Welcome to Birdquest
Monday 3rd August - Saturday 29th August 2015
Daniel Lopez Velasco
You know you´ve seen some very good birds when Wilson´s Bird-of-paradise doesn´t win the bird of the trip contest…and doesn´t even get to second place! The award this year went to Black Sicklebill, not only because it´s such a stonking bird, but mostly because of the absolutely mind-boggling views we had of it in full display in front of us, in David Attenborough´s style. Almost tied with the out-of-this-world Western Parotia display dance that we witnessed in dismay just a few feet from our hide. And of course we were also blessed with gripping views of displaying Wilson´s Bird-of-paradise (for many, the best bird in the world) in Waigeo – and very close to the road! - Other close contenders included a ridiculously tame Lesser Melampitta, the two bizarre Feline Owlet-Nightjars that we saw so well in their daytime roosts, the outstanding Macgregor’s Honeyeater (sadly not a bird-of-paradise anymore) and the grotesque Victoria Crowned Pigeon, which showed exceedingly well after playing very, very hard to get.
Probably the main attraction of this tour is the chance to get up close encounters with some members of the most beautiful, spectacular and enigmatic bird family in the world: the Birds-of-paradise (BoPs for the aficionados). In fact, the heart-warming display of quite a few species was witnessed at minimal range, and this is surely an experience any birder should experience at least once in a lifetime. We also observed a great selection of kingfishers, pigeons and parrots, as well as many endemics or rarely observed species such as Biak Scrubfowl (Biak Megapode), Snow Mountains Quail, Papuan (New Guinea Harpy) Eagle, Chestnut Forest Rail, Western Crowned Pigeon, Geelvink Imperial Pigeon, Black and Violet-necked Lories, Modest and Painted Tiger Parrots, Salvadori´s Fig Parrot, Archbold´s Nightjar, Mountain Owlet-Nightjar, an uncooperative Papuan Hawk-Owl, Habenicht´s and Papuan (Red-bellied) Pittas, White-eared Catbird, Vogelkop Bowerbird, Papuan Treecreeper, Spotted, Black-throated, Orange-cheeked and Marbled Honeyeaters, Short-bearded, Sooty and Vogelkop Melidectes, Ruby-throated, Biak (Dusky) and Red Myzomelas, Vogelkop and Grey-green Scrubwrens, Fairy Gerygone, Goldenface, Papuan Logrunner, Western Crested Berrypecker, Spotted Jewel-babbler, Black Butcherbird, Biak Triller, Black Sittella, Wattled Ploughbill, Mottled Berryhunter (a new endemic NG family!), Vogelkop, Lorentz´s and Sclater´s Whistlers, Arafura Fantail, Raja Ampat Pitohui, Sooty Thicket Fantail, Biak Monarch, Brown-headed Crow, Blue-capped Ifrit, Loria´s Satinbird, Jobi Manucode, Long-tailed Paradigalla, Arfak and Splendid Astrapias, Black-billed and Pale-billed Sicklebills, King, Lesser, Red and Magnificent Birds-of-paradise, Ashy, Garnet, Mountain and Smoky Robins, Greater Ground Robin, Mountain Firetail and Streak-headed, Great-billed, Black-breasted and Western Alpine Mannikins, amongst others.