Twelve of us took part in the 2006 Kirrama Wildlife Tour of New Guinea and
New Britain. Our guides were Klaus Uhlenhut and Brian Coates, the latter
being the author of ?Birds of New Guinea and the Bismarck Archipelago: A
Photographic Guide?. The tour of New Guinea lasted about 13 days and the
extension to New Britain three days. We visited Port Moresby briefly,
Tabubil, Kiunga, Ekame Lodge, Kumul Lodge near Mount Hagen and Ambua Lodge
near the Tari Valley and Tari Gap. In New Britain we used the Walindi
Diving Resort as a base and visited forest and beach areas as well as taking
an extensive boat trip to the islands of Kimbe Bay. In spite of very poor
roads in most places, the tour went very smoothly, the only hiccup being one
flight which was 1.5 hours late.
The rainforest in PNG is very dense and the locals hunt animals and birds
very successfully in order to supplement their diet of mostly sweet potato.
This means that most bird species are very wary and usually seen from some
distance. The ground-dwelling forest birds have all crossed Torres Strait
and attended the advanced course at the Noisy Scrub-bird School of
Concealment. Angled view-piece telescopes are essential to see the birds,
binoculars being useless for many species. Our guides used tapes to call in
many species of forest birds, with some success. The commercial tapes
available are generally of poor quality.
I was happy to record a total of 205 species in New Guinea and 64 species in
New Britain. Of these, 117 were new to me in New Guinea and 22 in New
Britain. We saw about 20 species of Bird-of-Paradise, two of these being
females only. Highlights for me were close, extended views of Southern
Crested Pigeon, Crested Berrypecker, beautiful robins and Pesquet?s
(Vulturine) Parrot. I rejected many sightings that I considered not
positive enough and I missed many species that others saw.
I have not compiled a full trip report, but details of the usual itinerary
are contained on Klaus? website www.kirrama.com.au. I am happy to send my
bird lists to anybody who is interested.
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