Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Birding in Raja Ampat's Miracle Islets

Birding by boat in Miracle islets
I have just returned from Raja Ampat islands in the western most region of West Papua. I went there to guide a few American visitors on a birding, snorkeling and sightseeing tour for 3 days. This tour was different from my previous trips because I added a new birding site in the itinerary. I call its name Miracle islets.
Accompanied by local villagers, I and three visitors went to the islets by a motorized boat to enjoy sightseeing of the beautiful marine landscape and to watch various species of birds that live in there. It was approximately 03.00 p.m when we entered the Miracle islets.  Most of them looked like mushrooms with trees growing out from their steep slopes and vertical walls. The waters were calm but the visibility was zero. We could not see the bottom of the sea.
Wilson's Bird of Paradise
We were welcomed by a Streated Heron that was sitting on a small rock and Eastern Osprey soaring in the sky. He flew away as we moved closer into the interior waters of the islets. We saw Beach Kingfisher flying fast to a small tree and then landed on its higher branch.
I also saw a pigeon whose wings looked green. He had got a knob on his bill. The tops of the islets were noisy with the sounds of lorikeet. I could not identify them because they were to far from me. There were Olive-backed Sunbird, Little Frigatebird, Brahminy Kite, Crested Tern, Pacific Swallow, Rainbow Bee-eater, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Black-capped Lory, Singing Starling, Red-cheeked Parrot, and Great-billed Parrot. I saw a hooded butherbird sitting on the top of a small island very far from us. Using my Fujifilm HS50EXR, I shot the bird. The picture was not so sharp but it was good enough for identification.
We were surprized by the birding experience in these small islets. It was more than our expectation.
Hooded Butcherbird in Miracle islets of Raja Ampat
Unfortunately, the weather changed so fast. The thick clouds were gathering so fast. We felt that it was going to rain soon. So, we decided to return to our guesthouse. The next two days, we continued our birding trips in the forest of Waigeo where we watched Wilson's Bird of Paradise and Red Bird of Paradise. Eclectus Parrots, Torresian Crow, Hook-billed Kingfisher, Little Kingfisher, and Great Cuckoo Dove were active in the mornings after we left the beach by boat.
During the days, I and the visitors enjoyed snorkeling to see various colorful fish and coral reef. Some that I recognize were Striped Surgeonfish, Damselfish, Grouper, Moorish Idol, Butterflyfish. There were blue Sea Stars too.
This journey to Raja Ampat was part of a 2-week birding tour in West Papua covering Arfak mountains, Klasow valley, Sorong, and Raja Ampat.
If you are interested in taking a birding tour in Raja Ampat and other places in West Papua province of the Republic of Indonesia and want me to be your guide, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180. I will be happy to organize your trip and guide you to this beautiful archipelago.

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