Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Birding in the rainforest of Manokwari

Manokwari has been a must see destination for birdwatchers. There are 3 famous birding zones in this regency:

Lesser Birds of Paradise in the forest of Arfak mountains within
territory of Warmarway village
  1. Lowland Rainforest - Some of the birds that live in the lowland rainforest of Manokwari are: kingfisher, sandpiper, pigeons, drongo, yellow faced myna, and frigate birds. The rainforest along the banks of Dopi river is the site that I highly recommend for visitors. It is around 1 ride from the city. Last week, I guided two Swedish birdwatchers on a 3-day birding trip along Dopi river. They were Thomas and Connie Holmberg. We saw tens of species of birds including Azure Kingfisher, Brahminy Kite, Moluccan King Parrot, Beautiful fruit dove, Yellow-capped Pygmy-Parrot. We also saw Pesquet's Parrot (Vulturine Parrot) that is considered vulnerable to global extinction.
  2. Lower Montane Forest - Much of the slopes of Arfak range are in the category of lower montane forest. We can see lesser birds of paradise, king birds of paradise, blue birds of paradise, sulphur crested cockatoo, Blyth's hornbill, Papuan frogmouth, brahminy kite, king fishers,  as well as lory live in this area. Most of them can also be seen in some parts of the lowland region. Warmarway village is the recommended place for watching such birds. 
  3. Upper Montane Forest - For tens of years, birdwatchers have been visiting Arfak mountains to watch Vogelkop bowerbird, Western Parotia, Magnificent Birds of Paradise, Spotted Catbird, Cinnamon Ground Dove as well as flame bowerbird and Feline Owlett Nightjar. There are two villages that have been famous among birdwatcher, i.e. Syioubri and Kwau. 

Birding Equipment:
Birdwatchers who go to Manokwari or other places in West Papua, need to bring birding equipment that will be very useful for them in watching the beautiful yet shy animals. Here are some birding devices that they need:
  • Binoculars - A good pair of binoculars will help birdwatchers find birds in the jungles of New Guinea that are dense and green. After finding the birds, you need to aim your spotting scope to the bird.
  • Spotting Scope - This is a very important birding equipment that every birdwatcher should have. A powerful spotting scope will help birdwatcher see the detailed physical appearances and colors of the birds. 
  • Photographic Equipment - Digital camera manufacturers have launched some point and shoot or bridge cameras that are affordable to most birdwatchers. Some that I highly recommend are: Canon SX 50 HS, Sony HX 300, and Nikon Coolpix P600. 

Experienced birders also bring sound player and recorder (with a parabola disk) to capture and record the sound of birds. For identifying birds, Birds of New Guinea by Beehler and his friends as well as A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Indonesia by Morten Strange and Birds of Melanesia can be used as the main references.
As a tourist guide, I can arrange your trip and organize your trip to these forests. You can stay in each zone for 1 or 2 nights to watch birds of New Guinea. Please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com
This article was written by Charles Roring

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Birding Tour in Manokwari

Manokwari regency has been famous as a birding tour destination for years. There are several places that I promote on the internet as recommended sites for birdwatchers.
  • Lower Montane Forest of Warmarway - Although this birding site is considered as lower montane forest, the trekking routes to the dancing ground of Lesser Birds of Paradise are very steep. Birdwatchers have to be fit to walk for 1.5 hours if they want to watch paradise birds in this area. It is located on the eastern slopes of Arfak mountains.
  • Upper Montane Forest -  Arfak mountains have been the most popular birding tour destination for visitors who want to watch Western Parotia, Vogelkop Bowerbird, Magnificent Birds of Paradise, Cinnamon Fruit Dove, Hooded Pitohui, Papua Mountain Pigeon, Brown sicklebill, Black sicklebill, Flame bowerbird and a lot more. The birding site that I highly recommend is Mupi Gunung.
  • Aiwatar Hill - This is one of the best birdwatching sites in the world! I am serious about this. It is located between Manokwari and Sorong regency. I highly recommend this site to any avid birders. I will explain about it in a separate article in this blog.
For more information about itinerary and prices, please contact me by email to peace4wp@gmail.com. You could also send text message to my number: +62 813322 451 80

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Watching Pigeons and Doves in the jungle Manokwari

The tropical rainforest in Manokwari are very nice place to watch pigeons and doves. I have guided a lot of birdwatchers on birding trips in both lowland and highland forest in the region. Today I will write a little bit about pigeons. The common name for pigeons in local language is Kumkum. The indigenous Papuan people hunt pigeons for their delicious meat. I introduce trekking and birdwatching trips in such areas as lowland forest of Arfak mountains and north coast of Manokwari to empower the local people in protecting the birds. During my birdwatching trips with international birdwatchers, we saw Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Western Crowned Pigeon, and Papua mountain pigeon.
Doves have got similar appearances with pigeons. They usually find food near fruit trees or on clear grounds. When I and a local birding guide Hans Mandacan accompanied visitors in the jungle of Kwau village Arfak mountains, we saw Cinnamon Ground Dove in the slope of Mt. Soyti.
Birdwatchers usually bring binoculars and spotting scope to magnify the image of distant birds. For taking pictures, or making videos of the birds, professional birdwatchers use D-SLR camera with telephoto lens. For budget travelers, an affordable but powerful compact camera that is equipped with super zoom lenses will be a perfect choice. I highly recommend Sony HX300, Canon SX50, Nikon Coolpix P520, and Fujifilm Finepix SL1000.
Don't forget to bring extra batteries when traveling in the jungle of Manokwari. For more information about birding and traveling in the rainforest of West Papua, please contact me by email to peace4wp@gmail.com

Friday, July 26, 2013

Western Parotia

Western Parotia (Parotia sefilata) is a species of paradise birds that people can watch when traveling to Manokwari. I guided Prof. Richard Ebright - an American biologist on a birding tour in Arfak mountains from 18 to 20 July 2013. In the last day of the tour, we entered a blind that was especially built for watching Western Parotia. The male bird has got black color all over his body with 6 antennas at his head. We had to wait for 5 hour inside the blind that was wet, dark and full of mosquitoes.
In order to seduce his partner, male Western Parotia had to perform a beautiful courtship dance where female Western Parotia perched on a small branch of a tree just above the dancing ground. Before dancing, the male bird cleaned the "stage" from fallen leaves.
Then he would dance to impress his lover. The style of the dance was similar to ballet.
The Female Western Parotia also Danced!
When we were waiting for the male Western Parotia to land on the ground and performed, suddenly, we saw a female Western Parotia landed on the ground. She performed a courtship dance without the presence of male bird. We were very surprised to see that scene. At first we thought that it was another species but later after opening our field guide book, Birds of New Guinea, we determined that it was a female Western Parotia.
During our stay in the blind, we were able to see Spotted Cat Bird and Cinnamon Ground Dove. It was a fleeting moment for the cat bird. Cinnamon Ground Dove was at the dancing site quite long. I think he was there for more than 30 minutes finding grains on the ground. I could make some videos and photographs of this bird. The bird stayed still with her eyes staring at the "peep hole" where I put my camera. I guessed the auto focus lamp of the camera attracted her attention. We also saw two other smaller birds that we could not shoot by my camera.
We return to Manokwari city again at 12.00. During the birdwatching tour we saw vogelkop bower bird, blyth's hornbill, cinnamon ground dove, spotted catbird, magnificent birds of paradise and two smaller birds that I could not identify. They flew away in seconds before I could take a picture of them.
As a birdwatching destination, Manokwari has got plenty of places where birdwatchers can explore to see tropical birds. For lowland forest birding, Western Crowned Pigeon, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Elegant Pigeon, Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, Sandpiper, and Kingfishers are birds that can be seen in Manokwari.
Interested in taking a birding trip in Manokwari, please contact me: Charles Roring by email: peace4wp@gmail.com

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Lesser Paradise birds in Arfak mountains

A lot of birdwatchers and rainforest lovers go to Arfak mountains to watch paradise birds. There are several species that can be seen both in the lower and upper montane forests.
Lesser Birds of Paradise
 
One of the most famous species of paradise birds is the Lesser Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea minor). The birds can mostly be seen in lower montane forest. They like to gather at trees whose branches overlook the sunrise. Early in the morning when the weather is clear, male Lesser BOPs fly to the tree to call their female birds. Morning sunlight makes their feather looks bright and colorful. The male birds of paradise will perform courtship dance to attract female lesser birds of paradise for mating. They jump from one branches to another. The branches that are used for the courtship dance have been cleared from twigs, leaves and moss.
To watch the paradise birds in Warmarway village, birdwatchers have to wake up early in the morning at around 4.30 a.m. After eating some food and drinking coffee or tea, they need to leave the their camp for the birding site. Crossing a small stream of cool water in a narrow ravine, they will slowly walk up steep slopes of the Arfak range. When the sun rises in the east from the horizon of the Pacific Ocean, the male lesser birds of paradise perch on the branches of the trees and begin calling their females. The "courtship dance show" lasts for about 3 hours from 6 to 9 a.m. They can also be seen in the afternoons at around 13.00 to 15.00. Birdwatchers need to bring a good pair of binoculars or a D-SLR camera that is powered with telephoto lens. The camera that I highly recommend for birdwathers is Canon PowerShot SX50 HS or Nikon Coolpix P600. It is a compact point and shoot camera that is powerful and affordable. If you understand Indonesian language, please, contact Yunus Sayori (cell phone: 081343316087).
Other birds of paradise in Arfak mountains
In addition to the Lesser BOP, visitors can also see such species as Western Parotia, Magnificent birds of paradise, magnificent rifle bird, Arfak astrapia.

Interested in visiting Arfak mountains?
If you want to visit Warmarway village of Arfak mountains, and need an English speaking guide, please, contact Alice Auri by sending text message to her cell phone: +6281248525116.