Red Bird of Paradise

Male Red BOP was performing courtship dance
to attract his female birds.
Here are the photographs of Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra) that I watched when I went birding in Waigeo island of Raja Ampat.
There are several places in the island which birders could visit to watch the birds. The ones that I know are Warafar, Mamdifu and Fish Lagoon forests in the eastern region of the island. There are also some birding sites in southern region of Waigeo, particularly Saporkren where the Red BOP could be seen. The best time to watch the birds is early in the morning at approximately  05.30 to 09.00.
From my personal experience, morning time is not always the best time because most often the birding site is against the morning sunlight. I usually checked the birding site first before deciding whether it is good to watch in the morning or in the afternoon. If the bench for birdwatchers or birding platform is in the east or northeast of the tree, morning time is the best. If it is in the west or south west, afternoon time will be the better choice. Watching birds of paradise with sunlight against our eyes will not give us the best birding experience. Most often, when we want to take pictures of birds in high tree in backlight condition, what we will get are dark or glare pictures.
When the sun is behind us during the birding time, we will get brighter and sharper pictures of the paradise birds.
The population of birds of paradise in the forest is decreasing due to continuous logging activities and poaching. The introduction of birding tourism in Raja Ampat is very important in supporting local people to protect their forest and animals that live in it.
Tiger Orchid
While travelling in the forest, it is not only birds that can be seen but also other animals and unique plants. One day, I went to the eastern most area of Waigeo island. While exploring the tropical rainforest, I saw beautiful orchid flowers at a steep hill. I was surprized to see that flowers were very fragrant. I took pictures of the flowers and then did some research on the internet about this interesting plant. Finally, I could identify it. Its name was  Queen of the Orchids (Grammatophyllum speciosum). It is also called Tiger Orchid. by Charles Roring
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Wilson's Bird of Paradise

Male Wilson's Bird of Paradise
Here is the picture of Wilson's Bird of Paradise (Diphyllodes respublica) that I saw when I went organized birdwatching tour for 2 Australian and 1 Chinese visitors in the southern region of Waigeo island - Raja Ampat archipelago. We had to wake up early in the morning at 04.00 to make preparations before leaving our guesthouse for the birding site by a small motorized boat. When we arrived at the beach, we still had to hike for one hour to reach the birding hut where visitors usually watched the bird. Unfortunately the weather was not so good. It was six o'clock morning time and it started to rain heavily.
We had to wait for 12 hours just to see Wilson. Finally, we could hear his calls again and soon after that he landed on his playing ground at approximately 16.00. He cleaned the ground picking up dry leaves and twigs. He was there for approximately 30 minutes, long enough for us to take pictures of this beautiful bird. The female bird did not come but we were satisfied with the sighting of the male one. The next morning, we were able to watch the Red Bird of Paradise. It was a tiring but very successful trip.
A Guesthouse in Raja Ampat
Abundant Marine Life
The guesthouse where we stayed during our birding tour in Raja Ampat stood above sea water with beautiful coral reef and marine life. So, it was not only birding that we enjoyed but also swimming and snorkeling. I wish I could take pictures of the tropical fish. Unfortunately, my underwater camera was broken and could not be used anymore. We only spent nearly 3 days/ 2 nights here but it was an unforgetable experience. I hope that I will be able to return to this place again in the near future. by Charles Roring
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