Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Birding in Kabui of Raja Ampat

Kabui is the name of a bay in Raja Ampat islands. It is one of my favorite birding sites. Every time I organize a birding tour in Waigeo, I always try to include a trip by motorized boat to the bay so that visitors could see the beauty of its karst formations and watch such birds as Beach Kingfisher, Spice Imperial Pigeon, Stephan's Emerald Dove, Great-billed Parrot, Palm Cockatoo, Brahminy Kite, Eastern Osprey, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Wimbrel, Sooty Tern, Lesser-crested Tern and a lot more.
Travel Raja Ampat
Birding by boat in Kabui bay of Raja Ampat
There are hundreds of karst islets in the bay. The waters inside the islets are very calm even during wave season. In my previous trips with an American tourists I saw Little-pied Cormorant, Striated Heron, Eastern Reef Egret, Rainbow Bee Eater, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Olive-backed Sunbird, Blyth's Hornbill.

Boat is not a stable platform for birding especially in the waters that are not calm. I ask boat driver to stop the boat or lower its speed. Most often we have to land at a beach to enjoy birding.
I usually bring a spotting scope and tripod and put it on a beach so that tour participants can watch birds that sit on the branches of tall trees in remote islands. Moustached Tree Swift, Eclectus Parrot, Singing Starling, and Violet-necked Lory are some of the birds that we can watch in Kabui bay.
In my last birding trip to the bay with American tourists, we included snorkeling activity. It was a very nice adventure.
If you want to travel to Raja Ampat and want me (Charles Roring) to organize your tour, please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Beach Kingfisher

I still guided the Singaporean tourists yesterday. Nurlin Juni from Malia Tours organized their trip. We went into the forest early in the morning to find Papuan Boobook, Western-crowned Pigeon and Red-bellied Pitta. We watched Red Bird of Paradise until 09.00 and continued our birding walk until 13.00. The activity of birds was much reduced during mid-day time. So, we returned to Putras Resort for having lunch.
Beach Kingfisher
I had lunch with Nurlin, Melkhi, and the drivers at the beach. Facing the blue sea, I saw a Beach Kingfisher sitting and calling from a hanging branch at the left cliff of some 50 meters from us. I immediately stood and walked to my camera. I grabbed it and walked to the beach. I carefully approached the bird and positition myself behind wave barrier of the resort. After that I aimed my camera at the bird. With several shots, I got the pictures of the Beach Kingfisher. The above photograph is one of them.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Watching Birds with Singaporean Tourists in Waigeo Island

Today I guided six Singaporean tourists on a birdwatching trip in southern region of Waigeo island. We visited the rainforest of South Waigeo, the ring-road area of Marinda airport and the Warduwer beach. We watched Wilson's Bird of Paradise, Common Paradise Kingfisher, and Frilled Monarch in the forest. Because the vegetation in the forest was dense, it was not easy to see birds.
Singaporean tourists in Waigeo island
Singaporean birdwatchers at Warduwer beach of Waigeo island
After watching birds in the forest, we continued our trip to Warduwer beach. Here, more birds could easily be seen including the Torresian Crow, Claret-breasted Fruit Dove, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Willie Wagtail, Lesser Frigatebird, and Eclectus Parrot and Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Claret-breasted Fruit Dive and Hooded Butcherbird. Before lunch time, we still had a short birding trip a long the road in the east and north of Marinda airport where we saw Grey-headed Goshawk, Rainbow Bee-eater, Oriental Dollarbird, Wimbrel, and Eastern Great Egret.
The Singaporean birdwatchers brought binoculars, Swarovski and Kowa spotting scopes. They also brought D-SLR and Nikon P900 bridge cameras for taking pictures of birds. These equipment significantly enhanced their birding experience.
During lunch time at Putras resort, we saw Beach Kingfisher, and Yellow-faced Myna. We took a rest until 15.00 and continued our birding trip to a road in the west of the airpot. There we saw Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Eclectus Parrot, Helmetted Friarbird.
Watching Birds in Waigeo island
At 17.00, we returned to Warduwer beach to enjoy birdwatching until 18.30. Here, we saw more birds including Pink-spotted Fruit Dove, Beautiful Fruit Dove, Palm Cockatoo, Red-cheeked Parrot, a male Red Bird of Paradise (male), Glossy-mantled Manucode, Rainbow Lorikeet, and a lot of other birds that we saw in the morning.
Warduwer beach is a great place for birdwatching. A resort is being constructed at the beach. It will be an ideal place to stay for birding visitors who plan to take their holiday in Waigeo island of Raja Ampat. It also has got beautiful house reef. Visitors who like swimming and snorkeling can stay at the resort too.
Thick clouds were gathering in the sky. We decided to return to the resort again. Tomorrow, we will go to the forest to see Red Bird of Paradise.
If you are interested in traveling to Raja Ampat and want me to organize your tour, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Watching Birds in Waigeo island of Raja Ampat

Early this month I guided two tourists from the United States. We went birding in the southern region of Waigeo island and also by boat to the karst islets inside Kabui bay. We spent for days walking along the coast and roadside as well as the forest edges to watch tropical birds of Raja Ampat. 
Eclectus Parrot
My guests, Bruce and Paige Harvey brought a very nice Celesteon ED lens spotting scope that could help us see birds in distant trees. With this birding device and binoculars, we were able to watch Blyth's Hornbill, Eclectus Parrot, Palm Cockatoo, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Pied Imperial Pigeon, Spice Imperial Pigeon, Beautiful Fruit Dove, Claret-breasted Fruit Dove, Beach Kingfisher, Sacred Kingfisher, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Spangled Drongo, White-breasted Woodswallow, Pacific Swallow, Glossy Swiftlet, Dusky Scrubfowl, Torresian Crow, Rainbow Bee-eater, Moustached Treeswift, Singing Starling, Little-pied Cormorant, Red Bird of Paradise, Hooded Butcherbird, Black Butcherbird, Mimic Meliphaga, Lesser crested Tern, Sooty Tern, Olive-backed Sunbird, Black Sunbird, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Brahminy Kite, Eastern Osprey, Long-tailed Buzzard, and a lot more. 
Lesser frigatebirds hovering the sea to catch fish
Lesser Frigate Birds
I brought Canon 200D that was powered by Tamron 150-600 mm G2 lens. It was quite good for taking pictures of birds that were flying or sitting in tall trees. 
Waigeo island or Raja Ampat, in general, is a good destination for birding visitors. They can watch sea birds that live in coastal area such as Eastern Reef Egret, Striated Heron or tropical rainforest ones such as the Common Paradise Kingfisher. 
In addition to birding, I also accompanied my guests on scuba diving and snorkeling excursion. While in the water, we could see a lot of species of fish including anemonefish, trevally, sweetlips, parrotfish, grouper, and a lot more. After spending 4 days in Raja Ampat, we continued our trip to Sorong and Manokwari.
Eastern Osprey
Eastern Osprey
If you are interested in birding and snorkeling in Raja Ampat and want me to be your guide, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Paradise Bird that Dances Like a Ballerina

Male Western Parotia was performing his ballet dance
Last week I visited Arfak range. I guided two birding visitors from the United States at that time. Our targets were Western Parotia, Magnificent Bird of Paradise, Black Sicklebill, and Superb Bird of Paradise. During our 5 days of tour in Arfak mountains, we were able to watch them. For us, watching the dance of Western Parotia was in our list of target. To watch the bird, we had to wake up early in the morning at 04.30 to make preparations such as wearing hiking boots or sport shoes, putting all our birdwatching equipment. After drinking tea/ coffee and eating some biscuits, we left our guesthouse in Mount Soyti. We used flashlight because it was still dark. First we walked along the unpaved road for five minutes and then did hiking up steep slopes for fifteen to twenty minutes. When we arrived at the birding ground, we still had to enter a birding hut that had been constructed from corrugated metal roofs for birdwatchers by villagers. To increase our chance of watching the bird, villager put red pandanus fruit on a wooden frame around 5 feet above the ground. 
In less than 2 minutes after sitting inside the observation hut, we saw a bird landed on the red fruit. It was a female Superb Bird of Paradise. She began to eat the grains of the red fruit as we turned on our digital cameras and aimed them at the bird. Sunglight had appeared in the sky but had not fully reach the forest floor. In such low light condition, I carefully adjusted my camera and pressed its shutter button several times to shoot the bird. Later, more birds came. They were female Western Parotias. They also ate the fruits. 
Western Parotia (Parotia sefilata)

A dark bird showed up in higher branch of a tree in front of us and started to make calls. It was a male Western Parotia.
Most of his body, tail, and head were covered by black feather. His breast was covered by metalic breast shield. Forehead was triangular white. He had crystal blue eyes and six wire head antennas. Three on each side. He was a beautiful paradise bird.
He hopped to lower branches and hanging vines and then to the ground. He picked up fallen leaves and twigs. While clearing his dancing stage, he did some rehearsals. Suddenly he flew towards the red fruit. The female parotias jumped to nearby by branches. The male parotia ate some grains of the fruits and then returned to his dancing ground again. He picked up some more dry leaves and started to perform his ballet dance. When doing his performance, he expanded his feather to look like skirt. He walked, shaked his head, and did a little jump. In the avian world he is considered as the best ballet dancer.
Western Parotia (Parotia sefilata)
Male Western Parotia
I made tens of photographs of the paradise bird when he was in the tree, or on the dancing ground. I was amazed by the beautiful dance performance of the male Western Parotia. However, the female Western Parotias that were watching him from higher branches were not so impressed with the performance. They returned to the red fruit, ate its grain and then flew away leaving the male Western Parotia in despair. He called them to come back but they did not. He flew to the fruit, had his breakfast and then disappeared into the thick forest of Arfak mountains. There were still other birds that landed on the same fruit such as the female Black Sicklebill (mother and daughter). Later the female Western Parotias returned to the red fruit, they were chased by a young male Western Parotia and by an adult one. 
Our watch indicated that it was 09.10. We decided to wait a little longer with hope that we could watch another dancing show. The male Western Parotia landed on his dancing ground again but he only did some clearing works. We were satisfied with the performance and were happy to leave the birding hut that morning. It had been a fantastic show. - written by Charles Roring

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