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Riverwalk, Birdwatching and Camping Tour in Rainforest of Manokwari

I organize riverwalk and camping tour in several rainforest areas of West Papua such as in Waigeo island, Tambrauw regency and in Manokwari. Tourists like the activity because they are able to watch birds, insects, reptiles, and mammals that live along the banks of the river.
The duration of the tour is around 3 to 5 days. Before doing the tour, I buy food materials such as rice, smoked fish, eggs, tempe (fermented soybean cake), fruits and some vegetables. I also prepare dome tents, mattrasses, a big sheet of plastic tarp, cooking and eating utensils, binoculars, spotting scope with tripod, camera, and solar powered lights. There are jungle vegetables that we harvest when we stay in the forest. Some of them include ganemo, kangkung, or sayur paku (fern leaves that are edible as vegetables).
Swiss tourists were enjoying riverwalk and camping tour in Manokwari.
Riverwalk Tour in Manokwari
Watching birds and other animals along the banks of the river is easy because there are a lot of open spaces. Birds such as Blyth's hornbill, and Sulphur-crested Cockatoo often fly over the river.

Nesting Season of Leatherback Turtle

We are now at the end of March 2020 - the time where massive spread of Corona-virus disease is reaching all corners of the world. Human is now struggling to survive.  Travel industry is one of the economic sectors that is severly hit by this pandemic. Millions of people become jobless. 
We are going to enter April. Soon, on the other side of the globe, the nesting season of Leatherback turtles will come. It is the time where mother turtles swim to the beach to lay eggs. They can now lay their eggs in peace. No flashes of cameras from tourists and researchers will distract them. Unfortunately, there are still soa-soa monitor lizards, dogs, crocodiles, and boars that are waiting for them at these remote beaches.
slide animation of leatherback turtle in Indonesia
Leatherback turtle of Tambrauw regency
In Indonesia, there are several beaches where these giant turtles like to come to lay eggs. They are Warebar beach in Waigeo island of Raja Ampat archipelago; Jen Womom and Wermon in the northern coast of Tambrauw regency. It takes around 45 to 55 days for the eggs to hatch. Personally, I used to see newly hatched baby turtles at Jen Womom and Warebar. They were beautiful creatures.

Pigeons and Fruit Doves in West Papua's Forest

Pigeons and fruit doves are important animals for the ecosystem of tropical rainforest in West Papua. They feed on fruits and drop their seeds throughout the forest. They are seed dispersers. They are the ones that grow the forest.
Various species of pigeons and fruit doves live in tropical rainforest of Papua from lowland to higher montane region. Here are some of them:
  • Pinon Imperial Pigeon - I have seen the bird since I was a child in my parents' clove garden. Years later, when I guided a British lady on an adventure trip to see wild animals, flowers and unique tropical plants in lowland forest of Manokwari, I saw the bird again and took picture of it for the first time. I used Nikon Coolpix P500 with its 30× optical zoom. It was my first point and shoot camera. The bird is often hunted by local people as the source of protein for them. We stayed for several nights in a simple basecamp near a river. 
Pinon Imperial Pigeon
Pinon Imperial Pigeon

Cockatoos and Parrots in West Papua

There are a lot of parrots and cockatoos in West Papua. I usually see them when I guide birdwatching visitors on tours in Raja Ampat, Sorong, Tambrauw and Manokwari. The most common ones are Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Eclectus Parrot, and Coconut Lorikeet (formerly called Rainbow Lorikeet).
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo(Cacatua galeruta) in Warduwer beach of Raja Ampat
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
The famous and common one is Sulphur-crested Cockatoo. It has got black beak, white feather and yellow crest on his head. The bird is common in lowland up to hill forest of West Papua. It eats fruits. It is sad to see that Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, together with other birds, are often caught and sold in cities as pets.
Palm Cockatoo in Raja Ampat
Palm Cockatoo in tropical rainforest of West Papua
There is also Palm Cockatoo. It is a beautiful black bird with a red patch on each of its cheeks. In Raja Ampat, it can easily be seen in the mornings when it flies to coastal trees to feed on fruits. I saw the bird in Susnguakti forest and Mesirrokow river of Manokwari, as well as Ases valley and Klawos forest of Tambrauw mountains. Klatomok village in Klasow valley of Sorong regency, and Waigeo island of Raja Ampat are the places where visitors can watch the bird easily.
Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus) in rainforest of West Papua
Eclectus Parrot in the forest near Marinda airport of Waisai in Raja Ampat
Eclectus Parrot - This is also common in lowland, hill, and lower montane forest. I saw it for the first time when I guided tourists to Numfor island. This species, together with Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, was abundant in the small island and is often considered as pest by local people. The forest area near Marinda airport of Waisai and Warduwer beach in Waigeo island is the site where the parrot can easily be watched.
Coconut Lorikeet 
Coconut Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus) - I see this species almost everywhere I go in West Papua. Whether I am in Susnguakti forest of Manokwari, Ases valley and Senopi village of Tambrauw mountains, Klatomok forest of Sorong regency or Warduwer beach of Raja Ampat.  The above picture of Coconut Lorikeet was taken in Ases valley of Tambrauw. This small bird likes to lick nectar of wild flowers.
Black-capped Lory - This bird is also a common species which every birdwatcher will see in tropical rainforest. The bird is bigger than the lorikeet but smaller than cockatoo. I took the picture below in Malagufuk village of Klasow valley in West Papua using my old camera Fujifilm HS-50 EXR.
Black-capped Lory in Malagufuk village, Klasow valley of West Papua
Black-capped Lory (Lorius lory)
Great Billed Parrot - This bird can be watched in Raja Ampat. From a distance, it looks similar to male Eclectus Parrot.
New Guinea Vulturine Parrot is one of the most important targets which most birders want to watch. It has been widely extirpated. Its bright red feather is used by some tribes in New Guinea as decorative materials for their traditional costumes and head-dress. I used to see the bird in Ases valley of Tambrauw mountains. At that time, I was able to watch it for around 1 hour. There were some of them that were feeding on a fruiting tree that stood on a steep cliff. It was a great opportunity for me to take a lot of photographs of the bird.
New Guinea Vulturine Parrot in Ases valley  Photo by Charles Roring
New Guinea Vulturine Parrot in Ases Valley of Tambrauw Mountains

Red-cheeked Parrot - It can easily be watched in hill forest of Sorong, lowland forest of Klasow valley and Warduwer beach of Raja Ampat. The bird makes noisy sound when flying fast through the branches of trees.
Violet-necked Lory - This bird likes to live in small islands in Raja Ampat archipelago. I saw the bird when I guided some tourists from Raja Ampat to Merpati island.
Plum-faced Lorikeet - I saw this bird in Arfak mountains during fruit season. It was feeding on a fruiting tree at roadside.
Dusky Lory - A common bird in montane forest of West Papua. I saw it in Tambrauw mountains near Fef town. It can also be seen in rainforests that is still in good condition.
Moluccan King Parrot (Alisterus amboinensis) - This is a beautiful parrot with long tail. I saw this bird for the first time in lowland forest of Manokwari when I was guiding a Swedish Couple. Later I saw the bird again in Tambrauw mountains and in Waigeo island of Raja Ampat.
Moluccan King Parrot in Manokwari's lowland forest
Moluccan King Parrot
Yellow-capped Pygmy Parrot (Micropsitta keiensis)- This is a very small parrot that usually lives in termite nests. I saw it for the first time in Dopi river in lowland forest of Manokwari. I also saw the bird in Table Mountain when I was guiding some Singaporean and Malaysian tourists. In Susnguakti forest of Manokwari, I saw some on a trunk of a giant tree. They were eating insects or sap of the tree, I was not sure about this.
Yellow-capped Pygmy Parrot in Manokwari
For the pictures of the above Moluccan King Parrot and Yellow-capped Pygmy Parrot, they were taken by Thomas Holmberg - a wildlife photographer from Sweden.
Large Fig Parrot: This is a beautiful bird that I saw for the first time in Klasow valley of Sorong regency.
Double-eyed Fig Parrot: Another species of parrot that I saw in Sorong ridge. This is a birding location outside Sorong city.
Josephine Lorikeet - I saw the bird in Tambrauw mountains. It was a small bird similar to fairy lorikeet.
Red-flanked Lorikeet - I saw this in Ases valley at the foot of Mount Sakofsiah. 
Fairy Lorikeet - This is a small lorikeet that has got yellow streak on his breast. I often see the bird when I guide tourists on a hiking, camping and wildlife watching trip to Susnguakti forest of Manokwari.
Black Lory (Chalcopsitta atra) - Klatomok village in Klasow valley of Sorong regency is the recommended site to see the bird.
Modest Tiger-Parrot (Psittacella modesta) - I only saw it once in Mount Soyti when I accompanied Susan Myers on a birding trip to Arfak mountains. Its green feather made it difficult for us to see it particularly when it was sitting among leaves.
There are still a lot of birds that I haven't mentioned in this post. I only write the ones that I have seen until now. Most of the pictures in this blog post were taken using Canon 200D with Tamron 150-600 mm G2 lens.
Bird-Watching Tour
If you are interested in taking a birdwatching trip to West Papua, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

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Hiking Tour in Sorong

Early this week, I ran a hiking tour for a British couple, Alan and Jill, who wanted to watch birds, insects, and reptiles and see landscape of Sorong's rainforest. We left Swissbel hotel at 05.30 to a place in the outskirts of the city. In the morning, the streets were not crowded. So, our car could move faster. Arriving at our destination, we continued our trip on foot by hiking up slopes that led us to hills. The morning sunlight began to iluminate trees around us. 
Hill forest in West Papua of Indonesia
Hiking tour in Sorong

Mengapa Wisatawan Ke Raja Ampat?

Sejak tahun 1990an wisatawan mulai berkunjung ke Raja Ampat. Dari tahun ke tahun, jumlah mereka bertambah banyak. Apa yang menarik di kabupaten kepulauan ini sehingga menyebabkan wisatawan mau ke sana? Jawabannya adalah sebagai berikut:
Keindahan Alamnya - Informasi di wikipedia menyebutkan bahwa ada lebih dari 1.500 pulau di Raja Ampat. Pulau yang besar antara lain Waigeo, Salawati, Misool dan Batanta. Ada juga gugusan pulau-pulau karang yang biasa disebut karst. Di internet, ketika kita mengetik Raja Ampat di mesin pencari Google, Bing atau Yandex, kita akan melihat gambar pemandangan alam bahari yang indah sekali. Pulau-pulau kecil yang ditutupi vegetasi hijau, dan dihiasi pantai pasir putih dan lautan biru merupakan salah satu daya tarik alam yang membuat banyak wisatawan domestik maupun manca negara yang ingin ke sana. Beberapa karst yang terkenal adalah Piaynemo, Wayag, Kabui, Insouduwer (laguna ikan) sekitar Pulau Waigeo serta Davalen, Dapunlol, dan Motnikalet di Kepulauan Misool.
Kabui karst di Pulau Waigeo Raja Ampat  foto oleh: Charles Roring
Kabui Karst di Raja Ampat
Keanekaragaman Hayati Terumbu Karang - Raja Ampat memiliki banyak sekali kawasan terumbu karang tempat hidup berbagai jenis ikan dan satwa laut lainnya. Halaman tentang Raja Ampat di Wikipedia menyebutkan bahwa ada 1.508 species ikan, 537 spesies koral, dan 699 spesies moluska. Ini adalah salah satu daya tarik utama bagi para wisatawan yang ingin menikmati aktivitas snorkeling, freediving dan scubadiving.
Ikan nemo badut di Terumbu Karang Raja Ampat
Ikan Nemo di Terumbu Karang Raja Ampat
Flora dan Fauna di Hutan Tropis - Pulau-pulau tropis di Raja Ampat masih ditutupi hutan hujan yang lebat. Ada banyak satwa yang tinggal di dalamnya. Mulai dari kepiting kenari yang tinggal di pesisir pantai hingga burung Cendrawasih Merah dan Cendrawasih Wilson atau juga bunga anggrek kelinci Dendrobium antennatum. Wisatawan pengamat burung semakin banyak yang berkunjungg ke Raja Ampat. Mereka ke sana untuk melihat burung  tropis seperti:
  • Spice Imperial Pigeon
  • Moustached Treeswift
  • Singing Starling
  • Jagal Papua
  • Swallow-Kayu Dada Putih (White-breasted Woodswallow)
  • Willy Wagtail
  • Elang Laut Perut Putih (White-bellied Sea Eagle)
  • Elang Brahminy (Brahminy Kite)
  • Mina Muka Kuning (Yellow-faced Myna)
  • Kakaktua Raja (Palm Cockatoo)
  • Kakaktua Putih (Sulphur-crested Cockatoo)
  • Nuri Bayan (Eclectus Parrot)
  • Kumkum (Pinon Imperial Pigeon)
  • Kumkum Putih (Pied Imperial Pigeon)
  • Raja Udang Pantai (Beach Kingfisher)
  • Raja Udang Paruh Kuning (Yellow-bellied Kingfisher)
  • Raja Udang Surga Umum (Common Paradise Kingfisher)
  • Kukabara Perut Merah Bata (Rufous-bellied Kookaburra)
  • Taun-taun (Blyth's Hornbill)
  • Mimic Meliphaga
  • Gagak Torres (Torresian Crow)
  • dan lain-lain
Burung Cendrawasih Wilson (Cicinnurus respublica)
Burung Cendrawasih Wilson
Keunikan Budaya - Masyarakat Papua yang tinggal di Raja Ampat memiliki adat istiadat yang unik. Kehidupan mereka sebagai nelayan dapat tercermin dalam berbagai gambar, motif ukiran yang mereka buat dalam berbagai perkakas kerja,  pagar, pintu dan dinding rumah maupun pintu gerbang kampung. Mereka memiliki tari-tarian dan baju adat yang menarik. 
Tarian penyambutan tamu di Raja Ampat
Penyambutan Tamu di Raja Ampat
Apakah Anda ingin berlibur ke Raja Ampat
Banyak hal yang bisa dilihat di Raja Ampat seperti keindahan alam karst, ikan yang berwarna-warni di terumbu karang, flora dan fauna di hutan tropis serta masyarakatnya yang ramah. Yang perlu dibawa ketika ke Raja Ampat:
  • Baju yang sesuai dengan iklim tropis dan suasana pantai seperti baju kaos berwarna cerah, celana pendek, sandal, topi
  • Minyak atau losyen pelindung kulit dari sengatan matahari
  • Minyak atau losyen anti nyamuk
  • Jika Anda ingin berenang dan snorkeling bawalah kostum renang, alat snorkeling (seperti masker, pipa napas atau snorkel, dan fin renang) Anda bisa beli di tokopedia atau lazada dengan kata kunci snorkeling set.
  • Jika Anda ingin memotret ikan dan terumbu karang, bawalah kamera yang tahan air seperti Nikon W300, atau kamera aksi seperti yang bermerek Gopro.
  • Jika Anda ingin menonton burung dan satwa liar di hutan, saya sarankan agar Anda membawa teropong dan kamera. Yang harganya terjangkau antara lain binocular Visionking 10×42mm dan kamera Canon SX50HS atau Nikon Coolpix P600 atau spesifikasi yang di atasnya.
Jika Anda tertarik untuk ke Raja Ampat dan membutuhkan seorang pemandu guna mengatur perjalanan Anda, silahkan menghubungi saya (Charles Roring) lewat email ke: peace4wp@gmail.com atau WA: +6281332245180.

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Sulawesi Hanging Parrot

When I guided a Dutch lady on nature and birding tour in North Sulawesi province of Indonesia, I took a lot of pictures of birds in the forest, farmland, and mountains. One of them was Sulawesi Hanging Parrot (Loriculus stigmatus). We saw both male and female in a papaya tree. The birds were eating one of the riped fruits that was still hanging in the tree.
Sulawesi Hanging Parrot
A female Sulawesi Hanging Parrot

Butterflyfish and Angelfish in Raja Ampat

When I go to Raja Ampat to guide tourist(s) on a birdwatching, sightseeing and snorkeling tour, I always, provide time to explore the coral reef of the archipelago and to take pictures of its reef fish. Early this month, I visited Raja Ampat with an American tourist. We stayed in the southern region of Waigeo island and did some tours to its nearby beaches and islands. We enjoyed snorkeling every day. I brought a compact camera Fujifilm XQ2 with its waterproof case. Using this small device, I could take pictures of coral reef, fish, and other interesting marine creatures. There were a lot of species of colorful fish.
Vermiculated Angelfish (Chaetodontoplus mesoleucus) and Saddled Butterflyfish (Chaetodon ephippium)
Angelfish and Butterflyfish

Dendrobium antennatum

Here is the picture of Dendrobium antennatum that I saw in a homestay in Raja Ampat. This orchid flower is locally called anggrek kelinci (anggrek means orchid and kelinci means rabbit). Its natural habitat was coastal rainforest. In wikipedia, it says that the flower plant is called the Green Antelope Orchid.
Rabbit Orchid (Dendrobium antennatum) in Raja Ampat archipelago
I used to see the orchids in Manokwari, and Kaimana in Papua Barat province of Indonesia. Here, people usually grow the flower plant by attaching and tying it onto the trunk of a tree. In the above photograph, the owner tied it on the wooden post of the jetty. 
The backyard of the homestay where I stayed was a huge rainforest. This orchid, I think, was taken from the forest. The hill forest itself was the natural habitat of a lot of species of tropical plants, insects, reptiles, mammals, and birds. 
Christmas Tree Worm in Waigeo island  photo: Charles Roring
Christmas Tree Worm in Waigeo island
I stayed for nearly a week in that homestay guiding an American visitor on a snorkeling and birdwatching tour in Raja Ampat. We watched a lot of tropical birds including Red Bird of Paradise, and Wilson's Bird of Paradise as well as Beach Kingfisher, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, and Palm Cockatoo. In the coral reef, we saw Clown Anemonefish, Clark's Anemonefish, Moorish Idol, Striped Surgeonfish, Saddleback Butterflyfish, Emperor Angelfish and a lot more.
Flowers in neighborhood
Bush Flowers from the jungle
Digital illustration of rainforest flowers

Snorkeling and Birdwatching Tour

Early this month I guided a solo traveler to Raja Ampat islands in West Papua province of Indonesia. We spent nearly 1 week enjoying snorkeling, and birdwatching in some tropical islands and their coral reef areas to see various kinds of fish. To take pictures of marine life, I brought my Fujifilm XQ2 and its waterproof case. The camera is small enough when inserted into my travel bag. 
Beautiful scenery of Kabui bay between Gam and Waigeo island
Kabui bay of Raja Ampat