Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Butterflies in Susnguakti Forest

Last week, I guided 2 tourists to Susnguakti forest. They were Geoffrey and Jessica. They came from France. First they took international flight to Jakarta - the capital of Indonesia, after that they flew to Manokwari by Batik air. I met them at Swissbel hotel and organized their trip by a chartered transport vehicle to the forest.
We spent 4 days/ 3 nights exploring the forest to see birds of paradise, cuscus possum, reptiles and insects. The forest was located in the south of Manokwari. We went there by chartered pick-up car that was operated by local villagers as public transportation that connects villages in the south and Manokwari city.
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. I saw them when they flying in mating position in the air. When they landed on a leave, I immediately approached them and took some pictures. They continued flying again while still mating. A few days after returning to Manokwari city, I made several searches on the internet to identify the butterflies. From several websites, and my archives, I could say that they were Yellow-eyed Plane (Neptis praslini) butterflies. It might be a different species but I strongly believe that they will be closely related. Insects are abundant in the forest of Susnguakti. I could see spider, moth, stick insect and also water insect.
The above photographs were taken using a small pocket camera of mine - the Fujifilm XQ 2. I used it for taking panoramic pictures, insects and flowers. The same camera is also used for taking underwater photographs of coral reef and fish. The following photograph is one of them. I made it while doing freediving in Mansinam island in Dore bay of Manokwari. I freedived to a depth of around 4 meters to take pictures of this coral reef environment.
Picture taken by Fujifilm XQ2 camera with waterproof case.
Coral Reef in Mansinam island
I also saw Blue-Mountain Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio ulysses). Because it was on a leaf of a high tree branch, I used a D-SLR camera, the Canon 200D and Tamron 150-600 mm G2 telephoto lens to shoot the butterfly.
Ulysses butterfly or Blue Mountain Swallowtail butterfly (Papilio ulysses)
Blue-Butterfly in Susnguakti Forest
Birdwatching and Wildlife
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. A tree snake was also seen near our basecamp during the day. But I was not able to take pictures. The tropical rainforest of Susnguakti was a nice place for watching wild animals.
Geoffrey and Jessica liked the tour.  At the end of the tour, we walked back to the main road and returned to the city by a chartered transport car. They stayed in Swissbelhotel and flew to Sorong for taking their next holiday in Raja Ampat. - written by Charles Roring

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