Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Birding near Sorong city

Olive-backed Sunbird
This is the picture of Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis) that I saw in a forest near Sorong city. For tens of years, this city has become the main gate to Raja Ampat islands for tourists who to spend their holiday scuba diving, swimming and snorkeling. However, there are also a lot of tourists who want to enjoy hiking, birdwatching and nature watching in general.
Rainforest near Sorong city
Birding Tour
As a tourist guide, I offer this tour. Because this forest is near the city, visitors can start the tour early in the morning and then return to their hotel before dark. From a short hiking and birdwatching trip, I saw Helmetted Friarbird, Olive-backed Sunbird, Coconut Lorikeet, and Yellow-faced Myna. I also saw some birds flying very fast in front of me making it difficult to identify them. I guess they were Black Lory, and Hooded Butcherbird.
Olive-crowned Flowerpecker
In addition to birds, visitors who take this tour will be able to see savanna hills, terrestrial Spathoglottis orchids, butterflies, grasshoppers, and unique tropical plants of Papua.
We will walk along the ridge of Savanna Hills and then down to tropical rainforest of Sorong that is still in very good condition. The shortest trip is one day, but we can organize multiple day hiking, camping and birding tour that lasts for 3 to 4 days. There are several sites in the forest where we can use to build our basecamp. Because organizing a multiple day tour in the forest needs more logistical supplies, we will bring tents, mattrasses, cooking and eating utensils.
What to Wear and What to Bring
Terrestrial Spathoglottis orchid
To take this trip, please, wear sport/ hiking shoes with socks, long pants or short pants, apply insect repellent lotion, t-shirt and hat. During rainy season, bring raincoat.
To enhance your birding experience, bring a pair of binoculars such as the Swarovski EL 8.5×42, spotting scope and tripod as well as birding camera such as Nikon P900 or Fujifilm HS50EXR.
If you are interested in hiking and birding in Sorong forest, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: or by text message to ,y whatsapp: +6281332245180.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Wildlife Tour in Lowland Forest of Sorong regency Indonesia

Male Lesser Birds of Paradise
This is the photograph of male Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor). I often see the birds when I guide visitors in lowland forest of Sorong regency. It is a city which has been the main gate to Raja Ampat. As a matter of fact, Sorong has got huge area of tropical rainforest that is home to a lot of species of birds, mammals, reptiles, and insects. There are a lot of plants that grow in the forest such as iron-wood tree, matoa tree, and huge pandanus tree.
Visitors spend between 3 to 4 days hiking and watching wild animals in the forest. From my previous wildlife tours in this environment I saw deer, northern cassowary, wallaby, ulysses butterfly and beautiful wild flowers.

Day 1
Nothern Cassowary in lowland forest of Sorong regency
Transfer by 4wd car from Sorong city to Klasow valley (1.5 hours)
Walk along the path from the main road to jungle village (1.5 hours)
Arrive in the village, take a rest, birdwatching around the clearing area of the village.

Day 2
Wake-up early in the morning at 04.00. Have tea or coffee and make preparation At 04.30 leave the village for the birdwatching site of Lesser BOP. Arrive at 06.00. Watch birds until 09.00. Walk back to the village. Have lunch. Take a rest. Jungle walk again to watch birds and other wildlife.
After dinner, we could do night walk to see wallaby thats comes out at night to find food and mating partner.

Day 3
Wake up in the morning to birding site of Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise. After that, we will continue to the birding ground of King Bird of Paradise.
After lunch we will go hiking to a hill behind the village. Back to the village, we still can enjoy birdwatching in the clearing area of the village

Day 4
Morning walk to the river in the west of the village. Visitors can enjoy swimming or exploring the surrounding forest. Back to the village. After lunch, we could walk slowly back to the main road again and then back to Sorong city by car.

Booking your rainforest tour
Please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: or whatsapp: +6281332245180.
I need information such as name, country of origin, date and time of arrival and how long you plan to do the rainforest tour.

Idea durvillei Butterfly

Idea durvillei butterfly in Waigeo island of Raja Ampat
Idea durvillei is a large black and white butterfly that I see in Mansinam island of Manokwari; Waim islet and Waigeo island of Raja Ampat. They live in coastal forest. I have never seen it in higher montane forest such as Arfak mountains and Tambrauw Mountains. The wings are white decorated with black lines. The abdomen of this beautiful insect is white. From my personal observations, the butterfly likes to find nectar of flowers early in the mornings. In the afternoons when the temperature is high, the butterfly prefers to take a rest on a green leave of shrubs under the shades of big trees. Actually, there are a lot of species of butterflies that we can see when we go hiking in lowland forest including cruiser butterfly - Vindula arsinoe, Silky Owl Butterfly - Taenaris catops, and  the Blue Mountain Swallowtail - Papilio ulysses.  The best months to watch butterflies in West Papua are during dry season June to early December.
Idea durvillei butterfly in Mansinam island
Most of my tours are related to birdwatching. However, it does not mean that I don't pay attention to other animals. written by Charles Roring

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Birdwatching Binoculars

Birding in Lowland Forest of Manokwari
In my previous post Wildlife Binoculars, I mention about Swarovski SLC 10×42 WB which is a very sturdy optical device for field use. Actually, there are a lot of other brands that can also deliver clear and crisp images of birds and other wild animals that we would like to watch especially in a distant tree, beach or in the sky. I personally have got some Chinese made 10x 42 mm roof binoculars. They are not the best in the market but they give good quality images. I often bring them into the forest when I guide birdwatchers.
Bad Binoculars
Palm Cockatoo in Tambrauw Mountains
Several years ago I thought that binoculars with higher magnification were better. In reality I was wrong. I used to buy a pair of binoculars from a shop in my town without checking its performance in the field - a Chinese made Papillon 12-36×70 binoculars. The next day, I brought the binoculars to the field when I guided a French couple on a 3 day/ 2 night riverwalk and birdwatching tour in lowland forest of Manokwari. When I tried the device, I was very disappointed with the image quality it produced. My old binoculars with lower magnification gave me sharper and clearer views of birds, scenery and trees.
Characteristics of High Quality Birding Binoculars
Lesser Birds of Paradise
From that day I decided to read more information on the internet about binoculars. I spent more time reading about technical aspects of binoculars, here are some of the features from the binoculars which birdwatchers must know.
  • Brand name and long tradition in binoculars manufacturing - Companies that have manufactured binoculars for tens of years have got more experience and expertise in making high quality binoculars. Zeiss, Swarovski, Leica, and Nikon are some of the manufacturers that have created high precision optical products including binoculars.
  • High quality binoculars are made of high definition glass lenses such as Extra-low Dispersion glass and Bak4 prism.
  • In tropical rainforest, the frequency of rainfall and humidity is high. Binoculars have to be sealed with waterproof O-ring and filled with dry nitrogen. 
  • To ensure the production of clear and sharp bird images, every surface of the lens in binoculars have to be painted with anti reflective compounds. 
Swarovski EL 8.5×42 binoculars
One example of an excellent binoculars is the Austrian made Swarovski EL 8.5×42. I used test the product when I went birdwatching in Arfak range. The image quality it produced was sharp and clear. I highly recommend this device. Birdwatchers cannot be separated from their binoculars particularly when they go into the forest, the beach, lake, or walk along the banks of a river. High definition binoculars will definitely enhance birding experience. Bad quality binoculars can ruin the whole birding experience of an avid birdwatcher. So, before buying binoculars, make sure that the device has got at least four important characteristics that I mention above. written by Charles Roring
Related Post: Binoculars for Wildlife Watching

Monday, February 26, 2018

Binoculars for Wildlife Watching

Visionking 10x42 mm multi purpose binoculars
Binoculars are essential for wildlife watching when we go hiking in the forest. I personally use a good pair of Visionking 10x42 mm binoculars. It is equipped with Bak4 roof prism, Field of View: 303 feet@ 1000 yards with central focusing. They are light and small enough to carry. They are not the best but they can give me sharp images of birds and wild animals that are flying or perching on the branches of high trees.
Because I work as birdwatching guide, I had the opportunities of trying other binoculars that are carried by birdwatchers. I used to try Nikon EDG 8×42 binoculars. These birding optics are made of Extra Low Dispersion glass lenses. Although the magnification is smaller than my Visionking. The quality of the images is crisp and superior. I can say that the Nikon EDG 8×42 binoculars are one of the best wildlife binoculars that I have ever tried.
Western Parotia (female) was feeding on red pandanus fruit
Recently, I also tried a pair of Swarovski SLC 10×42 WB. The binoculars belonged to Mr. and Mrs. Buttiker. They were birdwatchers who came from Switzerland. I guided them to Arfak mountains to watch Vogelkop Bowerbird, Western Parotia, Green-backed Robin, female Black Siklebill, Feline Owlet-nightjar, and Bronze Ground Dove. Their Swarovski binoculars greatly enhanced their birding experience.
It was rainy season in Arfak mountains when I and the Swiss couple went birding in along the unpaved road in the forest. I was impressed with the performance of the Swarovski SLC 10×42 WB binoculars. They were very sturdy and well fit in my grip.

Bird and Wildlife Tour
I offer bird and wildlife tour for visitors who are interested in adventure trip to Arfak mountains, Klasow valley, Tambrauw Mountains and Raja Ampat Regency. Please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: or whatsapp: +6281332245180.

Related article: Wildlife Binoculars

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Wildlife Tour in Susnguakti Forest of Manokwari

Cuscus Possum in Susnguakti Forest of Manokwari
There is a forest area in Manokwari that is suitable for wildlife watching. Its name is Susnguakti forest in the south of the city. Animals such as cuscus possum, blue-tailed lizard, butterflies, fireflies, and several species of birds of paradise live there. I personally have organized tens of wildlife tours to this forest.
There is a basecamp that local villagers built for visitors. It is covered by corrugated metal roofs and plastic tents. Mattrasses, pillows, cooking and eating utensils are available in the forest.
Here is the usual itinerary:
Day 1
We will meet you at the Rendani airport of Manokwari city, or at the hotel where you stay. After buying food supplies, we will go by car to Susnguakti forest. It takes 1 hour to reach it. Arriving in the forest, we will start hiking for one and a half hour to reach our basecamp. Water will be boiled and food is cooked when we start to install our dome tents, and sleeping materials. After having some tea or coffee with biscuits, we could go to the nearby forest area to watch Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor). We will enjoy dinner at around 19.00.
We could install white screen cloth and shoot it with light so that we could see the kinds of nocturnal insects that land on it.
Day 2
Lesser Bird of Paradise
Early in the morning, we will wake up early to have tea or coffee. After that we could enjoy morning walk again to watch Lesser Birds of Paradise hoping that we will have better sighting of the paradise birds. At 09.00, we could move to higher ground to watch King Bird of Paradise (Cicinnurus regius).
After lunch, we could take a rest for a while or do jungle walk to see butterflies, lizards, or other insects.
At night, we will do jungle exploration to see cuscus possum (a nocturnal marsupial animal that comes out at night to find fruits and mating partner), sometimes spiky dragon lizard could be seen in the forest. A short visit to bamboo forest will allow us to see glowing mushrooms (especially during rainy season).
Day 3
Hiking and Wildlife Watching in Susnguakti Forest
We will do morning walk to watch Magnificent Riflebird, Hooded Butcherbird and Coconut Lorikeet that like to eat fruits and nectar from flowers around our basecamp.
After lunch, we can start descending the slopes of Susnguakti forest to main road again. A stop in the village is highly recommended where we will meet villagers. We will return to Manokwari city again after saying Good Bye to our local guides and villagers.

Extended Tour
Coral Reef of Manokwari of West Papua
For visitors who are interested in coral reef, we could extend our tour by snorkeling in some coral reef sites of Manokwari to see damselfish, butterflyfish, moorish idol, or anemonefish.

Please, contact me: Charles Roring by email to: or by whatsapp: +6281332245180.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Rainbow Bee-eater

Rainbow Bee-eater in Klasow Valley of Sorong regency
West Papua province of Indonesia
Sighting in Sorong forest
These are photographs of Rainbow Bee-eater that I saw in Klasow valley of Sorong regency. They were taken in May. According to field guide book, "Birds of New Guinea," the birds migrate to New Guinea during March to October. Rainbow Bee-eater perched on the branches of trees in the cleared forest in the morning waiting for insects. The sun was shining brightly. I walked closer to them and began to take pictures of them. They were not afraid of me when I shot them with my old Fujifilm HS50EXR.
Sighting in Manokwari
Rainbow Bee-eater in Klasow valley of Sorong regency
I also saw a large flock of Rainbow Bee-eater in lowland forest of Manokwari in June when I guided a French tourist. Perhaps, they had just arrived from a long flight crossing over the huge tropical rainforest of New Guinea. During the sunset time, they were flying very low over our heads when we sat on the sandbank of Mesirrokow river in a relaxed atmosphere. We really enjoyed the sighting very much. Unfortunately, it was getting dark, so, I could not take pictures of them.
The lowland forest of Manokwari is the natural habitat of a lot of species of birds such as Large-tailed Nightjar, Golden Myna, Little-ringed Plover, Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, Eclectus Parrot, Black-capped Lory, Coconut Lorikeet, Palm Cockatoo, Yellow-capped Pygmy Parrot, Brahminy Kite, Variable Goshawk, Little Egret, Dollarbird, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Glossy-mantled Manucode, Magnificent Riflebird, and a lot more.

Rainforest Bird and Wildlife Tour
Birdwatching in lowland forest of Manokwari
I offer hiking and birdwatching trips for visitors who are interested in watching paradise birds and other tropical birds of New Guinea, particularly in such places as Arfak mountains, Lowland Forest of Manokwari, Klasow valley in Sorong regency and tropical islands of Raja Ampat.
In general, a short birdwatching trip in Lowland Forest of Manokwari may last for 3 days/ 2 nights whereas a full bird tour to Arfak range, Klasow valley of Sorong and Waigeo island of Raja Ampat may last for 2 weeks.
Please, contact me (Charles Roring) by e-mail to: or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.