Monday, May 25, 2015

Birdwatching in Tambrauw regency of West Papua

written by Charles Roring
Birding in the Rainforest
Paradise bird in the rainforest of West Papua
Tambrauw regency is located in the bird's head (vogelkop) region of West Papua province of New Guinea island. The capital is Fef but at the moment all of the government activities are concentrated in Sausapor. It is a small town (located in the northern coast of the island. Visitors who want to watch tropical birds can come to Tambrauw regency. There are a lot of species of birds in the region including kingfishers, blackbutcher bird, sulphur crested cockatoo, palm cockatoo, blyth's hornbill, rainbow lorikeet, brahminy kite, pinon imperial pigeon, yellow faced myna, egret, black capped lory and many more. We can explore the forest and rivers near Sausapor town to see the birds.
Pinon Imperial Pigeon in Tambrauw Mountains of West Papua
Tambrauw mountains have got a lot of birdwatching sites that are highly recommended for avid birders. These sites are located both along the coastal and mountainous regions. Coastal areas that are good for birding are the banks of Syuan river.
For highland birding, my recommendation is Ases Valley. From my personal experience of birding in the pristine forest of Tambrauw, the birds population and varieties are higher than in other forest locations that are close to towns. Visitors can see western crowned pigeon, pigeon, cockatoo, fruit doves, hornbills, and even several species of birds of paradise.
Birding in Different Elevations of the Mountains
Bridled Tern at the beach of Tambrauw regency
Most of the landmass of the regency is mountainous region. So, birding in different elevation of the mountains will bring different species of birds that can be watched. For instance, if we go to the coastal area, we will watch Bridled Tern (Sterna anaethetus), Sootty tern (Sterna fuscata). But if we go to higher elevation, we may see such birds as Papuan Lorikeet (Charmosyna papou).
Tambrauw mountains are located between Manokwari and Sorong regencies. But the easiest way to reach the mountains is by chartering a 4WD car from Sorong city. So, I highly recommend to birdwatchers that they fly to Sorong city to go birding in Tambrauw. 

Hiking and Birding
Hiking cannot be separated from birding because as we walk through the paths while exploring the forest, we will have more chance to watch birds. The best way to watch birds while hiking is along the banks of a river whose water is not deep. My recommendation is Cuan River. Don't forget to wear water shoes and a hat for your hiking and birding trip in Tambrauw regency. A good spotting spot is good for open space but a powerful bridge camera such as Nikon Coolpix P900 is recommended for avid birdwatchers.

Where is Tambrauw Mountains?
Please, look at the following map of West Papua. To participate in this birding tour, visitors have to fly from their country to Jakarta (the capital of Indonesia) and then continue by domestic airline to Sorong city which is the gate to Tambrauw regency.
Map of Tambrauw Mountains in the Bird's head region of West Papua

How to get there?
  • First send me (Charles Roring) an email to: peace4wp@gmail.com
  • If you want to go birding in Tambrauw mountains, first, you need to fly from your country to Jakarta - the capital of Indonesia. 
  • Then continue your trip to Sorong city by one of the domestic airlines such as Garuda, Sriwijaya or Express Air. 
  • When you have arrived in Sorong city, I will meet you at the airport or at the hotel to arrange your trip to Tambrauw regency.
  • To minimize the cost of transportation and other logistical expenses, I suggest that  Birdwatchers need totravel in a group of at least 4 people. Why? Because, the maximum capacity of the cabin of a 4WD car is only for four passengers.
  • But if you are traveling alone or with one partner, or even in a large group, I can always try find a cheaper way to reach Tambrauw regency
Birding devices
Singing Starling 
Make sure that you bring a good D-SLR or bridge camera such as Nikon Coolpix P900 with extra batteries, spotting scope, and the latest edition of Birds of New Guinea (book). 

Other attractions
Sausapor (formerly known as Sansapor) used to be a base for US troops during World War II. As of today, people can still see some tank wrecks in the jungle left by the American troops.
Between November and March, the coastal area of Tambrauw regency is an ideal place for wave surfing. Tambrauw has got several world class surf spots that have never been visited by surfers.
To book your birding tour in Tambrauw regency, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com. The birding tour is available all year round.

Sunset in Sausapor