18 September 2010

Tari Catchup...(Papua New Guinea): 3-5 July 2010

After missing a night in Tari due to Air Niugini's annoying canceled flight, we had to cram in a lot over the few days, and we did...On arrival we were whisked straight to a SOOTY OWL day roost. A little rubbing on the trunk bought this fierce looking tyto owl out to check on what all the fuss was about (top photo). Then after lunch at the lodge we hightailed it to a trail where we enjoyed great looks at a Spotted Jewel-Babbler (something that happens very rarel.y). Of course Tari is famed as one of the greatest sites on the planet for PNG's most famous bird family: the birds-of-paradise. We can vouch for that, racking up some 10 species during our stay, including the bizarre Short-tailed Paradigalla, the flashy Princess Stephanie's Astrapia, the even more flashy Ribbon-tailed Astrapia (by virtue of its extremely long ivory white tail), and the odd Lawe's Parotia seen in the grounds of our mountain lodge. Also we saw the distinctive form of a Black Sicklebill calling in the early morning sun, that was a great relief to find after an awful hike to get to it.

On top of the BOP appeal Tari is home to many forest skulkers that world birders often fixate on (me included). Over the days we watched a shining black Lesser Melampitta hop out on to an open trail in front of us, and had cracking looks at the often difficult Papuan Logrunner scratching away on the forest floor. The usual "dip" (miss) on Feline Owlet-Nightjar was alleviated somewhat by seeing the local Mountain Nightjar. A band of pink-faced Black Sitellas should also get a mention. So despite loss of time we squeezed a lot out of just a few days in PNG's flagship mountain site. Sadly the site is being ravaged by development for a natural gas project in the area and I feel getting there sooner rather than later is advisable if you wish to walk away with trip birds like these, some of which are surely going to disappear long term.

Aside from the birds the colorful Huli people are another great reason to visit...(bottom photo)

1 comment:

Lee Dingain said...

Blimey!! Sooty Owl is a corker!!!