Butterflies in Susnguakti Forest

Last week, I guided 2 French tourists to Susnguakti forest. They were Geoffry and Jessica. We spent 4 days/ 3 nights exploring the forest to see birds of paradise, cuscus possum, reptiles and insects. 
Adventure tur in Susnguakti forest of Manokwari
Cruiser Butterfly
I saw some butterflies such as The Silky Owl, Cruiser, Blue Mountain Swallowtail and some other species which I could not identify. I saw them along the path to a rose apple tree and near the clearing area of our basecamp. The butterfly came out in the mornings when the sunlight was bright. They landed on leaves to take a rest, or collect nectar of flowers and also collect the salty sweat from our exposed hands, shoulders or feet. 
Taenaris catops butterfly
The Silky Owl Butterfly (Taenaris catops)
I used to read an article in the internet that the circles that look like Owl's big eyes in the Silky Owl butterfly are camouflage to protect the insect from predator. 
Entomology trip to Arfak mountains
Mating butterfly
There were two small butterflies that were mating. I saw them mating while flying in the air. When they landed on a leave, I immediately approached them and took some pictures. They continued flying again while still mating. Insects are abundant in the forest of Susnguakti. I could see spider, moth, stick insect and also water insect.
During our stay in the jungle of Susnguakti forest, we were able to watch King Bird of Paradise, Lesser Birds of Paradise, Magnificent Riflebird, Pink-spotted Fruit Dove, Fairy Lorikeet, Eclectus Parrot, Spangled Drongo, Hooded Butcherbird, Superb Fruit Dove, and Rufous-bellied Kookaburra. 
We also did 3 night walks and were able to see cuscus possum. The tropical rainforest of Susnguakti was a nice place for watching wild animals. 

Coral Reef in Mansinam Island

Marine life in coral reef
Marine Life in Mansinam island
I went to Mansinam island this afternoon to do a field survey over its coral reef. The island was located across from Manokwari city. We did the survey at Sera Oser beach on the east coast of the island. I was with a friend of mine - Matias. I did the survey by snorkeling and freediving over the coral reef. My friend did not freedive, he only did the snorkeling. To take photographs, I brought my camera - Fujifilm XQ2 that had been put inside its waterproof case.

Snorkeling Sites Near Waigeo Island of Raja Ampat

coral reef and tropical fish of mioskon island
Marine Life in Mioskon island of Raja Ampat
Raja Ampat islands are very important destination for marine tourism. People go there to enjoy swimming, snorkeling and even scuba diving. There are hundreds of coral reef sites in this archipelago which tourists can visit to enjoy snorkeling. The followings are the snorkeling sites that I recommend:

Kabui Bay of Raja Ampat

Kabui is the name of a bay between Waigeo and Gam islands in Raja Ampat. I often organize tours to the bay for visitors who like sightseeing, snorkeling, bird and wildlife watching. The duration of the tour is usually 3 to 4 days. I and the tourists whom I guide stay in a simple guesthouse run by local villagers or in a comfortable beach resort.
The view of Kabui bay as seen from Yengkawe homestay  wikipedia.org misool salawati batanta waigeo  stayrajaampat
Kabui bay in Raja Ampat
The tour to the bay will be conducted by a speed boat or by a motorized wooden boat. We usually visit karst, and then on the way back to the guesthouse we stop at several small islands to enjoy snorkeling and birding. Because the waters inside Kabui bay are protected by islands, the sea is mostly calm except between July and September.

Amboyna Cuckoo Dove

This is the photograph of Amboyna Cuckoo-Dove (Macropygia Amboinensis) that I saw in the forest of north-east region of Waigeo island of Raja Ampat regency. I and two villagers were conducting an early morning bird walk when we saw the bird 2 kilometers outside Yenbekaki village. It was a nice trip because we were able to see other birds as well including Hooded Butcherbird, Helmetted Friarbird, Oriental Dollarbird, Papuan Black Myzomela, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Olive-backed Sunbird (now also known as Sahul Sunbird), Beach Stone Curlew, Shining Flycatcher, Singing Starling, Eclectus Parrot, Torresian Crow, and Papuan Blyth's Hornbill.
Birding in Indonesia
Amboyna Cuckoo Dove
I turned on my camera and shot the bird. I used Canon 200D with Tamron 200D telephoto lens to make this picture. I also brought a good pair of roof prism Visionking 10×42 mm binoculars.

Queen of the Orchids in Waigeo island

When I visited northeast region of Waigeo island, I saw a large orchid plant on a big rock at Warebar beach. I approached the rock trying to find whether the plant had some flowers. It was around 4 meters or 13 feet above the ground. The flowers that I saw were the same as the orchid flowers in Yenpapir karst. When I did some research on the internet, I found that the flowers on the rock of Warebar beach were similar to Queen of the Orchids (Grammatophyllum speciosum) which was also called Tiger Orchid. But its labellum is puple-pink Perhaps, it was a sub-species or a different species at all. 
Close up photo of Waigeo's Queen of the Orchids

Watching Birds and Sea Turtle in Waigeo Island

I visited Waigeo island in Raja Ampat regency around two weeks ago. I went there to watch tropical birds that live in the rainforest as well as sea birds that live along the coastal region. I stayed in northeast region of Waigeo island for 5 days/ 4 nights. It was a nice experience because I could see a lot of birds. Some of them were Black-capped Lory, Oriental Dollarbird, Blyth's Hornbill, Brahminy Kite, Brown Cuckoo Dove, Palm Cockatoo, Shining Flycatcher, Papuan Black Myzomela, Hooded Butcherbird, Helmetted Friarbird, Eclectus Parrot and a lot more. 
Palm Cockatoo in northeast region of Waigeo island
Palm Cockatoo

Sketch of Lesser Bird of Paradise

I have visited Susnguakti forest several times since 2 months ago. I guided tourists from France, Germany, Belgium, Thailand, and Switzerland on a trip to watch the Lesser Birds of Paradise performing their courtship dance.. This is one of the most beautiful birds in the world. We spent between 3 to 4 days in the jungle to see birds, cuscus possum, and various kinds of unique tropical plants. Because I like art, I make several sketches of birds that I see in the forest. I have created some drawings of male Lesser Birds of Paradise using watercolour pencils. After that I redraw them using stylus on my Samsung Tab A. The application that I use is Autodesk Sketchbook.
There are other birds that we saw in the forest including Hooded Butcherbird, Blyth's Hornbill, Eclectus Parrot, King Bird of Paradise, Brown Cuckoo Dove, and a lot more.
Drawing of Lesser Bird of Paradise
Sketch of Lesser Bird of Paradise in watercolour

Lesser Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea minor)
Sketch of Male Lesser Bird of Paradise

I may also draw them in the future. My drawings are now available as prints on various redbubble products such as t-shirt, iPhone and iPad cases, canvas print, mugs, drawstring bags, tote-bags, and etc. Please, have a look at them at these links:

I offer rainforest tour for anybody who wants to watch Red Bird of Paradise, and Wilson's Bird of Paradise in the forest of Raja Ampat. The tour can be combined with snorkeling and sightseeing trips by speed boat.  Please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

Lesser Birds of Paradise

I have created some artworks of Lesser Birds of Paradise that are now available as prints on several products such as mugs, t-shirts, tote bags, scarf, spiral notebooks, and a lot more. One of them is a manual painting entitled: Paradise Birds in Watercolor. The other is a vector illustration that I created using Inkscape entitled: Lesser Birds of Paradise. I also have another drawing of he male bird that I made using Derwent Watercolours. The title is still the same: The Lesser Birds of Paradise. Male bird has got more beautiful feather. They like to gather in the branches of a tall tree to dance for attracting their female counterparts. Please, have a look at the artworks at the above links.
As a tourist guide, I organize tours for visitors who want to watch the paradise birds. In Raja Ampat islands there are Red Bird of Paradise and Wilson's Bird of Paradise. They can also be watched by visitors who want to spend their holiday in the tropical archipelago.
Drawing of Lesser Birds of Paradise by Charles Roring
Watercolor Painting of Lesser Birds of Paradise in Susnguakti forest by Leo Charles Roring
Paradisaea minor artwork by Leo Charles Roring
Vector illustration of a male Lesser Birds of Paradise by Leo Charles Roring
If you are interested in watching paradise birds, please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

Reef Fish Art

I often create drawings of reef fish that I saw when I was guiding tourists on a snorkeling tour to coral reefs of Raja Ampat islands. Some of them include Striped Surgeonfish, Convict Surgeonfish, and Moorish Idol. First, I make sketches of the fish using conventional tools such as pencil on paper and watercolour. After that I redraw them using stylus and my Samsung Galaxy Tab A. I use Autodesk Sketchbook as my drawing application. Drawing on glass surface of the tablet looks the same as drawing on the surface of a paper. However, it is more difficult because the surface of glass is more slippery making it more difficult when I want to draw curved lines or other complicated forms.
Freediving to see Manta in Raja Ampat
Watching Manta 
Digital drawing of surgeonfish
Striped and Convict Surgeonfish

Clown anemonefish
Reef fish art digital drawing
Moorish Idol

Now the artworks are available as prints on various products such as mugs, iPhone or Samsung Galaxy cases, pillows, scarf, t-shirt, in my Nature Art shop in redbubble website. Anyone could see them here: Reef Fish Art.
If you are interested in taking snorkeling, hiking, bird and wildlife watching tours in Raja Ampat, please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

Red Bird of Paradise

Here are some drawings of Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra). I saw the birds when I guide tourists in Raja Ampat islands on a hiking, birdwatching as well as swimming, snorkeling and sightseeing tours. To watch the birds, I and the tourists whom I guided had to wake up at 04.30 in the morning. It was still dark outside. We made preparation by wearing jeans, t-shirts, and putting binoculars, and a bottle of water into each of our bags.
Red Bird of Paradise

After that we went to the dining room of the guesthouse where we stayed to have tea/ coffee and some bread. We had our early morning breakfast for around 15 minutes and then left for the birding ground of the paradise birds. Because it was still dark, we used flashlight. First, we used a small boat to a beach in the south of Waigeo island and then continued our trip on foot for around 1 hour. It was a round 06.00 when we reached the site. Local villagers had build a platform for tourists around 2 meters high. We climbed its ladder and sat on the benches also made of round woods. When the sunlight reached the top branches of the tree where the paradise usually gather, the male Red Bird of Paradise began to call their female counterparts.
As more birds perched on the branches of the tree, the male birds started to perform their courtship dance. It was a beautiful dance similar to acrobatic pole dance in human world. The male Red Birds of Paradise were often in upside down position when they were dancing. Their female counterparts were watching from higher or nearby branch. When one was impressed with the performance of one of the male Red Bird of Paradise, she gave an ok gesture for mating.
I have made several artworks of the birds both in colored pencil drawings and anyone can see them at this link: birds of paradise art
Please, send whatsapp to my number +6281332245180 if you want to take birdwatching tour to Raja Ampat with me (Charles Roring) as your guide.

Lesser Birds of Paradise in Susnguakti Forest

Here are pictures of Lesser Birds of Paradise that live in Susnguakti forest of Manokwari regency. It is part of lower montane forest of Arfak mountains. These Birds of Paradise are active in the mornings and in the afternoons. They become the main attraction for visitors who want to explore the biodiversity of West Papua.
Birding in Manokwari
Male Lesser Birds of Paradise in Susnguakti forest of Manokwari

Lesser Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea minor) in West Papua of Indonesia
Male Lesser Birds of Paradise in Susnguakti forest of Arfak range
The above pictures were made by Andre Aquino. I guided him and his friend Jens Wirth on a 4 day/ 3-night hiking, bird and wildlife watching in Arfak range. Because there was no guesthouse, we stayed in a basecamp.
Birdwatching tourism has become an alternative income generation for local villagers who live near the forest. When they see that they can get positive benefits from the forest through ecotourism, they will preserve their forest.
In addition to the Lesser Birds of Paradise, tourists who go trekking and camping in the forest can watch other birds such as Magnificent Riflebird, King Bird of Paradise, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Hooded Butcherbird, Mimic Meliphaga, Blyth's Hornbill and a lot more.
The Susnguakti forest of Arfak mountains is the natural habitat of cuscus possum, dragon tree lizard, bandicoot and snakes. 
If you are interested in traveling to Indonesia for watching paradise birds in Susnguakti forest, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

Snorkelling Tours in Raja Ampat

written by Charles Roring
I organize snorkelling tour for visitors who are interested in seeing coral reef and tropical fish in Raja Ampat islands. The duration of the tour can be 3 days to 1 week covering important coral reef areas in Waigeo, Kabui bay, Mansuar dan Kri islands, Arborek, Piaynemo and Wayag. A motorized boat will be used to explore remote snorkeling sites and small islands around Waigeo. Life jackets will be provided in the boat.
Snorkeling and Sightseeing Tour

There are a lot of fish that live in this region. Some of them include: Raja Ampat Scorpionfish, Tasselled Wobbegong, Freckled Hawkfish, Pink Anemonefish, Orange skunk Clownfish, Moorish Idol, Diagonal Sweetlips, Giant Trevally and a lot more. There are also other marine creatures such as burrowing clam, Christmas Tree Worm and Sea Stars which we can see in shallow waters. 
Orange-skunk Anemonefish

Raja Ampat regency is located in bird's head region of West Papua province of Indonesia. There are 1,577 coral reef fish species that have been recorded by Marine Biologists.

Safety Guidelines for Snorkelers

  • Snorkeling Gear - Every snorkeller has to practice safe snorkeling. The rubber of snorkeling mask has to elastic so that it can provide water-tight seal that prevents sea water from leaking into the eyes. A good snorkel pipe has got valve that closes when a snorkeller freedives into deeper water. Sea water will not flow into his or her mouth while he or she is in the water. When the snorkeller returns to the sea surface again, the valve will open to allow air to flow into the mouth again. Wearing a good pair of swim fins will help snorkeler to swim fast easpecially when there is current. 
  • Most often, snokeller will encounter small jellyfish and stinging hydroid (that looks like sea plants). There are also venomous fish such as lionfish, catfish, and scorpionfish. Snorkeler has to avoid being in direct contact with them! The warm water of Raja Ampat sea makes everyone thinks that a long wet suit as not necessary. Most snorkelers in Raja Ampat wear shortie wet suit, bikini or simple swim trunks. Unfortunately, these snorkeling suits have got their downside. A snorkeler will suffer from skin burns when he or she is stung by, for instance, pink soft coral. I personally used to be stung on my right stomach by stinging hydroid when snorkeling in southern coast of Waigeo. I felt burn and itchy immediately. I stayed at a homestay of villager at that time. Back to my room, I applied kayu putih oil on my skin. It helped reduce the itchiness that lasted for around 3 days. I continued to apply the oil until the itchiness disappeared.

Land Tour

In addition to snorkeling and sightseeing boat tour, I will also include hiking trips in the forest for tourists who want to see tropical birds such as Palm Cockatoo, Eclectus Parrot, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Claret-breasted Fruit Dove, Magnificent Fruit Dove or the beautiful Wilson's Bird of Paradise (Diphyllodes respublica) and Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra). 

Marine Life in Raja Ampat

Karst islets in Kabui bay
Karst in Kabui bay
Raja Ampat is a famous destination for tourists who like snorkeling or scuba diving. Its marine biodiversity is the highest in the world. 
From my personal experience, when I swim over a number of coral reef areas, of this regency, I see a lot of species of fish and other marine creatures. For instance, in Yenbuba strait, I see turtles, sweetlips, boxfish, and black-tip sharks. In Sawondarek, I see barracuda, and batfish. In Arborek, I see trevally, and giant clams.
From my recent scuba diving excursion in Mioskon island, I saw humpback grouper, lionfish, sweetlips and a lot of other fish.
Marine life in raja ampat
Marine Life in Raja Ampat
My favorite snorkeling site is Warduwer beach located in southern region of Waigeo island.
I bring my own snorkeling mask, snorkel and fins. For taking pictures, I bring Fujifilm XQ2 with its waterproof case or Nikom AW 130. The camera is good enough for taking pictures of fish and coral reef. To take pictures underwater, I freedive to 2 - 5 meters so that I could be on the same eye level with the marine creature that I want to shoot. To stabilize my body in the water, my left hand holds a rock and my right hand will take pictures. The results are the ones that I present in this post.
Here, I see Pink Anemonefish, Orange Skunk Anemonefish, Red and Black Anemonefish; parrotfish, catfish, scorpionfish, Tasselled Wobbegong; sea stars; Christmas Tree Worm and a lot of other marine creatures that are very beautiful and colorful. A beach resort is being constructed at the beach now. Soon, it will operate and its rooms will be available for visitors who want to spend their holiday time at this beach. The name of the beach resort is RAFLOW. It stands for Raja Ampat Flow Resort.

Turtle Conservation Works

In north-east region of Waigeo island, local villagers have been involved in turtle conservation initiatives by protecting nests or relocating eggs of leatherback, hawksbill, olive ridley. Their works are supported by local governments and NGOs, tourist guide association.
Release of olive ridley hatchlings to the sea.
Turtle Conservation Works in Waigeo island
Tasselled Wobbegong fish
Tasselled Wobbegong
Tourists who want to visit Raja Ampat can fly from their country to Jakarta - the capital of Indonesia. After that they need to continue their trip by taking a domestic flight to Sorong city. Airlines such as Garuda, Sriwijaya, Batik, Lion Air provide regular flights to Sorong city. 

Also read:

Drawing of Red Bird of Paradise

Art drawing of Red Paradise Bird (Paradisaea rubra) by Charles Roring
Male Red Bird of Paradise
Early this month, I guided two American tourists to Waigeo island of Raja Ampat. We went there for watching birds, snorkeling and scuba diving. One of our birding targets was Red Bird of Paradise. To watch the bird, we had to wake up early in the morning at 04.30. After making preparations and having tea/ coffee and some bread, we left the beach resort where we stayed in by boat for a beach in southern region of Waigeo. It took around ten minutes for us to reach the beach. We still had to continue our trip by hiking up steep slopes for one hour to the lek of the bird.
Because the path was still dark, we used our flashlight. We walked for 1 hour under the canopy of tropical trees through a narrow footpath. We arrived at 06.00. The paradise birds had not shown up. We waited until the light from the rising sun reached the tree tops. Male Red Birds of Paradise began calling their female counterparts from the top branches. Soon after the female ones had come, the male birds began to dance. They performed courtship dances to seduce their female counterparts. If a female Red BOP is impressed with the dance of a male Red BOP, she would give green light for them to mate. We watched the birds using binoculars. The whole birds show were finished at around 09.00.
The American tourists who watched the paradise birds that morning were astonished with the dance skills of the Red Bird of Paradise. 
I have just finished drawing the male Red Bird of Paradise. Its feather were yellow, brown, red, and some green especially on the head area. It is now available as prints on various products of Redbubble including t-shirts, iPhone/ Samsung Galaxy case, poster, pillows, tote bag, spiral note book and hardcover journal. If you are interested in having some of them, please, visit this web page: Red Bird of Paradise

Christmas Tree Worm

I like snorkeling, freediving and even scuba diving. It is a very good water sport that I like to do when going to the beach. There is a nice beach in southern region of Waigeo island of Raja Ampat which has become my frequent snorkeling spot. Its name is Warduwer. Swimming at this beach, I could see very nice coral reef with a lot of marine life.
There are parrotfish, sweetlips, moorish idol, butterflyfish, and anemonefish. There are other marine creatures as well, such as blue sea star, sea cucumber, burrowing clam, and Christmas Tree Worm.
Feathery sea worm in Warduwer beach
Sabellastarte sea worm

A Visit to North East Waigeo Island of Raja Ampat

I visited north-east coast of Waigeo island last month. I went there with some friends of mine who were tourist guides. We used a long wooden boat that was driven by two 15 outboard engines. Each had a power of 15 horsepower. We started our trip from the market of Waisai at around 11.00 morning time. The sea was calm. The bright sunlight made the sea atmosphere warm. We traveled a long the coast passing by the sea pass to Mayalibit bay, Yensner and Yenpapir village, Mamiaef island, Sopen and Waim island. It was around 13.00 when we arrived at Yenandau beach. It was a very beautiful white sandy beach. We stopped there for a while to have lunch. 
Traveling to Raja Ampat
White Sand Beach in Waigeo island

Snorkeling with 4 Dutch Tourists

Marine life in anemone
Nemo Fish
Two days ago I had a snorkeling tour with 4 Dutch tourists at Bakaro beach. We left Hotel Triton where they stayed at 09.00 by motorcycle taxis for north-east coast of Manokwari city. It was quite a long ride and we arrived the beach around 15 minutes later. However, we did not walked into the water immediately. We still did some hiking tour through an unprepared road, passing by farmlands that belong to the people in Aipiri village. We also saw a lot of coconut trees that stood along the coastal area. We experienced some rain during the morning walk but it was quite short. After walking for 1 hour, we arrived in Bakaro village. It was a nice place for people who liked swimming and snorkeling because it was located in a bay. The sea was calm and the beach was of white sand. 
Marine environment in coral reef
Red and Black Anemonefish; and Three-spots Dascyllus
The Dutch tourists changed their clothings to the ones that were suitable for swimming. A few minutes later, they walked into the sea to enjoy swimming and snorkeling. It was a clear water and they were able to see coral reef, fish and other marine life in the water. They took the pictures of the marine environment using Gopro camera.
I joined them one hour later. I used a good pair of swim fins, a set of mask and snorkel. I said to them that I would do some freedivings especially in coral reefs where nemo fish thrive. I found some colonies of nemo. They lived together with three-spots dascyllus and other fish as well. 
anemonefish, three spots dascyllus in marine environment
Anemonefish in Coral Reef
To take pictures of them, I dived into the depths of 3 to 5 meters and positioned myself to be on the same eye level with the fish. Slowly I approached the nemofish and then pressed the shutter button of my camera. I made a few photos from several different directions. I used Nikon AW 130. It was quite good for taking snorkeling pictures. After spending around 1 hour in the sea, I and the Dutch tourists returned to the beach. 
Snorkeling trip with 4 Dutch tourists
Charles Roring with some Dutch tourists
We continued our tour to Mansinam island where we visited the cross monument and went hiking to Jesus statue. It was a warm summer day. We made some pictures around the area and then walked down to Air Salobar beach in the south of the island. We stayed there for a while enjoying the beauty of the quite beach. 
We returned to Hotel Triton again at 16.00 local time.
One of the tour participants, had a little wound on his feet. He accidently hit the coral rocks at the beach. There were tiny shards from the coral that stayed in his wounds. So, I called a friend of mine who was a doctor to help take them out. She came with her friends and did a little surgery to take the coral shards out of his wounds. In less than 15 minutes she finished the job. We said thank you and good bye to the Dutch tourists. I returned home again with pictures from the sea that I could share in this blog. - written by Charles Roring
Also read:
Snorkeling and Birding in Raja Ampat
Christmas Tree Worm

Vogelkop Bowerbird

Burung pintar (Amblyornis inornata) di Pegunungan Arfak Manokwari
Male Vogelkop Bowerbird stood in front of his bower
Vogelkop Bowerbird is a species of bird that lives in higher elevation forest of bird's head region in West Papua. The bird is called burung pintar (meaning smart bird) by local people. I have seen the bowerbird since 2010 when I guide tourists on birding tours to Arfak mountains.

Snorkeling and Birding in Raja Ampat

Palm Cockatoo (Probosciger aterrimus)
Palm Cockatoo in Waigeo island
I often visit Raja Ampat islands to organize snorkeling, birdwatching and sightseeing boat tour for tourists who like to see the nature life of these tropical islands both underwater and above the water. I usually begin my tour by meeting the participants in a hotel or airport of Sorong city. After that I arrange their transfer to harbor and then by fast ferry boat to Waigeo island. 
The choice of accommodation depends on the request of my customers. They may choose to stay in a comfortable beach resort whose rate per night is more than 100 USD or in a simple homestay whose rate per person per night is approximately 50 USD. Food is provided by the resort or homestay owners throughout the tour. The transfer to the guesthouse can be conducted by car or by boat depending on its location. Arriving at their bedrooms, participants of the tour can take a rest for a while. Lunch is usually served.

Watching The Courtship Dance of Red Bird of Paradise

Birding in Raja Ampat with Charles Roring
Male Red Bird of Paradise
Every time I organize birding trip to Raja Ampat islands, I will always include Red Bird of Paradise as one of the most important targets which tour participants need to watch. The lek of Red BOP is located deep in the tropical rainforest of Waigeo island. The birds gather on certain tree to dance and mate.
Last week, I guided 2 American birdwatchers on a few days hiking and birding trip in Waigeo island. We went hiking in southern region of Waigeo island on the second day of our stay in Raja Ampat. We started at 05.00. It was still dark. We had to use flashlight. Slowly we walked up the steep slopes through a narrow footpath. It took around one hour to reach our birding ground.

Western Parotia - the Ballet Dancer

Male Western Parotia (Parotia sefilata)
Male Western Parotia - the Ballet Dancer
I have just returned from a 12-day hiking and birding tour across West Papua province from Raja Ampat to Sorong and Arfak mountains. I guided two birding tourists from the United States. During the tour, I saw a lot of species of birds and other animals. One of the birds that attracted my attention was Western Parotia. This bird of paradise did not have beautiful feather like the Lesser Birds of Paradise. However, it was considered as one of the most attractive birds of paradise in the world.
Western Parotia lived in mid montane forest of vogelkop region of West Papua. Its feather was mostly black with metallic breast shield feather.
To watch Western Parotia, I and the tour participants had to wake up at 04.30. It was still dark and cold. We made preparation by wearing proper clothing and hiking/ sport shoes. After that, we had tea/ coffee and some biscuits as our morning snacks. At approximately 05.00, we left the guesthouse where we stayed for the dancing ground of the paradise bird. Because it was still dark, we used flashlight. The path to the birding ground was steep. The American birders brought walking sticks to help them walking up the slopes. Sometimes, we had to make several stops to adjust our breath. It took around 30 minutes for us to reach our destination.