Saturday, September 28, 2019

Kofiau Monarch

I spent several days in Kofiau islands early this week. My main goal was to watch Kofiau Paradise Kingfisher (Tanysiptera ellioti) and Kofiau Monarch (Symposiachrus julianae) as well as a lot of other birds. Actually, I visited the islands to give some trainings to local villagers on how to organize birding trips. The training was conducted in the field office of TNC (The Nature Conservancy). Willie Wagtail and Eastern Yellow Wagtail were everywhere at the beach especially at the parking lot of the harbor terminal.
Deer village in Kofiau islands
During the classroom training, I explained that the name Symposiachrus Juliana was given to the bird in honor of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands. The villagers were very surprised to know about it.
When we did field training in the main Kofiau island, we saw various species of birds including Little-pied Cormorant, Oriental Dollarbird, Black Sunbird,  Singing Starling, Willie Wagtail, Eastern Reef Egret, Wandering Whistling Duck, Kofiau Paradise Kingfisher, and White-bellied Sea Eagle. I brought a Kinglux Birding Scope and a tripod to help participants of the training use the birding device and identify birds that they saw. The next afternoon, I saw  the Kofiau Monarch, Sacred Kingfisher, Torresian Crow,  in the south-west end of Deer island.
Little-pied Cormorant (Microcarbo melanoleucos) in Kofiau island
Little-pied Cormorant
Deer village was quite big. There were hundreds of families living there. Most of them worked as farmers, and fishermen. Walking around the village, I had the opportunity to see how local people made a small wooden boat using simple tools.
Coconut trees stood along the coastal area of islands in Kofiau. I saw some yellow flowers. I did not bring my pocket camera at that time. So, I took out my tablet and made two photographs of the flowers. They were not very sharp but good enough for identification.  They were Beach Hibiscus (Hibiscus tiliaceus)
Traveling to Kofiau islands of Raja Ampat
Beach Hibiscus
Kofiau islands are located in very remote place surrounded by deep blue sea. There are a lot of small islands there. During wave season, it is very dangerous to reach them if we go by a small speedboat. So, I highly recommend that people go from Sorong city to Kofiau islands by a bigger passenger ship.