Equipment for Birdwatching and Wildlife Watching

I often guide tourists for several days in the forest to enjoy birding and wildlife watching. The places where I run my tours are located in the forest of Waigeo, Klasow valley, Tambrauw mountains, Susnguakti forest, Mesirrokow forest and Arfak mountains. To enhance our birding and wildlife watching experience, I and my clients usually bring equipment that are needed during the tours.

Birding Optics

Binoculars are the most important birding devices which every birdwatcher needs to have. They help us in zooming up distant birds that are sitting on a branch of a high tree or the birds that are flying in the air. In general, bird and wildlife watchers use 10×42 mm roof prism or 12×50 mm porro prism binoculars. Famous brands such as Swarovski, Zeiss, Leica, Nikon offer a number of types which bird watchers can choose for their birding activities.

canon binoculars
Canon 15×50 IS Binoculars

Spotting scope on a tripod

is an important bird watching device. Because it is mounted on a tripod that is stable, viewers can see a bird in a distant tree. A camera or cell phone can be attached to the spotting scope to capture the image of the bird.

Cameras are needed by birdwatchers to capture pictures of birds for the purpose of identification, writing articles and photograph sharing in social media. I personally use Canon 200D with Tamron 150-600mm G2 lens. My previous cameras were Nikon Coolpix P500 and P600. I used to have a Fujifilm HS50EXR which is a nice birding camera. Well, it is not the best but it is small and light enough for long hiking trips in steep mountains of West Papua. Today new products are launched by manufacturers of cameras to meet the needs of bird and wildlife photographers. For serious photographers, perhaps, the Nikon D500 or Nikon D850, and Sigma 150-600mm Sport are good combination for shooting birds as well as other wildlife subjects.

A Photograph of a male Lesser Birds of Paradise taken by Fujifilm HS50EXR

Laser Pointer with green light line is needed to help birding guide point the location of birds or animals in trees. The use of laser can significantly enhance the birding experience of tour participants. However, the laser point will not be aimed directly at a bird but around several feet from it. By doing this, the one who aims the laser pointer at the bird will not cause it to fly away.

laser pointer
Laser pointer, binoculars, spotting scope, camera are basic birdwatching devices

Sound recorder and player are needed to record sounds of birds and to call them later. Today, birdwatchers use cell phone with sound recording applocation, and shotgun microphone to record birds' sounds. When playing the sounds, a portable loudspeaker can be used for that purpose. This louadspeaker is usually connected with cell phone using bluetooth.

Flash Light is used when we do birdwatching and wildlife watching at night. There are nocturnal birds that come out at night such as nightjar, and owl. There are birds that also sleep in lower branches of trees such as the hooded pitta and red bellied pitta.
Possum, snake and deer can also be seen at night when they go out of their hiding places to find food and water or to find mating partners.

Other logistical supports that we will need for birding trips to remote forest areas include cars, camping tents, cooking and eating utensils.
In certain places such as Raja Ampat islands, we need speed boats to reach remote beaches and tropical islands which are great birding sites.