Friday, February 22, 2019

Praying Mantis

While I was waiting under a shrub for Magnificent Riflebird to land on the branch of a tree, I saw a praying mantis. This pale green insect climbed a small plant and then stayed on one of its leaves. Perhaps, she was waiting for a prey. I carefully took my camera out of my pocket and aimed it at the beautiful insect. She was not running away when I positioned my camera close to her. I tried several shooting modes to optimize the results. Under the canopy of the forest, the light was not strong. I shot the praying mantis several times. Here is one of the photographs that I made.
Praying Mantis
There were also cruiser butterfly, swallow-tailed blue mountain butterfly, dragonfly, and beetles in the forest. They could easily be seen especially in the clearing area of our basecamp in Susnguakti forest of Manokwari. 
Below is my drawing of Ornithoptera priamus butterfly that was feeding on the nectar of Hibiscus flower. The artwork is now available in prints on various kinds of products such as iPhone case, throw pillow, t-shirt, drawstring bags, greeting card, spiral notebook, and etc.
Please, click the following picture if you are interested in buying them.
Birdwing butterfly eats nectar of Hibiscus flower
Birdwing Buterfly and Hibiscus iPhone case

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Hiking Tour Along Manokwari Coast

I offer an affordable hiking tour package for tourists who are interested in seeing birds, insects, tropical wild flowers that live in Manokwari coastal forest. This tour is suitable for everyone who wants enjoy hiking along a clear road with green vegetation on both of its sides. The best time to do the hiking tour is in the morning and in the afternoon. Visitors can see a lot of species of butterflies, grasshopper, spider and dragonfly as well as frigatebird, sunbird and forest lizard.
A butterfly with a broken wing
Because the walking tour is quite long, we need to bring water, some biscuits. We could also buy some fruits at the villages that we will be walking through. 
The trails are mostly flat and suitable for anybody who wants to see nature that is not far from Manokwari. 
Wild Flowers
In my previous trip with Margarete, a German lady, I was able to take pictures of tiger butterfly with broken wing and pink wild flowers. I highly recommend that visitors bring camera if they want to take pictures of them. A good pair of binoculars is also good for watching birds, or orchid in high trees.  While walking near a forest edge, I saw a toad crossing the road. I wait patiently until it reached the other side of the road. It was quite close to me. So, I aimed my camera at the toad and shot him from above.
Toad
If you are interested in taking this hiking tour with me in Manokwari, please, contact me by sending text message to my whatsapp: +6281332245180 or by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Rainforest and Coral Reef Tours in Manokwari

Manokwari is a nice destination for tourists who are interested in exploring rainforest and coral reef of West Papua. There are unique tropical plants, birds, butterflies, frogs, possums, and lizards that we can see when we go hiking and camping in the forest. Birds of Paradise have become important targets of observation especially among birdwatching visitors.
Susnguakti forest in Manokwari
The most recommended forest for watching birds of paradise, and other wild animals is Susnguakti forest. It is located in eastern region of Arfak range. Visitors usually spend 3 to 4 days hiking and camping in the forest to watch such birds as Magnificent Riflebird, Lesser Birds of Paradise, King Bird of Paradise, Hooded Butcherbird, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, and Common Paradise Kingfisher.
After dinner, they can do night walk to find Papua Dragon Lizard, Cuscus Possum, Bandicoot, and Glowing Mushroom. When the sun shines brightly in the sky,  beautiful butterflies like Cruiser, Swallow-tail Blue Mountain, and Silky Owl fly around the basecamp. 
I offer 3 days/ 2 nights tour to this forest for visitors who like to see and explore the biodiversity of New Guinea. 
Coral Reef in Manokwari
In addition to hiking, camping, bird and wildlife watching, I also offer snorkeling tour for visitors who want to see anemonefish, butterflyfish, parrotfish and striped surgeonfish of Manokwari beach.
Booking
Please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Komplex Missi

Yesterday, I had a short walking tour around my neighborhood - Komplex Missi. There were 2 elementary schools, 1 junior high school, 1 big building Catholic church Saint Agustinus with its priest house, and 1 small convent of Catholic nuns and 1 health clinic run by the nuns.
Catholic Church Saint Agustinus
It was around 16.30 when I walked up a small slope next to my house. I saw some children were playing near a coconut tree. One boy was trying to climb the tree to get its fruits. After school hours, the area was quite.
There was a small concrete structure in the schoolyard of SD Padma 2. It was used as a bunker by Japanese forces during World War II that protected them from bombardments by the allied airforces or any attacks by Dutch guerilla fighters.
Small Japanese Bunker from World War II era
The old building of Catholic Church Saint Agustinus had been demolished and replaced with new circular wall design. As a matter of fact, I prefer the old building to the new one because it was environmentally friendly. It had big windows that were permanently open to allow for continuous air circulation - suitable for tropical climate.
There are artists who live in Komplex Missi, Ms. Marice Fonataba who makes handmade woven cloth and Mr. Lucky Kaikatui, a painter who specialized in painting birds of paradise and the nature of Papua using oil on canvas as his main media.
Plumeria or Frangipani


I also saw various colorful flowers at the front yard of the nuns' convent. Some butterflies were hopping from one flower to another to eat their nectar.
This Komplex Missi was a nice neighborhood because it was still covered by trees. There were langsat, coconut tree, and some plumeria trees.

Komplex Missi is a nice playing ground for children in this neighborhood. It is also a nice place for adults who like an easy, short and nice walking tour.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Tour in Coastal Region of Manokwari

Manokwari is the capital of West Papua Province of Indonesia. It has been a famous destination among visitors who like nature. There are a lot of places around Manokwari which tourists can visit to see plants, insects, birds, butterflies and wild flowers in the forest as well as enjoy snorkeling over coral reef to see various colorful fish.
Because most of the terrains in this tour is easy to moderate, this tour is suitable for anyone who cannot do hiking in the steep slopes of Arfak mountains. It is also recommended for visitors who only stay for short period of time in Manokwari.
Hill Forest of Manokwari

ITINERARY
Here is the details of the program:
This trip is day trip. Visitors can stay in their hotel and do the tour during the day.
Day 1
Hiking in hill forest of Manokwari to see various kinds of tropical plants, wild flower, bird, butterfly, grasshopper, dragon fly, and etc. If the weather is good, we could explore a cave in the forest to see its stalactite and stalagmite as well as bats, frogs, and lizards that live in it.

Day 2
In the morning, there are birds such as starlings, frigatebird, kingfishers that are active in the forest of the island. There are butterflies and beetles too. We can go hiking to the top of the island to see the scenery. In the afternoon, we can walk to the beach to enjoy swimming and snorkeling.
Coastal Region of Manokwari
Day 3
We will start our exploration of the lowland area of Manokwari by walking along the coast. There are butterflies, birds, wild flowers that we can see along the way. In the hiking route, we can take a rest at the beach of a village in the north coast of Manokwari. We can enjoy swimming and snorkeling too.

Things to bring:
Insect repellent lotion, Drinking water, Snacks, Camera, Hat, Rain poncho, Snorkeling mask, and flippers, Binoculars for bird and widlife watching, What you can wear, T-shirts and jeans/ shorts, sport shoes or hiking sandals (with socks)


Cost: 5,000,000 rupiahs for 2 people
This includes transportation, snacks, guides and payment to local villagers whose beaches or forest we enter.

The cost does not include hotel accommodation and dinner after day tour in Manokwari city,

Booking
Please, contact Charles Roring
Whatsapp: +6281332245180
E-mail: peace4wp@gmail.com

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Birdwatching in Montane Forest of Manokwari

I offer birdwatching tour in montane forest of Manokwari. The main target birds for lower montane area are Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor) Magnificent Riflebird (Ptiloris magnificus), King Bird of Paradise (Cicinnurus regius), and Common Paradise Kingfisher (Tanysiptera galatea). For higher elevation area, we will focus on watching Magnificent Bird of Paradise (Dyphillodes magnificus), Vogelkop Bowerbird (Amblyornis inornata), Western Parotia (Parotia sefilata), and Black Sicklebill (Epimachus fastosus). The duration of the tour is 1 week. We will spend around 3 days in Susnguakti forest and 3 days in Mount Soyti. Both birdwatching sites are located in Arfak mountains.
Visitors who want to take this tour need to bring their own binoculars and camera with telephoto lens. Bird of New Guinea (written by Thane K. Pratt and Bruce Beehler) is our field guide.
birding in Arfak mountains of Manokwari
Birdwatching in Manokwari
Itinerary

Higher Montane Forest

Day 1
Arriving in Manokwari city, you will be transferred by a 4wd car directly from the airport to a guesthouse in higher elevation forest of Arfak mountains. After drinking some tea or coffee, we will go to the birding ground of Vogelkop Bowerbird. At night, we could visit a nearby river to find frog.
Guesthouse of Birdwatchers in Mount Soyti
Beds in the guesthouse of Mount Soyti
Day 2
Early in the morning, we will walk to the birding ground of Magnificent Bird of Paradise. We will watch it until 09.00. Most often, other birds also come to the same site such as the Green-backed Robin, Black-eared Catbird and Black Fantail. When we walk back to the guesthouse, we may see other birds such as Western Smoky Honeyeater, Goldenface or Hooden Pitohui and Black-winged Monarch.
In the afternoon, we could go hiking to watch Western Parotia whose male one dances like a ballerina. After that we can walk back to the guesthouse. In the trees on both side of the road, there are birds that we can watch such as Modest Tiger Parrot, Mountain Fruit Dove, or Vogelkop Melidectes.

Day 3
We will wake up early in the morning to have tea or coffee. At around 05.00, we will walk up steep slope of Mount Soyti to the birding ground of Black Sicklebill. Sometimes other birds such as Superb Bird of Paradise and female Western Parotia also comes to the same birding ground.

Lower Montane Forest

In general, the typical program of the birdwatching tour can be described as follows:
Day 4
Transfer by car to Susnguakti forest. It takes around 1.5 hours by car to the foot of the mountain range. After that we will continue our trip by hiking to our basecamp. After eating some biscuits and hot tea or coffee, we could walk to the birding site of Lesser Birds of Paradise. We will watch them for around 2 hours. We will return to the basecamp to take a rest. There is no toilet in the forest. Participants of the tour could use the nearby river. After dinner, we could do night walk to find cuscus possum. There are also fire flies, mushrooms that glow in the dark.
There is no guesthouse in this lower montane forest of Arfak mountains. We only have simple basecamp. We provide dome tents, mattrasses, solar powered lights, cooking and eating utensils in the forest. We will use them as our supporting tools and devices during our stay in the forest.
Dome tent with mattrasses and pillows
our basecamp for tourists in the forest of Manokwari
Day 5
Early in the morning, we will go to the birding site of Magnificent Riflebird which is only around 10 minutes walk from basecamp. After watching the bird, we could continue our trip to the birdwatching site of King Bird of Paradise. It is a small bird with red wings, and white underparts. In the surrounding forest birds such as Rufous-bellied Kookaburra and Common Paradise Kingfisher can also be seen.
At night we could do another tour in the forest to find Papua Dragon lizard, ground skink, or frog.

Day 6
We could do a review of paradise birds that we haven't seen well such as the Lesser Bird of Paradise or the King Bird of Paradise. After lunch, we will walk down the steep slopes of Arfak range to the main road and then return to Manokwari city by car.

Day 7
A hiking trip to Mansinam island or to Table Mountain can be organized.

How to go there?
Fly from your country to Jakarta city (the capital of Indonesia). After that, take a domestic flight from Jakarta to Manokwari city. Airlines such as Garuda, Batik Air and Sriwijaya Air provide regular flights to Manokwari.
Batik air flight route Jakarta to Manokwari
Flight route to Manokwari by Batik Air
This birdwatching tour in Arfak mountains can be combined with trips to other areas in West Papua such as Tambrauw Mountains for finding New Guinea Vulturine Parrot, Palm Cockatoo, Eclectus Parrot, Mountain Peltop, Wompoo Fruit Dove; and Raja Ampat for watching Palm Cockatoo, Beach Kingfisher, Red Bird of Paradise, and Wilson's Bird of Paradise.
Hotels in Manokwari
There are a number of hotels which you could choose to stay after finishing your bird tour such as Mansinam Beach Hotel, Swiss Belhotel, Hotel Triton, Hotel Valdoz, Hotel Oriestom, Hotel Oriestom Bay, and etc.

Booking
If you are interested in taking the birding tour, please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or whatsapp message to: +6281332245180.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Watching Western Parotia

This morning (2 February 2019), I accompanied Ms. Susan Myer from Wings Birding to the dancing ground of Western Parotia (Parotia sefilata) located around 1,500 meters above sea level in Arfak mountains. This was not a favorable month to watch the paradise bird because of the rainy season. However, I and local villagers knew some tricks on how to attract the birds.
We left the guesthouse where we stayed at 06.00. We went on foot up the steep trails of Mount Soyti.  We walked slowly. A lot of species of birds were singing in the densed forest. Some that I recognized were Vogelkop Melidectes, Black-eared Catbird, Vogelkop Bowerbird, Blue Grey Robin, Mountain Mouse Warbler, Western Smoky Honeyeater, and a lot more.
Western Parotia (Parotia sefilata)
Male Western Parotia
We entered the birding hut after walking for 20 minutes. The dancing ground of the Western Parotia was only 5 meters away from the hut. The hut was made of wooden sticks and palm leaves with four holes facing the dancing ground of the bird. Visitors used the holes to watch the birds.
Two days earlier, I had come here with Ms. Myer to do our first attempt in watching the bird. I cleared the dancing ground from a lot of dried leaves that covered it. I also brought red pandanus fruit and had it tied on wooden poles near the dancing ground. Our first attempt was not so successful. We were able to watch the Western Parotia but did not see him dancing. On this second attempt, we really hoped that we could see the courtship dance of this paradise bird.
And yes, it took around one and a half hour of waiting before we could see some female Western Parotia landed on the Red Pandanus Fruit to eat its red grains that looked like rice. When the female birds came, the male ones approached. We saw at least two of them. One was a juvenile bird whereas the other - the adult Western Parotia. Because this was the dancing ground of the adult male Western Parotia, the young one could not contest him. The male Western Parotia made several calls and then descended along a hanging vine to his dancing ground. He immediately performed a short dance for around 2 seconds. The female Western Parotia were not impressed. They flew away.
Steep and Slippery road in Arfak mountains
It seemed that the male Western Parotia did not quit. He flew around the forest and made a lot of calls to attract the female bird. He returned to his dancing ground again to clear it from some leaves that landed on it that morning. He also chased away the a female Superb Bird of Paradise that was also eating the red fruit. We saw him danced three times that morning. Because it was not a mating season, the female Western Parotia were not interested in him. Around four female birds came to eat the fruits and then flew away.
It was around 09.30 when I saw the male Western Parotia landed on the red fruit. He looked tired and hungry. After having his breakfast, he climbed the trunk of a small tree in front of our birding hut. While he was climbing he brushed his bill on the trunk to clean it from the left-over of the fruit. He sat for a few seconds on a branch and off he flew into the thick dark forest. We waited for around 15 minutes but could not see the signs of his return.
We were quite happy to see his dances. Unfortunately, I could not make pictures of the performance because the battery of my camera had been exhausted. I could only shoot him while he was hanging on a branch of a wooden stick that supports the red fruit close to the place where I sat.
We returned to our guesthouse with happy faces. We had seen the courtship dance of the male Western Paroti. It was a great experience for us.
In addition to Western Parotia, during our 5 days/ 4 nights tour in the rainforest of Arfak mountains, we saw several target birds such as the Magnificent Bird of Paradise, Black Sicklebill, Vogelkop Bowerbird, and female Superb Bird of Paradise.
Magnificent Bird of Paradise (Dyphyllodes magnificus)
Magnificent Bird of Paradise (Dyphillodes magnificus)
We also did some night walk to a nearby river where we saw some frogs and water beetle. It was a great experience traveling in higher montane forest of Arfak range eventhough the weather was not so supportive.
If you are interested in visiting Manokwari and want me to organize your trip, please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.
Also read: Paradise bird that dances like a ballerina

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