Journal archives for January 2016

January 16, 2016

Off to Indonesia

I'm about to head off to Indonesia again, this time to the far eastern part. A few days on land near Sorong, on the north-west corner of New Guinea, where I hope to find birds-of-paradise and birdwing butterflies. Then on a boat for ten days of diving in Raja Ampat. I have my fingers crossed that I don't have any camera issues. I have a good chance of getting 50-100 new reef fishes (this is one of the most diverse coral reef habitats on earth) and coming back with several thousand photos.

Posted on January 16, 2016 15:51 by maractwin maractwin | 6 comments | Leave a comment

January 22, 2016

Exploring near Sorong, West Papua, Indonesia

Today was our free day before boarding the boat. We did our internet research, and had a plan to be in a nature preserve outside of town shortly after sunrise. Transportation turned out to be very complicated, mainly because of the language barrier. By the time we had a taxi who knew where we were going and agreed to take us there, wait 2-3 hours, then take us back to the city, it was already more than an hour after sunrise.

We went to Taman Wisata Alam Sorong, known locally as "Hutong Lindu". No one locally had heard of it by its real name, even though that name was on the highway sign and concrete arch at the entrance. It was once a government nature reserve, but a change of administration had abandoned it. The entrance booth was in decay, the trails not maintained, and based on the number of construction vehicles who passed us on the road, there's construction happening somewhere within or through the park. But we got out of the taxi and walked along the road, looking at the dense lowland forest. We tried one overgrown side-trail, but hadn't brought our machetes.

We heard a lot of bird song at first, though could hardly see anything. In 2 1/2 hours, I only photographed one species (Olive-backed Sunbird), and had brief views of a large pigeon, a dark parrot with red underwings, a flock of mostly green parrots, and a largeish black bird, and a number of distant tiny brown things. Not very satisfying for birding. I tried the trick of recording the birdsong and immediately playing it back, using my phone. That got some response, but still didn't convince anyone to show themselves.

However, the butterflies were plentiful, and this kept us in good spirits. I managed to photograph about 20 species, and saw more in flight who weren't so cooperative. We had butterflies sunning, nectaring, puddling, courting, and ovipositing. We had large swallowtails, small skippers, and everything in between. I had been hoping for birdwings, the largest butterflies in the world, but we didn't see any of those. I've posted most of the photos here, and even managed to identify many of them using only the internet.

Posted on January 22, 2016 08:25 by maractwin maractwin | 7 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

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