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Bird watching in the Beautiful Tropical Rainforest of Manokwari
Birds in Arfak Mountains of Manokwari regency West Papua
Bird watching is a fun activity. Birds are beautiful creatures. They have beautiful and colorful feather. They also have unique habit. For example, birds of paradise in the tropical rainforest of Papua. The male birds have more beautiful feather or plume compared to the female ones. But they have to attract female birds of paradise by presenting extra-ordinary courtship dance. When birds of paradise dance they open their wings, jump along the branches and twigs of a tropical tree, female birds watch like juries and choose the male birds that can perform the most beautiful dance.
Some times a male bird of paradise has to compete against other male birds to win the heart of a female bird. Another unique species of bird in Papua island of the Republic of Indonesia is bower bird. An adult bower bird in Arfak mountain needs to build and decorate his display stage which he decorates with flowers, fruits and other attractive articles to attract a female bird. He often brings bright colored accessories and put them around his nest. His hard work is not enough. He still has to perform courtship dance in order to attract the female bird for mating. Sometimes he succeed but most often he fail. Young bower birds and paradise birds need to practice dance a lot in order to be skillful dancers. They learn the courtship dance from adult or mature birds but as a matter of fact they are natural dancers.
Bird Watching Equipment and Clothing
To watch tropical birds in their natural habitat you need to bring some birdwatching equipment such as long lens digital photo or video camera and binoculars, or tele-scope. I personally use Nikon Coolpix P500. It is a compact point and shoot digital camera that has 36 x optical zoom capability that is equivalent to 810 mm in 35 mm standard lens camera. The latest upgrade of this coolpix series is the Nikon P510. If you are serious in this hobby, you need to buy a D-SLR or bridge camera that is equipped or powered with long lenses. Most birdwatchers need tents to stay in the jungle. As rainforest tour organizers, I, in cooperation with local people, have built camps both in the lowland and highland rainforest of Arfak mountains. But if birders want to explore another areas, they need to buy small tents for them. Campers prefer to buy tents whose colors are the same as the colors of the green leaves and dark brown wood of the tropical trees. If you don't know how the colors of the tents look like, just see the ornamental green uniform of a soldier. Most often, you need to stay longer in the forest up to two or three days. You need to bring extra food, drinks, and extra batteries for your digital camera. Applying Insect repellent lotion on your skin is highly recommended to protect you from the mosquito bites. Birders who do not like chemical liquid applied on their skin usually bring mosquito nets that can cover their head and gloves for their hands. Wearing boots is a must if you go hiking in the Arfak mountains or Table Mountains.
Book about Birds of New Guinea
If you are a serious birders who want to study the hundreds of species of birds in the tropical rainforest of Papua, you will definitely need a book entitled, "Birds of New Guinea" (see
the list of books that I have included in this article below this
paragraph) as your reference for identifying the birds' English and Latin names that you might likely see in
the forest. Don't forget to bring flashlight to help you read the books or move around in
the forest at night. This book was written based on many years of research and has been revised several times with addition of new species.
The best time to watch paradise birds and other species of tropical birds in the Table Mountain region and Arfak Mountain range region of Papua island in the Republic of Indonesia is in the morning (between 8 a.m and 10 a.m) and in the afternoon (between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.).
Lowland Tropical Birds of New Guinea
Besides birds of paradise, bigger birds that live in the lowland region of the mountains such as sulphur-crested cockatoo, and palm cockatoo, eagles, as well as hornbills can be seen when we go hiking and camping in the jungle of Inggramui, and Asai of Manokwari. I can arrange a rainforest tour for you. Look at my e-mail address at the bottom of this article and contact me. These birds, physically are bigger than birds of paradise. They have sharp eyes and can detect movements of human on the ground under the canopy of the tropical trees. In order watch these birds, we should climb the mountains early in the morning and find the trees where they usually rest or eat their fruits. We need to walk slowly and avoid making sounds in order not to provoke or scare them so that we can watch these beautiful birds from close distance. Hornbills are usually seen eating fruits or resting in nutmeg and fig trees whereas sulphur-crested and palm cockatoo can be seen resting in iron trees.
Birds and our forest environment
Tropical birds play very important role in our life. We might not believe it but they really do. Birds in the forest are the most effective seed dispersers. They eat fruits from trees and take them up to tens of kilometers away. When defecate, they drop the seeds of the fruits. These seeds will grow and form new vegetation in the new area which will later become a new forest. So, forest cannot live without birds and birds cannot live without forest. I write this paragraph to raise awareness among dead skin bird collectors who are only interested in shooting and killing more and more birds to be displayed in their houses so that their friends can see them and praise them. If we really know how important birds are for our environment then we will have to protect them by not hunting them.
How to go to Arfak Mountains
Arfak Mountains are located in Manokwari regency. Manokwari is the capital of West Papua province in the Republic of Indonesia. To go to the mountains, first you need to fly to Manokwari city. Flights served by domestic airlines such as Batavia Air, Merpati Air, Express Air, Wings Air and Lion Air, from big cities in Indonesia such as Jakarta, Denpasar, Makassar to Manokwari are available every week. From your country of origin, take an international flight to these cities first and then buy an airplane or passenger ship ticket to go to Manokwari.
Where to stay in Manokwari?
There are 4 and 5 stars hotels in Manokwari city such as the SwissBelhotel and Aston Niu. There are also many medium size hotels here. However, I recommend you to stay at an eco-tourism homestay called Losmen Kagum. Click this link to find more information about it: Guesthouse in Manokwari.
When you have arrived in Manokwari city, you can contact me via my cell phone 081332245180. I will meet you at the hotel where you stay and help arrange a car for you to the Arfak mountains. If you still need more information about traveling around Manokwari or more bird watching details inside the tropical rainforest of West Papua, please contact me, Charles Roring at my email: firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be happy to be your travel guide. by Charles Roring