Raja Ampat is a great destination for visitors who like birdwatching. They usually go hiking in the rainforest of Waigeo island to watch Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra), and Wilson's Bird of Paradise. Actually there are other species such as King Bird of Paradise and Lesser Birds of Paradise in Misool island. However, the distance of the island to Waigeo and Sorong city makes the cost of transportation to visit it becomes more expensive. As a result, birding visitors choose to watch the birds in mainland West Papua.
There are several sites which visitors can go to watch Red BOP and Wilson's BOP. The most popular sites are located in southern region of Waigeo. I personally have visited other places such as the eastern sites of the island in Yensner, and Sopen, and Yenbekaki. All of them have got lek of Red Bird of Paradise and Wilson's BOP.
Last week, I guided two birdwatchers from the United States. We woke up at 04.30 to make preparations. I wore dark green t-shirt, and dark color long pants, and sports shoes. After having tea/ coffee and some bread at the beach resort where we stayed, we left by a small motorized boat operated by local villagers. We went further to the south of Waigeo island. It took around 7 minutes to reach our destination. It was a narrow beach located between two cliffs. After that we walked up steep slopes along a footpath that led us to the lek of Red Bird of Paradise. We spent around 1 hour to reach it. Local villagers built a wooden platform 6 meters above the ground. We climbed it using a wooden ladder that had been nailed by villagers to the platform.
When the sunlight began to appear in the sky, male Red BOP flew to the top branches of a tree in front of us and started to call their female counterparts. When the female birds had arrived, the Red Bird of Paradise began to compete one another by performing their courtship dances. While doing their mating rituals, the male birds were often in upside down position. A female Red Bird of Paradise was impressed with the dance of the a male one, she jumped on to the top branch of the tree. The male bird approached her and seconds later, they were mating.
The whole mating dance performance lasted until approximately 09.00 morning time. They would gather again on the same day in the afternoon at 15.00 local time.
To watch the birds of paradise, I used 10×42 mm binoculars. Its brand was Visionking. There were other brands that were used by avid birdwatchers such as Nikon Monarch 7 10×42, Swarovski SLC 10×56 WB.
As a tourist guide, I organize birdwatching, rainforest hiking and sightseeing boat tours in Raja Ampat for tourists who are interested in exploring the wealth of biodiversity of the archipelago both above and under the water. If you are interested in visiting the regency and want me to be your guide, please, send me a text message by whatsapp to my number: +6281332245180 or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. This is written by Charles Roring