19 September 2010

Resplendent Raggianas...(Papua New Guinea): 6 - 7 July 2010

The final two days of the tour were spent in the fantastic Varirata NP, in the hills to the east of Port Moresby. For me one of the best sites in PNG and right near the capital. Chasing down flocks we came upon the amazing Dwarf Whistler, perhaps better referred to by its other more appealing name: Goldenface. A strange whistler that is sort of reminiscent of a Canada Warbler in plumage pattern. Usually high in the trees we were treated to eye level looks as 2-3 birds wandered down into the understorey while a flock swept by. The flock also held a few Black Berrypeckers, from the endemic New Guinea family, the berrypeckers. Trail work bought us more views of the luminous Brown-headed Paradise-Kingfisher, and the third roosting Barred Owlet-Nightjar of the trip, in addition to a cute White-faced Robin hugging the trunk of a rainforest tree. Our last day opened with one of the most breathtaking performances of all: RAGGIANA BIRDS-OF-PARADISE in full, dramatic display (photo), and closed with the rare Grand Munia, an erratic species that is not available every year, so we finished off with a couple of these striking finches near Varirata.

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