Thursday, October 29, 2020

Watching Birds of Paradise in West Papua

Every year thousands of visitors travel to Indonesia to watch tropical birds. One of their destinations is West Papua that is located in the eastern region of the country. There, they can explore the rainforest to finds birds of paradise. Several birding sites in West Papua that I recommend are described below:

Tropical Birds in Manokwari

  • Susnguakti forest of Arfak mountains is the natural habitat of Lesser Birds of Paradise, Magnificent Riflebird, King Bird of Paradise, Azure Kingfisher, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Yellow-capped Pymy Parrot, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Eclectus Parrot, Rusty Pitohui, Hooded Butcherbird, Hooded Pitta, Red-bellied Pitta, Papuan Frogmouth, Marbled Frogmouth, Golden Cuckooshrike, Superb Fruit Dove, Pink-spotted Fruit Dove, Frilled Monarch, Black Sunbird, and etc. A simple base camp by a small river has been prepared by local villagers for visitors who want to stay for a few days. In addition to birds, visitors can also find other animals such as Papuan Forest Dragon, cuscus possum, and bandicoot. Birding and wildlife watching is carried out in the mornings, in the afternoons, and at nights. Susnguakti forest has got a lot of kinds of insects from grasshopper to butterflies and moths. 
Western Parotia (Parotia sefilata)
Western Parotia in Arfak range
  • Soyti Forest is located in the high elevation area od Arfak mountains and is the habitat of Magnificent Bird of Paradise, Western Parotia, Black Sicklebill, Vogelkop Bowerbird, Long-tailed Paradigala, and a lot of other birds that live in cloud forest. There are guesthouses for visitors who want to stay for a few days. Big butterflies such as Ornithoptera tithonus and Morphotaenaris schoenbergi schoenbergi can also be seen in the flower garden around the guesthouse. Both Susnguakti forest and Mount Soyti can be reached from Manokwari city. There are regular flights between Manokwari and major cities such as Jakarta, Makassar, Manado, Ambon and Jayapura in Indonesia served by Batik Air, Sriwijaya, Lion/Wings Air. 
Magnificent Riflebird in Klasow valley
Magnificent Riflebird in Klasow valley
  • Klasow valley is located in Sorong regency. There are tens of villages in the valley. Two villages which birdwatchers like to visit are Klatomok and Malagufuk. For elderly people or those who cannot endure long walks, Klatomok village is their choice. There, they can watch Yellow-faced Myna, Golden Myna, Magnificent Riflebird, Blyth's Hornbill, Western-crowned Pigeon and etc. The entrance gate is Sorong city. Major airlines in Indonesia have got flights to this destination.
  • Mount Sakofsiah and Ases Valley of Tambrauw regency are very important destinations in Tambrauw regency. Birds and wild animals such as boars, sugar glider, deer, snakes, cuscus possum, frogs, and insects can be found there. Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Palm Cockatoo, New Guinea Vulturine Parrot, Eclectus Parrot, Rainbow Lorikeet, Great Cuckoo Dove, Black-browed Triller, Long-tailed Buzzard, are some of the many birds that we can see in the forest. 
Western-crowned Pigeon in Klasow Valley
Western-crowned Pigeon
  • Raja Ampat islands are important destination for birding visitors because they can watch rainforest as well as sea birds.
The average duration for covering these places are around 3 weeks. Visitors need to travel in a group of at least 3 to 4 people to share the cost of transportation, accommodation and food.
For further info, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

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. 

I like to stand on a slope near a tree where a bird sits on to get near eye-level position. Sometimes, I stand on hill looking down at trees and take pictures of birds. 

To enhance the quality or sharpness of the photograph that I take, I usually lean on a tree while holding the camera. Sometimes I use tripod. To eliminate shakes or vibration when I press the shutter button, I apply a 3-second self-timer. The camera will take picture 3 seconds later after I press the shutter button. This was written by Charles Roring

Also read: Birding Cameras