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.

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.

Booking
Please, contact me (Charles Roring) by e-mail to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Riverwalk Tour in Manokwari

Riverwalk Birdwatching Tour in Manokwari Forest
The lowland forest of New Guinea is a very rich environment. It is the one that exists in northwest region of Manokwari. To explore the forest, the best way is by walking along the sides of a river that passes through the forest. Recently I guided 3 French visitors on a 3-day/ 2-night riverwalk and birdwatching tour to the lowland forest of Manokwari. The name of the forest was Mesirrokow. It was the natural habitat of a lot of species of birds including Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, Eclectus Parrot, Palm Cockatoo, Blyth's Hornbill, Yellow-faced Myna, Little-ringed Plover, Dollarbird, Brahminy Kite, and etc.
Other animals such as wallaby, wild pigs, deer, cuscus possum, and soa-soa lizard, as well as beetles and butterflies also live in the forest. The variety of the vegetation is very high including iron wood tree, pandanus tree, creeping plants, shrubs and grass.
Camping and Riverwalk
Little Egret
We built tents on higher ground near the river and then did the riverwalk tour every mornings and afternoons-before sunset time. When the weather is good, we can walk along the banks of the river easily.  One of the guests brought his Swarovski Spotting Scope and Leica binoculars. They greatly enhanced our birding experience. I personally carried my Visionking 10x42 mm binoculars. With these birding optics, we could watch Glossy-mantled Manucode (Manucode ater), Lowland Peltop (Peltops blainvillii), Pink-spotted Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus perlatus), Little Egret (Egretta garzetta), Variable Goshawk (Accipiter hiogaster).
Our Camping Site in Lowland Forest of Manokwari
We bring big size 8x6 meters waterproof plastic sheet as our roof tent, several dome tents, mattrasses, and pillows. We also bring cooking and eating utensils to serve our customers. Food such as noodles, canned fish, coffee, tea, and fruits are bought from the supermarket but we get most of our vegetables from the surrounding forest. Our guests said they really enjoyed the camping trip in open nature. In addition to camping, riverwalk and bird/ wildlife watching, they could enjoy swimming as much as they liked.
Preparations
Riverwalk Tour in Manokwari Lowland Forest
Visitors need to bring a good pair of binoculars, a waterproof spotting scope is also needed. For riverwalk, please wear a good pair of watershoes, t-shirt and short pants. Some visitors apply sunblock lotion. I recommend anti-insect lotion.

How to get there?
  • First, visitors need to fly from their country to Jakarta (the capital city of Indonesia)
  • After that they could take a domestic flight to Manokwari city. Airlines such as Garuda, Sriwijaya, Batik and Lion/ Wings Air have got regular flights to Manokwari. 

Booking
Please, contact me (Charles Roring) by e-mail to: peace4wp@gmail.com or whatsapp: +6281332245180.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Birdwatching Tour in Arfak Mountains

I have organized birdwatching tours for visitors who want to go to Arfak mountains for years. There are 2 different birding locations in West Papua, i.e. Lower Montane Forest and Upper Montane Forest.

Upper Montane Forest
Vogelkop Bowerbird in Arfak mountains
This type of rainforest is the natural habitat of Western Parotia (Parotia sefilata), Magnificent Bird of Paradise (Diphyllodes magnificus), Vogelkop Bowerbird (Amblyornis inornatus), Feline Owlet-Nightjar (Aeghoteles insignis), Green-backed Robin (Pachycephalopsis hattamensis)
There are several guesthouses built by government and now operated by local people.

Lower Montane Forest
Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor)
For this type of environment, the recommended destination is Susnguakti forest located in the eastern region of Arfak mountains. Birds that can be watched including Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor), King Bird of Paradise (Cicinnurus regius), Magnificent Riflebird (Ptiloris magnificus), Hooded Butcherbird (Cracticus cassicus), Common Paradise Kingfisher (Tanysiptera galatea), Coconut Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus).
Cuscus Possum in lower montane forest of Arfak range
There are several jungle huts that were built as shelters for tourists who want to stay for a few days watching birds and other wild animals. I provide mattrasses, pillows and tents, as well as cooking and eating utensils in the jungle huts.
Birds are not the only animals which visitors can watch in the lower montane forest of Arfak mountains. Visitors can watch cuscus possum, bandicoot, Arfak dragon lizard, colorful butterflies, and fireflies. I and some local guides can organize nightwalk for visitors who are interested in watching nocturnal animals.

Preparations
Arfak mountains in Manokwari
To do birdwatching in Arfak mountains, visitors need to wear good trekking boots, short and long pants for hiking tours along the road and trails in the forest. Birds usually perch on the branches of high trees. A good pair of binoculars and a spotting scope will be helpful for watching birds and other wild animals. Don't forget to bring anti-insect lotion to protect you from mosquito and other insect bites. Head torch or flash light is also needed for night walk.

How to get to Arfak mountains
  • From your country, you need to take an international flight that will bring you to Jakarta (the capital city of Indonesia), or Manado city (from Singapore by Silk Air)
  • After that take a domestic flight to Manokwari city. Regular flights between Jakarta or Manado city and Manokwari are served by Sriwijaya, Garuda, and other airlines.
  • I will meet you at Rendani airport or at a hotel where you stay in Manokwari city and organize your tour to Arfak mountains. 

Booking
Please, contact me (Charles Roring) by e-mail to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

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Birdwatching in Lowland Forest of Sorong

Male Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor)
Paradise Birds of Klasow Valley
Sorong is a city in West Papua province of Indonesia that has become the main gate to Raja Ampat. There is a huge valley in the east of Sorong that is famous among birdwatchers as the most recommended site for watching Paradise Birds. Its name is Klasow Valley. Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor), King Bird of Paradise (Cicinnurus regius), Magnificent Riflebird (Ptiloris magnificus) and Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise (Seleucidis melanoleucus) live in tropical rainforest of the valley and can be watched together with hundreds of species other of birds.
Wildlife Watching Tour in Klasow Valley of Sorong
West Papua province of Indonesia
Visitors who go to Klasow valley usually spend at least 4 days/ 3 nights in the jungle to watch birds, and other wild animals, as well as wild flowers and unique tropical plants of the rainforest. There is a small village in the middle of the forest. There are also two jungle huts that have been prepared for visitors. The huts are equipped with mattrasses, mosquito nets and toilets.
The birdwatching site for Lesser Birds of Paradise is approximately a 1.5-hour-walk from the village. Visitors who want to watch the paradise birds need to wake up early in the morning at 04.00 to have tea or coffee and to make preparation until 04.30. After that they have to start walking. Because it is still dark, head torch will be needed for the morning jungle walk. There is another birdwatching site for Lesser Birds of Paradise approximately 30 minutes walk from the village. But the tree where the birds dance is quite high. Each visitor who wants to watch birds at this site needs to bring a good pair of binoculars. Usually, the activity of Lesser BOP at their display trees decreases after 09.00.  Birdwatchers can walk back to the village to take a rest and have lunch.
Northern Cassowary
Northern Cassowary in lowland forest of Sorong regency
There is also Northern Cassowary that regularly visits the village to ask banana fruits and sugar cane from villagers. It is a very big bird and dangerous. I used to guide a group of visitors from Rockjumper. We spent 2 days/ 1 night in the valley to watch birds. We were quite lucky to be welcomed by this Northern Cassowary. But we have to keep safe distance from the bird. During our tour in Klasow valley, we were able to watch King Bird of Paradise, Northern Cassowary, Yellow-faced Myna, Helmetted Friarbird, Black Lory, Boyer's Cuckooshrike, Red-cheeked Parrot, Glossy Swiftlet, Pinon Imperial Pigeon.
Birds are not the only animals that live in this lowland forest of Sorong, there are butterfly and beetles, cuscus possum, wallaby, fish and frogs in the river, snake, wild pigs, soa-soa lizard, dear and even crocodile in big river.
Birdwatching activity in Klasow valley
Want to visit Klasow valley?
Fly from your country to Jakarta (capital of Indonesia) or Manado city (by Silk Air from Singapore).  There are regular flights from these cities to Sorong city. I could meet you at the airport or at the hotel where you stay and organize your trip to Klasow valley.

Booking
If you are interested in taking a birdwatching tour in West Papua and needs me to organize your tour, please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by text message to my whatsapp: +6281332245180.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Willie Wagtail

Wildlife watching in Lowland Forest
When I was hiking with two French tourists along the sides of a river in lowland forest of Manokwari, I saw a black bird that was playing on a burnt tree. Slowly I approached the bird to take some pictures. The bird was not afraid of me and kept on dancing, perhaps to attract his female partner. After examining my pictures, I could identify the bird. It was called Willie Wagtail (Rhipidura leucophrys). Because it likes to sit on dead trees near the river, I thought that the bird feeds on small fish. Later, from Wikipedia, I got the information that Willie Wagtail eats insects.
Willie Wagtail (Rhipidura leucophrys) in lowland forest of Manokwari
I also saw flowers such as New Guinea Tulip (Spathodea campanulata) whose flower is orange, morning glory, Purple Tepals Water Hycinth (Monochoria vaginalis), New Guinea Scarlet Jade (Mucuna benetti) and Splendid Glory Vine (Varadaya splendida).  The scenery of the river is also very beautiful.
New Guinea Tulip Flower (Spathodea campanulata)
I also saw the bird in cleared forest near Waisai town of Raja Ampat. From the sighting sites, I could conclude that Willie Wagtail lives in coastal and interior region of New Guinea island especially in open habitat. The bird has got black upperpart feather with white underparts. It also has got beautiful sounds too.
Actually, Willie Wagtail is not the only birds that we can see while hiking in the tropical rainforest of New Guinea. There are hundreds of birds that we can watch, some of them include Lowland Peltop, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Brahminy Kite, Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, Palm Cockatoo, Eclectus Parrot, Large-tailed Nightjar, Pink-spotted Fruit Dove, Little Egret, and several species of birds of Paradise.
Rainforest Wildlife Watching and Marine Tour
Hiking in lowland forest of Manokwari
I can organise rainforest wildlife/ birdwatching in Manokwari, Sorong and Raja Ampat. Short tour lasts between 3 to 5 days whereas long tour usually takes 2 weeks. The 2-week wildlife watching tour starts in Manokwari and then continues to Sorong and Raja Ampat and then finishes in Sorong city again. During the tour, visitors will be able to watch birds, cuscus possum, see wild flowers and butterflies in the jungle, as well as coral reef and colorful tropical fish. Visitors need to bring good binoculars, and snorkeling mask, and fins.
Flights
There are regular daily flights between Manokwar city, Sorong city and Jakarta (the capital of Indonesia). You can take Garuda, Sriwijaya or Batik to reach West Papua. I could meet you at the airport of Sorong city or Manokwari city and organize your trip into the rainforest.
Booking
If you are interested in taking a rainforest tour in West Papua and wants me to organise your trip, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by e-mail to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp: +6281332245180.

Birdwatching and Snorkeling in Raja Ampat

Paradisea Beach
There is a good place in Waigeo island that is very suitable for snorkeling and birdwatching. Its name is Paradisea Beach. It is located in southern region of Waigeo. I enjoyed birdwatching and snorkeling in the area several weeks ago. The best time to do birdwatching is in the mornings and in the afternoons. Birds such as Coconut Lorikeet, Eclectus Parrot, Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, Palm Cockatoo, Blyth's hornbill, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Beach Kingfisher, and Red Bird of Paradise.
The coral reef at Paradisea beach is a very rich marine environment. It is the natural habitat of a lot of species of marine animals. Table corals, Elkhorn Corals, and sea grass thrive at the depths from 0.5 to 10 meters.
Birding Optics
Female Red Bird of Paradise
To watch those birds I used a pair of Visionking 10x42 mm binoculars that are equipped with Bak4 roof prisms. They are quite sharp when I use them to watch birds in tall and distant trees. I also brought my spotting scope. It was a 20-60x60 Kinglux. To take pictures of the birds, I used my old Fujifilm HS50EXR. They were not the best birdwatching gear on the market but they were powerful enough to enhance my birding experience at the Paradisea beach.
Snorkeling
After two days of birding in the area, I completed my activities at the beach by enjoying snorkeling over its coral reef. I saw a lot of species of fish including parrotfish, surgeonfish, grouper, boxfish, butterflyfish, moorish idol, needlefish, barracuda, and various damselfish. Raja Ampat has been famous around the world as a regency that has got the highest marine bio-diversity in the world.
Marine life in coral reef of Raja Ampat
A friend of mine who owns the land plans to build a dive resorts at this beach. Soon, there will be bungalows which can be rent by tourists who want to enjoy snorkeling and birdwatching at this beach.
As a matter of fact, Raja Ampat has got hundreds of islands which visitors can choose to enjoy snorkeling, and birdwatching such as Mansuar, Mansuar Kecil, Gam, Arborek, Waigeo, Piaynemo, Batanta, Salawati, Misool, and Wayag. There are homestays or dive resorts operated by local people and foreign companies.
Paradisea beach in Waigeo island of Raja Ampat
If you are interested in taking snorkeling and birdwatching tour in Raja Ampat and mainland West Papua, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or send text message to my whatsapp: +6281332245180.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Wildlife Binoculars

I often guide tourists in the forest. To watch birds, butterflies on distant flowers, or orchids in high trees, we usually use binoculars. I personally use a pair of 10x42 mm Visionking binoculars. They have got Bak4 roof prisms to deliver crisp images of birds or other wild animals that I watch. But they are not the best birdwatching optics available in the market.
Recommended Binoculars
a pair of Swarovski SLC 10×42 WB binoculars
For the best wildlife watching experience, I highly recommend that visitors buy a pair of Swarovski SLC 10x42 WB binoculars. The binoculars have got fluorite HD glass elements, and are filled with nitrogen. They are light enough to travel with. These binoculars belong to Mr. and Mrs. Buttiker, Swiss tourists who visited Arfak range for birdwatching.
Western Parotia (Parotia sefilata) was eating Red-Pandanus Fruit
During their trip in Arfak mountains, they were able to watch Vogelkop Bowerbird, Western Parotia, Green-backed Robin, Feline Owlet-Nightjar, Emerald Ground Dove, and etc. These birds were seen at the elevation between 1,300 and 1,500 meters above sea level.
For birds that live in lowland and lower montane forest, the variety of species will be different. Based on my previous birdwatching experience, I saw Lesser Birds of Paradise, Glossy Manucode, King Bird of Paradise, Magnificemt Riflebird, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Hooded Butcherbird, Palm Cockatoo, and a lot more.
Because the humidity and rainfall in tropical rainforest is very high, I highly recommend that visitors bring binoculars that are watertight or waterproof.
Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor)
in Arfak mountains
There are also similar binoculars manufactured by Leica, Nikon or Vortex. In addition to binoculars, I also use a very affordable Kinglux 20- 60×60 spotting scope. It is equipped with Bak4 prism and is filled with nitrogen gas. Experienced birdwatchers usually bring Swarovski ATX 30-70×95 spotting scope.
Booking
If you are interested in taking a birdwatching tour with me in Raja Ampat, Klasow valley of Sorong, and Arfak mountains of Manokwari, please, contact me by e-mail to: peace4wp@gmail.com. written by Charles Roring