Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Reggiana Bird of Paradise

Reggiana Bird of Paradise

This species (Paradisaea raggiana) is the national bird of Papua New Guinea, appearing on the flag & is used very widely as an emblem of the country. The local name is kumul. It is endemic to PNG, widely distributed & found in a wide range of forests from sea level up to around 1500m. 

Not sharp because of poor light at dawn, 
when this species displays.

This lek was in the Varirata National Park at around 770m. The local guide informed us that this particular lek is declining in numbers over the last few years, but no-one seems to know why, as the birds are well protected here.

Males congregate in favored areas & display vigorously to any passing females. Only a few males, the favored ones will breed in any one lek.  Definitely one of the sights & sounds on the trip.

Papua New Guinea 3: Manus Island

We said goodbye to Andrew & Graham who flew home (UK & Hong Kong respectively) on 12th August. Meanwhile Aiden, Oscar & myself flew to Manus Island. Manus is quite isolated off the northern coast of Papau New Guinea. 

Our transport!

Our first view of Manus.

Evening light from our hotel.

Comfy boys?

It is rather an idyllic place. It is kind of everyone's idea of what a tropical island should look like. But when we first arrived we experienced a bit of a problem! Our agent & organizer Nick Soloman had pocketed our money but not booked either the hotel or car for us. In fact he had done nothing. His local contact on the island Joe Covo proved to be a bit of a would be conman & we had nothing to do with him. Lucky for us there was a second hotel in the town. I managed to secure rooms for us for the next four nights & it proved to be an excellent move. 

Manus still has a lot of forest in the interior.

People were very friendly!

Oscar going local!

Birding on the beach.

Variable Goshawk

White bellied Sea Eagle

Pied Cuckoo Dove

This is a very scarce & hard to see species.

Island Imperial Pigeon

Brush Cuckoo

Moustached Treeswift

The best of a very good bunch!

White rumped Swiftlet

Meek's Pygmy Parrot

Quite common, but difficult to see well

Manus Friarbird

A common species on the island.

Manus Cuckooshrike

Grey capped Cicadabird

Manus Monarch

Beautiful, but hard to see.

Notice the tail pattern.

Metallic Starling

We spent the next couple of days birding along a road which went into the interior, but by late morning the heat was oppressive & after a bit of a siesta we birded around the coast.

Best birds:

Variable Goshawk; White bellied Sea Eagle; Eastern Osprey; Pacific Golden Plover; Lesser Sand Plover; Greater Sand Plover; Common Sandpiper; Ruddy Turnstone; Whimbrel; 200+ Black Noddy; Great crested Tern; Bridled Tern; 13 Black naped Tern; Pied Cuckoo Dove; Stephan's Emerald Dove; Nicobar Pigeon; Eastern Bronze Ground Dove; Superb Fruit Dove; 20+ Island Imperial Pigeon; Brush Cuckoo; Manus Boobook; Moustached Treeswift; White rumped Swiftlet; Uniform Swiftlet; Glossy Swiftlet; Sacred Kingfisher; Meek's Pygmy Parrot; Electus Parrot; Manus Friarbird; Manus Cuckooshrike; Grey capped Cicadabird; Bismark Whistler; Northern Fantail; Manus Monarch; Shining Flycatcher; Tree Martin; Metallic Starling & Olive backed Sunbird.