Friday, March 29, 2019

Manokwari is now in good season for Snorkeling

The sea around Manokwari waters is calm now. It is a good season for snorkeling. With snorkeling mask, fins and underwater camera, I go to the beach to enjoy swimming over coral reef. I often guide tourists who also want to see the underwater world of Manokwari. We go to the north coast of Manokwari where the sea is more connected with the Pacific Ocean that is rich in Marine Life.
Red and Black Anemonefish
Fish such as Red and Black Anemonefish, Striped Surgeonfish, Three-spots Dascyllus, Moorish Idol and Rabbitfish are some of the marine creatures which visitors can see. To take pictures of them, I like to freedive and move closer to the fish. Holding a big rock with my left hand to stabilize my body in the water, I shoot the fish with my right hand.
Some Reef Fish in Manokwari Waters
Snorkeling in Manokwari is a fascinating thing which tourists can do when visiting Manokwari. As a tourist guide, I can organize snorkeling tours that can be combined with hiking, and camping in the forest for visitors who want to see Birds of Paradise and cuscus possum. Manokwari is beautiful both underwater and in the rainforest.
If you are plan to visit Manokwari and want me to organize your tours both to the coral reef sites and to the forest, please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

Insects in Susnguakti forest

Morphopsis albertisii
Morphopsis albertisii butterfly
For insect watchers, Susnguakti is the most recommended place to visit. I organized a tour for 2 French and 1 Japanese tourists last week. We spent 4 days/ 3 nights hiking, watching birds of paradise, mammals and insects. Several villagers were hired to carry our bags and food. Staying in basecamp in the middle of the forest, we explored the flora and fauna of West Papua. We saw various species of insects. Because, I brought a camera, I could took pictures of them. There were Phasmatodean stick insect, tiger beetle, and Morphopsis albertisii butterfly. Some Cruiser, Ulysses, Silky Owl and Priamus butterflies were seen flying around our basecamp during the day.
Phasmatodean stick insect
Spiders were everwhere. There were fireflies, grasshopper, crickets, dragonflies, and a lot of species of butterflies. Because of the population of insects is abundant, their predators are also abundant. Birds and lizards are the main predators.
I do not have field guide books for identifying insects. So, after returning to Manokwari city, I used internet to find more info about them.
Visitors who are interested in watching insects in Susnguakti forest of Manokwari need to bring camera that has got macro shooting mode and if possible, a magnifying glass.
How to get to Susnguakti forest:
Insect in Manokwari forest
Tiger Butterfly
  • Fly from your country to Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia.
  • Continue your trip by taking a domestic flight to Manokwari city. Airlines such as Garuda, Sriwijaya Air and Batik Air provide regular flights between Jakarta and Manokwari.
  • When you arrive in Manokwari city, I could meet you at the airport and organize your trip to Susnguakti forest.
Please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

Birds of Paradise in Susnguakti Forest of Manokwari

Lesser Birds of Paradise
in Susnguakti forest of Manokwari
The lower montane forest of Manokwari that is a good site for watching paradise birds is Susnguakti. It is located in the south of Manokwari regency. To reach it, we need to go by motorized vehicle for 1 hour. Arriving at the foot of Mount Susnguakti, we still need to continue our trip by hiking up the steep slopes of the forest for another 1 hour to reach our basecamp. When I organize hiking, birding, and camping tour to the forest for tourists, I usually hire some villagers to carry our bags, food and camping gear. There is a base camp in the middle of the forest which we have built to accommodate tourists. This is a basic accommodation that we provide for tourists.

Watching Birds of Paradise

King Bird of Paradise in Susnguakti forest
The main tourist attraction in the forest of Susnguakti is Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor). Visitors who want to them can do it in the afternoons from 15.00-17.00 and in the mornings from 06.00 - 09.00. Bringing a good pair of binoculars such as Nikon, Leica, Swarovski 10×42 or 12×50 is highly recommended. There are birding huts that we have prepared for visitors to sit in in order to watch the paradise birds. There are other paradise birds that we can also watch during our stay in the forest. Some of them include King Bird of Paradise (Cicinnurus regius), Magnificent Riflebird (Ptiloris magnificus), and Common Paradise Kingfisher (Tanysiptera galatea). The sites for watching these birds are scattered around 10 to 15 minutes walk from basecamp.
Usually, after watching Lesser Birds of Paradise, I will continue our morning tour to higher elevation area to watch King Bird of Paradise. It is a small bird whose back and wings are red. His underparts are white. The female one is similar to other female birds of paradise. Her feather is brown. Because the active time of the Magnificent Riflebird is the relatively the same as the Lesser Birds of Paradise, I usually organize the watching session for this bird on the second day.
Common Paradise Kingfisher
The Common Paradise Kingfisher is a very beautiful kingfisher that has got 2 long tails or antennas. Alfred Russel Wallace, a British naturalist, who visited Manokwari in 1858 called it: Racquet-tailed Kingfisher. It is active in the morning at around 06.00. I usually organize a walking trip in the forest to watch this bird on the second or third day of the tour.

Taking Pictures or Birds

Most tourists like to take pictures of interesting animals or flowers that they see in the forest during the tour. Most birdwatchers know what to bring. For ordinary travelers who are not familiar to birdwatching, they might feel discourage when they find out that their pocket cameras are not able to shoot paradise birds in high trees. As a matter of fact there are cameras that are affordable and good enough for taking pictures of birds. Some bridge or super-zoom cameras that I recommend are Panasonic Lumix FZ80, Nikon Coolpix P900, P1000, B700; Canon Powershot SX70HS and Sony Cybershot DSC-HX400. For owners of D-SLR camera, a telephoto lens such as Sigma 150-600 mm sport or Tamron 150-600mm G2 lens is an affordable choice. 
Hooded Butcherbird
In addition to the paradise birds that I mention above, the rainforest of Susnguakti is the natural habitat of a lot of birds including the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Blyth's Hornbill, Orange-bellied Fruit Dove, Hooded Butcherbird, Black-capped Lory, Fairy Lorikeet, Mimic Meliphaga, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Marbled Frogmouth, Yellow-capped Pygmy Parrot, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, and a lot more. 
When I guide tourists to this Susnguakti forest, I bring my spotting scope Kinglux 20-60×60. This birding device greatly enhances the birdwatching experience of tour participants. 

Night Walk

Glowing Mushroom
In addition to carrying day trips in the forest, I also organize night walks for visitors to watch cuscus possum, Papua dragon lizard, and glowing mushroom, fireflies, ground brown skink and bandicoot. Visitors need to apply mosquito repellent lotion, wear hiking boots and torch or flashlights in order to participate in this tour.
Booking
Please, contact me (Charles Roring) if you want to take this hiking and birdwatching tour to this Susnguakti forest of Manokwari at the folling details:
Whatsapp: +6281332245180
Email: peace4wp@gmail.com

Friday, March 22, 2019

Watching Paradise Birds and Wild Animals in Susnguakti Forest

Susnguakti is a lower montane forest in Manokwari. It is a nice destination for tourists who are looking for a true jungle trip experience.
I have just returned from the forest today. I guided 3 tourists on hiking, camping, bird and wildlife watching tour for 4 days/ 3 nights. They were Jeff and Charlotte from France, Toshiki Matsui from Japan. I guided them to watch Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor), King Bird of Paradise (Cicinnurus regius), Magnificent Riflebird (Ptiloris magnificus), and Common Paradise Kingfisher (Tanysiptera galatea).
King Bird of Paradise (Cicinnurus regius)
King Bird of Paradise as seen in Susnguakti forest during night walk tour
Although our targets were paradise birds, we were able to see other birds as well. Some of them included Mimic Meliphaga, Yellow-capped Pygmy Parrot, Marbled Frogmouth, Brown Cuckoo Dove, Blyth's Hornbill, Black-capped Lory, Fairy Lorikeet, Hooded Butcherbird, Hooded Pitta, Spangled Drongo, Orange-bellied Fruit Dove, and Yellow-billed Kingfisher. We watched these birds in the mornings and in the afternoons. I brought my 10×42 mm Visionking binoculars and 20-60×60 Visionking Binoculars. They greatly enhanced the birdwatching experience of the visitors.
Cuscus Possum
Cuscus Possum
When we did night walks, we saw a King Bird of Paradise sleeping on a small branch of a tree around 4 meters above the ground. We spent a lot of time taking pictures of this small bird and admiring its beautiful feather. I used Canon EOS 200D with its 18-55mm lens. It was not a telephoto lens but it was good enough for taking pictures of the paradise bird. For 3 consecutive nights, we saw him sleeping at the same twig of the tree.
Birds of Paradise are active in the mornings and in the evenings. When we were waiting for a Magnificent Riflebird landing on its dancing site (which is a branch of a tree), we heard the sounds of Hooded Pitta walking among the bush. I immediately played its recorded sounds to attract him. He heard the calls and walked towards the place where I was sitting. I was holding camera and cell phone (which was my sound player). My camera was inside my bag and I was not ready to take pictures of the birds. Next time, I will be ready with my camera when I call him.
Cuscus possum was one of the most important attractions of Susnguakti forest. Local villager accompanied us during night walks to call cuscus. Yes, the male cuscus was called by immitating the sounds of female ones. We also saw bandicoot that looked like a big rat. Actually bandicoot was a marsupial animal.
Bandicoot
Bandicoot in Susnguakti forest
There were a lot of butterflies, and other insects in Susnguakti forest. We saw cruiser, swallowtail blue mountain, priamus birdwing, and meadow argus butterflies. We also saw walking stick (an insect), ground brown skink, Papua dragon lizard, snake, firefly, lizard and frog.
The primary forest where we stayed was a very rich of tropical vegetation. There bamboo, glowing mushroom, giant ficus tree, orchid, and beautiful staghorn fern epiphytes.
The basecamp where we stayed were simple and very basic. I brought dome tents, provided mattrasses, pillows, and spotting scope as well as cooking and eating utensils. We used a small river as our bathing tub and toilet.
Tourists who are interested in taking this jungle tour have to be fit physically because they need to go hiking up steep slopes of Susnguakti forest for around 1 hour to reach the base camp.
After completing the tour, I arranged a public transport vehicle that brought the Japanese tourist to Swissbel hotel and the French couple to Oriestom hotel in Manokwari city.
Booking
Please, contact me: Charles Roring
by whatsapp: +6281332245180 or
by email: peace4wp@gmail.com
For more information about this bird and wildlife watching site, you could click this link: Susnguakti Forest

Sunday, March 17, 2019

New Birding Site in Klasow Valley

We now open a new birding site in Klasow valley. It is located in the northern region of West Papua within the territory of Tambrauw regency. Visitors who are interested in taking a guided birding trip with me to the region will be able to see various species of tropical birds including Red-breasted Paradise Kingfisher, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Magnificent Riflebird, Yellow-faced Myna, Golden Myna, Western-crowned Pigeon, Eclectus Parrot, Palm Cockatoo, Red-cheeked Parrot, and a lot of other birds that live in West Papua's rainforest.
Dollarbird in Tambrauw regency
If you are interested to do birding in this new site, you need to fly from your country to Jakarta city and then continue your flight to Sorong city. I could meet you at the airport of Sorong and organize your birdwatching tour to Klasow valley.
Accommodation: We will stay in a house that belongs to local villagers.
New birding site is located near the road. So, it is very easy for elderly visitors to reach it.
Extended Tour to Raja Ampat
The above birding tour to Klasow valley can be extended to Raja Ampat where visitors could watch Wilson's Bird of Paradise and Red Bird of Paradise as well as other birds such as the Spice Imperial Pigeon, Beach Kingfisher, and a lot more.
For booking, please, contact me by whatsapp to: +6281332245180 or by email: peace4wp@gmail.com.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Snorkeling Holiday in Manokwari

written by Charles Roring
The sea in Manokwari is calm now. It is a good time to enjoy swimming and snorkeling especially in the beaches that have coral reef. To see coral reef, fish and other marine creatures, I need snorkeling equipment such as masks, snorkel, and swimfins. I also bring a good underwater camera such as Nikon W300, or Olympus Tough TG-5 to take pictures. I usually bring my Fujifilm XQ2 that is inserted into its waterproof case.
Red and Black Anemonefish (Amphiprion melanopus)
Morning time is good because the sea is calm. Visibility can be more than 20 meters. The sunlight can reach most part of the coral reef. Before taking pictures, I swim over the reef to find fish or beautiful reef garden. When I find some interesting fish, I will dive until I am close or nearly on the same level as the fish. By doing that, I could make pictures that look brighter. Red and Black Anemonefish, Lemon Damsel, Blue Damsel, Goldhead Damsel, Blenny, and Wrasse can easily be seen in shallow water. After spending around twenty to thirty minutes snorkeling, freediving and shooting fish, I will swim back to the shore and take a rest.
Coral Reef Garden in the north coast waters of Manokwari
Sometimes, birds like Lesser Frigatebird, Black Noddy and Crested Tern can be seen flying in the area. Big butterfly such as the Ornithoptera priamus is common innthe coastal area too. I also guide tourists to the beach to enjoy snorkeling with me.
I provide life jackets, and some masks for tourists who want to visit Manokwari city as their holiday destination. The snorkeling holiday can be combined with hiking tour along the coastal forest and villages of Manokwari. In the hiking tour, tourists could see how local people live in their daily life. We can see birds, butterflies, beetles, frogs, and various kinds of tropical plants from the common coconut trees to the beautiful hibiscus flower plants.
Coral reef is similar to tropical rainforest. It is the natural habitat of hundreds of species of fish. Coral reef also turn CO2 gases into Oxygen and provide food and life in the ocean. This marine ecosystem has to be protected.
Tropical Reef Fish: Moorish Idol

Please, support this blog by purchasing the above drawing on various products of Redbubble such as t-shirts, tanktop, zip hoodie, scarf, iPhone, duvet cover, and a lot more. You could also see other artworks in my Redbubble shop at this link: Nature Art.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Snorkeling in Raja Ampat around Kabui Bay

There are a lot of snorkeling sites in Kabui bay of Raja Ampat. The most popular ones are along southern beach of Waigeo island. In my recent tour with some European tourists, I saw coral breams, parrotfish, squirrelfish, dolphins, triggerfish, puffer, surgeonfish, butterflyfish and a lot more. Access to the coral reef can be done by swimming from the beach or by descending from the wooden jetty of the guesthouse where we stayed at. 
The coral reef was a very rich marine environment. The coral looked hard like a rock but actually they were very fragile. Tour participants who enjoyed swimming, snorkeling or freediving were very careful when they were near the reef.
I highly suggest that visitors bring their own snorkeling gear (mask, snorkel, and swimfins) if they want to swim and see marine life in Raja Ampat.
Marine life at drop off reef of Waigeo island
Coral Reef in the Southern Beach of Waigeo island
I brought my Nikon W300 and used it to take pictures of the fish and the coral reef. Visibility was very good especially in the morning when the sea water was very calm and clear. I could see fish easily up to a distance of around 10 meters. To propel my movement in the sea when I freedived to drop off reef, I wore a pair of swim fins. With a smaller mask and the underwater camera I reached a depth of around 5 to 7 meters below the surface. To stabilize my body, I held a big rock using my left hand and operated the camera with my right hand. 
Pristine marine life in southern waigeo island
Healthy Coral Reef
After taking some pictures of the underwater world, I returned to the surface again. In addition to snorkeling, I also organized sightseeing and birdwatching tours to several small islands in the Kabui bay and to a beach in Gam island. We saw pufferfish in the shallow water, we immediately inform our guests not to touch the fish because its spikes were poisonous. If one got stung by the fish, he or she would suffer severe pains.
Wawiyai karst in Kabui bay of Raja Ampat islands
Karst in Kabui bay
I brought my 10×42 mm Visionking binoculard and Kinglux 20-60×60 spotting scope mounted on a tripod. I greatly enhanced our birdwatching experience. Using that birding devices,  we were able to see Spice Imperial Pigeon, Singing Starling, Olive-backed Sunbird, Stephan's Emerald Dove, White-breasted Woodswallow, Torresian Crow, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Beach Kingfisher, Pacific Swallow, Blyth's Hornbill, Brahminy Kite, Hooded Butcherbird, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo and a lot more.
If you are interested in taking a sightseeing, snorkeling, hiking and birdwatching tour and want me to be your guide, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by whatsapp to: +6281332245180 or by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com.
Also read: Raja Ampat Snorkeling

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Birdwatching and Snorkeling in Raja Ampat and Sorong

I have just completed a birdwatching and snorkeling tour in Raja Ampat and Sorong. I guided four tourists from Australia, Germany and France. They were Gunther, Ulser, Kathrin, and Alex. In Raja Ampat, our main targets were Wilson's Bird of Paradise and Red Bird of Paradise. We were able to watch them very well on the second and third days. To watch Wilson's Bird of Paradise, we had to wake up early in the morning at 04.00 for making some preparation and drinking some tea or coffee. When it was still dark, we left our guesthouse by boat to a beach that was located around 1 kilometer. When we landed, we still had to walk up steep slopes for around one hour to the birding site. Late February and early March were mating season for the bird of paradise. We were able to watch the birds for more than 1 hour. It was a nice experience for everyone who participated in the birding tour. 
The Red Birds of Paradise whose lek was on top of the mountain behind the guesthouse presented us with their beautiful courtship dance performance. We were able to watch them well using binoculars. 

We also had a tour to several islands in Kabui bay by a motorized boat where we watched Olive-backed Sunbird, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Spice Imperial Pigeon, Singing Starling, Eastern Osprey, Brahminy Kite, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Eclectus Parrot, Blyth's Hornbill, Willie Wagtail, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Stephan's Emerald Dove, Hooded Butcherbird, and a lot more. Because I brought spotting scope, we could watch birds in distant trees using a more stable optical device. Participants of the tour were able to watch birds better.
White sandy beach in Gam island
In Waigeo island, we stayed in a guesthouse that was built above the water. From its verandah, we could see coral reef, and fish. Dolphins frequently passed by the guesthouse. I did some snorkeling in the morning after watching Red Bird of Paradise. I used Nikon W300 to take pictures of the reef fish, and corals. The water is so clear, I could see the marine life easily.
In Sorong, I guided birdwatchers to a mountain ridge area where visitors could watch Yellow-faced Myna, Black-browed Triller, Double-eyed Fig Parrot, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Black Sunbird, Helmetted Friarbird, and a lot more. Because the forest is close to Sorong city, visitors can stay in a hotel and do day trips to watch birds.
Visitors who want to take snorkeling and birdwatching tour with me to Raja Ampat and Sorong need to bring binoculars, snorkeling mask, waterproof camera (for taking pictures of fish and coral reef) and super zoom camera for shooting birds in tall trees. The duration of the tour is 3 days in Raja Ampat.
Booking:
Please, contact tourist guide: Charles Roring
E-mail: peace4wp@gmail.com
Whatsapp: +6281332245180

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