Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Birdwatching in Manokwari

Manokwari is a nice destination for visitors who are interested in hiking and watching birds in the rainforest. There are regular flights between Manokwari and Jakarta served by such airlines as Sriwijaya, Lion/Wings, Express and Batavia. Birders usually go to Arfak mountains to see bowerbird, spotted catbird, and magnificent birds of paradise. If they want to watch lesser birds of paradise, and sulphur crested cocktoo or pygmy parrots, then they should go to the lowland forests in Warmarway, Dopi river or Asai river.
Warmarway village of Arfak mountains
The slopes leading to several trees where Lesser Birds of Paradise usually dance in the mornings and in the afternoons in the rainforest near Warmarway village are very steep. So, only birders who are physically fit that can go to the place. They must wear good sport shoes or trekking boots and bring binoculars. A camp has been constructed by local villagers for the visitors who want to stay for several nights in the jungle. Besides watching birds of paradise, other interesting attraction is watching cuscus and exploring the jungle itself at night. Please, contact Alice Auri (English speaking guide from Manokwari) by sending text message to her cell phone: 081248525116. She can arrange your trip and accompany you to go birding in Warmarway. In the village, you will meet Yunus Sayori (Cell Phone: 081343316087) will guide you to the place where the Lesser Birds of Paradise dance in the jungle. Yunus does not speak English. He can call owl at night to come to your camp. He can also call cuscus (a nocturnal animal) for you. The tropical rainforest is home to various species of plants, and animals, including mushrooms that glow at nights, orchids, bamboos and a lot of insects.

Aiwatar Hill
Another important birdwatching destination in West Papua is Aiwatar hill. Located in Tambrauw mountains, it is considered one of the most important birding sites in the world. This may sound subjective but Aiwatar is a must see place for birdwatchers who really want to see a lot of birds that are endemic to New Guinea.
As a tourist guide, I accompanied two nature lovers from Belgium to watch birds in Aiwatar. We saw ducks,  doves, hornbills, Western crowned pigeon and palm cockatoo and many other birds that I cannot mention their names one by one in this post.
Visitors can go by 4WD pick up truck to District Senopi and continue their trip on foot to Aiwatar hill. It will take one and a half day trip from Manokwari to Aiwatar. Tents and camping gear are needed if they want to stay in the jungle for a few nights. Since electricity is not always available in Aiwatar, visitors need to bring some extra batteries for their cameras.
Asai
In addition to Aiwatar as one of the best birding sites in the bird's head region of West Papua, the most recommended site for hiking and birdwatching in Manokwari is Asai. Located in the north coast, Asai is only one hour car trip from Manokwari. In addition to hiking and birdwatching, another activity that tourists can enjoy in Asai is swimming in the river. Please, contact me by email to peace4wp@gmail.com if you want to go hiking and birding in Manokwari. by Charles Roring