Sunday, November 19, 2017

Azure Kingfisher

Azure Kingfisher in Klasow valley
This is the picture of an Azure Kingfisher that I saw while I was guiding a Dutch visitor in Klasow valley of Sorong regency. At first, I thought it was a Dwarf Kingfisher but after reading some description in the field guide book Birds of New Guinea, I concluded that it was an Azure Kingfisher (Ceyx azureus).
The bird lives near the river whose water is calm. I and the Dutch birder were sitting at the bank of a small river when I saw the bird landed on a vine just a few meters away from me. It was was a nice moment. I took my camera and slowly aimed it at the bird. I made several shots of the bird. There are several species of Kingfishers in the valley. Some of them include: Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, and Red-breasted Paradise Kingfisher.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Kingfishers

There are a lot of species of Kingfishers in tropical rainforest of West Papua. I personally have seen a lot of them both in lowland, lower montane forest and in islands in Raja Ampat, Klasow valley and Arfak mountains. In lower montane forest of Arfak range, while I was waiting for the Lesser Birds of Paradise to show up in the branches of trees above myself, suddenly I saw a Common Paradise Kingfisher (Tanysiptera galatea) landed on a branch of a tree just a few meters away from me. He sat there for less than one minute and then flew away again. Fortunately, I was able to make a picture of the bird. It was the second time I saw the bird in the same place.
Common Paradise Kingfisher
I also saw several species of Kingfishers in lowland forest of Sorong regency. Some of them include Red-breasted Paradise Kingfisher, Azure Kingfisher, Forest Kingfisher, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra and Yellow-billed Kingfisher.
Red-breasted Paradise Kingfisher
Yellow-billed Kingfisher
In Raja Ampat, I had the chance to see Hooked-billed Kingfisher while walking in the forest in southern region of Waigeo. I also saw Beach Kingfisher on several occasions. Recently, I visited Waisai town of Raja Ampat for two days. While I was doing a short birding walk at a cape near the harbor of the town, I saw a Beach Kingfisher calling from a branch of a tree near the sea. He was quite big compared to other kingfishers.
Beach Kingfisher
I will go to Sorong regency tomorrow again. I hope that I will be able to see and make photographs of the ones that I have not seen before.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Red Bird of Paradise

Red Bird of Paradise
I have organized birding tours in West Papua for several years now. Most of the visitors come to watch paradise birds. One of the most favorite destinations is Raja Ampat. There are two species that are known to science, i.e. Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra) and Wilson's Bird of Paradise (Diphyllodes respublica). There are a lot of places that we could go to watch the Red BOP. One of them is in the forest of Waigeo island. This year, I run several birding and snorkeling tours to Raja Ampat. To watch the birds, we have to wake up at 04.00 in the morning. We need to make some preparations such as preparing our clothing, hiking shoes, binoculars, camera and food. After having some tea and biscuits, we need to walk up slopes for approximately 45 minutes to reach the birding ground. Local villagers have build a birding platform made of wood. The raised wooden structure is 4 meters tall and is suitable for photographers who want to take pictures of birds.
A Male Red Bird of Paradise was performing courtship dance
Birds are usually active from 06.00 to 09.00. Male Red Birds of Paradise call their female counterparts and compete one another to win the heart of the female birds for mating. They perform their best courtship dance to impress the female birds. Red Birds of Paradise look similar to Lesser Birds of Paradise but they have got red feather.
To watch Red Bird of Paradise, visitors need binoculars. I highly recommend the ones manufactured by Zeiss, Swarovski or Nikon. The size can be 10×42 mm or even the 12×50 mm. There are also binoculars that are made by Chinese companies and are offered in more affordable prices. I personally use a pair of Visionking 10×42 mm binoculars. They are not the best in the market but they are good enough for birding and wildlife watching. So, if you plan to enjoy birding, don't forget to bring good quality binoculars to enhance your birdwatching experience.
Also read: Watching Red Bird of Paradise in Raja Ampat

Monday, October 23, 2017

Birding and Snorkeling in Raja Ampat

Hooded Butcherbird
I guided 3 visitors from Cina and Australia in Raja Ampat last week. We stayed in southern region of Waigeo island enjoying hiking, birding, swimming and snorkeling. During our jungle tour in the island, we were able to see Wilson's Bird of Paradise, Red Bird of Paradise, Eclectus Parrot, Willie Wagtail, Torresian Crow, and various species of fish. It was a nice journey for my guests because they could complete their birding tour in a tropical island whose waters are clear and whose coral reef and beach are very beautiful. Besides hiking and birding, we also enjoyed swimming, and snorkeling to see beautiful tropical fish such as butterflyfish, striped surgeonfish, damselfish, parrotfish, moorish idol and even anemonefish. Coral reef in Raja Ampat is the richest in the world for marine bio-diversity.
Cliff Orchid in Raja Ampat
Raja Ampat is a favorite destination for marine tourism. Its coral reef environment has got the richest marine bio-diversity in the world. Its forest is also the natural habitat of a lot of species of birds, marsupials, reptiles, insects, and a lot of unique trees as well as beautiful flower plants.
As a tour guide, I run tours for visitors who want to enjoy snorkeling and birding in Raja Ampat islands. Most visitors extend their tour to mainland for watching King Bird of Paradise, Lesser Birds of Paradise, Golden Myna and a lot of other tropical birds that live in New Guinea.
The tour in Raja Ampat is relatively expensive. So, I highly suggest that visitors come in a group of 3 to 5 people to share the cost of transportation, accommodation. I also can run private tour for single traveler.
Booking
Please, contact me (Charles Roring) by e-mail to: peace4wp@gmail.com or send text to my whatsapp: +6281332245180.
The white sandy beach where we stayed for several days

Friday, October 20, 2017

Birds of Paradise Watching Tour

Wilson's Bird of Paradise (Diphyllodes respublica)
in Raja Ampat
I have just completed a 2-week birding tour in West Papua province of Indonesia. The main target of this tour was birds of paradise. Three visitors from China, and Australia participated in this tour. We spent 6 days in higher and lower montane forests of Arfak range, 5 days in Klasow valley and 3 days in Waigeo island of Raja Ampat.
Red Bird of Paradise in Raja Ampat
During the tour, we were able to watch:

  • Western Parotia, 
  • Magnificent Bird of Paradise, 
  • Lesser Birds of Paradise, 
  • Superb Bird of Paradise, 
  • King Birds of Paradise, 
  • Magnificent Riflebird, 
  • Wilson's Bird of Paradise, and 
  • Red Bird of Paradise. 
  • We also heard the sounds of Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise but were not able to see it.

Birding in the rainforest of West Papua was relatively difficult particularly for those who were not accustomed to hot and humid climate of the rainforest, the steep slopes, muddy path and numerous insects.
In higher montane forest of Arfak range, we stayed in a simple but comfortable guesthouse for 4 nights to watch Magnificent B.O.P., and Western Parotia. In lower montane forest of the range, we stayed for one night in tents that were built in the middle of the forest. We had to walk up steep slopes to reach our basecamp and did birding the next morning. The site where Lesser Birds of Paradise gathered and danced was approximately 20 minutes walk from our basecamp. After watching the Lesser BOP, we continued our tour to watch King Bird of Paradise that day. It was a nice experience because we could see both of them. Despite the hardships that we faced during the trip, we consider that it was a successfull journey.
In addition to birds of paradise, there were also other animals that we saw such as soa-soa monitor lizard, wallaby, northern cassowary, snake and colorful butterflies. Glowing mushrooms, wild flowers and unique plants attracted our attention too.
Raja Ampat
In the final leg of our birding tour, we stayed at wooden bungalows in Raja Ampat that were built on the water. We spent 3 days/ 2 nights there to watch Red Bird of Paradise and Wilson's Bird of Paradise. Raja Ampat is a tropical paradise for marine lovers. After hiking and birding in the jungle, we could jump into the sea and enjoyed swimming and snorkeling just in front of our guesthouse. A lot of tropical fish such as damselfish, anemonefish, striped surgeonfish, and butterflyfish thrive in the coral reef of the island.
To enhance the birding experience of the participants, I provide binoculars and spotting scope for them. They brought their own D-SLR cameras that were equipped with telephoto lenses.
There were a lot of other birds that we watched in the jungle such as Brown Cuckoo-Dove, Lowland Peltop, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, and Hooded Butcherbird, Palm Cockatoo, Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, and Golden Myna. Some were sitting on lower branches of trees whereas many on top of high trees.
We spent 3 days/ 2 nights here
We spent the last three days of our trip staying in wooden bungalows on the crystal clear water of Raja Ampat. It was an unforgetful experience because we could enjoy swimming and snorkeling over pristine coral reef of the archipelago.
If you are interested in taking a birding tour in West Papua, please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or send text message to my whatsapp number: +6281332245180.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Palm Cockatoo from Tambrauw Mountains

This is the photograph of Palm Cockatoo (Probosciger aterrimus) that was made by a Belgian visitor in Tambrauw Mountains. The bird has got black feather with red cheek. In West Papua and other parts of eastern Indonesia, the bird is called Kakatua Raja (meaning King Cockatoo). The bird eats tropical fruits and is considered as an important seed disperser for New Guinea rainforest.
Palm Cockatoo
If you are interested in watching Palm Cockatoo and other birds in Tambrauw Mountains, please, contact me by e-mail to: peace4wp@gmail.com or whatsapp: +6281332245180.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Birding in Tambrauw Mountains

I had a birding trip to Tambrauw Mountains early this month. I spent 3 days visiting several forest areas of the region to meet villagers and explore the rainforest. During the trip, I saw interesting birds such as Lesser Birds of Paradise, Forest Kingfisher, Yellow-faced Myna, Papuan Blyth's Hornbill, Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, Palm Cockatoo, Brahminy Kite, and quite interestingly a Red-necked Phalarope/ Northern Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus).
Northern Phalarope in Tambrauw Mountains
 According to several reports on the internet this Northern Phalarope breeds in the Arctic. They migrate to the south during winter time. However, most of them spend their time on the ocean. Field guide book Birds of New Guinea (written by Bruce Beehler, and Thane K. Pratt) says that only two records from land, one carcass found on the glacier on Mount Jaya and one in a paddy field near Merauke. So, the sighting of Red-necked Phalarope in Tambrauw Mountains is a new information for anybody who observes migratory birds. I only saw one bird at the time. It was amazing to see such a small bird that took a very long journey from Arctic region to West Papua.
Rainforest in Tambrauw Mountains
If you are interested in taking a birding tour in the rainforest of Tambrauw Mountains, and want me to organize your trip, please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by sending text message to my whatsapp: +6281332245180.