the pictures below were
taken by tour participant, Anne Strahan
Click above to watch a
short VIDEO Compilation from our 2015 trip
The photographs below were taken
during our 2015 tour by Phil Palmer.
Following these you can see
pictures taken during his previous visit in 2014.
First stop was Port Moresby and a
visit to the National Park where we would see our first Bird of Paradise,
most iconic member of this family, we stood entranced as seven gaudy males
called and shook their ‘booty’ above us at Varirata National Park
Barred Owlet-nightjar at Port
Forest Bittern at Port Moresby - most of the few, scattered observations throughout
20th century come from the extreme west of Irian Jaya.
There have been just c.30 records within the last 15
years and no recent sightings near Port Moresby.
So with this in
mind, we were massively lucky to enjoy superb views here. A
bird flew up from a stream and we were able to see it hiding in a
tree. Our guide has since reported that he had failed to relocate it with
other birders subsequently, so it has melted back into the forest.
was a joy to see two roosting birds so well at the University. They
are big birds that take large prey items; these are carried back to
a perch and bashed or crushed before being swallowed.
until one has a good look at these birds, that you realise how strange
they are. Their flank plumes curl up high above the back like big creamy
spikes that are greatly exaggerated when swimming.
it's a shame they wont let Ken
swim at the university lake. I hope he understands Pidgin English
a couple of bowerbird nests
Mount Hagen & Tari Gap
One of the most spectacular birds in the
world and such a shock the first time you see one flash across the road in
front of you. Indeed astrapia means “flash of lighting.”
The male’s tail is almost 1m
long while the female’s tail is 90% shorter. This bird is probably a young
This is a rare hybrid Ribbon-tailed Astrapia crossed with Stephanie's
Astrapia - both are Birds-of-Paradise
the Brown Sicklebill ate fruit
with us at breakfast time; another
this is a female Brown Sicklebill
Many had red or yellow facial
patches with some being bicoloured
with areas of both intense yellow and bright red.
This skin is said to flush
bright red when the bird is agitated or when hanging upside-down.
Ifrit are like nuthatches
with two strange blob-tipped tail
Bird-of-paradise is a special bird in the highlands
Tari Gap & Mnt Hagen are both superb places for
birding. There are open areas and forest edges that allow us to see the
birds that dwell in them
Paradigalla, a fruit-eating Bird-of-Paradise that has a face like a
spot the Papuan Harrier
Woodswallows huddle together in early mornings
this pair of Willie Wagtails saw
off the Black Butcherbird
at last, a
male Ribbon-tailed Astrapia with a full tail and only half of it is
Salvadori's Teal - Look
at the 2 yellow blobs in the bottom right hand corner or look at the photo
Found on high mountain streams and lakes,
this bird is rarely seen well as they are nervous due to hunting.
Population estimates state that there may be as few as 2500 mature adults
left – all are in New Guinea.
night-time near our lodge
in the highlands of New Guinea, little is known about this species which
has never had its young or call described.
Superb Bird-of-paradise We saw and
heard several and when the metallic blue shield caught the sun it was just
amazing. Sadly, the Blue Bird-of-Paradise kept chasing them off from ‘his’
high in a forest tree, it was incredible to see the long eye-brows blowing
in the breeze
the highlands near Mnt Hagen
the local tribes here are friendly
The ghostly mudmen have a fearful
reputation but are really nice guys
Once again, we visited the Huli wigmen
returning from the market, this
person had a lot in his pocket! Pigs are an indication of wealth here.
sunset near our lodge
We flew over forests that no
Westerners had ever penetrated to reach our remote river lodge.
wisps of smoke indicated homes of
tribes yet to be discovered
an orphaned hornbill would great us each morning to
remove the tea bags from our cups!
the unbelievable view from our
balcony in the morning
there are a few houses along the
Our journeys along the
Karawari River each day brought new surprises. The river is the only
way to reach many places as there are no roads, and the best way to
view the dense jungle.
Heron is not common, but easily seen due to their massive size.
The Twelve-wired Bird-of-Paradise
has a brilliant display - dancing on top of a tree stump.
You can see the 'wire' feathers
near its tail
King Bird-of-paradise - Very hard bird to see despite its hi-Vis
Red is a difficult colour to see when not
lit up by the sun. It appears dark blackish in deep shade and, as this
bird is so small, it is a devil to locate when going round and around
inside the canopy of a display tree. However, once seen in bright
sunlight, it has all the hallmarks of a Vivian Westwood designed, fashion
model - a punkish yellow Mohican, that begins on the nostrils, continues
over the crown, and blends into a blood-red jacket, all set off by a big
bottle green dicky-bow.
Wedgewood blue legs lead the eye towards
two emerald curls at the end of a couple of long wires that protrude from
its tail. These can be raised above his shoulders and shaken during a
tango that would win Strictly.
So it is difficult to believe that this
finch-sized glam-rocker failed to impress the Plain Jane that dared to
step onto ‘his’ dance floor! Maybe he was just too full of himself as she
returned to her girlfriends dancing around their handbags nearby.
White-bellied Sea-eagle - a pair live on the lake by our lodge
can you believe that this was the
view from the back of our boat at the end of a river cruise!!!
Sunsets are superb here on the
Karawari River. A perfect end to watching parrots and mynas flying to
As we flew from our lodge, we passed families living
in the jungle. The lake in the distance was where we found a rare seabird.
This is a Grey-backed Tern, a
highly pelagic tropical species that lives far out in the Pacific, nesting
on coral sand-bars.
They are most closely related to
Sooty and Bridled Terns, but little is known about their plumages.
We found this one perched on a
floating log, in the middle of the lake in the photo above; a long way
from the sea. Although we new what it was, it took a while for it to be
accepted as PNG's first record.
This was the sky as we returned for dinner that
Fig-parrot, A tiny little bird as big as a fig!
Another misty morning in paradise
Victoria Crowned Pigeon.
We took a short ride to a tropical
island that resembled Thunderbird's Tracey Island.
This was where we spent our last
day relaxing and enjoying the Crowned Pigeons and many wallabies that live
The view from the top allowed us
to look for migrants.
Butcherbirds took locusts
the giant pigeons are like turkeys!
Working their way through the mangroves, they take
Because the island is protected
from hunters, the Torresian Imperial Pigeons fly here each night to roost.
As the tide dropped, Lesser and
Great Crested Terns would rest on the reef
Eastern Reef Egret is common along
Pacific Black Ducks are common
around Port Moresby
Australian Ibis & Spoonbills can
be found along the south coast
those that stayed on the island
for a few days found three species of frigatebird
the wallabies would find food under the mangroves as
the tide dropped
the crowned pigeons would sunbathe
on the quiet beach
Pacific Baza displayed by the road as we ventured
inland one day
GUINEA ALBUM Part 2
A few shots by Chris Br
The pictures here were taken during
Phil's recce to Papua New Guinea.
This tour has been a long time in the making as we
needed to ensure that it would suit our tour portfolio and not be an
expedition-style trip. We found comfortable clean lodges with Birds of Paradise
in the gardens! Of course, these are the star of the show and a dream for most
birdwatchers but tracking them down is no mean feat. Seeing them display is even
harder, but it is possible in the right place at the right time.
We visited remote mountain regions where the
climate is cool and comfortable. Blue and Superb Birds of Paradise were
raved about by Sir David Attenborough but to my mind were
not in the same league as the King Bird of Saxony. These were joined by noisy
Sicklebills and Astrapias; also part of the Bird of Paradise family.
As it darkened, each
night was filled with the sounds of a Boobook or nightjar, while the lodge lights
were crowded with
the most beautiful of moths.
In the lowlands, our birding was undertaken on modern
boats to allow us close-up views of several kingfisher species. With short
forest walks to see the King Bird of Paradise, Frogmouths and Victoria Crowned
Pigeon, it was made all too easy here. Not at all like the TV would have us believe. There
were no leeches, no tummy troubles and barely a mosquito. Away from
the Capital City, the people are shy but friendly and helpful. So these days it
is possible to hear the tales of cannibalism from a comfy chair rather than the
inside of a cooking pot!
and the birds are all superb here.
The Raggiana Bird of Paradise is the
iconic Papuan bird.
This one was calling to
other nearby males
Ribbon-tailed Astrapia - one of the
birds of paradise, it is rarely featured on TV but has the longest tail of any bird, in relation
to its size.
Comb-crested Jacana occur in Australasia so many of the
water birds in Papua also occur in OZ. These were common on lowland pools.
Brown-headed Paradise Kingfisher. Now why would a
kingfisher need such a long tail?
an eyebrow stuck out above this small stump. As we
scratched at the tree, an eyeball appeared.......and then a bird
the eyeball belonged to a Barred Owlet Nightjar and this
was its mate!
Double-eyed Fig Parrot
Twelve Wired Bird of Paradise displaying - you can see the
wire-like plumes below him
The male flies in to a canopy perch
pre-dawn and calls to attract females
He then walks down his stick.........
................and then back up again
He begins to sway at the
then dances a little lower down
then he opens his neck feathers to
form a large ruff and waves his twelve 'wires'
The King Bird of Saxony has incredible plumes from the
rear of each eye-brow, This male got his feathers in a twist when he turned his
head while perched in a bush.
He had to pull his plumes free after they got wrapped
around a stick.
our fine boat was perfect for birding
Pied Heron is an Australasian species not uncommon in the
this was the view from my bedroom window at dawn in the
enormous Palm Cockatoos flew out of the mist and by my
and even more enormous Blyth's Hornbills !
a Variable Goshawk patrolled the grass airstrip which is
situated beside our jungle lodge in the picture below
this is probably about as remote as you can get when
birding. A small clearing in the photo above shows exactly where it is and why we chose it.
There is no road and we had to fly in by the private plane
owned by the lodge, then travel each day by boat searching for birds by the
banks of the river.
It is such a peaceful place without the problems
associated with large cities, but with the amenities of the best birding lodges.
lodge roofs are perfect for bird perches and it was
possible to whistle a Wood Swallow (below) before throwing it an insect.
The terrain made exploration here very difficult and so
Papua New Guinea was the last wilderness to be explored.
It wasn't until the 1930's that the first explorers headed
As well as the paradise birds, this land has the only
poisonous bird species (only dangerous if you stroke them) and the largest moth
species in the world.
there are 3 species of Sicklebill here. The Brown is very
noisy and so easiest to locate
originally there were no fish or mammals on Papua new Guinea and
so birds assumed many of their roles.
Some families have made it from Australia, like this possum
the tiny Garnet Robin is a special bird found in the
highlands near Ambua
a Bowerbird's bower
Please note: The above
photographs were taken on previous trips. Itineraries change from time to time
and therefore you cannot rely on these photographs as being an exact
representation of what can be expected on a future tour. For details of the each
tour, you should refer to the brochure write-up.
Birding Papua New Guinea, Birdwatching Papua New Guinea,
Papua New Guinea safari,
Papua New Guinea Bird Tour. Papua New Guinea birdwatching holiday. Birds of
Papua New Guinea . Papua New Guinea Bird Holiday.
Papua New Guinea Birding Holiday.
Birding PNG, Birdwatching PNG, Papua New Guinea
Birds of Paradise safari,
Birds of Paradise Bird Tour. Birds of Paradise birdwatching holiday. Birds of
Paradise Bird Holiday. Birds of Paradise Birding Holiday.
Ambua Lodge, Ambua Birding, karawari, sicklebill, King
bird of paradise, King of Saxony, Tim Lama National geographic, David
Attenborough's birds of paradise, Rondon ridge birds, Tari Gap
birding, Papuan wildlife, Mount Hagan, PNG, owlet
nightjar, Papuan frogmouth.
Papua New Guinea birding, Port Morseby birding, Papua New
Guinea, Papua New Guinea endemics, Papua New Guinea wildlife, Papua New Guinea
Birds of Paradise,