawesi Hanging Parrot, Grey-cheeked Green Pigeon, Slender-billed Crow, White-nest Swiftlet, Barn Swallow. 

Sooty-headed Bulbul (Pycnonotus aurigaster)
Sooty-headed Bulbul
Zebra Dove (Geopelia striata)
Zebra Dove in District town of Sonder in Minahasa regency of North Sulawesi Province - Indonesia

When we walk further down the slope of Sonder town and to the farmland and paddy field areas, we will be able to watch Collared Kingfisher, Hair-crested (White-eyed) Drongo, Yellow-billed Malkoha (Rhamphococcyx calyorhynchus), White-breasted Woodswallow, Zebra Dove, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Purple Heron, Sunda Teal, White-browed Crake, Cinnamon Bittern, Barred Tail. 

Gray-sided Flowerpecker in Rambunan village of Minahasa highland
Gray-sided Flowerpecker
Flowers and Butterflies
We could continue the walking tour further to northern area towards Tincep village. We will see more birds that like to feed on small fish, insect or grain in paddy field. Tincep village is famous for its flower plants. So, we will be able to see colourful flowers along the roadside. When there are flowers, there are butterflies too. There are Gigon Swallowtail, Lime Swallowtail, Sacred Tabby, The Clipper (Parthenos sylvia) and a lot of other butterflies in District Sonder of Minahasa regency.
Lime Swallowtail
Lime Swallowtail in Tincep village

colorful flower plants in Minahasa highland
Colourful flower plants along the roadside of Tincep village in Minahasa Highland

My Birding Device

Nowadays I use a pair of 10×50 binoculars, a spotting scope to watch birds. I also bring an old bridge camera Fujifilm HS50EXR and cell phone to take pictures of wildlife and scenery. Visitors who are photographers can bring their 

More Birding Sites

Minahasa peninsula as a whole has got a lot of birdwatching sites. Visitors could enjoy birdwatching in Mount Mahawu, Lake Linow and Pine Forest of Lahendong. The farmlands of Pinaras, Sawangan and Rambunan villages are also very good sites for walking tour and birdwatching. For lowland areas, Talawaan area, Tangkoko Nature Reserve, Temboan hill, and Kalinaun river near Batu Putih village will be the recommended choice for visitors.

Eastern Cattle Egret (Bubulcus coromandus)
Eastern Cattle Egret

Traveling to Minahasa

Map of flight routes to Manado city
Flight route to Manado city
land route from Manado city to Tomohon and Sonder town
Map location of Tomohon town and District Sonder in Minahasa highland

Visitors who are interested in traveling to Minahasa region to enjoy this walking tour, sightseeing and birdwatching activities, need ti fly from their countries to one of the major cities in Indonesia such as Jakarta, Surabaya, Denpasar, Makassar and Balikpapan. After that, they could continue their trip to Manado city by taking domestic flights served by Garuda, Citilink, TransNusa, Lion Air, and Batik Air.

There are direct flights between Manado and Singapore served by Scoot Air as well as between Manado city and Guangzhou that is served by China Southern Airlines. 

From Manado city, the land trip to Tomohon town and District Sonder could be carried out by car.

Accommodation

There are hotels, resorts and homestays in Minahasa especially in Tomohon. Visitors could find them in booking.com or traveloka.com

Booking

If you are interested in visiting Minahasa highland to enjoy walking tour, sightseeing and birdwatching and want me to organize your tours, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by whatsapp to: +6281332245180 or by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com

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Sunday, June 2, 2024

Sightseeing and Easy Birding Tour in Sorong City

For tourists who only have 1 or 2 days in Sorong city of Southwest Papua Province, I offer an easy sightseeing and birding tour for them. The trip usually starts very early in the morning at 06:00. We will meet you at the hotel and then go by car to the outskirts of Sorong city. There is forest area that mostly consists of mangroves. There, we will get off the car and walk along the boardwalk or roadside to watch Rainbow Bee-eater, White-bellied Cuckooshrike, Oriental Dollarbird, Willie Wagtail, Orange-fronted Fruit Dove, Brown-backed Honeyeater, Orange-breasted Fig Parrot, Common Sandpiper, Striated Heron, and etc.

birding in Sorong
One of the birdwatching sites in Sorong
We may also see such birds as Spotted Dove, and Scaly-breasted Munia. These birds are not native of New Guinea. They are introduced species. Perhaps they blonged to city dwellers of Sorong which have escaped from cages. 

Binoculars

Tour participants need to bring a good pair of binoculars in order to watch birds well. In general, birdwatchers use the 8×42, and 10× 42 or even 10×50. Sometimes avid birders bring camera with telephoto lens or spotting scope. However, it is not a must. Bringing binoculars during birdwatching tour greatly enhances the birding experience. Famous brands such as Nikon Monarch, Swarovski, Leica and Vortex are quite expensive but they will give lifetime satisfactions to their owners. 

birds in Mangrove forest
Brown-backed Honeyeater, Sahul Sunbird, Shining Flycatcher

When we walk through the mangrove forest, do not forget to apply anti insect lotion on your skin. 

After 09:00, the activity of birds is usually low. We could leave the forest and continue our tour to traditional market to see products and services that are being traded by local people. 

We will continue our trip to Buddhist Temple that is located on a hill overlooking the main harbor of Sorong.

We will also visit Cathedral Church of Christ the King whose design was inspired by the "nest" structure of Vogelkop Bowerbird. 

We will return to your hotel to allow you to have lunch and rest. 

At 15:00, we will pick you up again and then continue our trip to the outskirt of Sorong city where we will do walk a long a boardwalk and do birding to find Yellow-faced Myna, Brown Oriole, Black Sunbird, Orange-bellied Fruit Dove, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, White-throated Needletail and etc. 

At around 17:30, we will return to Sorong city and bring you back to your hotel. 

If tour participants still need more days of birding tour at the outskirt of Sorong city, it could be organized in a customized program.

Booking

For information on the cost, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by whatsapp to: +6281332245180 or by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com. 

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BIRDWATCHING AND WALKING TOUR IN MINAHASA HIGHLAND

The highland of Minahasa is a beautiful destination for tourists who love nature. As a tourist guide, I offer tour program for visitors are interested in seeing the mountainous landscape of Minahasa highland and at the same time watching various species of tropical birds. 

The duration for the tour is between 4 days to 1 week depending on the availability of time that participants have and the number of places which they want to visit. 

birds in Sonder of Minahasa regency
Purple Heron, Zebra Dove, White-eyed Drongo, Sooty-headed Bulbul, Brown-throated Sunbird, Collared Kingfisher

On Day 1, we will begin our tour by meeting you at Sam Ratulangi International Airport in Manado City and then organize your transfer by car to Tomohon town. After checking into the hotel, you could take a rest for around 2 hours to restore your energy from a long flight. We will bring you to Pine forest a little outside of Tomohon where you could enjoy walking around while watching such birds as Sunda Teal, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Gray-rumped Treeswift, Barn Swallow, White-nest Swiftlet, Pale Blue Monarch, and etc. We will have lunch and then continue our birding tour to the slope of Tounelet village in District Town of Sonder where we could watch Sahul Sunbird, Chestnut Munia, Sooty-headed Bulbul, Scaly-breasted Munia, Slender-billed Crow, and Cattle Egret, Sulawesi Hanging Parrot, etc. At around 18:00, we will return to your hotel where you could enjoy dinner and take a rest.

Kengkang Waterfall, butterfly, Gray-sided Flowerpecker, Flowers of Tincep Village, Kengkang waterfall
Waterfall, Flowers in Tincep, Gray-sided Flowerpecker, Yellow Zinnia and a butterfly, Sahul Sunbird (female)

The next morning (Day 2) we will do morning walk from hill forest of Sonder. Breakfast box will be arranged with the hotel. We will walk along the road down to Sonder town to watch such birds as Crimson Sunbird, Brown-throated Sunbird, Black-faced Munia, Sulawesi Cuckoo Dove, White-faced Cuckoo Dove, Sulawesi Hanging Parrot, Mountain White-eye, Zebra Dove, Grey-cheeked Green Pigeon, Black-naped Oriole, White-eyed Drongo, Sulawesi Drongo, Collared Kingfisher, Finch-billed Myna, Black Sunbird, Sulawesi Blue Flycatcher, Yellow-sided Flowerpecker, Gray-sided Flowerpecker, and a lot more. 

birdwatching phography in Sonder of Minahasa
Sulawesi Cuckoo Dove (Macropygia albicapilla)

There are a lot of butterflies in the highland of Minahasa. Some of them are Blanchard's Tree Nymph, Blanchards Wood Nymph, Lime Swallowtail, Gigon Swallowtail, Great Eggfly or Blue Moon Butterfly, and etc.

Papilio gigon, Papilio demoleus, Hypolimnas bolina
Some butterflies in Sonder of Minahasa

We will have do birding walk in the terraces of paddy field to look for Purple Heron, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Chestnut Munia, White-breasted Woodswallow, Rock Pigeon, Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Cinnamon Bittern, and a lot more. At around 12:00, we will have lunch and then take a rest. At 15:00, we could do birding, walking and sightseeing again to see the beautiful landscape of Minahasa. Back to hotel for dinner and then rest. 

Mountain White-eye
Mountain (Warbling) White-eye

On Day 3, we will go to Mount Mahawu to see its beautiful scenery and watch some birds in the area such as Scaly-breasted  Kingfisher, Sulawesi Myzomela, Crimson Sunbird, Red-eared Fruit Dove, Superb Fruit Dove, Yellow-billed Malkoha. 

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Minahasa highland tour
Tour the Minahasa Highland
Where is Minahasa and How to get there?

Manado city is the main gate to visit Minahasa. The birding walk activity will be focused around a small district town of Sonder whose territory consists of mountains, hills, valleys, rivers and wetlands. They are covered by forest, agricultural trees and shrub as well as paddy plants.

  • It is very easy to visit Minahasa. First, visitors need to fly from your country to Singapore. After that visitors could take a direct flight by Scoot Air to Manado city. There is also direct flight from Guangzhou to Manado served by Southern China Airlines. 
  • If visitors fly to Jakarta, Surabaya, or Denpasar, they could continue their trip by taking domestic airline to fly to Manado city.
  • There is also daily flight between Sorong city and Manado city.

traveling to Minahasa
Flying Route to Manado City
Minahasa highland map
Sonder is a small district town in the highland of Minahasa which is a great destination for birdwatching, sightseeing and walking tour activities.

Booking

For information on the cost, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by whatsapp to: +6281332245180 or by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com. 

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