31 August 2010

Sunset on the Fly River (Papua New Guinea): June 2010

Returning to my June tour of Papua New Guinea. Our second day around Kwatu Lodge began painfully slow, with little to show for our hard work. Pre-dawn we chased around the recently rediscovered Starry Owlet-Nightjar that had been lost to the birding world until just a few years ago. Despite hearing it fruatrtingly close we just could not get it to come and land in our spotlight. Mid morning saw things pick up when we watched a glittering Hooded Pitta bounding along the forest floor. This bird glistens so brightly it genuinely evoked gasps from several of us. After lunch back at Kwatu we birded the forest near the lodge and finally caught up with a Red-bellied Pitta to bring us a brace of colorful pittas for the day.

As if that was not enough as we trundled back to the boats to head back to Kiunga we were distracted by a calling Blue Jewel-Babbler that was tempted across the track several times. One of PNG's legendary skulkers. The boat ride back was relaxing and also bought us two new birds, with a small flock of Lowland Peltops flitting around the treetops, and a Doria's Hawk that flapped lazily by. The day may have begun with little, but quite the tally of quality birds had been enjoyed by the end of the day when we got to enjoy a fantastic sunset over the Fly River just before we cruised into the port of Kiunga...

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