In the high-altitude grasslands close to Lake Habbema we will bird with the mighty Mount Trikora as a constant backdrop. Star bird of this alpine plateau is the striking MacGregor’s Honeyeater which although shy, frequently betray their presence with loud whooshing sounds as they fly along the hillsides with orange primary patches conspicuous. DNA studies have shown this amazing bird to be a honeyeater rather than a bird-of-paradise but this makes it no less special. Other special birds in this area include Snow Mountain Quail that are often flushed from the grasslands, Western Alpine Mannikin, Mountain Firetail, Alpine Pipit and Papuan Harrier favouring the more open areas. Sooty and Short-bearded Melidectes, Orange-cheeked Honeyeaters and Lorentz’s Whistlers prefer the alpine shrubbery, while several pairs of Salvadori’s Teal plus Spotless Crake inhabit the lake and its fringes.
Night birding could bring us Marbled and Papuan Frogmouths but hopefully our local guide will know of day roosts. In these remote mountains we will be searching for many special montane birds which include some of New Guinea’s most desirable yet little-known birds. Perhaps the highlight of our stay here will be the chance to visit the dancing ground of the Western Parotia.
Hides have been built overlooking some of these display areas and the chance to watch the extravagant ‘ballerina dance’ of these extraordinary birds at point-blank range is truly a mind-blowing experience. Our local Papuan guides are incredibly skilled at finding these birds and often treat us to daytime views of bizarre-looking Feline and Mountain Owlet Nightjars. Roadsides at higher altitudes give the possibility of the likes of Black Sicklebills, Orange-crowned Fairy-wren, Western Smoky Honeyeaters, Vogelkop Melidectes and maybe even the rare Arfak Astrapia.
- Relaxed birding in flat or only slightly undulating terrain.
- Several species of Bird-of-Paradise can be found here and we will be hoping to find Pale-billed Sicklebill and to witness the amazing displays of Twelve-wired and King Birds-of-Paradise.
- This morning we will transfer to the airport and fly to Manokwari on the west shore of Geelvink Bay and located on the rather romantically named Bird’s Head Peninsula, where we can spend the afternoon birding around beach in a leisurely fashion.
- Any of the birds of paradise in the genus manucodia .
- During our stay we will explore a variety of habitats in the area.
- Another main target here is Red Bird-of-Paradise, and if our luck is in we may see around ten or more males in their tree-top arena calling for the females and be able to watch at leisure their fascinating display.
They vouch for the authenticity of all items offered for sale. They provide expert and detailed descriptions, disclose all significant defects and/or restorations, provide clear and accurate pricing, and operate with fairness and honesty during the purchase experience. Relaxed birding in flat or only slightly undulating terrain. During our stay we will explore a variety of habitats in the area. Birds with enlarged gonads found in almost all months. The male performs a solitary display in tree branches.
This morning we fly to Sentani before continuing on the short but spectacular flight to Wamena in the Grand Baliem Valley, and spend the remained of the day exploring the immediate area. The cultivated valley closer to Wamena we hope to find Ornate Melidectes, localised Black-breasted Munia and the conspicuous Superb Bird-of- Paradise which can even be found in close proximity to the villages. We will try to find the giulianettii Island Leaf Warbler as a future split and the Baliem Whistler which is already regarded as a full species. Often in mixed species-flocks with other black and brown birds, including other Birds-of-paradise, Rusty Pitohui and Papuan Babbler. Papua is 810km away from North Australia and 3,520 km from Indonesian capital city, Jakarta.
Next up will be a site for Long-tailed Paradigalla, which might mean quite a wait but would be very worthwhile. And we can always return in the afternoon if we need better views of Magnificent Bird-of-Paradise and hopefully find a Lesser Bird-of-Paradise sometime during our stay up here. This morning we will head up into the Arfak Mountains in 4-wheel drive vehicles to a conveniently located homestay for a 2-night stay.
Finally, an optional nocturnal foray here could produce both Papuan Hawk-Owl and Boobook, Rufous Owl, Papuan and Large-tailed Nightjar, and Marbled and Papuan Frogmouth. The island of Waigeo holds several species absent from the mainland and these will form our focus here. Our primary target is to find the quite astounding Wilson’s Bird-of-Paradise, a bird frequently cited as one of the most beautiful in the world. Using specially constructed hides we will be able to observe the birds as they visit their display grounds completely oblivious to our admiring eyes.
The Jobi manucode is a medium-sized bird of paradise, that grows up to 34cm long. It looks greenish blue, black and purple glossed crow-like with red iris, lightly crinkled bluish short upper breast and neck feathers. Time and weather permitting we should find some of New Guinea’s least-known species as well as many more wide-ranging species during the course of our time in these impressive mountains. We can always hope to see Long-tailed Paradigalla, a species that has only been seen by a handful of birders. We can also try to see Mountain Owlet-Nightjar and Felline Owlet-Nightjar at their roosting trees, and at night we will try and call in Papuan Boobook. Although West Papua has a reputation of being a tough birding destination, recent improvements in infrastructure, new guesthouses, and the discovery of more accessible sites means the wonders of the area are now available to all birders without the physical efforts required in the past.
After lunch we will walk down a narrow track to a hide where it is possible to see Western Parotia displaying from a discretely positioned hide. We may have to wait quite a while for the male to appear and a great deal of patience is required before he comes into the dancing ground arena, calling for some females to join him before we see his extravagant ‘ballerina dance’. Not far from this site we hope to see Vogelkop Bowerbird at a display site and there’s also a stake-out for displaying Magnificent Bird-of-Paradise nearby as well. If you stick with us for the entire day, we shall enjoy a packed lunch on site and continue our quest for some of the more elusive species already mentioned above throughout the afternoon. The final hour of light or so shall see us gathered at an open vantage point to witness evening flights of pigeons, hornbills and parrots, the latter usually including the restricted-range Brown Lory.
Please note that flights may well depart from the UK the day before. Any of the birds of paradise in the genus manucodia . Today we fly to Sorong, hopefully arriving in time to explore areas close to the city which host specialities like Blue-black Kingfisher and Black Thicket-Fantail. Basing ourselves in a comfortable hotel in Wamena we will make daily forays in 4WD vehicles for the journey up into the fabled Snow Mountains and in particular the Grand Baliem Valley. The journey is along winding roads, through wonderful forests where we will make several birding stops in search of our first specialties.
Alfonzo Bissonnette is a wildlife conservationist and a television personality. He is 29 years old. When he was just four years old, he found his first dead animal on the side of the road. From that day on, he knew that he wanted to work with animals.
Alfonzo has always been passionate about protecting the environment and its inhabitants. As a child, he would spend hours catching bugs and spiders in his backyard, then release them back into the wild unharmed. He later studied Wildlife Conservation at university, and now works tirelessly to protect endangered species all over the world.
Alfonzo is also a television personality. He has been featured on several shows about wildlife conservation, and has even hosted his own show about animal rescue operations.