Almost all of this month-long trip was spent in the Arfak Mountains region in West Papua, which is the western, Indonesian half of New Guinea. West Papua isn't as difficult to visit as you might think, but you do need a fair amount of time to make the trip worthwhile, and it can involve some expense, too, especially if you are on a tight schedule.
Transport. The Garuda flight directly from Europe (Vienna) all the way to Biak worked like clockwork, with none of the overbooking problems that I was expecting. Even once you arrive in West Papua, getting around is not so difficult, assuming everything works. Merpati flies to Manokwari and even more remote areas like Anggi Lakes and Numfor. There are decent paved roads around Manokwari, on Biak and even on Numfor and there are dirt roads to Anggi Lakes and now to with a couple hours' walk from Mokwam.
One possible problem, in practice, could be the weather. I was glad to go in the dry season, since I suspect wet weather will ground many of the smaller planes that Merpati uses, and will make trails difficult and dirt roads impassible (NB: most of the paved roads do have stretches of unpaved surface).
Even in the dry season, sticking to a tight schedule can be expensive. The Merpati planes are small, sometimes fly only once or twice a week to a particular destination, fill up quickly, and sometimes cannot be booked more than a day in advance. If you don't want to wait in a particular place for a day or two waiting for transport, you have to charter a taxi or boat, which can be quite pricey if you are talking about a 5 or 6 hour voyage (e.g. Manokwari to Numfor). Some of the charter boats are also somewhat below Western safety standards.
Surat Jalan. At the time of my visit, you needed a permit "surat jalan" to travel to West Papua outside of Biak city and Jayapura. However, the enforcement seemed to be getting a bit lax; no one actually stopped me from travelling to Manokwari without a permit. I have also heard that the surat jalan requirement will be got rid of soon, but make sure you know what the situation is yourself before travelling.
Safety. Useful sources of information on safety in West Papua are the web sites of the U.S. State Department and the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The "Consolidated Situation Reports" on the Indonesian country section of ReliefWeb (www.reliefweb.int) sometimes give up-to-date information on events in West Papua.
Mokwam area (Arfak Mountains)
Tempat Konservasi (Arfak Mountains)
Anggi Lakes (Arfak Mountains)
Mokwam must be the best place to look for the Vogelkop mountain birds. A new dirt road means you only have to walk about an hour or two to get to town, and the people in Mokwam are used to Westerners visiting, which makes the stay a lot less stressful than in other places, where you have large groups of people following you around the whole time.
The birds-of-paradise are almost certainly more common in some of the more sparsely inhabited parts of the Vogelkop, but the presence of Zeth Wonggor in Mokwam means you have a very good chance of seeing them here, especially if you stay more than two or three days. While I was visiting, Zeth actually had three Westerners all competing for his services, and I was glad to have booked him in advance through Kris Tindige. If you don't want to pay the middleman's fee, though, you can try writing to Zeth directly (Zeth_Wonggor@yahoo.com).
A special effort is required to see many of the mountain forest birds around Mokwam, but the birds can be seen if the effort is made. Zeth and some of the other villagers have stakeouts for some of the birds-of-paradise (normally they are small shelters covered with ferns for the Western Parotia and Magnificent Bird-of-paradise). For the owlet-nightjars, local help is invaluable. There is a known roost-site for Wallace's Owlet-nightjar in a tall dead tree stump at Ciraubrei. For Feline and Mountain Owlet-nightjars, you need a lot of luck, and the latest local knowledge also helps. Another good technique is to spend a lot of time checking or hacking through the densest thickets in the forest, where these two species tend to roost. If your guide goes to a special effort to find these birds for you, I would recommend you giving them a special tip!
Getting there: Mokwam is a small village in the Arfak Mountains south of Warmare. To get to Warmare, take the paved road south from Manokwari and then bear inland rather than south along the coast towards Oransburi. The trip takes about one and a half hours, and should not cost more than 100,000 Rupiah in a charter taxi (much less with a scheduled bus service). After going through Warmari, and past a concrete bridge a few kilometres west of town, there is a newly built dirt road leading left (south) into the mountains.
The dirt road was under construction, and it was possible to hire one of the company's garish red jeeps in each direction. Kris Tindige, who fixed up my trip, thought it would cost 750.000 Rupiah each way. I ended up paying 300.000 Rupiah in each direction, but you could almost certainly get it for much less. The jeep takes you up to about 1800m, from where a trail leads down to Mokwam (1250m) through the forest area called "Soiti".
Habitat: There is a lot of forest around Mokwam, but there is certainly a lot of hunting going on and the ground birds and birds-of-paradise are quite shy. I have heard that this is not the case in some of the more remote areas of the Arfak Mountains. If you want to find birds-of-paradise on your own and visit a true wilderness area, Mokwam is not the place for you. But if you don't have unlimited travel time, need somewhere more accessible and don't mind some help finding your birds, then Mokwam is the place, especially if Zeth Wonggor is not already booked up.
From the dirt road, the path leads through a forest area called Soiti all the way down to Mokwam, with the secondary forest, clearings and huts starting at about 1400m. Soiti is the best area for many birds, including the White-striped Forest-rail (see species description for some information about problems with the landowner!). The trail through Soiti is quite wide and is therefore a bit easier for birdwatching than some of the other mud-slides.
As you climb a ridge to the first set of huts, there is a fork. Mokwam is down the ridge, and up the ridge you soon get to the Rumah Turis ("tourist hut") at about 1450m. This hut is in an area of what looked like overgrown orchards above town and is a good area for birds like Vogelkop Melidectes and Green-backed Robin. It is also less of a climb to the forest at Sioubri than from Zeth's hut in the middle of Mokwam.
After crossing the Mokwam river (NB: there are several smaller river crossings on the way into town), you climb briefly and then descend along the main path through Mokwam village. Like most other places in Indonesia, this is "Hello Mister!" territory, which I realized part way through the visit is actually a direct translation into English of the standard Indonesian greeting "Salamat Tuan". As you walk eastwards through the village down the wide grass "main path" (with a lot of red flowering trees in the gardens on either side), you have a long, high ridge in front of you - this is the ridge of Bini Bei (and Tempat Konservasi further to the left/north), and is the other side of the Prafti River. Zeth's house is on the right side of the main drag. From pretty much exactly opposite his house, a trail leads across two very steep river crossings to a nearby Magnificent Bird-of-Paradise lek. For a small fee (maybe 80.000 Rupiah), the landowners here will admit you and let you use one of their fern hides near the latest spot the birds-of-paradise are using for a lek.
If you continue uphill from the Rumah Turis, you get to the area called Sioubri. Crossing the river to the opposite side from the Rumah Turis, you climb steeply up the side of a ridge. When you reach the ridgetop, at about 1600m, there is a Western Parotia lek, with one of Zeth' fern hides for viewing. Continuing up the ridge, you get to a large clearing with a hut (1750m), with Feline Owlet-nightjar roosting in the forest very nearby when I was there. A steep trail continues above the hut and apparently eventually gets to the summit of Gunung Indon. I went up only to 2100m, which is a good area for birds like Arfak Astrapia and Black Sicklebill, and was the only place I saw Smoky Robin.
Another rather obscure path enters the forest and follows the contours from the hut at Sioubri (turn right if you are looking uphill). I saw birds like Spotted Jewel-babbler, Mountain Owlet-nightjar and Bronze Ground-dove along this path, and heard Lesser Melampitta a few times. Eventually, the path leads steeply down and up across a dry stream bed into secondary forest, through a clearing (with another hut) and then meeting an obvious large trail that runs up and down the mountain. Taking the trail downhill to the right, you follow the left bank of the dry stream bed and eventually reach the Rumah Turis. I am calling this clearing the "Paradigalla clearing" since it is apparently the best place around Mokwam to look for this bird (which according to Zeth favours fruiting trees in secondary forest).
Ciraubrei is on the other side of the Prafti river from Mokwam, but with the dirt road is probably most easily reached from the Mokwam side. The hike takes 3-4 hours. It takes about an hour to walk gently downslope to the nearby town of Kwao (1100m), which seems to be about the same size of Mokwam, and you then descend to the Prafti river (750m), from where there is a steep climb up to the clearing at Ciraubrei (1000m). Aside from the smallish area of scrub and secondary forest around the clearing itself, Ciraubrei is unbroken primary forest.
Accomodation: Apparently there is a WWF hut in Mokwam, but I never saw or used it. For Soiti, I stayed in Zeth's house in Mokwam and commuted uphill twice a day. For Sioubri, you can stay in the hut in the main clearing (make sure you coordinate with the landowner ("pemilik"). I also camped one night by the side of the trail near the Paradigalla clearing - one of the porters made me an amazingly comfortable bed out of leaves. Although while out night torching I ran into someone's pig that had got lost up the trail, and it followed me back to camp and grunted around all night. For Ciraubrei, I stayed in the hut in the clearing, and again hired two relatives of the landowner as porters (two were needed here to carry all the equipment and food). I stayed the final night in the Rumah Turis.
One of the best moments of the trip was washing in the torrential Mokwam river after the four-day trip to Sioubri. Best of all, the people in Mokwam are used to westerners and will give you some privacy.
All the accommodation was a free "bonus" as part of my guiding fee. I was paying Zeth a fee of 100.000 Rupiah per day, with tips for the bird-of-paradise display areas and owlet-nightjars. This is a lot by local standards, so it is best not to tell other people in the village how much you are paying. The standard price for porters was 35.000 Rupiah.
Equipment requirements: Bringing full camping gear is not a bad idea, since the walk to Mokwam is not so long any more what with the new dirt road, and it costs very little to have someone carry the stuff for you.
I brought food in from Manokwari, but apparently this was not necessary, since you can just buy meals from a family in the village (it will mostly be sweet potatoes ("ubi") and other vegetables). I wished I had done this, since I am sure it would have cost less and would have been a lot less hassle, as well. Whenever I cooked with meat, the neighbours would decide to drop by for a visit. This was a big help with my weight loss programme.
I was surprised not to run into too much "interesting" food, although one day I did meet a couple of folk who had lit a fire under a log in the forest - they were cooking the large, edible maggots that live in this kind of wood.
Good ideas for presents include cooking gear, stationary (including pens), English-Indonesian dictionaries and bird books. According to Kris Tindige, almost every visitor brings in a shiny new set of cooking gear, so a number of families in the village are now well stocked.
Birds: Birds-of-paradise: The commonest species in the mountains is Western Parotia, and I saw females of this species quite regularly. Superb Bird-of-Paradise is also supposedly quite common, but I missed it. I ran into female Black Sicklebills, Magnificent Birds-of-paradise and Lesser Birds-of-paradise during regular birdwatching. But if you want to see the Paradigalla, Arfak Astrapia, or males of any species, your chances are limited without making a special effort, and are certainly not 100% even if you do.
Sioubri - main clearing and trail up Gunung Indon: Rufous-throated Bronze-cuckoo, Feline Owlet-Nightjar, Papuan Treecreeper, Vogelkop Bowerbird (common), Perplexing and Vogelkop Scrubwrens (both common), Smoky Robin, Sclater's Whistler, Black Sicklebill, Western Parotia, Arfak Astrapia, Tit Berrypecker.
I ended up staying a few nights in Manokwari on the way from one thing to another. I stayed at the Arfak Hotel (40.000 Rupiah/night for a room with a fan and 60.000 Rupiah/night for a room with air-con), so named because of the good view of the Arfak Mountains in the distance across Manokwari bay. No showers - you have to splatter cold water around. Not a bad hotel, though, and the staff are friendly. It is also nearby a military police barracks, so some of the guests are also exceptionally friendly and want to know everything about you.
The area right around Hotel Arfak should have everything you need: an Internet café, telephones, banks, a cashpoint, and places to eat (you can't eat meals apart from breakfast in Hotel Arfak itself). Taking a shared taxi around town costs 1.000 Rupiah per trip. Hiring one of the many motorcycles for yourself (they actually give you a helmet!) costs 2.000 or 3.000 Rupiah.
One afternoon, I took the road north from town, which travels through lush, tall secondary forest and a series of villages. I saw three birds not seen elsewhere on my trip - Palm Cockatoo, New Guinea Friarbird and Yellow-faced Myna.
Before the new dirt road to Mokwam was built, people used to walk to Mokwam over the course of two days, starting at the town of Tanah Merah (just south and east of Warmare). From here, a trail leads uphill to an area called "Tempat Konservasi", continuing to the clearing at Bini Bei, along a ridge-top and then steeply down to Ciraubrei and the Prafti River crossing.
With the new road, I think Tempat Konservasi is most easily visited separately to the Mokwam area, although many people still do walk through from one place to the other. The altitude and habitat is similar to that at Ciraubrei, although I found the composition of birds quite different.
Getting there: There are actually two landowners (pemilik) for Tempat Konservasi - one based in Mokwam and one in Tanah Merah. If you are hiking up from Tanah Merah, you should coordinate with the landowner there, called Cliyopas. I also hired Zeth for the trip. Cliyopas and Zeth have a rather competitive relationship, but Cliyopas was happy for Zeth to come as long as I hired three porters from his family (including Cliyopas himself), at the standard rate of 35.000 per day, each. The five of us stretched the food rations a little too much.
From Tanah Merah (250m), you have to hike up to the campsite at 780m. There is a yellow sign here saying "Negara Hutan" and a short, steep side-trail down to a small stream. I camped a bit further up the trail, at about 1000m, to be at a good altitude for birds like the Vogelkop Whistler. However, one of the two Vogelkop Whistlers I ended up seeing was actually right by the Negara Hutan sign! I got as far as 1400m, and the birds here are similar to those around Mokwam and Soiti. The trail continues up to the clearing at Bini Bei and Umsini Ridge.
Habitat: From 240m at Tanah Merah up to about 450m altitude, you walk through fields and secondary forest. Above this altitude, you are in unbroken primary forest.
Accommodation: Camping. I didn't have a tarpaulin, so Cliyopas brought along his own orange tarpaulin (with numerous holes in it). The other four camped at the main campsite around 1000m, with beds of ferns and a big fire to keep warm. I was at a smaller campsite a few metres downhill. Someone had obviously made a platform here once out of smaller logs, and they were quite rotten now and made a comfortable substrate. One night, when it felt like it was going to rain, we were treated to an impressively loud cicada chorus around the campsite.
Equipment requirements: Camping gear for yourself, and a tarpaulin for the porters. Unlike in Mokwam, you will need to bring in all your food for Tempat Konservasi.
Birds: Gurney's Eagle, Red-billed Brush-Turkey, Great Cuckoo-Dove, Zoe Imperial-Pigeon, Moluccan King-Parrot, Fairy Lorikeet, Marbled Frogmouth (heard only), Hooded and Red-bellied Pittas, Flame Bowerbird, Fairy Gerygone, Long-billed Honeyeater, Red Myzomela, Mimic, Tawny-breasted and Spotted Honeyeaters, Northern Scrub-Robin, Dwarf, Rusty, Vogelkop and Grey Whistlers, Variable, Hooded and Crested Pitohuis, Chestnut-backed Jewel-Babbler, Black-winged and Frilled (not Rufous-collared) Monarchs, Papuan Drongo, Western Parotia, Magnificent Riflebird, Magnificent and Lesser Birds-of-paradise, Mountain Peltops, Stout-billed, Boyer's, New Guinea (aka Black) and Black-bellied Cuckoo-shrikes, Black Berrypecker, Yellow-bellied Longbill, Dwarf Honeyeater.
Getting there: Merpati flies a few times per week to Irai, one of the larger villages around Anggi Lakes. Irai is situated in a large flat area of farmland around the western lake, Anggi Gigi, and Grey-banded Munia is abundant here. The flight leaves from Manokwari, stops in Irai for about 20 minutes, and then flies back to Manokwari. That means that if you take the plane, you will have to spend one to three days around the lakes if you want to stop at all. I only took the plane one way, back to Manokwari from the Lakes. The $8 price was not terribly reassuring.
In order to visit the lakes on my schedule, I had to travel in overland. This involved taking a bus to Ransiki, from where the guide I had hired was sure I could hire a construction company jeep. Wrong - we waited a couple of hours, and there were no jeeps. Instead, since time was fairly short until my flight back to Manokwari from Anggi, I had to take a short ride on the back of a motorbike to the village of Nuhuhei, which is a bit further south along the tarmac road and then a couple of kilometres inland along a flat dirt road. I hiked from Nuhuhei to Anggi Lakes, starting at a hot 2pm and arriving at Anggi Gita, the first (eastern) lake, at 10pm. This was a bit of a push, and it essentially wiped me out for the remainder of my Papua trip. I recommend having a full day or even two to hike up here.
The caterpillar track from Nuhuhei ascends very steeply all the way to 1900m on the slope of Trikora mountain. From there you descend to Trikora village near Anggi Gita, climb again along Kobrey Mountains (between the lakes), and then descend to the second lake, Anggi Gigi. I finally ran into the construction company jeep just before Trikora village, and they took me the last 5-10 km to the construction company's "barracks". You might get luckier than me, or you might not run into the jeep at all.
Habitat: Poor quality. The habitat around the lakes is bracken scrub with some very small marshes, and a larger extent of flat farmland around Irai. Some forest is also visible on the hills around Irai. Some forest is also visible at some points along the road from Nuhuhei up to the lakes.
Accommodation: Local hospitality. The first night, I was the guest of the construction company and stayed with the construction workers at their "barracks", where I got to watch some movies dubbed into Indonesian and was provided with the standard fare (rice, instant noodles, dried fish, and coffee). I paid them something, although they were reluctant to accept it. The second night, I stayed with a friendly Brimob (mobile) policeman in Irai. He did ask for my sleeping bag, though, but turned out to be quite happy with my map of Irian Jaya as an alternative gift.
Equipment: A sleeping bag, a sweater and water purification are a good idea. Food might also be hard to come by if you are unlucky, although the police operate a small shop in Irai and local families would probably cook you meals if you stayed with one of them.
Calmness is an essential for a visit to Anggi Lakes. The locals (young and old) enjoyed following me around everywhere in large groups, and would not take even the most unsubtle hints to leave ("Sorry, I want to walk alone to watch birds". "OK, we'll (five of us) walk alone."). This was the case whether I was alone, with a self-appointed local "guide", or with the police. I lacked calmness; in fact, I was driven totally insane. But the habitat is so terrible, it shouldn't make much difference to the birds you see.
Birds: Little Grebe, Eurasian Coot, Papuan Boobook (heard on the hike up), Tawny Grassbird, Island Leaf-Warbler, Brown-breasted Gerygone, Grey-banded Munia.
Getting there: There are three ways to get to Numfor. If you are lucky or are on a more relaxed schedule, you can take a ferry (a couple a week come through Numfor from Biak to Manokwari and vice versa). Merpati also flies from Numfor to Biak, although the flight to Biak was already booked up when I was on the island. The last way is a charter a boat, which will either be very expensive (400.000 Rupiah or so for a longboat) or unsafe. The latter option is via "jonson", a four-person canoe stabilized with lengths of bamboo running perpendicular along either side of the boat, and with four or five cross-beams. Numfor is four to five hours from either Manokwari or Biak, and the trip (each way) is still quite pricey at about 100.000 Rupiah. On the first leg, from Manokwari to Numfor, we ran into some bad weather. The waves started tossing the boat around, flooded all the equipment with salt water, and when we were about one and a half hours from Numfor, one of the wooden cross beams broke. It is OK if one or even two break, but if more go then you are in trouble. We had to take it slowly thereafter. The trip eventually took 11 hours, and we had to spend the night on the small island of Manem, which is within spitting distance of Numfor (or daily commuting distance if you are an imperial-pigeon).
If you specifically wanted to visit Manem island, you could probably arrange a jonson fairly easily and cheaply from Numfor. There is even a small freshwater pool on the island.
If you are on Numfor and need to hire a jonson, the best bet is to ask at the town of Yamburwo on the north side. My family in Namber took me to a person they recommended in Yamburwo who organized jonson crews. The first thing he did after we had agreed on the price - as I had hoped - was to register with the police.
Habitat: I stayed at the village of Namber on Numfor. There is a road running along the western side of the island, and Namber is about 8-10 km north of the very southern tip of the road (where there is a harbour). The habitat was not that great around Namber - mostly fields, burned areas, and scrubby woodland. I had real difficulty finding the Paradise-kingfisher in this habitat, but eventually found a couple the second evening, perched by the side of the tarmac road in an area of moister vine-clad scrub a few kilometres south of the village. Apparently (I learned afterwards), this is one of the worst areas on the island to visit. The first morning, I hired a guide in Namber who led me through a burned-over area of scrubby, head-high trees, mostly moving at a slow run.
Manem is a small island - if it weren't for the sharp rocks and mangrove tangles, you could probably walk around the whole island in a matter of minutes. Lots of sand, coconut palms, and huge purple land crabs. There are also some rusty wheel hubs and other machinery left over from the Second World War.
Accommodation: Two nights in Namber at a local guest house (my host was Mrs. Bertha Mansuber). I paid 100.000 Rupiah, which included the two nights and three large meals per day. On Manem, slept on the beach.
Like Anggi Lakes, large groups of people follow you around incessantly (when birdwatching, bathing and going to the toilet), but unlike Anggi Lakes it was mostly kids who could be shaken off with some persistance.
Equipment: High-factor sunscreen and motion-sickness pills (for the boat trip), sleeping bag. A satellite phone might be a good safety precaution for the jonson, but keep your gear well protected in plastic bags, otherwise the salt water will put paid to it before too long.
Namber village has a small pool that is used for drinking water - it was crystal clear and had a couple of crayfish and a hermit crab swimming around in it. My hosts swore I didn't have to purify it, but I did anyway - was slightly brackish but tasted good.
Birds: Manem: Lesser Frigatebird, White-breasted Fruit-Dove, Pied and Spice Imperial-Pigeons, Black-winged Lory, Island Monarch, Island Whistler.
Numfor: Osprey, Dusky Scrubfowl, Common Sandpiper, Emerald Dove, Yellow-bibbed and Claret-breasted Fruit-Doves, Black-winged Lory (abundant), Papuan Frogmouth (common), Moustached Treeswift, Numfor Paradise-Kingfisher, Cicadabird, Island Monarch, Biak (Black) Flycatcher (common), Leaden Flycatcher, Red-capped Flowerpecker.
I visited two sites on Biak. I attempted to spend two separate mornings at Warafri in SE Biak, but I am not sure I made it all the way there either time. The place I ended up was certainly the SE of the island and was not the worst habitat in the world, but the area of forest was pretty small. I consistently had trouble getting the taxi drivers on Biak to take me where I actually wanted to go!
Attempting to visit Supiori by road (the paved road goes from Biak city to the north-east of Supiori), I was in fact dropped off in northern Biak - unfortunately, I failed to take a note of the name of the town. In this case, I knew the taxi driver was lying at the time but didn't make an issue of it, since there was clearly a lot of good forest around town. As it turned out, though, access to the forest was not easy at all - the trails inland weren't very good, and none of the locals seemed very keen to be hired as a guide.
Getting there: Jayapura and Biak are the two places in West Papua that Garuda flies to. To travel around Biak and Supiori islands outside Biak city - at least at the time of my visit - you strictly needed a surat jalan, although no one checked for the journey to Warafri.
There are buses along the road to northern Biak (and NE Supiori) that are very cheap. Taxis cost 30.000 Rupiah per hour.
Habitat: I did find some forest patches in SE Biak and could see much more extensive forest in the north of the island, but access was difficult at the latter site. Most of the island is covered by scrub.
Accommodation: I stayed at the Hotel Mutiara in Biak city. It is quite nice but rather expensive at 214.500 Rupiah per night. The restaurant is especially pricey. For the single night in N Biak, I slept in the village guest room.
Equipment: For N Biak, take a mosquito net, a sleeping bag, and lots of water (or purification, although the only water I found here was a well near town). SE Biak can be visited on day- or half-day trips from Biak city.
Birds: Pacific Baza, Dusky Scrubfowl, Claret-breasted and Superb Fruit-Doves, Black-winged Lory, Brush Cuckoo, Biak Coucal, Biak Paradise-Kingfisher, Hooded Pitta, Emperor Fairywren, Golden Monarch, Shining Flycatcher, Hooded Butcherbird (abundant), Black-browed Triller, Metallic and Long-tailed Starlings (both abundant), Red-capped Flowerpecker.
KARAENTA FOREST RESERVE (SW SULAWESI)
Getting there: I visited this reserve during a day-long stopover at Ujung Pandang during the flight out to West Papua. Take a taxi to "Bantimurung" village. It is about 25km to the ape archway into the village, but instead of turning left through the archway, continue right on the main road, which starts to ascend from the paddyfields into forest and scrub. I got the taxi to drop me off at a hut on the left about 10km further on from the ape archway. From here, you could take a trail that ran pretty much along the left side of the road, and then rejoined the road a little further on, from which point I just had to walk along the road itself and look for side trails. I didn't find it easy to birdwatch along the road because the traffic was so heavy.
Habitat: Scrub and forest (mostly appeared to be taller secondary forest).
Accommodation: You can day-trip this site from Ujung Pandang.
Equipment: Water and sunscreen.
Birds: I only visited the site between 11am and dusk. It was hot and birdwatching was very slow - I had to wait until 1:30pm to see my first bird of any kind. But the white-eye is one of the most common birds (listen for the ascending and descending twitter of birds travelling around in small groups). My comprehensive list for this site is as follows: Glossy Swiftlet, Sulawesi Dwarf Hornbill, Black-naped Monarch, Hair-crested Drongo, Black-ringed White-eye, Olive-bellied and Black Sunbirds, Yellow-sided Flowerpecker; probable Red Junglefowl and Sulawesi Babbler.
23 June - Arrive in Bali from Frankfurt
24 June - Morning flight to Ujung Pandang, birdwatching in Karaenta Forest Reserve
25 June - 1am flight to Biak, morning birdwatching in SE Biak (near Warafri)
26 June - Morning flight to Manokwari, afternoon spent along coastal road north from town
27 June - Taxi, jeep and walk from Manokwari to Mokwam, staying at Zeth Wonggor's house in town
28 June - Walk from Mokwam to hut at Sioubri, and birdwatching above Sioubri in the afternoon.
29 June - Above Sioubri and along trail to Paradigalla clearing.
30 June - Around Paradigalla clearing (Sioubri)
1 July - Around Paradigalla clearing, then hike back to Mokwam
2 July - Around Mokwam and Soiti
3 July - Mokwam and Soiti
4 July - Hike to Ciraubrei; camping in clearing at Ciraubrei.
5 July - Around Ciraubrei
6 July - Afternoon hike back to Mokwam, night in Rumah Turis
7 July - Morning around Rumah Turis, afternoon trip back to Manokwari
8 July - In Manokwari
9 July - In Manokwari
10 July - Drive to Tanah Merah, hike up to Tempat Konservasi
11 July - Tempat Konservasi
12 July - Tempat Konservasi
13 July - Tempat Konservasi
14 July - Tempat Konservasi, afternoon back to Manokwari
15 July - Bus from Manokwari to Ransiki; hike up to Anggi Lakes
16 July - Hike from construction company barracks to Irai, birdwatching around Irai
17 July - Morning flight back to Manokwari
18 July - Early morning departure by "jonson" to Numfor; ran into bad weather and landed on Manem
19 July - Final leg of jonson voyage from Manem to Numfor, night in Namber village
20 July - Around Namber village on Numfor
21 July - Jonson from Yamburwo on Numfor to Biak city
22 July - Taxi from Biak city to a small town in N Biak
23 July - Returned to Biak city
24 July - Morning excursion again to near Warafri on SE Biak
25 July - Flight back to Frankfurt, via Ujung Pandang and Denpasar
Little GrebeTachybaptus ruficollis - 3 seen at Anggi Lakes.
Lesser Frigatebird Fregata ariel - 1 from the coast of Manem island. Two probables on the voyage from Manokwari to Manem.
Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia - Common at Anggi Lakes. Two in paddyfields at Ransiki. Two on Numfor.
OspreyPandion haliaetus - One flyover near Namber village on Numfor.
Pacific BazaAviceda subcristata - Three seen in 2 mornings near Warafri, Biak. One probable on Numfor. One in northern Biak.
New Guinea EagleHarpyopsis novaeguineae - Two seen in a total of seven-and-a-half days spend birdwatching at Mokwam and Siobri. One was flying over Mokwam village, and one flew over the camp near the Paradigalla clearing. Heard frequently around the Paradigalla clearing at Siobri.
Gurney's Eagle Aquila gurneyi - One flying over camp at Tempat Konservasi (970m) in the four-and-a-half days spent birdwatching there.
Dusky ScrubfowlMegapodius freycinet - One flushed from a logging track near Warafri in SE Biak. One feeding by the side of the paved road a few km south of Namber village on Numfor.
Red-billed Brush-turkeyTalegalla cuvieri - Heard constantly up to 1000m at Tempat Konservasi. Two taped in to within metres very easily. Zeth said he found an active mount during our visit (10-15 July).
White-striped Forest-railRallina leucospila - Seeing this bird was hard work. Zeth is reluctant to take people to Soiti, the best area for this species, because of jealousy issues with the landowner. I used playback, but was only successful when I found one that was already calling (on the second day of trying specifically for this bird). After scurrying around in the underbrush for a few minutes, it eventually jumped on top of a log only a few metres from where I was sitting, and called for several minutes. But when I reached for my camera, it noticed me, clambered awkwardly down a vine off the log, and - since it was getting dark - I didn't see it again. NB: the crowing bird was a female.
Eurasian CootFulica atra - About 20 (3 groups) at Anggi Lakes.
Common SandpiperTringa hypoleucos - One at the harbour in Namber village, Numfor.
Metallic Pigeon Columba vitiensis - Two seen in fruiting trees at Soiti (1500m), near Mokwam.
Slender-billed Cuckoo-DoveMacropygia amboinensis - One at 1300m above Cirabrei. One on Numfor. Four near Warafri, SE Biak. Six in one day along the coastal road in N Biak.
Black-billed Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia nigrirostris - Abundant at Siobri, especially around the Paradigalla clearing (1700-1800m), with about 40 sightings in 3 days spent there.
Great Cuckoo-Dove Reinwardtoena reinwardtsi - One flyover (1000m) and one perched in the canopy (1250m) at Tempat Konservasi.
Emerald DoveChalcophaps indica - 5 in one-and-a-half days on Numfor. Seemed to like the recently burned areas by the side of the road north of Namber village.
Bronze Ground-Dove Gallicolumba beccarii - One flushed infuriatingly from exactly the same spot everytime I walked the trail from the clearing at Siobri to the Paradigalla clearing. On the last day, I approached slowly, hid behind a tree, and I eventually got good views of the bird walking around only a few metres away.
Superb Fruit-DovePtilinopus superbus - Only one sighting of a male perched in a bush at head-height near Warafri, SE Biak.
White-breasted Fruit-DovePtilinopus rivoli - Probably the same male seen a few times on Manem island, off Numfor.
Yellow-bibbed Fruit-DovePtilinopus solomonensis - Two sightings, a male and a female, in one-and-a-half days on Numfor.
Claret-breasted Fruit-DovePtilinopus viridis - 7 seen during the two mornings on SE Biak, one seen in the single day on N Biak, and 2 in 1.5 days on Numfor.
Spice Imperial-Pigeon Ducula myristicivora - 6 commuting to Manem (roosting on Numfor) with larger numbers of Pied Imperial-Pigeon. Also 10 on mainland Numfor and about 10 in N Biak. Heard in SE Biak.
Zoe Imperial-PigeonDucula zoeae - Four records at about 900m (possibly the same pair seen on consecutive days) at Tempat Konservasi.
Pied Imperial-PigeonDucula spilorrhoa - Over 30 commuting to spend the day on Manem island (from Numfor) - seen flying to and from the island at dusk and dawn, and also feeding in fig trees with smaller numbers of Spice Imperial-Pigeon.
Double-eyed Fig-parrot Opopsitta diopthalma - A group of a least three seen in secondary forest just below the clearing at Cirabrei.
Brehm's Tiger-ParrotPsittacella brehmii - 2 records at Siobri (1700 and 1800m) in the four days spent there.
Modest Tiger-ParrotPsittacella modesta - 2 records, on at Siobri (1700m) and one at Soiti (1400m) in a total of 7.5 days birdwatching around Mokwam.
Red-cheeked ParrotGeoffroyus geoffroyi - 13 records in 1.5 days at Numfor. 4 in the day in N Biak, and 2 in the two mornings in SE Biak.
Eclectus ParrotEclectus roratus - Abundant on Biak and, especially, Numfor, with over 50 seen in 1.5 days on the island, including a flock of 10 exploding from a corn field on the track inland from Namber. This species, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo and Black-winged Lory are abundant on Numfor and make birdwatching there a lot of fun, even if the habitat isn’t wonderful. A male seen from the hike from Tanah Merah to Tempat Konservasi.
Moluccan King-Parrot Alisterus amboinensis - Four seen in 4.5 days at Tempat Konservasi (900-1200m). All were in mixed species flocks, often with Magnificent Riflebird as the other large bird, and perched quietly in the midstorey.
Palm Cockatoo Probosciger aterrimus - 3 seen on the road north from Manokwari. One heard at Tempat Konservasi.
Sulphur-crested CockatooCacatua galerita - Abundant on Numfor, with about 35 seen in 1.5 days birdwatching on the island.5 seen in 2 mornings on SE Biak. One in the 1.5 days at Cirabrei. Two seen flying together at 500m on the hike up to Tempat Konservasi.
Black-winged Lory (aka Biak Red Lory) Eos cyanogenia - Another abundant parrot on Numfor, with about 40 seen in 1.5 days. Common on Biak, with 15 seen in one day in N Biak and 4 seen in the two mornings in the SE. Also a pair seen perched on Manem island, off Numfor.
Rainbow LorikeetTrichoglossus haematodus - Seen on Biak (but not Numfor) with 6 in 2 mornings in the SE and 2 in a day in the north. 20 along the coastal road north from Manokwari.
Fairy LorikeetCharmosyna pulchella - One positively identified out of a probably flock of at least six at 900m at Tempat Konservasi.
Papuan LorikeetCharmosyna papou - 3 flyovers at Siobri (2000m), 2 perched at Cirabrei (1350m), and 2 perched on the ridgetop above our campsite at Tempat Konservasi (1250m).
Plum-faced LorikeetOreopsittacus arfaki - One just above the Paradigalla clearing at Siobri (1800m), feeding quietly at head height in some white flowers right by the trail.
Yellow-billed LorikeetNeopsittacus musschenbroekii - Abundant in secondary forest around the Paradigalla clearing at Siobri (1700-1800m), with about 25 seen in two days spent in this area. Not seen elsewhere.
Brush Cuckoo Cacomantis variolosus - One immature seen in SE Biak. Heard in Namber village on Numfor.
Rufous-throated Bronze-cuckooChrysococcyx ruficollis - One in a flock of Tit Berrypeckers above the clearing at Siobri (1800m).
Asian KoelEudynamys scolopacea - Not seen, but heard every morning around the camps at Cirabrei and Tempat Konservasi (both 1000m)
Biak Coucal Centropus chalybeus - One seen in N Biak, and one seen in SE Biak.
Lesser Sooty-Owl Tyto multipunctata - A pair calling around camp at 4am one of the mornings at Tempat Konservasi. Not seen.
Jungle Hawk-Owl (aka Papuan Boobook) Ninox theomacha - 3 calling on higher parts of the road up to Anggi Lakes (1600-1800m). Not seen.
Papuan FrogmouthPodargus papuensis - 5 seen on roadside wires on a nighttime motorcycle ride on Numfor. Heard one evening in the clearing at Cirabrei but not seen.
Marbled FrogmouthPodargus ocellatus - Calling pre-dawn and after dusk most days around the clearing at Tempat Konservasi, but never seen.
Feline Owlet-NightjarAegotheles insignis - One roosting in a thicket just above camp at Siobri (1800m) and heard calling around camp the same night.
Wallace's Owlet-NightjarAegotheles wallacii - One seen on two consecutive days roosting in a tall dead tree stump about 10 minutes walk from the clearing at Cirabrei (1000m).
Mountain Owlet-NightjarAegotheles albertisi - One rufous-phase bird roosting in a thicket in the middle of a small clearing near the Paradigalla clearing at Siobri (1700m). The technique for seeing owlet-nightjars is apparently to spend a long time hacking through the densest thickets in the forest (the preferred roosting areas for these birds) in the hope of flushing one. However, both the Feline and Mountain Owlet-Nightjars I saw did not fly, even though I had to climb into the middle of the thickets to see the birds, and in each case was too close to use binoculars.
Moustached Treeswift Hemiprocne mystacea - 3 seen one evening just outside Namber village on Numfor.
Glossy SwiftletCollocalia esculenta - Abundant at all lowland sites as well as some hill and mountain areas (e.g. Prafti river crossing at 750m, and Anggi Lakes at 1750m). Also at Karaenta Forest Reserve during the stopover on Sulawesi.
Mountain SwiftletCollocalia hirundinacea - Small numbers (usually 2 or 3) seen most days in the Mokwam area, Cirabrei, Tempat Konservasi, and Anggi Lakes. Identified by range.
Uniform SwiftletCollocalia vanikorensis - Along the coastal road north from Manokwari, as well as on Numfor and Biak, in all places in smaller numbers than Glossy Swiftlet.
Sacred KingfisherTodiramphus sanctus - Common on roadside wires above scrub on Biak and Numfor. Also 5 records in the day spent on Manem island, off Numfor.
Biak Paradise-KingfisherTanysiptera riedelli - 2 seen in the first morning near Warafri in SE Biak.
Numfor Paradise-KingfisherTanysiptera carolinae - 3 seen in 1.5 days on Numfor, 2 perched by the side of the paved road a couple of km south of Namber village, and one flying across the road several km north of town. Took a lot longer to see than I'd expected, especially since I constantly heard what I think was its call (a slow upslurred whistle). The locals call it "cenderawasih numfor" (Numfor Bird-of-paradise) although they know it isn't really a BOP.
Rainbow Bee-eaterMerops ornatus - A group of 8 along the coastal road north from Manokwari. 2 pairs seen in the 1.5 days on Numfor.
DollarbirdEurystomus orientalis - Abundant in scrub on Biak and Numfor. One seen on Manem island. One along the coastal road north of Manokwari.
Sulawesi Hornbill (aka Tarictic Hornbill) Penelopides exarhatus - 9 seen (3 groups) in the afternoon at Karaenta Forest Reserve on Sulawesi, during the stop-over on the way to Papua.
Blyth's HornbillAceros plicatus - A continuous, noisy presence in the forest at Cirabrei and Tempat Konservasi, although probably there were only a few pairs at either site. A pair flying across the dirt road up to Anggi Lakes at 500m.
Hooded PittaPitta sordida - One seen at 900m at Tempat Konservasi. Three seen on Numfor. Heard in SE Biak.
Red-bellied Pitta Pitta erythrogaster - One seen at Cirabrei (1000m), and two seen at Tempat Konservasi (800m and 1100m).
Papuan Treecreeper Cormobates placens - One on the ridgetop above Siobri, Mokwam (1900m).
Spotted CatbirdAiluroedus melanotis - Heard constantly at all sites around Mokwam, but only a single sighting of a bird flying across the trail at Soiti (1550m). Also heard at about 1100m along the dirt road up to Anggi Lakes.
Vogelkop BowerbirdAmblyornis inornatus - Commonly heard at Soiti and Siobri, both above Mokwam, but only 4 sightings, all at Siobri (1800-2000m), as well as a nest with a large chick that Zeth said was this species (1800m, near the Paradigalla clearing). The forest at these sites is full of the amazing bowers - huge structures made of twigs with piles of objects arranged on the front "lawn", including red berries, beetle carapaces, acorns, and often trash (e.g. the red wrappers from sardine cans or Supermie packets). Also one at 1350 above camp at Tempat Konservasi.
Flame BowerbirdSericulus aureus - 6 birds - all but one females - seen in 4.5 days at Tempat Konservasi, at elevations from 600m to 1200m. The male I did see didn't seem any more furtive than the females, though, so the ratio might just have been down to luck. Zeth showed me a bower of this species just below the clearing at Cirabrei, although I didn't see any birds here.
White-shouldered FairywrenMalurus alboscapularus - 2 sightings in the clearing at Siobri (1700m) and one in scrub around Mokwam (1250m).
Emperor FairywrenMalurus cyanocephalus - One pair seen in N Biak and one pair seen in SE Biak.
Rusty Mouse-warblerCrateroscelis murina - Commonly heard and occasionally seen around Numfor village, at Cirabrei, and at Tempat Konservasi, the highest altitude being the Magnificent BOP display area at Mokwam (1250m).
Mountain Mouse-warblerCrateroscelis robusta - 4 pairs seen at altitudes from 1450m to 1800m at Siobri and Soiti, in about 6.5 days spent about 1450m at these sites.
Perplexing Scrubwren Sericornis virgatus - 2 to 5 birds probably seen most days around Mokwam (but not seen at Cirabrei). Only a few individuals positively identified; some could conceivably have been Large Scrubwren, although I doubt it. I was more confident in telling Perplexing and Vogelkop Scrubwrens apart, mostly based on behaviour.
Vogelkop Scrubwren Sericornis rufescens - 5 groups, including a total of about 30-35 birds, seen in 6 days spent at Siobri and Soiti, above Mokwam (1400 upwards).
Grey-green ScrubwrenSericornis arfakianus - Two seen in scrub along the river upstream from Mokwam (about 1300m), with only about a day spent birdwatching in this habitat.
Pale-billed ScrubwrenSericornis spilodera - A monospecific group of 3-4 above the clearing at Cirabrei (1100m), and the same number in a huge mixed-species flock near the yellow "Negara Hutan" sign at Tempat Konservasi (800m).
Mountain Gerygone (aka Grey Gerygone) Gerygone cinerea - Heard constantly and seen regularly (several per field-day) in appropriate habitat above 1100m. Appropriate habitat = scrub and secondary forest, as well as ridgetop forest at Tempat Konservasi, but this species usually seemed absent or at least a lot rarer in primary forest (e.g. above Siobri). Perhaps the commonest passerine around Anggi Lakes.
Fairy Gerygone Gerygone palpebrosa - 4 seen (2 males, 2 females) in a big mixed-species flock at 800m at Tempat Konservasi.
Brown-breasted GerygoneGerygone ruficollis - 3 seen well - as well as numerous probables - at Anggi Lakes.
Long-billed HoneyeaterMelilestes megarhynchus - 4 seen (a single at 800m and a group of three at 1250m) in the 4.5 days at Tempat Konservasi.
Red Myzomela Myzomela cruentata - 2 males (900m and 1200m) and one probable female seen in the canopy at Tempat Konservasi.
Red-collared MyzomelaMyzomela rosenbergii - 10 sightings around Mokwam, all above 1350m, and most around the Paradigalla clearing (secondary forest). 4 sightings at Tempat Konservasi, all above 1200m. 3 at Anggi Lakes - one of the few species seen in the bracken scrub around the lakes.
Mountain Meliphaga Meliphaga orientalis - 3 sightings in scrub around Mokwam and nearby Kwao village (en-route to Cirabrei) at 1100-1250m. A pair were often present in the canopy right above the campsite at Tempat Konservasi (1000m), and might have been nesting there.
Mimic Honeyeater (aka Mimic Meliphaga) Meliphaga analoga - One identified (see following), one 90%, and a few other probables at 800-950m at Tempat Konservasi. Tough to get a positive ID. I based on the size of the ear patch (clearly ruling out Mountain Meliphaga) and the lack of a connection between the gape and the ear patch (ruling out Puff-backed Honeyeater, although perhaps not so definitely . . . especially since the iris was brown and not grey).
Tawny-breasted Honeyeater Xanthotis flaviventer - You can tell New Guinea is a tough area for birdwatching when even the nectar-eating birds are dull, difficult to identify, and furtive. I saw a few probables of particular species before finally getting a good look at one on the final morning. Note that the Vogelkop birds are especially dull, with the only real feature I could see (apart from the tawny belly) a pale streak extending from behind the eye.
Spotted HoneyeaterXanthotis polygramma - One in a mixed flock at 900m at Tempat Konservasi.
Marbled HoneyeaterPycnopygius cinereus - Yet another dull honeyeater that is hard to see well. Not so furtive as the meliphagas etc., but tends to stick to the canopy, meaning you often miss out on the excitement of its facial marking. 1 seen at each of Siobri, Soiti, and the ridgetop above Cirabrei (1400m). 3 on the ridgetop above Tempat Konservasi (1250-1350m).
New Guinea FriarbirdPhilemon novaeguineae - 3 in the single afternoon spent along the coastal road north of Manokwari.
Rufous-sided HoneyeaterPtiloprora erythropleura - Only seen at Siobri, from 1700m upwards. 6 sightings in the 4 days spent there.
Cinnamon-browed MelidectesMelidectes ochromelas - 4 sightings, all at Siobri. Numerous melidectes heard calling - I never learned the difference between the calls. Some melidectes heard calling in the bracken-scrub around Anggi Lakes could have been this species or Vogelkop Melidectes.
Vogelkop MelidectesMelidectes leucostephes - I had real trouble seeing this bird. According to Zeth, the numerous melidectes calling around Mokwam village are all this species. But I found that they were shy and stayed out of view. Saw one after searching quite hard specifically for this species on the last day at Mokwam; one bird perched in an orchard above the village (1400m).
Arfak HoneyeaterMelipotes gymnops - Up to 12 almost every day around Mokwam (including Cirabrei), and 4 in a mixed flock at 1200m one of the days at Tempat Konservasi.
Lesser Ground-robinAmalocichla incerta - One juvenile at 1500m at Siobri. Zeth saw this species often.
Canary FlycatcherMicroeca papuana - Only one sighting, near the Paradigalla clearing at 1750m.
Garnet Robin Eugerygone rubra - Only seen on the first day spent in the Mokwam area, with two males at 1600m and 1650m at Soiti on the trail above Mokwam.
White-faced RobinTregellasia leucops - One see just above the clearing at Cirabrei (1050m). Seen most days at Tempat Konservasi, with up to five records per day (overall, 9 records in 4.5 days there).
Smoky RobinPeneothello cryptoleucus - Only one seen, at 2000m above Siobri.
Blue-grey RobinPeneothello cyanus - Probably one of the most abundant forest birds around Mokwam. Seen almost every day at all sites around the village, including Siobri, Soiti and Cirabrei, with up to five seen per day, and heard even more frequently. Not seen at Tempat Konservasi (probably too low) or Anggi Lakes (I didn't visit any forest).
Ashy RobinHeteromyias albispecularis - Only recorded in the higher-altitude forest (above 1700m) at Siobri. Several heard daily, but only seen once, near the Paradigalla clearing (1750m).
Green-backed RobinPachycephalopsis hattamensis - A couple seen in an overgrown orchard near the "Rumah Turis" near Mokwam, at 1450m.
Northern Scrub-RobinDrymodes superciliaris - One seen above camp at Cirabrei (1100m). Three seen at Tempat Konservasi, all at around 900m.
Varied SitellaDaphoenositta chrystoptera - One group of about 6, fairly close to the Paradigalla clearing at Siobri near Mokwam (1650m).
Mottled WhistlerRhagologus leucostigma - Seen roughly every other day around Mokwam (including Siobri), with up to 5 per day. Seemed commonest in secondary forest on the trail between the Rumah Turis and the Paridigalla clearing.
Dwarf WhistlerPachycare flavogrisea - One seen between Mokwam and Soiti, at about 1300m. One to four seen daily at Tempat Konservasi.
Rufous-naped WhistlerAleadryas rufinucha - Heard frequently at Mokwam, especially around Siobri. One seen at Soiti (1500m).
Island WhistlerPachycephala phaionotus - Two seen in the day spent on Manem island, off Numfor.
Rusty WhistlerPachycephala hyperythra - One at 750m on the hike up to Tempat Konservasi.
Vogelkop WhistlerPachycephala meyeri - One seen at 1250m at Tempat Konservasi, then another seen in a huge mixed species flock at 800m near the yellow "Negara Hutan" signpost.
Grey WhistlerPachycephala griseiceps - The commonest whistler at Tempat Konservasi, with 5 records in 4.5 days, as well as many more probables.
Sclater's WhistlerPachycephala soror - Common above Mokwam (at Soiti and Siobri); seen almost every day, with up to 6 seen per day.
Rufous Shrike-ThrushColluricincla megarhyncha - 4 at Cirabrei in 2 days spent there, and 4 at Tempat Konservasi in 4.5 days spent there.
Variable PitohuiPitohui kirhocephalus - Only one sighting, by the yellow "Negara Hutan" sign at Tempat Konservasi (800m). The race here is grey-headed.
Hooded PitohuiPitohui dichrous - One sighting at Cirabrei (1100m) and one at Tempat Konservasi (900m).
Crested PitohuiPitohui cristatus - Heard frequently at Tempat Konservasi (700-1000m), and 5 seen in 4.5 days, including two whistled early morning that flew in at about twice head-height.
Black Pitohui Pitohui nigrescens - A male and a female seen, each seen in secondary forest at opposite sides of the Paradigalla clearing at Siobri (1750m).
Spotted Jewel-babblerPtilorrhoa leucosticta - A pair seen in between the main clearing and the Paradigalla clearing at Siobri (1750m); heard frequently in this area and at Soiti (1400m upwards).
Chestnut-backed Jewel-babblerPtilorrhoa castanonota - 2 pairs seen on separate days at Tempat Konservasi (both around 900m).
Willie-wagtail Rhipidura leucophrys - Common in all sites visited on Biak (SE and N) and Numfor, especially disturbed areas, roadsides, and even walking on paved roads, with up to 15 sightings per day.
Northern FantailRhipidura rufiventris - One seen at Cirabrei (950m) and one at Tempat Konservasi (1000m).
Friendly FantailRhipidura albolimbata - Probably the most frequently encountered bird above Mokwam (Soiti and Siobri, from 1400m upwards), with up to 15 seen per day.
Chestnut-bellied FantailRhipidura hyperythra - One at Cirabrei (950m). 11 records in 4.5 days at Tempat Konservasi (600-1050m).
Black FantailRhipidura atra - Between 2 and 8 daily every day above Mokwam (Soiti and Siobri, from 1400m upwards). Almost as common as Friendly Fantail in exactly the same areas that Friendly Fantail was common.
Rufous-backed Fantail Rhipidura rufidorsa - One at Cirabrei and one at Tempat Konservasi, both at 950m.
Black-naped Monarch Hypothymis azurea - Only during the stopover on Sulawesi; 4 seen and several heard at Karaenta Forest Reserve.
Black MonarchMonarcha axillaris - 3 records just above Mokwam village (both about 1350m), and one female seen at Tempat Konservasi (900m).
Island MonarchMonarcha cinerascens - One on Manem island, off Numfor, and one on Numfor island proper (about 3 km down the road south from Namber village).
Black-winged MonarchMonarcha frater - Seen 3 out of 5 days at Tempat Konservasi (9 seen in 4.5 days there).
Golden MonarchMonarcha chrysomela - 4 seen on the very first day of the trip, near Warafri in SE Biak.
Frilled MonarchArses telescopthalmus - Seen 4 out of 5 days at Tempat Konservasi (6 seen in 4.5 days there). I was expecting to see Rufous-collared Monarch rather than Frilled Monarch here, but I guess the range of this species is further to the east.
Biak FlycatcherMyiagra atra - Common on Numfor island - two seen the first afternoon on the road north from Namber, and seven seen the second day on the road south from town.
Leaden FlycatcherMyiagra rubecula - One seen on Numfor island (on the track inland from Namber village), and a group of three probables on Manem island, offshore from Numfor.
Shining FlycatcherMyiagra alecto - Two seen in the day spent in NE Biak.
Black-breasted BoatbillMachaerirhynchus nigripectus - Seen most days, with up to 4 per day above Mokwam (Soiti and Siobri), in a total of 7.5 days spent in the area. Not seen at the lower elevation sites like Cirabrei and Tempat Konservasi.
Papuan Drongo Chaetorhynchus papuensis - 10 seen in three groups at Tempat Konservasi. 4 at 900m in a large flock including several Spangled Drongo and also birds like Dwarf Whistler, Black-winged Monarch, Magnificent Riflebird and Moluccan King-Parrot. 4 in a fairly large flock at 1200m including birds like Frilled Monarch, Flame Bowerbird and Arfak Honeyeater. 2 at 1250m right by the Vogelkop Whistler, but not necessarily flocking with it.
Hair-crested Drongo Dicrurus hottentotus - One of the commonest birds at Karaenta Forest Reserve in Sulawesi - 18 seen in a single afternoon.
Spangled Drongo Dicrurus bracteatus - Many seen at all areas visited on Biak and Numfor, and also seen on the road north of Manokwari and at Tempat Konservasi.
Grey CrowCorvus tristis - 4 flew over the clearing one of the mornings at Cirabrei.
Torresian Crow Corvus orru - Common at all sites on Biak and Numfor, but not seen elsewhere.
Lesser MelampittaMelampitta lugubris - Two birds heard in forest around the clearing at Siobri (1750m). No sightings.
Long-tailed ParadigallaParadigalla carunculata - See the map for the location of the "Paradigalla" clearing. This is the best area around Mokwam for this bird, but even here it took me over a day and a half to find any. Three records the final morning spent here. The birds were in fruiting trees in secondary forest around the trail (and the best view was of one on a branch with small, plum-shaped orange fruits that crossed the trail at head height, although I didn't see the bird actually eating these fruit). Common birds in these trees included Black-billed Cuckoo-dove, female Western Parotia, Arfak Honeyeater and Yellow-billed Lorikeet.
Black SicklebillEpimachus fastuosus - Three females seen around Siobri (1750-1900m), but no males seen (one calling male was pointed out by Zeth - it sounds a bit like distant machine-gun fire).
Western ParotiaParotia sefilata - Males seen from hides at two stakeouts that Zeth operates. The only one he will be willing to use in the future is the hide on the ridgetop (1650m) below Siobri. The females were seen commonly around Mokwam (11 sightings in 7.5 days), Cirabrei (6 sightings in 1.5 days) and Tempat Konservasi (2 sightings in 4.5 days). Seen several times at around 1000m altitude.
Magnificent Riflebird Ptiloris magnificus - Four sightings (2 males and 2 females), all around 900m altitude. One pair seen together in a large flock, and a single male and a single female seen in separate, smaller flocks. Also heard from nearby forest at about 600m altitude along the dirt road up to Anggi Lakes.
Magnificent Bird-of-paradise Cicinnurus magnificus - One male seen at a stakeout across the river (well, two rivers actually) from Zeth's house in Mokwam (1200m). A male and a female seen in a fruiting tree above the clearing at Cirabrei (1150m), and heard regularly in this area. Heard occassionally at Tempat Konservasi, and 4 females seen at this site (800-950m) in 4.5 days there.
Arfak AstrapiaAstrapia nigra - Not so easy above Mokwam and restricted to the higher elevations; another species that Zeth is invaluable for. I saw a single male and a single female on the day I ventured to 2000m above Siobri (Mokwam).
Lesser Bird-of-paradiseParadisaea minor - The squawking of the males was heard occasionally at Cirabrei and almost constantly at Tempat Konservasi - I never saw a male, although I did not try very hard with this species. I saw females regularly - 2 in the day at Cirabrei and 17 in 4.5 days at Tempat Konservasi. I somehow got the feeling the females were keeping watch for the males - whenever I got to the bottom of a tree a male was calling from, one or two females would hop down and peer at me suspiciously, and after a little while the male would fly off.
Mountain PeltopsPeltops montanus - 4 seen and 4 heard at Tempat Konservasi (in 4.5 days there). Three of the birds seen were together - presumably a pair and a young bird, which differed from the adults in having a white head with a dirty brown stripe running from the eye round behind the ear (as well as possibly a dark, thin crown stripe).
Hooded Butcherbird Cracticus cassicus - Abundant at lowland sites on the Vogelkop (e.g. Tanah Merah and the road north from Manokwari) and on Biak. Only one seen and five heard in the day-and-a-half on Numfor . . . perhaps the habitat around Namber was not good enough!
Torrent-lark Grallina bruijni - One seen at the traditional site, the Prafti river crossing between Mokwam and Cirabrei (750m), may have been the tail end of a family party that was moving downstream.
Stout-billed Cuckoo-shrikeCoracina caeruleogrisea - One seen on the ridgetop above camp at Tempat Konservasi (1250m).
Boyer's Cuckoo-shrikeCoracina boyeri - A single (monospecific) flock of four seen at Tempat Konservasi (1000m).
Common CicadabirdCoracina tenuirostris - 5 seen in 1.5 days on Numfor and 2 during the day in NE Biak.
New Guinea Cuckoo-shrike (aka Black Cuckoo-shrike) Coracina melas - A single female in a mixed species flock at Tempat Konservasi (900m)
Black-bellied Cuckoo-shrikeCoracina montana - Pairs heard once or twice above Mokwam (Soiti) and once on the ridgetop at Cirabrei (1400m). Common and heard many times daily at Tempat Konservasi (950m upwards), but only four seen in 4.5 days - these birds stick to the canopy.
Black-browed TrillerLalage atrovirens - A pair the first morning near Warafri, in SE Biak, and a single female during the second morning visit.
Metallic StarlingAplonis metallica - Abundant at all areas visited on Biak and Numfor, and also three sightings on the day on Manem island, off Numfor.
Long-tailed StarlingAplonis magna - Abundant at all areas visited on Biak and Numfor, but not seen on Manem island. I saw about roughly equal numbers of this and Metallic Starling (about 30-50 of each per field day).
Yellow-faced MynaMino dumontii - Only one sighting the whole trip, at the top of a tall fruiting tree on the coastal road north from Manokwari.
Black-ringed White-eyeZosterops anomalus - Three seen at Karaenta Forest Reserve during the stopover on Sulawesi, and several groups heard after I had learned the call. This must be quite common at Karaenta, since it was one of only nine species I saw during the particularly hot and quiet afternoon there.
Capped White-eye (aka Western Mountain White-eye) Zosterops fuscicapillus - Up to 12 daily around Mokwam. Normally seen in small trees in secondary growth or clearings, e.g. the Paradigalla clearing, on the road just above Mokwam, around the stream at Mokwam, and below the pondok at Siobri.
Island Leaf-Warbler Phylloscopus poliocephalus - 12 in a single day in scrub by the trail just above Zeth's house in Mokwam. 4 in the day at Anggi Lakes.
Tawny Grassbird Megalurus timoriensis - about 15 seen in the day at Anggi Lakes.
Grey-banded MuniaLonchura vana - 100+ at Anggi Lakes; especially common in fields around Irai.
Yellow-sided FlowerpeckerDicaeum aureolimbatum - Four at Karaenta Forest Reserve during the stopover on Sulawesi.
Olive-crowned FlowerpeckerDicaeum pectorale - One in the clearing at Cirabrei (1000m) and three around the Rumah Turis above Mokwam (1350m)
Red-capped FlowerpeckerDicaeum geelvinkianum - 15+ on Numfor, 5 in SE Biak, and 1 in N Biak.
Black SunbirdNectarinia aspasia - One in Karaenta Forest Reserve during the stopover on Sulawesi, and one probable near Warafri in SE Biak.
Olive-backed Sunbird Nectarinia jugularis - Abundant on Numfor, with about 30 seen in 1.5 days. Eight sightings in the day on Manem island, off Numfor. One female in N Biak, and one female at Karaenta Forest Reserve during the stopover on Sulawesi.
Black Berrypecker Melanocharis nigra - Two seen at Tempat Konservasi (800m and 900m). A berrypecker seen in a mixed species flock at 1350m above Mokwam was almost certainly this species rather than Mid Mountain Berrypecker.
Yellow-bellied LongbillToxoramphus novaeguineae - 2 sightings (700m and 1250m) in 4.5 days at Tempat Konservasi.
Dwarf Honeyeater Toxoramphus iliolophus - 9 sightings in 4.5 days at Tempat Konservasi, from 850m upwards. A small, drab canopy bird, and probably much commoner than my numbers suggest
Tit Berrypecker Oreocharis arfaki - Seen at higher elevations in the forest above Siobri and around the Paradigalla clearing (1750-1800m). One group, each with about 8 birds, seen each of the three days spent in this area.
Long-tailed Honey-buzzardHenicopteris longicauda - One probable clambering about in the subcanopy near camp (1000m) at Tempat Konservasi.
Wattled Brush-turkeyAepypodius arfakianus - Two probables cam in when I was played the call of a female Western Parotia (I thought it was a Melidectes at the time!), but ran off when I noticed them. Zeth said that this species is attracted to areas in which parotias are feeding or displaying, since they feed on the fruit that gets dropped to the ground. His strategy to look for this bird was to visit Parotia display areas. Zeth also said that mounds for this species are active in August and September, so the bird is easier to see during these months.
Great Crested-TernSterna bergii - A group of 7 or 8 flying offshore of Biak city harbour were either this species or Lesser Crested-Tern. Birdwatching was impossible from the boat.
Black-naped Tern Sterna sumatrana - 4 Sterna terns perched on driftwood off Biak city harbour must have been this species.
Dusky MyzomelaMyzomela obscura - A small group seen poorly from the road during the day on N Biak.
Puff-backed Honeyeater (aka Puff-backed Meliphaga) Meliphaga aruensis - One probable sighting at 1100m at Tempat Konservasi, but furtive in the mid-storey and tough to see well.
Crinkle-collared Manucode Manucodia keraudrenii - I saw manucodes several times at Cirabrei and Tempat Conservasi, but only got decent looks at one (1100m, Tempat Konservasi). I thought I saw a "bump" above the eye, which would make it Crinkle-collared, but the views still weren't that great, and Zeth says Trumpet Manucode is the common species here.