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Diverse, colourful, extreme – Papua New Guinea (PNG) is one of the last frontiers for travellers and remains one of the least explored countries in the world. I have always wanted to visit PNG, a nation that comprises the eastern half of the colourful rainforest island-continent that lies between Australia and the equator. Much of Australia’s 20th century history is entwined with that of PNG and I know many people who have lived in PNG, working as teachers, booksellers, engineers, agricultural advisors, aid workers and administrators pre- and post-independence, all of whom have colourful tales of this culturally rich, scenic and geographically remote nation.  Just a 90 minute flight from Cairns, PNG is home to 38 species of Birds of Paradise (BoPs), unique cultures and a largely rural/subsistence economy.

 

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This year, I booked a scheduled Birds and Culture tour with Sicklebill Safaris rather than making my own arrangements. My goals were to see Birds of Paradise and to attend the colourful Mt Hagen ‘’singsing’’, a cultural show where clans gather to flaunt, flourish and flutter in traditional regalia, featuring music and dance from the Western Highlands province and further afield.

 

 

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Sicklebill arranged travel with local operators and key guides by private mini-bus, scheduled flights and river boats which are common forms of transport, due to ragged jungle roads and a feudal land ownership system that is jealously and violently guarded. Rugged mountains, tropical rivers and coastal islands are home to tribal peoples whose villages of thatched huts now have satellite dishes and men who hunt with spears now sport mobile phones.  A local guide is essential for communications and access to, and safe travel through complex land ownership and village sensitivities. Visits to some Bird of Paradise leks and habitats involve mud, steep hills, jungle treks and long river trips.

 

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Highlights were:

  • ·         Paiya village ‘mini-show’ and the Mt Hagen ‘singsing’
  • ·         Boat trip up the Fly and Elevala Rivers
  • ·         Birding around Kumul Lodge
  • ·         Birds of paradise

 

My pre-trip reading revealed the following: 

  • ·         During the colonial period PNG was governed at various times by the Dutch, Germans and British. It was part of the British Empire in the late 19th century and administered by Australia from 1906-75. Independence was celebrated on 16 September 1975 at a ceremony attended by Prince Charles, who was referred to in Tok Pisin (Pidgin English) as ‘the nambawan pikinini bilong Misis Kwin’;
     
  • The nation of PNG comprises the eastern half of the world’s second largest island;
     
  • The population of around 7,000,000 people uses one or more of over 800 languages;
     
  • ·70% of the country is covered by tropical forest;
     
  • ·PNG comprises one of the world’s largest remaining rural communities with 82% of the population living outside urban centres;
     
  • ·         PNG is classified as a developing country by the International Monetary Fund, with 40% of people living a subsistence lifestyle;
     
  • Social and religious systems are a mix of traditional and modern practices;
     
  • The PNG coastline was mapped many centuries ago, yet land exploration occurred as late as the 1930s when Australian gold prospectors Mick and Dan Leahy trekked into the highlands, discovering the amazing hidden world of central PNG Stone Age tribespeople dressed in loincloths, grass skirts and plumed head-dresses who hunted with poisoned arrows;
     
  • During World War 2 over 200,000 Australian, American and Japanese soldiers died in PNG, many along the Kokoda Trail. The fuzzy-wuzzy angels (as the PNG people were known to the soldiers) who assisted soldiers from both sides of the campaign are remembered annually at Anzac Day services in Australia and New Zealand;
     
  • PNG may harbour undiscovered plants and animal life as fore-shadowed in Throwim’ way leg (1997) by Tim Flannery a book which records a relatively recent expedition to PNG and West Papua in search of new species; and
     
  • ·         A guide told us that 70% of land in PNG is privately owned which caused me to wonder about the average number of acres owned per capita and per family when compared to Australia.

 

Before winging my way from Cairns to Port Moresby I spent a few days around Cairns and the Atherton Tableland, which as well as being very scenic also have interesting birds and wildlife.

 

Edited by Treepol
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That will be a proper journey to the uncharted territory for many of us, I believe, and as such very interesting! Not only for BoP, also to see the local culture etc.

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PNG has always fascinated me, so I´m really looking forward to your report.

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It looks like a fascinating place - culture and wildlife!

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What a title and what a report to come.  Fascinating!  Looking forward to it!

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kittykat23uk

Really looking forward to reading this report! :)

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I'd always wondered if it was possible to do wildlife trips in PNG and you just showed us it is!  looking forward to reading about another new frontier.

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Just before I left home there had been a terrorist scare in Sydney and the airlines were insisting on clients arriving 2 hours before a domestic flight. I turned up at Devonport airport at 12 noon, and checkout opened at 1 pm - oh, well a bonus hour of reading time. It took three flights to get to Cairns where I finally arrived at 10.30 pm  after 10.5 hours in transit and checked into the Coral Tree Inn.

 

After a good sleep and breakfast I’m off to collect a car and then drive to the Atherton Tablelands via the scenic Gilles Highway that climbs through the Gilles Range - 262 bends, 19 kilometres and 800 metres later I arrived at Lake Barrine in time for the 11.30 cruise. This was my second time at Lake Barrine and the cruise was once again memorable. A large group of school girls from Loreto College occupied the upper deck of the vessel and an elder of the local aboriginal tribe explained the local names of the wildlife and the creation story of Lake Barrine. This year the Pacific Black Ducks once again followed the boat, even landing up front for a free ride. The Saw-shelled turtle and Long-finned eels jostled for a handout of fish meal while Welcome Swallows flitted around the boat.

 

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New sightings this year were a Carpet Python, a Tawny Frogmouth and a Water dragon (that disappeared too quickly for a photo).

 

 

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The 1920s style tearoom still does a very good Devonshire Tea.

 

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Rain set in as I was leaving Lake Barrine and it was too wet to walk at Lake Eacham or to check out the trees at Nerada Tea for the resident tree kangaroos. I ended up doing a drive thru' of Atherton en route to Kuranda where I eventually found Cassowary House tucked away in the rainforest. True to its name, one of the resident cassowaries put in a brief appearance, his radiant blue head contrasting sharply with the rainforest backdrop. I sat on the veranda during the afternoon relishing the nearness of the rainforest and at night all I heard was crickets and the drip, drip of rain on the tin roof.

 

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The local wildlife distracted us from breakfast next morning as it put on a show below the deck. An Emerald Ground Dove ran the gauntlet of a ring of bossy Brush Turkeys, while a shy Musky Rat Kangaroo foraged for scraps once the turkeys were occupied.

 

 

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Phil and Sue offer to give away a turkey to every guest at checkout - those of us who know the reputation of these feathered vervets decline hastily, while others muse that it would be good to take one home.

 

The sky was again overcast, but at least there was no rain today so I decided to drive to Julatten in search of honeyeaters. A few Yellow Honeyeaters were feeding in the grevilleas and posed prettily for photos after which I returned to the school where a Great Bowerbird has a colourful pink and white bower. He was flying around the trees but just wouldn't pose at the bower. Along Sides Road a blue and white streak shot up from the ground to a high branch and disappeared, maybe a Forest Kingfisher?

 

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Edited by Treepol
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Next day dawned and it was another gray morning. Surprisingly the Riflebird is on his post, but there isn't enough sun to light up his metallic feathers so he doesn't linger to display. Later, the Black Butcherbird and the Victoria's Riflebird made an appearance at breakfast.  I decided to drive to Cairns to buy some new waterproof shoes with a really good non-slip sole for PNG. The shops in the mall were very similar to those at home - Prouds, Myer, Athletes Foot and a Food Court selling mostly unhealthy food. 

 

I returned to Cassowary House for a lazy afternoon and to finish my book. Ben Blewitt, who is to be our PNG guide called by this evening to see Sue and Phil and it was good to have a chance to say an early hello. 

 

Next morning we are treated to a display by the resident Victoria's Riflebird.  Once again it was a gray and overcast morning, however the bird dipped, stretched and ruffled before raising its wings and showing a bright yellow gape and a blue metallic neck patch.

 

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I left Cassowary House around 10 am and drove to Mareeba to visit Granite Gorge where I walked for an hour and saw the endemic Mareeba Rock Wallaby, searched unsuccessfully for Blue-headed Kingfisher and enjoyed walking alone in the bush.

 

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The coloured route markers embedded in the large granite boulders lead visitors on a cracking scramble/walk. After the walk I found the resident Squatter Pigeons and a pair of Tawny Frogmouths.

 

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This was my last stop in the beautiful Atherton Tableland as the car was due back in Cairns and so was I, because tomorrow I fly to Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea.

Edited by Treepol
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@xelas @michael-ibk@kittykat23uk@TonyQ@Atravelynnthanks for reading along.

 

@Kitsafari safari in PNG is very different to safari in Africa or South America. We saw one mammal, a Dusky Pademelon in the wild and lots of birds. Sightings are usually distant and fleeting - I will write more on the perils of birdwatching in PNG later in the report.

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@Treepol

 

I'm very much looking forward to this report. Have you seen the photographer/biologist Tim Laman's National Geographic book Birds of Paradise?  It's fascinating, and was my first glimpse of the uniqueness of Papua New Guinea. As I understand it, with no natural predators around, the birds-of-paradise there have enjoyed the luxury of focusing on more leisurely pursuits -- not the least of which involves their evolutionary elaborate mating dances and  displays.  Absolutely fascinating. 

 

If you were subjected to the "perils of birdwatching" there, you are in good company. Tim Laman writes in his introduction to the book: "On my first  bird-of-paradise photography trip, I wrote this field journal entry: 'I think this is the most difficult assignment I have worked on......Tenth day since I arrived and I still haven't nailed a single bird-of-paradise species to my satisfaction.' .....What had I gotten myself into?"

 

Cant wait to hear (and see) more. 

Edited by Alexander33
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@Alexander33 yes I have seen Tim Laman's amazing and inspiring book. I am pleased to learn that others have found PNG birding difficult in the utmost!

 

I checked into the Air Niugini flight at 9.15 and after a quick shop in Duty Free was ready for Port Moresby (POM). The flight left 15 minutes early at 11.30 and 90 minutes later we landed in PNG. I was delighted to be travelling internationally for such a short time in order to land in a country that is so diverse and culturally different to Australia - it sure beats 20+ hours to Johannesburg or 32+ hours to Sao Paulo. I will be looking for other exotic destinations close to home - Sabah, Thailand and Hokkaido spring to mind.

 

The climate in POM is tropical and there is a slightly damp odour around the city, although later we were to see little piles of burning garbage that produced added a strong smoky smell and contributed to the smog. Back at the airport we cleared immigration and customs without any problems, changed money and then bought a Digicell card for the mobile phone.  We are staying at the Citi Serviced Apartments for the next 3 nights.

 

There were 5 people in our Sicklebill Safaris group and it wasn't until we arrived at the POM accommodation that we all met up for the first time. Linda and Kathy, sisters from Virginia and Pennsylvania, LeslieAnn from Tucson Arizona, Ramesh from Singapore and myself.  After greetings all round and a light lunch, Daniel, the local guide arrived with a driver and gopher/security guy and we were off sightseeing. First stop was  Parliament House which has a soaring high peak at the front with indigenous art and a Bird of Paradise door carving.

 

 

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In the grounds we saw Torresian Pigeon, Sacred Kingfisher, White-breasted Woodswallow, Yellow-tinted Honeyeaters and Fawn-breasted Bowerbird. Directly opposite, people were growing vegetables in impromptu market gardens. 

 

Next stop was the fish market where all sorts of fish, crabs and frog kebabs were on sale. There didn't seem to be any restrictions on the species of fish that could be caught as we saw a Humphead Wrasse (that are protected in Australia) and some colourful reef fish all on sale as well as individually trussed mud crabs.

 

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Local fishing fleet.

 

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A stilt village that is home to many of the fishermen was nearby.

 

 

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The last stop of the day was at the top of what Daniel calls "Rich man's hill" where many politicians and diplomats live. Security services like Black Swan were very obvious in this area as well as along the main traffic thoroughfares. The hilltop affords a birds-eye view of the city laid out below which was shared with a Fawn-breasted Bowerbird.

 

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Daniel dropped us back at the Apartments where we chose dinner from a limited menu before turning in for an early night ready for a 4.15 am. start tomorrow.

 

Edited by Treepol
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Towlersonsafari

Wow!  @Treepol what a destination- and i love the idea of feeding eels! this will be a trip report that most of us will never get to experience! one of the joys of Safaritalk!

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Victoria's Riflebird is most odd and fascinating in its various poses. The endemic Mareeba Rock Wallaby had to be a highlight.  It has to take the participants in that colorful cultural show forever to get ready!

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Great report so far.  I look forward to reading more.

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@Towlersonsafari and @Atdahlthanks for your interest @AtravelynnI was so pleased when the Riflebird ran through his full program as I had been waiting for this sighting since our 2015 visit. The dressing for the show is a happy, social time. Lots of talk and laughter and the mirrors come out for primping and preening. I have lots of photos to come, but here is one for now.

 

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Meanwhile we are looking for BoPs! The alarm went off at 4.15 am for a 5 am breakfast and 5.30 departure for Varirata NP. Everyone is looking forward to the visit to the lek of the Raggiana BoP and we have an extra guide along today, Lyall who works for Heritage Expeditions and Tropical Birding was doing a recce for his guests who arrive tomorrow.

 

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At the lek, three or 4 males displayed for the occasional female that dropped by. The orange feathers shook, heads bobbed and wings outstretched in this colourful ritual.

 

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Next we did the lookout walk after some photos looking down over Port Moresby and the coast.

 

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A pair of Blyth's Hornbill flapped by below the lookout, their noisy wing beats alerting us to their presence. Kingfishers featured very well along this trail, beginning with a brightly coloured Brown-headed Paradise Kingfisher followed by Azure Kingfisher and the Variable Kingfisher which had a brilliant saffron breast, but was mostly hidden behind a leaf.

 

A flock of Hooded Pitohuis fluttered in the treetops, an unusual, poisonous bird.  It carries a range of poisons in its skin, feathers and body tissues. The toxins may be derived from the diet and may deter predators and parasites (the locals do not eat this bird). 

 

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Hooded pitohui

 

Further into the walk a fruiting tree attracted a variety of brightly coloured fruit doves of which Pink-spotted and Zoe's Imperial Pigeon showed well through the scope. A White-faced Robin peeped shyly from behind a leaf.  Towards the end of the walk, Daniel showed us the day roost of a Barred Owlet-nightjar.

 

 

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Elegant Honeyeaters fluttered around the picnic ground.

 

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Leaving the park we scored Rainbow Bee-eater and finished the day with more kingfishers - Sacred Kingfisher and Blue-winged Kookaburra.  Varirata NP is a very pleasant place to spend a day out of Port Moresby. It is 800m above sea level and comfortably cool and very green. The inviting picnic grounds are well maintained and we only saw another 2-3 cars all day. 

 

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Edited by Treepol
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wow when i saw your Victoria's Riflebird doing the whole dance, I was thrilled. it was David Attenborough's docus that introduced me to the birds of paradise and ever since I've been fascinated by the birds - which I thought were unattainable in the thick jungles of PNG. 

 

amazing! @Treepol you are such an intrepid adventuress. 

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Ha! Ha! Timely one.

 

I was discussing PNG safaris among two sisters who've lived there briefly as kids. Both of them independantly asked, "why would anyone want to go there?". I told them "If I want to go for a safari where not many people go", then they said "I guess it's ok then"...one still recommended staying closer to the Indonesian border. Then there were some jokes about canibalism, of course.

 

Then I did a search for PNG here and got no results.

 

Its too far for me for now, but in retirement when a I can stay for months in that part of the world.

In the mean time, looking forward to the remainder of your trip.

 

P.S: Why prohibit 6 pocket shorts but not all shorts? Is that for the parliament building?

Edited by Gilgamesh
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Enchanting dance.  Did you pick a time of the year for displaying or was that just luck?

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@Kitsafari David Attenborough certainly introduced many people to the BoPs. Generally, the birds are hard to see in the wild, we had many scope and/or binocular views only, however sometimes we got lucky with known leks and the BoP just appearing as if on cue. The Raggiana sighting was the closest that we achieved, the others were more distant and many were so far away that I couldn't get photos.

 

@Gilgamesh certainly you won't see many other people if you go on safari to PNG, uness you visit a singsing that is. We spent some time at Kiunga and along the Fly River which is close to the border of Indonesia's West Papua Province. I wonder why one of your friends recommended this region over others? It was in the lowlands and quite hot and humid compared with the highlands. Yes, the six pocket short sign was at Parliament House and I didn't understand it either.

 

@Atravelynn I remember a guide saying that this time of year is good to catch the BoP displays, although I can't remember if it was all species. It certainly worked for the Raggiana and Greater BoPs though.

 

This morning we set out with Samson to visit the fishing villages of Laelae Island and Huanabada, the latter of which is built on stilts. The drive to Laelae Island was about 90 minutes out of Port Moresby which gave us the chance to see something of the countryside. We saw the huge Exxon Mobil refinery which was very secure with a double security fence, including razor wire, perimeter cameras and floodlights. The facility incorporates a wharf where a large tanker was docked.

 

We witnessed an unfolding drama along the razor wire when someone spotted a Brown Falcon.

 

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Inside the razor wire was a young pheasant coucal that the falcon was hunting.

 

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Foolishly, the coucal left the safety of the wire and flew across the road with the falcon in hot pursuit. The coucal dived into some long grass as the falcon struck from above. We didn't see the end of this drama, but I suspect it didn't end well for the coucal which looked bedraggled, possibly from an earlier strike.
 

The village at Laelae Island was quite large, with a 6 room school, multiple wells where women and children collected water for washing and USaid donated water tanks to ensure clean drinking water. The village is reached by crossing a bridge underneath which families washed, swam and cleaned pots and pans.

 

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A tidal rivulet at the back of the village served as an anchorage for a variety of boats - traditional canoes, a home-made catamaran and a fibreglass dinghy.

 

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Closer to Port Moresby, these boys were salvaging recyclables from roadside litter.

 

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The last stop of the morning was at the Waterfront where we purchased last minute snacks in preparation for the next 6 days.  This afternoon there is time for more sightseeing which included a visit to the Wildlife Park for some 'insurance' photos of Birds of Paradise (BoP) particularly, other birds generally and some hard to see mammals. The wildlife park was quite good and we achieved some sightings of Birds of Paradise (BoPs) that we may miss in the bush or that live in areas not covered by our itinerary.

 

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Cardinal Lorikeet

 

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Dusky Lorikeet

 

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Female riflebirds

 

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The park incorporates the National Orchid Garden which features traditional wood carvings and sculptures, a walk-through aviary and some tree kangaroo enclosures. We were greeted at the walk-thru aviary by a Southern Crowned Pigeon followed closely by Magnificent BoP.

 

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Goodfellows Tree Kangaroo

 

 

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Grizzled tree kangaroo

 

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Common kingfisher

 

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The final stop of the day was the Bomana War Cemetery where many allied soldiers from the Second World War are buried. Although it was officially closed when we arrived, the security guy kindly let us look around for a while. The Cemetery is the resting place for 3,778 servicemen and 1 woman from Australia, New Zealand, the U.S., Canada, India and Pakistan, who died on active service during World War 2. This quiet resting place is a haven for birds and in the late afternoon we saw Fawn-breasted Bowerbird, Torresian Imperial Pigeon and Yellow-faced Myna.

 

 

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Next day we were looking forward to arriving at Kiunga and arrived at the airport at 6.45 for an 8.45 departure. The airport was very busy, and there were a couple of other tour groups heading off on their own adventures. The plane flew west over the Coral Sea before turning right for Tabubil over densely forested ridges and valleys, that I could see between breaks in the thick clouds. The plane couldn't land due to low clouds and bad weather, which happens frequently. Usually, the plane flies on to land in Kiunga but not today because there is no avgas for the plane to re-fuel. The pilot advises that he has been directed to fly to the small town of Wewak on the north coast, re-fuel and return to Port Moresby. We flew over the mountainous spine of PNG and once on the northern side of the ranges the clouds lifted to reveal an endless sea of green trees. In places, the rainforest looked like a densely packed broccoli jungle, with the tree canopy reaching for light. A single rusty river snaked towards the coast and some small villages were seen through the trees and along the river. A single track road that looked like a scar through the rainforest was the first clue that we close to Wewak. The plane seemed to coast over an undulating green counterpane before landing at Wewak which was located on a sandy beach with a fringe of palm trees.

 

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Inside the terminal building policemen toting AK 47s were gathering, not sure what this was in aid of but I didn’t try to take a photo! Anyway after about 30 minutes we were in the air on the return flight to Moresby. Ben, the group leader spent a long time at Customer Services but emerged with vouchers for overnight accommodation at the comfortable Gateway Hotel. Air Niugini say the flight will leave at the same time tomorrow so we shall see.

Edited by Treepol
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@Treepol

 

The sisters didn't know much about the tourism in that country. I think they recommended close to the Indonesian border thinking there will be more amenities there. I think they don't have high opinions on PNG being a good "tourist" destination and thought being closer to Indonesia might provide the minimal luxuries a tourist may demand....I don't think the advice was factual based but rather emotional/opinion/educated guess based, and catered more towards the average tourist who visits Paris and Rome :D

Edited by Gilgamesh
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Your wisdom in refraining from certain photos is equal to your skill when you did choose to click.

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@Gilgamesh I meant to write yesterday that many people say that birding in West Papua is a less expensive option than PNG. Services for birders, especially well-located accommodation are increasing which is interesting quite a few travellers. I met a guy this year who had been to see the Vogelkop Bowerbird and he was very impressed with the birdlife generally around the Vogelkop Peninsula.

 

Next morning we are at the airport at 6.30 ready to do battle with Air Niugini in order to get on the plane, and just as well we were. Ben quickly obtained 4 boarding passes, however we needed 6 and waited a further (tense) 90 minutes to receive these. The checkin staff told us the plane had 29 seats and that there were 68 people wanting seats. Imagine our surprise when we boarded a 20 seater Dash 8 to find 9 empty seats!

 

Once again we flew out over the Coral Sea with an aerial view that showed just how spread out Port Moresby is. Visibility was better this morning, or maybe the smaller plane flew lower, and I had a good view of thickly forested, green velvet valleys running down to the coast. The pilot turned right and we flew north over the thick broccoli forest, once again unable to land at Tabubil due to bad weather and headed straight to Kiunga which is very close to the border with the Indonesian province of West Papua.  Samuel our local guide was saying goodbye to his previous group (who had spent an extra night in Kiunga as they couldn't leave the previous day) and welcoming us at the same time. I was talking to an Israeli guy on the plane who arranged a lift back to Tabubil on a cement truck, as he worked for a company building chicken, corn and potato farms and processing plants in the hills behind the town.

 

Kiunga Guesthouse is a welcome oasis, with large rooms, a pool and a pleasant garden area.

 

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After lunch we drove out to Kilometre 14 on the BoysTown Road for some birding and hopefully a glimpse of the Flame Bowerbird.

 

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We saw colourful Golden Monarchs, Lowland Helpos, a Dwarf Coel being mobbed by Black Sunbirds, Ruddy-breasted kookaburra and a Yellow-billed Kingfisher - scope views only. Numerous pigeons, parrots and fruit-doves flew by during this time! Even female Raggiana BoPs.  A couple of tropical downpours failed to dampen the afternoon.

 

Samuel joined us for dinner and outlined the plans for the next day when we are going up the Fly and Elevala Rivers with local guide Glenn to stay for a night in a local community lodge. The river trip usually yields good views of Blyth's Hornbill, Southern Imperial Pigeon, and maybe a 12-wired BoP.

Edited by Treepol
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We made an early start which turned out to be in vain because the boat driver couldn't be found. Eventually a stand-in guy named Morrie arrived and we were away shortly after dawn.  The Fly River is the second longest river in PNG and is the largest river in the world without a dam in its catchment. It was discovered by Europeans in 1845 when Francis Blackwood, in command of HMS Fly, surveyed the region hence the name of the river. Villages that can only be reached by boat are located by wisps of smoke or secluded landings that lead to houses deep in the forest.

 

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Very soon we see local people in dugout canoes of various sizes, mostly paddled but a few had outboard motors.

 

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Canoes are the lifeblood of the Fly River, carrying people, food and fuel and serving as fishing boats. Many are paddled by hand, but a few have outboard motors especially the larger people-movers.

 

 

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A White-bellied Fish Eagle surveyed the river from above.

 

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Soon we are passing villages and isolated huts, even some old shipping containers which are widely used in PNG as homes, freezers, shops and airline terminals. Many roadside shops are run out of painted-up containers that provide sturdy shelter from the rain and mud and that lock-up securely.

 

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However, I digress, lets get back to the Fly and Elevala Rivers.

 

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We stopped at a village which is the home of our local guide Glen, where his father, the guy in the white shorts is the village headman. The BBC have 2 cameramen camped in the jungle behind the village where they are filming Flame Bowerbirds and 12 Wired Birds of Paradise.

 


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Suddenly, there are loud wing beats as Blyth's Hornbills fly over the river. They sometimes land in the trees where they are easy to see due to their size and distinctive plumage. Mostly the birds fly high overhead in search of the next fruiting tree.

 

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Around a bend in the river we see a small landing stage and learn that we have arrived at our upriver accommodation. Kwatu Lodge is a basic landowner lodge built in a bird rich area. There are 6 rooms with 2 bunks in each, separate kitchen, outside long drops and showers, a common eating area and views of the river.

 

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View from the dining area.

 

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This Papuan Friarbird was feeding right next to the common area.

 

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This afternoon we went out in the boat with a specific goal of seeing Southern Crowned Pigeon. A colourful dragonfly rode along for a while. 

 

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We were about to give up at dusk when Glen's persistence paid off and we found a Southern Crowned Pigeon perched well back in a leafy tree.

 

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This was a great way to end the day so we returned to Kwatu for a dinner of rice, noodles, fried onion and baked beans, prepared by Veronica who is the cook lady for visiting groups. Heavy rain teems onto the iron roof during the night, reminding us that we are in a tropical jungle.

 

 

Edited by Treepol
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I love Goodfellows tree kangaroos. Off to look them up!  Much new here though and I look forward to the leisure time to read it properly - still just arrived although I skipped ahead a bit and those tree kangaroos caught my eye.

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