Tuesday, August 26, 2014

New Trekking and Birding Site in Arfak Mountains

Last week I arranged a trip for 2 Dutch tourists, Herman and Elizabeth to Arfak mountains. I introduced Mupi Gunung to them. It is a new trekking and birding site in Arfak mountains of Manokwari regency.  They were the first tourists who visited it. They stayed in Mupi Gunung for 2 weeks and were able to take high quality pictures of paradise birds and tree kangaroo. 

The slopes leading to the area are steep and slippery. Fortunately, they could reach their destination.
Mupi Gunung is a small cluster of families in the middle of a densed tropical rainforest of West Papua. There are only 3 families living in the area.  So, the rainforest is not much influenced by human activities compared to other villages in Arfak mountains that have much larger population and more hunting or slash and burn farming activities.

Visitors who go there will be able to see more wild animals in greater varieties. Both Herman and Elizabeth highly recommends Mupi Gunung for anybody who wants to see the wildlife of New Guinea.

Please contact me by email peace4wp@gmail.com or send text message to my cell phone: +6281332245280 if you want to visit Mupi Gunung.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Trekking and Watching Paradise Birds in Arfak Mountains

I woke up at 4 a.m. It was still dark when I asked Yunus Sayori, our field guide from Warmarway village, to boil some water. I and Kathrin would go trekking this morning to watch Lesser Birds of Paradise. We were in the jungle of Arfak mountains that has been popular among birdwatchers who want to watch various species of birds of paradise. For hundreds of years Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor) have been hunted by Papuan people who sell the skins to collectors. Some are used in head decoration for traditional dances and rituals.
When the hot water is ready, I woke Kathrin up and asked her to drink coffee. At around 5.15 a.m. we left our camp that was located in the middle of the tropical jungle for the birding ground. Since it was still dark, we brought flashlight. We had to walk up steep slopes and crossed a stream. While we were about to cross the stream, we were surprised by a fast moving white snake that were running away from us. It was also surprised to see us. White snake is very venomous reptile.
The sun was about to rise on the East when we reached the birding ground. Male Lesser Birds of Paradise had been calling female birds. Slowly the morning light got brighter. A lot of mosquitoes were flying around us. I forgot to bring my repellent lotion. We had to be patient with this situation.
Itwas hard to spot the birds as they constantly jumping from one branch to another in high trees. Finally, one of them landed on a branch above my head. He was there for less than one minute but I was able to shoot him using my compact camera - Nikon coolpix P500 (see the above picture).
After watching paradise birds for 3 hours, we returned to our camp. The Papuan children from Warmarway village (Yosias, Magdalena, Yunita, and ...) had finished cooking breakfast for that morning. We really enjoyed the food that they prepared.

We could take some  pictures of this beautiful bird. Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor) usually live in the lower montane forest.
Visitors who want to watch the paradise birds need to stay in the camp that is provided for tourists by the villagers.
Trekking in the tropical rainforest of Arfak mountains is only suitable for visitors who like adventure.
Please, contact me by email to peace4wp@gmail.com if you are interested and fit enough to go to Warmarway village to watch the Lesser Birds of Paradise. by Charles Roring

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Rainforest Tour along Dopi River of Manokwari regency

The tropical rainforest along Dopi river is located on the west of Manokwari town. To reach the river, we need to walk for around 3 hours. There is a camp at the bank of the river that is usually used by foreign visitors when they go trekking and camping in the lowland rainforest of Manokwari. 
Wild animals such as kangaroo, deers, wild pigs, casuari, possums, monitor lizards (soa-soa) snakes, cuscus may be seen in the jungle around Dopi river if visitors camp there for several nights. 
The rainforest of Dopi are also home to a lot of species of lowland birds including lesser birds of paradise, western crowned pigeon, white goshawk, sandpiper, sulphur crested cockatoo, pygmy parrots. When walking through the jungle we can easily identify Blyth's hornbills by hearing its fluttering wings. Birds are usually active early in the morning and before sunset.
I have guided a lot of tourists along the river of Dopi on a number of rainforest tours since several years ago. They came from France, England, Australia, the Netherlands, and the United States. Some visited the rainforest just to enjoy walking in the tropical jungle while others went there to see birds, flowers and various species of trees, flowers, and green plants.
Terrestrial orchids can be seen growing on the mountain just 1-hour walk from Dopi river. They have got red, pink, and white colors. African tulip (Spathodea campanulata) blooms out of the branches of tall trees. They can easily be recognized by their orange color. Another flower that attracts the attention of visitors is Glory Vine (Varadaya splendida). It release fragrant smell. This vine plants grows near the bank of Dopi river. Ylang-ylang plants also grow in the forest. The extracted oil from the flowers are highly valued by beauticians and natural therapists around the world.
Trekking and Camping
The best way to experience the nature is by staying fore several nights at the bank of the river. Two camps have been built on separate locations in the jungle which visitors can use. Accompanied by our local guides, visitors can walk in the mornings, in the afternoons and at nights to explore the rainforest and see various species of animals that live in the rainforest. Most often, the sounds of birds can clearly be heard while visitors swim or take a bath at the river.
We have prepared cooking gear for visitors so they don't have to bring pan, plates, or glasses. This rainforest tour program is prepared by Charles Roring to help local people get some money from their efforts in preserving the tropical rainforest of Dopi river. 
For trekking, camping and birdwatching at Dopi river, please contact me by e-mail: peace4wp@gmail.com

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Birding in Arfak Mountains

The mountain range of Arfak is a nature reserve in the south of Manokwari that has been famous as a favorite destination for birdwatchers. I guided Professor Richard Ebright from 18 to 20 July 2013 on a birding tour in a cloud forest of the range. The professor was not doing research works. He came here as a tourist who wanted to watch birds of paradise in Arfak mountains.
When we were walking and watching birds with a local birding guide, Hans Mandacan, in the territory of Kwau village, we saw several birds that have got outstanding characteristics such as:

  • Vogelkop Bowerbird that decorates his "palace" or bower with beautiful flowers, snail shells, fruits and other colorful articles. He made his bower from twigs.
  • Male Western Parotia (Parotia sefilata) that dances like a ballerina to seduce his female bird. Male Western Parotia does not have feather as elaborate as Lesser Birds of Paradise but his "ballet dance" is really fantastic. 
  • Magnificent Birds of Paradise that displays his beautiful feather, expand his chest and plays his sickle like tail antennas to attract his female birds.
In order to see these unique and beautiful birds of New Guinea, we had to wait for each of them in dark hides/ blinds that were cold, and full of mosquitoes. Each of the above species has its separate dancing or courtship ground. On the average we needed to spend 3 to 5 hours to see each bird came to the respected dancing ground. Our long waiting and boring bore excellent results. We were able to make videos and photographs of the birds. We also saw other interesting birds that came to or landed on the ground where Western Parotia would dance. They were Cinnamon Ground Dove and Spotted Catbird. There were to other small birds that I could not identify.
The Cinnamon Ground Dove ate grains that fell onto the surface of the ground. When we were waiting for the male Western Parotia to dance, it was the Cinnamon bird that came first. Naturally male Western Parotia has got dancing skills that he uses to perform beautiful dances that look so beautiful. I hope that there will be a choreographer that can develop or create a human dance after the Western Parotia's dance so more people can enjoy it.
After exploring the dense, wet and cold forest of Arfak range for 3 days, finally I and Prof. Richard Ebright had to return to Manokwari. He could continue his trip to Cendrawasih Bay going on board of MV. Dewi Nusantara. He would scuba dive in the bay to see pristine coral reef of West Papua as well as swim with whaleshark.
Before getting on the car, I, Prof. Ebright and some Papuans from Kwau village posed for some pictures. Some of the villagers are university students who study in Papua University. They work as local guides, cooks and porters in this eco-tourism program. The money that they earn is very valuable for them in supporting their study. So, I am very happy to see that my eco-tours in Manokwari and West Papua can bring positive impacts to the education of Papuan youths.
The birding site is in the slopes of Mount Soyti (one of the mountains of Arfak range) in the territory of Kwau village. This area is located between 1,300 to 1,500 meters above sea level. Visitors need to hire a 4WD pick-up truck such as Toyota Hilux or Ford Ranger to reach the tropical cloud forest that covers Mount Soyti. It takes around 2 hours from the city of Manokwari to reach the forest. For further info, please contact me Charles Roring/ E-mail: peace4wp@gmail.com

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

One Night in Arfak mountains

After trekking for 10 hours in the lowland forest along Pami river, the next morning I and the 3 French tourists continued their trip to upper montane forest of Arfak mountains. They were Paul, Sophie and Stephanie. We left Manokwari early in the morning hoping to reach the forest of Kwau village at around 6 a.m. so that we would be able to watch vogelkop bowerbird seducing his female birds. The 4WD pick-up truck that was carrying us was driven by Goris. He drove the Toyota Hilux fast. Unfortunately, while heading to meet our local guide, Hans Mandacan, the driver made a mistake. By accident he drove the truck into a ditch that was covered by thick grass. We had to put granite stones into the ditch to help the driver pulled the car out of it. The car could not arrive on time.
Fortunately, when these French guests went to watch the vogelkop bowerbird (Amblyornis innornatus), they were able to see it. In the afternoon, they were able to watch Western Parotia (Parotia sefilata) whose male bird dances like a ballerina. They were lucky because not all of the guests who visited Arfak range saw the bird. Well, because the one that dances is a male bird, the right term might be dancer or danseur. What is a male ballet dancer called? balletmen or ballerino :-)
At night, the temperature dropped. I saw the French women put on thick clothing. It is funny to see European wear several layers of clothing. Perhaps, they are not use to cold temperature anymore because they have been living in Bali for more than five years. They are scuba divers who are attracted to the beauty of coral reef of Indonesia. All of us went to bed at around 8 a.m. in order to wake up early in the morning to watch the Magnificent birds of paradise.
They did a very long walking tour in the jungle. They fell to the ground, experienced bruises on their feet and become exhausted at the end of the trip. But they said that they really liked the rainforest tour. I am really grateful for their support in my eco-tourism program that is aimed at preserving rainforest and empowering the indigenous people of Papua. by Charles Roring/ E-mail: peace4wp@gmail.com



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