Sunday, October 11, 2020

Old Birding Cameras

There are some birding cameras from old models that are still good for anyone to buy in affordable prices. The one that I used was Fujifilm HS50EXR. It has got 42× zoom lenses that were equal to 1,000 mm lenses in 35 mm format. Because its image sensor was 1/2 inches, it could focus on birds faster than the average point and shoot cameras whose CMOS image sensors were 1/2.3 inches. 

I also used to have Nikon Coolpix P500 and Nikon Coolpix P600. Both were good for taking pictures in distant trees where the light condition is good. The cameras cannot easily focus on birds in lowlight condition.

pinon imperial pigeon
Pinon Imperial Pigeon shot by using Nikon Coolpix P500

On the internet, there are articles from birdwatchers about Canon SX50. They said that the SX 50HS produced bird pictures that are better that its successor the SX60HS. This opinion could be true. Sor, if there are online stores that sell Fujifilm HS50EXR or Canon SX50HS in very good condition. They are buying.

Bridge birding camera cannot be compared with D-SLR camera. The size of image sensor in bridge camera is much smaller than the full frame.

bird picture from Malagufuk in Klasow valley
Yello-faced Myna shot using Fujifilm HS50EXR

I used to take picture of bird using a binocular and a pocket camera. The result was not sharp and bright but was good enough for identification.

Today, universal adapter has allowed people with cell phone spotting scope or binocular to take pictures of birds. So, anyone who cannot buy a birding camera can still enjoy birding photography with his or her cellphone that is embedded to spotting scope or binoculars using universal camera adapter. by Charles Roring

Also read: Birding Cameras

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Bird Watching West Papua

West Papua as a bird watching destination has increasingly become popular among avid birders. A lot of people visit this region to see and photograph birds of paradise. There are a lot of birding sites in this region from Nimbokrang in Jayapura, Mesirrokow forest, Susnguakti forest and Arfak mountains in Manokwari, Mount Sakofsiah and Ases Valley in Tambrauw and Klatomok village and Malagufuk village in Sorong and Waigeo island in Raja Ampat.
Long-tailed Paradigala
Long-tailed Paradigala
The main targets are Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise, Lesser Bird of Paradise, King Bird of Paradise, Magnificent Riflebird, Glossy-mantled Manucode, Magnificent Bird of Paradise, Western Parotia, Black Sicklebill, Vogelkop Superb Bird of Paradise, Long-tailed Paradigala, and a lot more. 
A good pair of binoculars is needed by bird watchers especially when they want to watch birds in distant or tall trees. Famous brands such as Swarovski, Leica, Zeiss, Nikon, Vortex have got binoculars that are offered in a price range from around 200 US dollars to more than 1,000 US dollars.
I use Canon 200D with Tamron 150-600mm G2 telefoto lenses as by birding camera. Well, it is not the best birding camera on the market. There are Nikon 500D, Fujifilm X-T30, and Canon EOS 7D Mark II that are much better than mine. In the past I used Nikon Coolpix P500, Nikon P600 and Fujifilm HS50EXR. Bridge camera are good devices for taking pictures of birds in distant trees and with brighter sunlight. However, these point and shoot cameras have got small sensors. So, in certain cases such as in lowlight condition or when there are some twigs or leaves in front of the birds, the cameras cannot easily focus on the birds. Sony RX10 IV is a bridge camera that is equipped with 1 inch sensor. With 600 mm lens, it can produce high quality photographs and other wild animals. 

Susnguakti Forest - This is a hidden birding and wildlife watching site in lower montane forest of Arfak range. Cuscus possum, forest dragon lizard, toad, snakes, bandicoot, and various kinds of insects can be seen here. For birds, the ones that I see in this forest include Lesser Birds of Paradise, Magnificent Riflebird, King Bird of Paradise, Brown Cuckoo Dove, Superb Fruit Dove, Pink-spotted Fruit Dove, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Azure Kingfisher, Frilled Monarch, Shining Flycatcher, Rainbow Lorikeet, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Black-capped Lory, Hooded Butcherbird. 
Arfak Mountains are located in the south of Manokwari city. Its higher montane forest is a very popular destination for visitors who want to watch various species of birds that are endemic to New Guinea (particularly to West Papua) such as Brehm's Tiger Parrot, Vogelkop Melidectes, Mottled Berryhunter, Papuan Flycatcher, Black-breasted Boatbill, Golden Face, Spectacled Longbill, Tit Berrypecker, Western Smoky Honeyeater, Feline Owlet Nightjar, and etc. 
Around the guesthouse where I usually stay, there is flower garden. Red Hibiscus, Rhododendrons, New Guinea Impatience, Orchids plants are planted to decorate the landscapes. They attract small birds to eat their nectar and flower or to just sit inside their tiny twigs.


West Papua is a popular birding destination especially among avid birdwatchers who want to watch paradise birds as well as other tropical birds. 
As a tourist guide, I have accompanied a lot of visitors on various birdwatching and wildlife watching tours from lowland to lower and higher montane forests. Here are the birding sites that I have visited with my clients:
Klasow valley in Sorong regency. There are tens of villages in this valley. 
Klatomok Village is located at the road side. Homestays in affordable cost are available in this village. It is the most recommended place for visitors who want to enjoy easy birding. Some of the birds which birdwatchers can see here include Oriental Dollar Bird, Yellow-faced Myna, Golden Myna, Magnificent Riflebird, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Red-breasted Paradise Kingfisher, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Blue Black Kingfisher, Azure Kingfisher, Helmetted Friarbird, White-bellied Cuckooshrike, 
Western-crowned Pigeon,  Orange-bellied Fruit Dove, Brown Cuckoo Dove, Wompoo Fruit Dove, Lowland Peltop, and etc.
Malagufuk have got homestays which visitors can choose to stay for a few days. Birds that can be watched are similar to the ones that I mention above with such extra birding target as Northern Cassowary, Lesser Birds of Paradise, King Bird of Paradise, Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise, and etc. 
In addition to birds, visitors can also see flowers such as hibiscus, zinnia elegans and other wild flowers in rainforest. Flower season usually occurs at the end of dry season, i.e. in November and early December. When there are a lot of flowers, butterflies will come to collect their nectar. 
Fef Valley - This is a valley that has now become the capital of Tambrauw regency. It is surrounded by lower montane forest. Because it is in the interior area of Vogelkop region of West Papua, visitors who go there will be able to watch Magnificent Bird of Paradise, Lesser Bird of Paradise, New Guinea Vulturine Parrot, New Guine Harpy Eagle, Long-tailed Buzzard, Sacred Kingfisher, Hooded Pitta, Red-bellied Pitta, 
Mount Sakofsiah and Ases Valley - Located deeper in the interior region of Tambrauw Mountains, they are very important birding sites in West Papua province.  Birds that can be watched in this forest are similar to the ones in Fef but in Mount Sakofsiah and Ases Valley, more wildlife can be seen. In addition a lot of birds, visitors who go to there can see mammals, reptiles, insects and a lot of tropical plants of New Guinea.
To explore the places that I mention above, we need to go by 4WD car. The most popular vehicle here is Toyota Hilux. Before going to those remote forests, we have to buy food and other logistical materials in Manokwari city.
This year, government of Indonesia have closed access for foreign tourists to enter West Papua due to Covid-19 pandemic. We hope that next year (2021), foreign tourists will be allowed to enter West Papua again. This is written by Charles Roring
Kabui Bay of Raja Ampat - I like traveling to this beautiful archipelago because I can enjoy birding and snorkeling. Red Bird of Paradise and Wilson's Bird of Paradise can be seen there. Other interesting species such as Spice Imperial Pigeon, White-breasted Woodswallow, Wimbrel, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Palm Cockatoo, Beach Kingfisher, Moluccan King Parrot, and etc. can be watched there. 
The beaches in Warduwer, Saporkren, Urai and a lot of other small islands in the bay are covered by coral reefs. They are also considered as the tropical rainforest of the sea. Butterfly fish, Boxfish, Anemonefish, Moorish Idol, and a lot of other species of marine animals can be seen in the sea water.
Bring snorkeling gear (mask, snorkel, fins and underwater camera) if you want to enjoy snorkeling in Raja Ampat.
Actually, it is not only Raja Ampat where you can go to enjoy snorkeling. There are other places in West Papua that have got coral reef. Some of them include Manokwari, Tambrauw, Sorong, Kaimana, Fakfak, Wondama Bay, and South Manokwari. 
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Sunday, September 6, 2020

Tanah Papua A Paradise for Birds

Tanah Papua is the Malay words for Papua Land or New Guinea island. It is the natural habitat of a lot of species of paradise birds as well as other tropical birds. As a tourist guide, I have run a lot of birding tours in West Papua for the last 10 years.
Vogelkop Bowerbird (Amblyornis innornatus)
Vogelkop Bowerbird

A male Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor)
Lesser Birds of Paradise in Susnguakti forest
Places that I go with my clients include Kwau village in Mokwam region, Susnguakti forest, Dopi river, Mesirrokow forest, Aiwatar hill, Ayapokiar village, Mount Sakofsiah and Ases valley, Fef, Sausapor, Syuan and Syugrar rivers; Klawos forest, Klatomok village, Malagufuk village in Klasow valley, Kabui bay, Misool, and Waigeo islands.
French tourists were camping and birding in Tambrauw's forest
Most often the places where we go are located deep in the jungle. Hotels or guesthouses are not available. So, we stay in dome tents by a river.
King Bird of Paradise
King Bird of Paradise (Cicinnurus regius)
During the day and night, we explore the forest. In Susnguakti forest of Manokwari, we could see Lesser Birds of Paradise, King Bird of Paradise, Magnificent Riflebird, Glossy-mantled Manucode, Eclectus Parrot, Hooded Butcherbird, Golden Cuckooshrike, Pink-spotted Fruit Dove, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Yellow-capped Pygmy Parrot, Brown Cuckoo Dove, Hooded Pitta, Red-bellied Pitta and a lot more.
It is not only birds that attract the attention of visitors. Wild flowers such as orchids, vine flowers are also beautiful. In open area, a long the roadsides and riversides, we may see passion flowersblue trumpet vine. In lowland the size of the flower is smaller than the one in highland.
Vine flower in the forest
Passion flower
Traveling to higher montane forest of Vogelkop region, we will be able to watch such birds as Magnificent Bird of Paradise, Western Parotia that dances like a ballerina, Black Sicklebill, Vogelkop Super Bird of Paradise, Vogelkop Bowerbird, Black-eared Catbird, Western Smoky Honeyeater, Vogelkop Melidectes, Feline Owlet Nightjar, Spectacled Long Bill, Mottled Berryhunter, Golden Face, Wattled Brush Turkey, Masked Bowerbird, Mountain Peltop and a lot more.
Birding in Arfak mountains
Magnificent Bird of Paradise
In Mokwam regions, blinds for watching birds are provided by local people for tourists who want to watch birds. There is a simple bench in each blind that can accommodate 4 to 5 people.
The land mass in higher montane forest is less than in lowland. The population and spread of certain species of birds are very limited. The Long-tailed Paradigala and Black Sicklebill are two examples of rare birds that we may see in higher montane forest of Arfak range if we visit it to watch birds.
Birdwatching in lowland forest of Manokwari
French tourists were watching birds in Manokwari
In lowland forest of Sorong regency, we could find Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise, Red-breasted Paradise Kingfisher, Blue Black Kingfisher, Black Lory, Western-crowned Pigeon, Yellow-bellied Longbill, Lowland Peltop.
We could continue our adventure to Raja Ampat islands where we will be able to see a great varieties of sea birds from Wimbrel to Beach Thick Knee and from White-bellied Sea Eagle to Eastern Osprey. Walking in the forest, we will be able to see birds that are the same as the ones in mainland New Guinea, but we will also have the opportunity to watch Raja Ampat's Red Bird of Paradise and Wilson's Bird of Paradise.
The above places that I mention are some of the many interesting birding sites which tourists can go to if they want to watch beautiful tropical birds of Tanah Papua. Please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180 if you are interested in taking a bird watching trip to this beautiful tropical island. This has been written by Charles Roring.
Also read: Tropical Birding Tours in West Papua

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Birding in Mount Sakofsiah and Ases Valley

Mount Sakofsiah and Ases Valley are two important birding sites in Vogelkop region of West Papua. They are located next to Fef - the capital of Tambrauw regency. I used to go there several times to enjoy birdwatching and wildlife watching. The last time I went there was when I guided a couple of American tourists. We spent around 4 days in the forest to watch parrots, kingfishers, fruit doves and a lot of other tropical birds of West Papua. One of the most important species that could be seen in the area was the New Guinea Vulturine Parrot.
New Guinea Vulturine Parrot
New Guinea Vulturine Parrot in Ases Valley
The bird has been widely extirpated by local people who hunt them to get its bright red feather. They use the feather for making traditional costumes which they use during traditional ceremonies.
In Tambrauw regency the New Guinea Vulturine Parrot is protected. The local government of Tambrauw has declared their territory as the regency of conservation.
American tourists in Mount Sakofsiah of Tambrauw mountains
American Tourists in Mount Sakofsiah
Logging of trees for commercial purposes, the conversion of forest into mono-culture plantation and the hunting of wild animals are strictly prohibited.
Tourism has been promoted as an important income generation scheme for local people.
Birdwatching and wildlife watching have become popular activities among visitors who go to Tambrauw especially to Mount Sakofsiah and Ases Valley. We enjoyed swimming in the river, did night walks, and went hiking in the mountains during our stay in Mount Sakofsiah and Ases valley.
When I and the American tourists as well as the local villagers explore the forest, we saw a lot of birds including Magnificent Riflebird, Lesser Bird of Paradise, Red-flanked Lorikeet, Great Cuckoo Dove, Pink-spotted Fruit Dove, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Palm Cockatoo, Coconut Lorikeet, Blyth's Hornbill, Black-browed Triller, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Sacred Kingfisher, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, cassowary, Golden Cuckooshrike, Oriental Dollarbird, Yellow-faced Myna, Golden Myna, Long-tailed Buzzard, New Guinea Harpy Eagle and a lot more.
Czech tourists were enjoying riverwalk and wildlife photography tour in Ases river of Tambrauw mountains
Czech tourists in Ases river of Tambrauw regency
Deer, wallaby, cuscus possum, sugar glider, tree kangaroo, wild boar, snake also make the forest of Mount Sakofsiah and Ases valley as their natural habitat.
The landscape view of Mount Sakofsiah is very beautiful. I highly recommend this place as the most important destination for everyone who wants to see pristine rainforest ecosystem of West Papua.
I suggest that visitors go in a group of at least 2 to 4 people in order to share the cost of the tour.
The Covid-19 pandemic still occur throughout the world. This has forced Indonesian government stop the trips of all foreign tourists into the country. Government may allow foreign travellers again in next year in 2021.
If you are interested in traveling to Tambrauw mountains and want me to organize your tour, please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Malagufuk's Birds

Malagufuk, a small jungle village in Klasow valley of Sorong regency is a nice place for visitors who like birding. I introduced it for the first time to the outer world as a new destination for ecotourism activities in late 2014.

The Tropical Birds

Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor)
Lesser Birds of Paradise
Visitors who travel to Malagufuk will be able to watch a lot of birds. Some of them are listed below:
Beautiful Fruit Dove, Orange-bellied Fruit Dove, Wompoo Fruit Dove, Pink-spotted Fruit Dove, Ornate Fruit Dove, Brown Cuckoo Dove, Great-cuckoo Dove, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Western-crowned Pigeon, Magnificent Riflebird, King Bird of Paradise, Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise, Lesser Birds of Paradise, Glossy-mantled Manucode, Rainbow Bee-eater, Yellow-faced Myna, Golden Myna,
Eclectus Parrot, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo,
Palm Cockatoo, Black Lory, Black-capped Lory, Large Fig Parrot, Red-cheeked Parrot, Coconut Lorikeet Lorikeet,
Greater Black Coucal, Blue-black Kingfisher, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Yellow-billed Kingfisher,
Red-breasted Paradise Kingfisher, Azure Kingfisher, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Sacred Kingfisher, Lowland Peltop, White-bellied Cuckooshrike, Boyer's Cuckooshrike, Red-bellied Pitta, Hooded Pitta, Shining Flycatcher, Grey-streaked Flycatcher, Variable Goshawk, Grey-headed Goshawk, Tawny-breasted Honeyeater, Spangled Drongo, Black Sunbird, Olive-crowned Flowerpecker, Hooded Butcherbird, Oriental Dollarbird, Glossy Swiftlet, Moustached Treeswift, Metallic Starling, Rufous Owl, Papuan Nightjar, Northern Cassowary, Emperor Fairywren, Blyth's Hornbill, Nankeen Night Herron, Torresian Crow, Papuan Babbler, Little Shrikethrush, Helmetted Friarbird, Yellow-bellied Longbill,Frilled Monarch, Rusty Pitohui
Black-browed Triller, Black-sided Robin, Olive-crowned Flowerpecker, Oriental Cuckoo, Forest Bittern, and a lot more.
Some birders who went to Malagufuk said that they also saw rare species such as Green-naped Pheasant Pigeon, Blue Jewel Babbler, and Thick-billed Ground Pigeon.
Bird list for Malagufuk

Western-crowned Pigeon. Photo by Kostan Magablo

My Photographic and Birding Devices

Every time I go to the jungle village, I will bring my camera to take pictures of birds, wild animals and unique plants. In the past, I brought Nikon Coolpix P600. After that I used a Fujifilm HS50EXR which I used for several years. In recent years, I bring Canon 200D with Tamron 150-600mm G2 lens.
For watching birds, my devices are quite modest, a pair of Visionking 10×42 mm binoculars and a Kinglux 20-60×60mm spotting scope.
Malagufuk is located quite deep into the lowland forest of Klasow valley.  The path from mainroad to the village is quite muddy and the plants on both sides of the it are infested with mosquitoes and leeches.

Alternative Birding and Wildlife Watching Sites

They may not be suitable for tourists who could not walk for several hours. There is some good alternative places for birdwatching. My recommendation will be Klatomok - a roadside village in the same valley. For birdwatchers and nature lovers who are willing to travel further into the interior areas of Vogelkop region of West Papua, I suggest that they go to Fef or Mount Sakofsiah and Ases Valley in Tambrauw regency. At least two, three or more participants are needed to share the cost of transportation.
Common Paradise Kingfisher (Tanysiptera galatea)
Common Paradise Kingfisher

Please, contact me by email to peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180 if you are interested in taking a tour to West Papua starting from the year 2021.
This year, government of Indonesia still do not allow any foreign tourists to travel in this country due to Covid-19 pandemic. We fully hope that next year, ecotourism activities can be restored again. This is written by Charles Roring.
Also read:

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.
Birdwatching in West Papua of Indonesia
Wompoo Fruit Dove
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:
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
Klasow valley
Large Fig Parrot
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.
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.
Cost
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.
Also read: 

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.



Thursday, May 14, 2020

Night Birding

As a tourist guide, I often accompany birdwatchers who come from various countries in Europe, America, or Asia. We spend at least 3 days/2 nights up to 2 weeks in the forest to see birds that live in rainforest and coastal areas of West Papua. We walk in the mornings, in the afternoons, and at nights along the trails or roads or beaches. 
Night walk with Rhett Butler of Mongabay.com in Manokwari's forest.
Rhett Butler founder of mongabay.com
We also do night birding to find birds that are active in the dark or that sleep on lower branches of trees.  Usually owls, nightjars, frogmouth, boobook, and Hook-billed Kingfishers are the ones that go out to find their prey. We detect their calls and imitate them to attract the birds.
In Mesirrokow river forest, we just walk along the banks of the river to find Large-tailed Nightjar. In Tambrauw Mountains, we walk along empty roads to find Marbled Frogmouth, Hooded Pitta and Azure Kingfisher. In Ases valley of Tambrauw, we saw fruit bats.
Large-tailed Nightjar in lowland forest of Manokwari of Indonesia
Large-tailed Nightjar
From my trips with tourists in the jungle, birds that I see sleeping on lower branches include King Bird of Paradise, Red-bellied Pitta, and Spot-winged Monarch. 
When we do the night birding, we often see other animals such as cuscus possum, bandicoot, snakes and a lot of insects. 
Because taking pictures of animals and plants at night are difficult, we have to use flash of our cameras or light from our torches.
Bird of Paradise in Susnguakti forest
King Bird of Paradise
There are venomous snakes in the forest so, birdwatchers must wear boots and socks.  
At the moment, the spread of coronavirus has forced government to curb all tourism activities. These birding trips can be continued again in the future if government has lifted the travel ban of foreign tourists. - This is written by Charles Roring

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Some Birds that Eat Flowers' Nectar

I often see birds sitting near flowers when I guide tourists in the forest. Most of them are small birds. Coconut lorikeet, large fig parrot, black-capped lory, black sunbird, olive-backed sunbird are the ones that feed of the nectar of flowers. I have got some pictures of them.
Black-capped Lory in a flowering tree of rainforest

Olive-backed Sunbird in the flowers of Papaya tree
Olive-backed Sunbird is quite unique. It can hover like a helicopter. At first, I did not pay attention until I met some Australian tourists who told me about it. After that when I went birdwatching again, in the coastal area, I saw that behavior.
Female Olive-backed Sunbird

In higher elevation forest, more smaller birds can be seen. Some of them include Papuan Flycatcher, Spectacled Longbill, and etc.