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My Bridge Birding Camera

Lesser Birds of Paradise shot by Fujifilm HS50EXR
Most professional photographers use D-SLR camera with telephoto lens to take pictures of birds. However, they are very expensive and heavy. I have used bridge cameras for birding since 2010. The quality of photographs, may not be the best, but is good enough for bird identification and picture sharing on my blog and social media. My first bridge camera was Nikon Coolpix P500. I used it when I traveled to a lot of regions not only in West Papua but also in Indonesia. Later, when the camera could not function properly anymore, I bought Nikon Coolpix P600. It was a nice camera but had a very short life. I did not make a lot of pictures of birds with the P600. Now, there are Nikon P900 and Nikon P1000 on the market but I haven't tested them yet.
Grass flowers in Tambrauw Mountain
My Current Birding Camera
After using Nikon cameras for several years, I decided to buy a different camera from different brand. I bought a Fujifilm HS50EXR. After using the cameras for several years, I could say that this is my best choice. I have captured hundreds of good quality pictures of birds, butterflies, flowers and landscape scenery. The camera is not expensive compared to high end D-SLR camera. To take pictures of  birds, I have to turn the lens barrel manually. This saves the battery life of my camera. I often spend 3 days up to 2 weeks guiding visitors on a birding trip in the jungle of West Papua from the tropical rainforest of Arfak mountains to Klasow valley, to Raja Ampat. For that long trip, I always have 1 extra battery in the pocket of my bag. I also put the charging device and its cable in it. My Fujifilm HS50EXR allows me to take pictures of birds for several days in the jungle without recharging. I often mention this camera in my blog posts.
Bird photography using Fujifilm HS50EXR
Coconut Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus)
I hope that Fujifilm will continue to upgrade this Finepix HS50 EXR camera by creating higher version with 50x or even 60x optical zoom. However, I am sad to read that the company has discontinued the production and further development this electronic product.
by Charles Roring

Beach Kingfisher

I was in Waisai town of Raja Ampat a few days ago for meeting with other local guides. During that trip I had a short birding walk in a small cape near the harbor. It was morning time and the activity of birds were quite high. Birds that I saw at that time were Willie Wagtail, Coconut Lorikeet, Moustached Treeswift, Singing Starling and Beach Kingfisher.
I brought with me a pair of 10×42 mm Visionking roof prism binoculars, and my old bridge camera Fujifilm HS50EXR. Because I was watching birds from the second floor of a building, I could easily find birds that were perching on the surrounding trees. I could also see some singing starlings that were sitting on top of navigation lamp post that stood on the shallow water of the cape. After watching birds for approximately 30 minutes, I walked down the building and had a short walk to the side and backyard of the building. There was a gazebo on the shallow water right below the cape. It was connected to the cape by wooden bridge. I walked to the gazebo. I could hear the sound of various species of birds in that small forest but could not see them easily due to the enormous number of leaves, branches and twigs of the trees in the steep slopes of the cape. So, I walked back to the top of the cape.
Beach Kingfisher in Waigeo island
Beach Kingfisher in Waigeo island
Soon I was able to take pictures of rainbow lorikeet. I gave up hope of seeing Beach Kingfisher that was calling from inside the bush of the trees. One hour later I could hear the sound of the Beach Kingfisher (Todiramphus saurophagus). The bird had flown on to dead branches of a tree above the sea. He called his female counterpart for a few minutes from that naked branches. As soon as I saw him, I quickly turned on my camera and aimed it at the bird. I was able to take some good pictures of the bird. He was approximately 40 meters away from me. I used maximum zoom of my camera. Less than 3 minutes later, he flew away.
Birding with Charles Roring in Raja Ampat
Beach Kingfisher (Todiramphus saurophagus)
About Raja Ampat
Raja Ampat islands are very beautiful destination for visitors who like marine tourism such as swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving. The islands are also perfect places for birding. I have guided visitors to Raja Ampat both for birding, snorkeling and sightseeing.
There are hundreds of islands in this regency that are surrounded by pristine coral reef and covered by pristine rainforest. Every year thousands of visitors go there to enjoy swimming, sunbathing, snorkeling and kayaking. But there are also significant percentage of visitors who go there for watching birds particularly the Wilson's Bird of Paradise and Red Bird of Paradise.

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Coconut Lorikeet in Waigeo Island of Raja Ampat

This is Coconut Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus) that I saw at a hill near the harbor of Waisai town in Raja Ampat. A government building about Geopark stood on it. I was there to participate in certification works for tourist guides. While waiting outside of the Geopark building with my other friends, I did some birding. I brought a point and shoot camera. It was a Fujifilm HS50EXR. I was trying to find a Beach Kingfisher that was calling from trees at the lower area of the hill.  Suddenly when I looked at the higher branch of the tree in front of me,  I saw this lorikeet walking down a branch. I quickly aimed my camera at the lorikeet and shot it.
The Coconut Lorikeet fed on nectar of flowers in that tree. Actually there were a few lorikeets in other nearby trees but branches and leaves covered those birds. The bird was common in lowland and lower montane forest of New Guinea.
Coconut Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus) in Raja Ampat

Shortly after taking picture of the lorikeet, I was able to see the Beach King Fisher that i was looking for. He was sitting on a naked branch of a tree that was close to the beach. Because I stood on a hill looking down on the bird. The background image of the bird was the sea. It was not difficult to shoot the bird. There was a big window among the branches and leaves of trees. I could take good picture of the bird through it. 
Beach Kingfisher (Todiramphus saurophagus)
In the past this coconut lorikeet was categorized in one group with Rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus moluccanus). The coconut lorikeet has got red and dark blue stripes on his or her breast. Because the birds have got beautiful feather, it is often caught and sold as pets.
Birding is an environmentally friendly sport or tourism activity. To enjoy birdwatching, at least, we need a good pair of binoculars.
by Charles Roring
Also read:
Palm Cockatoo


Slender-Billed Cuckoo Dove

When I was guiding two Australian and one Chinese birders in Arfak mountains to watch Magnificent Bird of Paradise, I saw a bird landed on a tree near me. It was feeding on small yellow fruits some 10 meters above my head. I slowly moved under the branches and leaves and then carefully aimed my Fujifilm HS50EXR at the bird. There was a small window among the thick green leaves above my head where I could see the bird.
Brown Cuckoo Dove
Slender-billed Cuckoo Dove in Arfak Mountains
I turned the lens of my camera to maximum zoom (1,000 mm) and pressed the shutter button to shoot the bird. This bird was called Slender-billed Cuckoo Dove also called Brown Cuckoo Dove. He turned his body on the same branch and sat for a while perhaps trying to find out what happened downed there. I thought the sounds of my camera had attracted his attention.
Brown Cuckoo Dove of New Guinea
Slender-billed Cuckoo Dove in Arfak range of Manokwari
Again, I aimed my camera at the Cuckoo Dove and shot him several times. I was happy with the results. Birding in tropical rainforest was quite difficult because we could not see the birds easily. Most birds sat on the branches of trees on the canopy of the forest. Birders could not easily find them because of obstructions from the branches, twigs, vines, and leaves.
Most often, the birds sit in tall trees making it difficult to take picture of them using ordinary pocket camera. Carrying a D-SLR camera with telephoto lenses is a good solution. However, such camera is very expensive. I recommend bridge camera with telephoto lens such as the Nikon B700, Nikon P900 and Nikon P1000. The camera is suitable for wildlife watching and birding.

Yellow-billed Kingfisher

This is the photograph of Yellow-Billed Kingfisher (Syma torotoro) that lives in the forest of New Guinea especially in the lowland and lower montane forest. I often guide tourists on riverwalk birding expedition in Manokwari regency for visitors who want to watch such birds as Blyth's hornbill, Dollarbird, Willie Wagtail, Little Egret, Yellow Faced Myna, Large Tailed Nightjar, Sulphur Crested Cockatoo and even the Black-capped Pygmy Parrot.
The duration of the tour is 3 to 4 days. Because there is no guest house in the forest, we will provide dome tents, sleeping bags, cooking and eating utensils as well as spotting scope and binoculars for visitors.
Booking
Please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or send text message to my whatsapp: +6281332245180.

Birding Tour to Raja Ampat

Red Bird of Paradise
I offer birding tour to Raja Ampat for visitors who want to watch such birds as Wilson's Bird of Paradise (Diphyllodes respublica), Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra), Radjah Shelduck, Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, Palm Cockatoo, Eclectus Parrot, Black-capped Lory, Pink-spotted Fruit Dove, Olive-backed Sunbird, Pacific Swallow, Beach Kingfisher, Hook-billed Kingfisher, Frigatebird, Singing Starling and Crested Tern and a lot more.
The duration of this birding tour can be as short as three days or as long as one full week. It can also be combined with swimming and snorkeling activities in the front waters of the guesthouse where we stay or even in an uninhabited island that we visit.
If you are interested in taking a birding tour in Raja Ampat and want me to be your private guide, please, contact me by e-mail to: peace4wp@gmail.com or send text message to my whatsapp: +6281332245180.

Blyth's Hornbill

These are the pictures of Blyth's hornbill birds that I saw in Mesirrokow forest of Manokwari when I was guiding a French tourist. The birds were very common in the Lowland Forest. I spent four days/ three nights hiking, birdwatching, camping and interacting with local people in the area.
Tropical birds in the rainforest of West Papua
Blyth's Hornbill in Mesirrokow Forest of Manokwari
I made the pictures of these birds using Fujifilm HS50EXR. With its 1/2 inch EXR CMOS sensor, and Fujinon 42× optical lens (equivalent with 24 mm to 1000 mm) on a 35 mm format, the camera was powerful enough to shoot birds and other wild animals in distant trees. Fujifilm stopped the production of the camera a few years ago and has not launched an update version of this wonderful photographic device.
Similar cameras with higher optical zoom are now available on the market but in general the size of their sensor is smaller than the Fujifilm HS50EXR. The famous bridge cameras which readers can buy now are the Nikon Coolpix P1000, Nikon Coolpix P900, and Canon Powershot SX70HS. 
Hiking, birdwatching, camping and riverwalk tour in West Papua.
Female Blyth's Hornbill
Hornbills are big birds. Together with a lot of other tropical birds such as palm cockatoo, sulphur crested cockatoo, eclectus parrot, they play important roles as seed dispersers. They eat fruits and drip their seed throughout every corner of the forest. In other words, birds are the ones that grow rainforest. 
I have organized numerous birding and camping tours to Mesirrokow forest and its surrounding areas for visitors who come from French, China, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Austria, Sweden, Thailand, and the Netherlands to watch birds and other wild animals that live in the forest.
Birdwatching, and wildlife watching and nature watch ecotourism.
Riverwalk tour in lowland forest of Manokwari
In addition to Hornbills, we can also see other birds in the same forest such as Little-ringed Plover, Little Egret, Yellow-faced Myna, Golden Myna, Variable Goshawk, Rainbow Bee-eater, Willie Wagtail, Lowland Peltop, Pink-spotted Fruit Dove, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Hooded Butcherbird, Brahminy Kite, Coconut Lorikeet, Palm Cockatoo, Eclectus Parrot, Black Sunbird, Eastern Yellow Wagtail, and a lot more. Because the birding  and wildlife watching trip is carried out along the sides of the river, it is much easier to see birds. Visitors can enjoy swimming too.
British and Chinese tourists were taking a riverwalk tour in Mesirrokow forest of Manokwari
Riverwalk and Birdwatching Tour in Manokwari
We enjoy riverwalk tour and do birdwatching along the river banks. To enhance our birding experience, we bring binoculars, Swarovski spotting scopes and camera with telephoto lens. This rainforest tour in Mesirrokow forest opens jobs for local people and help them preserve their natural environment.
by Charles Roring