7th August 2023: This was mainly a travel and logistics type of day with a morning flight from Manokwari to Sorong and time to arrange washing, visits to ATM etc but it did also allow an afternoon trip to a local patch of mangroves. The area itself appeared to be undergoing development with an increasing number of people and new buildings. Being different to areas visited to date, it did allow for a few new species most notably Emperor Fairywren and Brown Backed Honeyeater.
8th August 2023: On the schedule today was a visit to the Malagafuk Lowland Rainforest – a highlight of the trip for me and something I had really been looking forward to. A pre dawn departure from Sorong got us to the carpark next to the ‘Malagafuk Boardwalk’ just before dawn where we had a picnic breakfast enjoying the sights an sounds of an asian rainforest dawn chorus. Overflying Vulture Parrots, Black Lords, Black-Capped Lory’s Eclectus Parrots and Large Fig Parrots were supplemented by a number of species in and around the carpark treetops,
With the light improving by the minute, we were approaching the window to try for the King Bird of Paradise whilst they were still calling and displaying in their favourite trees before dispersing into the forest. With that in mind, we left the road and ducked into the forest itself via a rough animal track.
Whilst trying to locate a calling King BoP, a Palm Cockatoo sat nicely in the open, seemingly wondering what all the commotion was about.
A spectacular bird which warranted more attention than it got but the urgency was on trying to locate the nearby King Bird of Paradise before it disappeared…..
Fortunately, the guides did a great job and we were able to get prolonged glimpses of a fantastic King Bird of Paradise through gaps in the canopy. Very different to the other ‘BoPs’ encountered to date in that it was relatively small and its display site was in the upper/middle canopy region. A stunning bird and another of the prized Birds of Paradise seen!
Returning to the road, we then headed into the forest itself via the ‘boardwalk’ built to get people to and from the Kampung Malagafuk. The birding remained spectacular with an obliging Hooded Pitta, Yellow Breasted Boatbill, Sooty Ticket Fantail, Chestnut Bellied Fantail, Arafura Shrikethrush, Puff Backed Honeyeater, Moluccan King Parrot, Pacific Baza and Golden Myna. A part of Yellow-Capped Pygmy Parrots gave delightful views displaying near there nest.
We were then stopped by a pair of Trumpet Manucodes that mored their way through the canopy above us, giving prolonged but often restricted views through the thick foliage. It was one of those areas were there appeared to be birds wherever you looked and we also got good views of a Long Tailed Buzzard circling low over the canopy above us.
A calling Magnificent Riflebird got the attention of our guides who, leaving the boardwalk managed to find its display perch on a head high fallen down log. Keeping our distance, we were able to watch it return on a number of occasions before we needed to start heading back to Sorong.
I have a real love for Asian lowland rainforest – it can be really tough birding at times but can be so rewarding. This area provided us with some spectacular birding in a short period of time and I would lie to return for a prolonged period.
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