01 September 2010

Mining Country...(Tabubil, Papua new Guinea): 29 June-1 July 2010

We left the mining port behind (Kiunga) and went to the town of Tabubil, close to the OK Tedi mine itself (that mines copper and gold). However, we were not here for that kind of natural resource but another: birds. One morning we waited in darkness for while a Papuan Boobook called back at us, and after a time was spotlighted, glaring back at us with bright staring eyes. Not long after our "real" quarry began to call as the first glimmers of light broke the treetops: the legendary Shovel-billed Kookaburra, a weird crepuscular kingfisher (photo from the 2007 tour above). We dashed into the forest and got it locked in the maglite, its hulking bill visible to all. Other Tabubil treats included the very inconspicuous Obscure Berrypecker, looking every bit as its name suggests-obscure!A narrow forest stream was lit up by a Torrent Lark that hopped on and off the rocks, and was nearly displaced by a Salvadori's Teal that used one of the same rocks a little later. Some scope work was required to finally track down a calling Papuan Hanging-Parrot, a tiny, tiny species that was nearly eclipsed by the equally minuscule Red-breasted Pygmy-Parrot. These birds are some of the smallest parrots on Earth. From small ones though to big ones, the final bird of Tabubil came late on at the "last knockings" when to my relief one of the group, Tim finally found a black-and-scarlet Vulturine Parrot perched on a dead limb just in he nick of time...

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