REPORT COMPILED BY ANDY ROADHOUSE
This was a privately organised trip by Jon Hornbuckle to take four South Yorkshire birders around this fantastic country with amazing birds. Jon has been to PNG at least nine times before and his knowledge of the land and people is excellent, he arranged all the logistics for the trip, leaving us with nothing to do except turn up and go birding. It is not the type of country where you can expect things to run smoothly, generally it did, although we did have the flight from Tari to Mount Hagen cancelled so had to take the bus instead, which wasn’t a problem. Then our flight was delayed from Tabubil to Port Moresby, because the pilot didn’t land at Tabubil first time due to low cloud (although he did manage to land 90 mins later in apparently worse conditions!). This meant JMT and GJS missed their flight to Singapore and ended up getting home two days later than planned, while AR and AM missed their flight to New Britain and after more delays the next two days due to insurrection there, had to cancel their visit to New Britain and New Ireland.
It was a very successful trip, seeing a total of 330 species with another 12 heard only. We saw 23 species of Bird of Paradise, Southern Crowned Pigeon, Shovel-billed and Hook-billed Kingfishers, 4 sp. of Paradise-Kingfisher, Doria’s Hawk, etc.
Jon had arranged for almost full board throughout the trip, so we needed very little money, just the occasional lunch and our daily supply of South Pacific – the local beer, which cost on average about £1 a can. Food and beer in the capital in the top hotels was good value, with a steak dinner only costing around £7.
3rd The Air Niugini flight from Singapore landed at Port Moresby Airport at 05.30; it took about an hour for us to get through customs and pick up our luggage and we were then whisked by taxi to our hotel for the next three nights – Granville Motel. The rooms were large and clean and we quickly unpacked and had a quick cup of tea. We were met by Daniel who was to be our guide for the next three days. We soon boarded the hotel minibus along with a driver and a security guard, made our way through the outskirts of Port Moresby and headed up towards Varirata National Park. We made very few stops as we wanted to get to the park as early as possible, but we did stop to have a look at our first Blue-winged Kookaburra of the trip. When we got to the park entrance we were soon greeted by noisy but very colourful Red-cheeked Parrots and Black-capped Lories. We spent the morning and early afternoon on the perimeter trail and new birds came thick and fast, the best being a cracking Brown-headed Paradise-Kingfisher, along with Hooded Pitohui, Spot-winged and Frilled Monarchs, Pale-billed Scrub-wren, Rusty Mouse-Warbler, Buff-faced Pygmy-Parrot, Yellow-breasted Boatbill, Papuan Drongo, Little Shrike-Thrush, Green-backed, Fairy and Yellow-bellied Gerygones and White-eared Catbird. We drove to the picnic area and stopped at a tree to see a Barred Owlet-Nightjar, and a little tapping of the tree made it pop its head up! At the picnic site a fruiting tree produced a few birds while we dined on biscuits and crisps for our lunch, including Pink-spotted and Beautiful Fruit-Doves, Black-faced and Stout-billed Cuckoo-Shrikes and a flyby female Raggiana Bird of Paradise (BoPs from now on) which none of us decided to tick. At 15.00 we drove down to Pacific Adventist University (PAU) and were dropped off at the gates as the minibus had got its second puncture of the day and the driver needed to get it sorted. We walked through the open grassland, scattered with trees and added White-bellied Cuckoo-Shrike, and after a kilometre or so passed through a security gate. Whistling Kites flew overhead and we soon had Fawn-breasted Bowerbirds in some large trees which also held a flock of Spotted Whistling-Ducks roosting on the lower branches. A small marsh next to these trees produced a selection of herons: Cattle, Little and Intermediate Egrets, Pied Heron, Rufous Night-Heron and Australian Ibis. Other large trees held Green Figbirds and a pair of roosting Papuan Frogmouths. The main lake had good numbers of Wandering Whistling-Ducks and Pacific Black Ducks, with a few Comb-crested Jacanas and Australasian Grebes. The surrounding trees held Helmeted Friarbirds, Rufous-banded Honeyeaters and Singing Starlings. We finished off by checking the vegetable growing area for Munias and had Chestnut-breasted and Grey-headed. On the way back to our hotel we called at a supermarket to get some supplies for the next two days lunches. It was then time to sink a few beers, have a nice meal and catch up on notes.
4th We were up at 04.40, a quick coffee and on the minibus at 05.00. After picking up our repaired tyre from a garage we made our way to Varirata N.P. again, arriving just as it was getting light. We spent the first hour at the picnic site as there was a lot of activity around the fruiting tree, including Orange-bellied Fruit-Dove and our first two BoPs – Raggiana BoP and Crinkle-collared Manucode. We then spent the morning on one of the trails looking for skulkers, dipping on Black-billed Brush-Turkey, Painted Quail-Thrush and Chestnut-backed Jewel-Babbler, but we did get good views of a perched male Eastern Riflebird, Black Berrypecker, Hooded Butcherbird, Sooty Thicket-Fantail and a very unexpected Orange-footed Scrub-fowl scratching about in the undergrowth. When we got back to the picnic site, the food we had hung up under one of the shelters had been stolen, leaving us with no food for our lunch – we weren’t impressed! We did a different trail in the afternoon adding Azure Kingfisher, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Mountain Peltops, Goldenface which was like a good-looking Canada Warbler!, and another surprise with a superb perched Hook-billed Kingfisher. Back at the picnic area we had 3 Boyer’s Cuckoo-Shrikes and then spent the last half an hour on the approach road to the park looking for White-bellied Whistler and Streak-headed Honeyeater, seeing both. We had to call at the supermarket for some more food for the morrow and then in the restaurant caught up on notes, did the log, drank beer and had chicken and chips for dinner - not necessarily in that order.
5th Daniel hadn’t arrived by 05.30, so we went to the park without him (found out later that he was ill). We started at a lek site for Raggiana BoP and were soon watching a fantastic spectacle with at least 4 males displaying to a group of females and young males. We bumped into Augustus, another local guide and asked him to join us. We went back onto the trails searching for the skulkers; the first addition to the list was a White-throated Honeyeater then we heard a Brush-Turkey really close - I had brief views but it was another hour before we had all had good views of this very difficult bird to see. The only other new birds we added before lunch were Golden and Black-winged Monarchs. Our walk in the afternoon gave us a small mixed flock with the best bird being another Goldenface. At the end of the day we heard a Painted Quail-Thrush close by and tried play-back; it kept coming close but was almost impossible to see, with just GJS and AM getting reasonable views. We arrived back at the hotel at 19.00 and Daniel joined us for dinner.
6th Our day to move to Tari in the central highlands. After a full breakfast in the hotel, we transferred to the airport at 07.00. Once we had checked in, we had 15 minutes outside where there were lots of egrets including a Pacific Reef-Egret, with a Golden-headed Cisticola in the long grass. The twin prop plane carrying 45 passengers took an hour and half to fly to Tari, crossing almost completely forested land. We were greeted by thousands of locals as we landed – more than the usual home crowd for a Rotherham United match! Apparently there was some big politician on the flight so that the crowd was larger than normal. We got into our 4-wheel drive Toyota and made our way through the crowds and past hundreds of dartboards all set at different heights! Our guide for the stay here, Henni, took us to a garden on the edge of town, a stake-out for Greater Sooty Owl. We had a female Superb BoP and our first Yellow-browed Melidectes, then while waiting for the owl, two Black Butcherbirds flushed it so we only had brief flight views. Another Papuan Frogmouth was shown to us roosting high in a tree. We then continued up to Warili Lodge, which would be our base for the next seven days. The thatched bamboo huts were basic but clean and a much cheaper option than staying at the plush Ambua Lodge a kilometre or so up the hill. We had lunch in the large communal building and afterwards went up the hill to see some of the specialities of the area. We all agreed It was probably one of the best three hours birding any of us had ever had, probably because nearly everything was new but also because of the views we had of so many amazing birds. Our first stop produced the bird of the trip for me - a singing male King of Saxony Bird of Paradise, soon christened KOSBOP. We drove up to the Gap and then walked slowly down hill in our first rain of the trip, but it wasn’t heavy enough to get in the way of the birding. We soon added Ribbon-tailed Astrapia, the males with two foot long white tail streamers, and then just a little further down hill, two Crested BoPs showed well through the scope. One of the other highlights of the day was getting another new family when we had a smart Crested Berrypecker. Other highlights of the afternoon included Papuan and Whiskered Lorikeets, Black-breasted Boatbill, Rufous-naped Whistler, Blue-capped Ifrita, Mid-mountain and Fan-tailed Berrypeckers, Mountain Firetail and Blue-faced Parrotfinch. We had a very nice meal and a few beers each while catching up on notes – the small generator giving us electricity for a few hours.
7th Breakfast was at 06.00 and just as it was getting light we headed up hill and spent most of the morning on Benson’s Trail. It was generally quiet and we spent a lot of time looking for skulkers, which we slowly started picking off, including Northern Logrunners running around us, Lesser Ground-Robins eventually showing well to everyone, and 1 or 2 Ashy Robins giving glimpses but everyone had good views by the end of the day. Also added were Mountain Mouse-Warbler and Large Scrubwren, while GJS and JMT had brief views of a Forbes’ Rail. We walked down the hill to the Bailey Bridge but added nothing other than Tawny Grassbird. We returned to the lodge for lunch and a lie-down, and then went back up the hill to the Gap in the afternoon. Unfortunately the heavens opened and it made birding very difficult. As we walked down hill the only bird we added was a cracking Garnet Robin. When it eased a little we had a look for Short-tailed Paradigalla and dipped but did see a very nice Blue-Grey Robin. As the rain continued to pour we called it a day while still light and went back for some warm tea and to dry our clothes and boots around the communal fire.
8th One of the best days of the trip. As it got light there was a lot of low cloud and we thought it was going to get in the way of our birding. We drove down below the lodge to Banari Road which is a known site for Black Sicklebill, but they usually perch up on a distant ridge and low cloud doesn’t help. Due to the low cloud we checked Henni’s garden for Blue BoP and it wasn’t long before we were watching another candidate for bird of the trip – a cracking male Blue Bird of Paradise, and by the end of the morning we had seen two pairs. Also in the garden were Papuan King-Parrots and Marbled Honeyeater. Once the low cloud had cleared we went back to look for Black Sicklebill, but instead of having a distant bird perched on a hillside, we had a male perched up on our side of the valley and it was joined by three females - we didn’t seen the display though. Shortly afterwards a male Lawes’ Parotia perched up, not too far away from a Mountain Kingfisher and our first views of Hooded Cuckoo-Shrike. After this good start we drove back to the lodge and then walked down Steven’s Trail. Apart from dipping on Buff-tailed Sicklebill, this was very successful and pulled in McGregor’s Bowerbird, Papuan Treecreeper, Brehm’s Tiger-Parrot, Slaty-chinned Longbill, Princess Stephanie’s Astrapia and for some, the rare Papuan Hawk-Owl which would have been a tick for JH had he seen it. The morning was finished off with a Spotted Jewel-Babbler elusively circling us, but eventually giving good views.
We had a well deserved celebratory beer with our lunch and a short lie-down to revitalize our batteries. The afternoon was spent walking up the hill just beyond Ambua Lodge. We started at the paradigalla garden and soon had brilliant views of an adult Short-tailed Paradigalla, along with Black-throated Robin and Canary Flycatcher. Further up the hill we heard the machine gun call of the Brown Sicklebill and soon had good views of several birds. AM had seen a Wattled Ploughbill but it took the rest of us another hour before we had good views of one. We finished off the day by going to a clearing with the hope of seeing Feline Owlet-Nightjar; there was no sign of it but we did have a flyover Archbold’s Nightjar. The evening was spent in candlelight as there was no petrol for the generator, but that didn’t stop us polishing off a few beers with our meal and note-writing.
9th It was raining when we woke at 05.45 but had just about stopped as it was getting light while we finished our breakfast. As we drove up the hill the skies cleared, we stopped at The Gap to look for Brown Quail, and flushed several out of the grass almost immediately. We had an added bonus of brilliant views of a hunting Grass Owl. From there a walk back down hill to Benson’s Trail was fairly quiet and we only added Tit-Berrypecker, Brown-backed Whistler and White-winged Robin. On Benson’s Trail we found a Lesser Melampitta hopping out on the path. It was now time for lunch back at the lodge. When we went back up the hill, in the rain, we had a look for Forbes’ Rail on Benson’s Trail, but there was no response. We spent the afternoon walking down the hill in the drizzly rain and added three new birds: a nice flock of Black Sitellas, a Great Cuckoo-Dove and a White-breasted Fruit-Dove. The day ended again with a search for Feline Owlet-Nightjar - it was heard calling twice but wasn’t seen before the rain came down too heavily.
10th Another drizzly start but by the time we were back at Benson’s Trail the weather was good. We spent a while looking for the New Guinea Harpy-Eagle that Jon had heard distantly. However we didn’t see it but did have a female Loria’s BoP on the trail and a little further up the hill we had a male. We drove up to The Gap and scanning the hillside saw Meyer’s Goshawk and a Black-mantled Goshawk. We checked a trail on the way down for Chestnut Forest-Rail but only AM and MT saw it, otherwise we saw very little all morning. Due to the rain, after lunch we went back to the Sooty Owl garden in Tari. We missed all the target species – Sooty Owl, Red-breasted Pygmy-Parrot (untickable fly-over views only) and Black-headed Whistler which was only heard! As we walked back along the road, we had a Papuan Harrier which is a possible split from Eastern Marsh Harrier. More heavy rain so it was an early return to the lodge.
11th After another drizzly start, we headed down Steven’s Trail. We again dipped on Buff-tailed Sicklebill but did have good numbers of Blue-collared Parrot, a Black Pitohui and more views of McGregor’s Bowerbirds. After lunch we drove up to Benson’s Trail but had no new birds. We then drove beyond The Gap but only saw a couple of Papuan Harriers and an Australian Pipit. We went back down to Benson’s Trail, and spent a lot of time in the vehicle to get out of the rain, the only new bird being an Orange-crowned Fairywren.
12th Another poor morning for new species, but it was a case now of picking up a few of the more elusive species. Another attempt for Forbes’ Rail on Benson’s Trail for AR and AM still proved fruitless and a try for Chestnut Forest-Rail also came up blank, with little else seen on the walk down from The Gap to Benson’s Trail. After lunch we split up, AM and GJS went on Steven’s Trail to look for Buff-tailed Sicklebill, and dipped; AR and MT went to the Sooty Owl garden and this time saw the Sooty Owl, Red-breasted Pygmy-Parrot and Black-headed Whistler, while JH went to Ambua Lodge outer grounds and had a Bicoloured Mouse-Warbler. After another look for the Feline Owlet-Nightjar proved fruitless, we finished the evening typically with several beers.
13th We were woken at 05.30, packed all our gear into the minibus and had breakfast. Just as we were about to set off on the seven hour journey to Kumul Lodge near Mount Hagen, it was noticed the bus had a flat tyre. We were dropped off at Ambua Lodge while the bus was taken back to Tari to get a new tyre. We walked slowly uphill, there was plenty of bird activity but nothing new. The bus came back 2 hours later and we continued on our way. It was a bumpy journey for 3 ½ hours to Mendi, through one of the most native places I had ever seen. We had a couple of pee stops and saw two Black-headed Whistlers but very little else. At Mendi, we filled up with petrol, had some chips for lunch, then continued, finally arriving at Kumul Lodge at 15.50. The lodge was very nice, with pleasant rooms, unlimited electricity and hot water, a bar and a viewing terrace overlooking the largest bird table I’ve ever seen. We spent the afternoon watching Brehm’s Tiger-Parrots, Brown Sicklebill, Ribbon –tailed Astrapias, Smoky Honeyeaters, Belford’s Melidectes and Island Thrushes feeding on the fruit on the table, while White-winged Robins fed openly in the garden. Elsewhere in the grounds, we had a flock of Goldie’s Lorikeets and a Rufous-throated Bronze-Cuckoo was seen late afternoon. After dinner, while enjoying a beer or two, we were disturbed when a Mountain Owlet-Nightjar started calling right outside and within minutes we had superb views of this cracking diminutive night-bird – my kind of night birding!
14th We had to get up at 04.40, have a quick breakfast and then make the forty minute journey to the Lesser BoP site. We arrived just as it was getting light, but didn’t realize it was a tough walk up hill and down dale for an hour to get to the viewing area. Before we got there we could hear the males calling. We soon got onto a full adult male, and over the next hour or so had another five, becoming more active and displaying although usually out of view. Here we also had a male Superb BoP displaying, several very attractive Ornate Melidectes and 3 Mountain Myzomelas. On our walk back to the vehicle, we saw another speciality of the area – Yellow-breasted Bowerbird and also added Mountain Meliphaga and Torrent Flycatcher. On our way back to the lodge, we called at a waterfall to look for Torrent Lark, and after an hour or so we all had views of a pair. After lunch of soup and sandwiches, we spent the afternoon around the lodge, either scanning the hillsides for New Guinea Harpy-Eagles or on the trails looking for Chestnut Forest-Rail, neither of which were seen. The highlight was a female Crested BoP, a small flock of Orange-billed Lorikeets and better views of the Rufous-throated Bronze-Cuckoo. A pleasant evening was had as we caught up on notes while quaffing a few beers.
15th We spent the first hour or so in the lodge gardens, then JMT and GJS decided to stay at the lodge to look for the eagle, while AR, AM and JH went with Max the guide to the King of Saxony Trail. The trail had plenty of birds including another Wattled Ploughbill and Crested BoP, but the only new bird was Modest Tiger-Parrot. We then went back to the start of the waterfall trail to look for Papuan Parrotfinch, and eventually saw 3 but even better was a Streaked Berrypecker, which JH dipped on and he needed it. On our way back we were shown a Northern Cassowary caged up in a village, being fattened for a forthcoming banquet! We stopped the bus when Max heard some Grey Gerygones but we only had untickable views. Back at the lodge, we found all we had missed was a Long-tailed Honey-Buzzard. After lunch, JMT and GJS went with JH to look for Streaked Berrypecker and Papuan Parrotfinch, while AR and AM spent a fruitless afternoon in the lodge gardens. JH, JMT and GJS had Streaked Berryeater but no signs of any parrotfinches.
16th We had breakfast at 05.30 and left Kumul Lodge at 06.00 for Mount Hagen airport, arriving at 07.00. We boarded the twin-prop Airlines PNG plane at 08.30, to find the first four seats taken up with bags of broccoli! Our destination was Kiunga, via Tabubil. As we approached Tabubil 50 minutes later, it was apparent there was too much low cloud and the pilot wouldn’t risk landing, so he continued straight to Kiunga. We were greeted with the oppressive lowland heat twenty minutes later, and our first new bird of the day, Papuan Spinetail. We checked the area surrounding the airport, but only had a few Long-tailed Honey-Buzzards. We were due to spend the night in Kiunga Guest House, but due to double-booking, Samuel arranged for us to go off up the Elevala River that afternoon to spend the next two nights in his Ekame Lodge. We had lunch in Kiunga Guest House and sorted out a few things we needed to take with us to the lodge. At 14.00 we walked across the muddy bank of the Fly River to our small, motorised boat and headed up river with Kwiwan at the helm. New birds came thick and fast, with flocks of Metallic Starlings, Collared and Zoe Imperial-Pigeons, and a female Twelve-wired BoP. After about 45 minutes we turned right onto the much narrower Elevala River, where the forest was much closer to the boat. The birding got much better with good numbers of Dollarbirds and Sacred Kingfishers, and a good selection of parrots and pigeons. The remainder of the afternoon was spent in the boat along the river and new birds included Grey-headed Goshawk, Stephan’s Dove, Wompoo Fruit-Dove, Purple-tailed Imperial-Pigeon, the massive Palm Cockatoo, Yellow-streaked Lory, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Shining Flycatcher, Glossy-mantled Manucode and Golden Myna. The highlights went to a male Twelve-wired BoP and brilliant views of a huge Southern Crowned-Pigeon. Our base for the next two nights was a basic lodge, without power or running water, but clean and with mozzy nets on each of the beds. After a meal of rice, noodles and corned beef, we went back out on the river spotlighting, looking for Papuan Nightjars but only seeing a Papuan Frogmouth.
17th After a breakfast of fried eggs and beans on toast, we headed a little way down river and got out at a small village where we walked through to a clearing to see Flame Bowerbird. We saw some females and AM saw a fly-by male, but we were a little late to go to the bower; also in the village were our first identified Mimic Meliphaga and Tawny-breasted Honeyeater. We went up a small tributary and added Golden and Grey-headed Cuckoo-shrikes, then on a short trail in the forest in search of King BoP, and it wasn’t long before we were watching a vivid male in the canopy of a tree. We tried taping in Little Paradise-Kingfisher but only had Common Paradise-Kingfisher; there were also a few Variable Pitohuis and some saw White-bellied Pitohui. We went back for lunch and then after a short siesta had a walk in the jungle behind the lodge. We heard a few goodies, eg Blue Jewel-Babbler and Hooded Pitta, and had several near misses when Kwiwan in front had Cinnamon Ground-Dove, Rusty Pitohui and Broad-billed Fairy-wren! However, we did see a few new birds including Greater BoP, Rufous-backed Fantail, Black-sided Robin, Red-bellied Pitta and a flyover Pesquet’s Parrot. We had dinner by candle light and allocated two cans of beer each.
18th A Sooty Owl and AM’s snoring kept me awake most of the night! [The identity of the snorer was hotly debated – JH] We were up at 05.30, and after breakfast headed up river as it was starting to get light. We soon had Dwarf Fruit-Dove and not far along the river had amazing views of another 4 Southern Crowned-Pigeons. We tried another trail for Little Paradise-Kingfisher, which we again missed but did have a Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher and good views of White-bellied Thicket-Fantail. We moved to another trail and soon heard two Little Paradise-Kingfishers calling; one was soon taped in and after quite a while we all managed to get good views of another stunning bird. We also had Yellow-bellied Longbill there before continuing on the trail in search of Blue Jewel-Babbler. We heard one call, and again it took a while before we all had good views of a much-wanted bird. Our walk back to the boat produced a flock of Red-flanked Lorikeets and a Plain Honeyeater. After lunch we packed our gear for the journey back to Kiunga. We birded along a couple of trails on the way down river, where some of us caught up on White-bellied Pitohui, and added New Guinea Babbler, Hooded Monarch and Large-billed Gerygone. A Channel-billed Cuckoo flew over the river and as the light started to fade, lots of parrots and pigeons were seen going to roost. We reached Kiunga just as it was getting dark and were transported to the Kiunga Guest House where we all took a much needed shower before going for food and quite a few ice cold South Pacifics.
19th This day wasn’t as good as expected. After a full English breakfast we headed out for Boystown Road, some 20 Kms outside town. We hoped to see a few nightjars as we drove the first part of the road in the dark, but only had brief glimpses of Large-tailed Nightjars. We arrived at ‘Bowerbird Knoll’ at 07.00 and spent three and half hours there in the hope of catching up with several new birds, but in reality only had two – the aptly named Obscure Honeyeater and brilliant views of a pair of Emperor Fairywrens, with a fly-by male Flame Bowerbird for those who had missed it on the Elevala River. From there we went to the airport and walked the surround to the runway in search of Red-backed Buttonquail and White-spotted Munia, we dipped on the latter but did flush three of the quails. We lunched in the hotel and afterwards drove out to Km17, the famous site for Greater BoP. There were a few birds but only one new added to the trip list – Trumpet Manucode. A poor meal at the hotel was followed by several beers.
20th We breakfasted at 05.30 and packed our gear into the bus, ready for our journey to Tabubil. We stopped at Km17 on the way and spent two hours there, having 3 new birds – Long-billed Cuckoo, Lowland Peltops and Pinon Imperial-Pigeon. The journey to Tabubil was uneventful apart from a gravel lorry park which held a Little Ringed Plover, the race here being a possible future split! The drive took three hours and we arrived at the Cloudlands Hotel in town to find that Sammuel had booked us in for the wrong dates and there wasn’t enough room because a large Rockjumper Tour group was booked in. In the end, we put a spare mattress in one room and Samuel gave up his room for us. It stopped raining and we drove to Dablin Creek above the town. This is basically a steep track uphill following a water pipe that supplies the town. A fruiting tree held a few parrots and pigeons and further up the hill we found a tree with a group of female Carola’s Parotia’s. Shortly afterwards we found another tree with a couple of Magnificent BoPs in it including a rarely seen cracking male. Also there we had Grey-headed Cuckoo-Shrike and Long-billed Honeyeater. After a beer at the hotel, we went to the Golf Club for a meal, which was very good and the service much better than at the Cloudlands. We went back to the hotel at 21.00 and had a few beers, although it was very busy with drunken locals.
21st After breakfast at 05.00 we were off early to stand a chance of seeing Shovel-billed Kingfisher at Ok Ma Road.It took 40 minutes to get there and it was still dark and drizzly, in fact it rained all morning. AM started spotlighting and picked out a Papuan Boobook which gave great views. Then Jon and Kwiwan (our guide) saw a movement where Kwiwan had last seen the kingfisher, we found it perched – an incredible Shovel-billed Kingfisher and as it got lighter the views just got better and a few photographs were taken. We spent the morning walking along the road and added several more new birds: White-eared Bronze-cuckoo, Northern Fantail, Black Thicket-Fantail, Obscure Berrypecker and Pygmy Honeyeater. We tried a couple of places for Greater Melampitta but neither sight nor sound was had; we also tried a taping in a Chestnut-backed Jewel-Babbler and after half an hour all had good views of our final Jewel-Babbler. We called in town for some pie and chips and then went back to the hotel to chill for an hour or so. At 15.30 we drove to Ok Menga, the Salvadori’s Teal site; we were expecting to wait a while, but they were already there and showing well. The rain became torrential and so we packed in for the day returning to the hotel at 17.30. We ate at the Golf Club again and went back to the hotel to continue drinking.
22nd We had an early start to Dablin Creek; the low cloud hampered viewing at first but the fruiting tree produced a Dwarf Koel. At the top of the hill we pulled in a pair of Wallace’s Fairywrens, an elusive White-rumped Robin and a pair of Black Monarchs. Also at the top were Slaty-chinned and Pygmy Longbills and a Green-backed Honeyeater, but we had a much better surprise at the bottom of the hill when we were able to observe a perched Doria’s Hawk. We called in town for pie and chips again for lunch and then went back to the hotel for a couple of beers. At 13.30 we returned to Ok Ma Road to look for Greater Melampitta; one was heard calling but we couldn’t find it. We had to sit in the vehicle for a while when it was chucking it down. When the rain had reduced to just drizzle we walked the road again, and eventually managed to see a male Magnificent Riflebird. AM, GJS and JH went into the forest when they heard a Greater Melampitta calling. AR and JMT stayed on the road and had more views of Shovel-billed Kingfisher and Pesquet’s Parrot, while after a long tape-duel, AM and GJS managed to finally see the Melampitta. We had to eat in the hotel due to the Golf Club being closed; the service was very poor, we had to wait an hour and half for our food!
23rd It was our last morning together, so we went to Dablin Creek for a few hours. We had more views of White-rumped Robin and added three more new birds, Mottled Whistler, Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo and Spotted Honeyeater. We were kindly offered a lift back with the Rockjumper group, and after packing our gear made our way to the airport. Unfortunately the incoming plane aborted landing due to low cloud and went to Kiunga to refuel. By the time it returned and managed to land it was too late, so that when we landed at Port Moresby, JMT and GJS saw their flight to Singapore leaving and didn’t get home until 2 days later than planned, while AR, AM and the Rockjumper group missed their flight to Hoskins on New Britain. It took a long time to queue for tickets for a flight the next day and to arrange for a hotel for the night, which the airline paid for. We were transferred to the Crowne Plaza Hotel in town, which was very nice. While having a meal, JMT and GJS joined us and we sank quite a few beers.
24th JMT and GJS left at 03.30 for their rerouted flight to Brisbane and AR and AM had a leisurely morning in the hotel and walking round the nearby area. At lunch- time we took a bus to the airport, picked up our boarding passes and went into the departure lounge. But after an hour, someone came and told us the flight had been cancelled! We were told we could fly tomorrow instead, we just needed to turn up at four in the morning and they would make a decision then whether the flight would leave or not – f**king likely, we changed to going back to Singapore on the next available flight which was 26th. The Rockjumper group also decided to leave on 26th, so I arranged to go birding with them to Varirata N.P. on 25th. We were transferred to the Lamana Hotel, the gear was dumped and we went out on the ale to drown our sorrows.
25th The Rockjumper group generously picked up AR at 06.00 (AM stayed in bed nursing a hangover or something like that), and drove straight to Varirata N.P. It was a good day walking the trails and 3 new birds were added: Dwarf Honeyeater, White-faced Robin and Marbled Frogmouth. Another heavy drinking session followed once AR returned to the hotel.
26th An early morning walk on waste-ground outside the hotel produced Bar-shouldered Dove, Yellow-tinted Honeyeater, Pheasant Coucal and Grey-headed Munias. We went to the airport at mid-day and caught the plane to Singapore at 15.00.
[Southern Cassowary Casuarius casuarius]
A very large bird heard ‘running away’ at Ekame Lodge must surely have been this species.
Australasian Grebe Tachybaptus novaehollandiae
Just 3 seen at PAU.
Little Black Cormorant Phalacrocorax sulcirostris
100+ at PAU and then 50 at Port Moresby Airport on 6th.
Little Pied Cormorant Phalacrocorax melanoleucos
2 at PAU, 2-3 seen while on the Elevala River.
Australian Darter Anhinga novaehollandiae
Just 1 at PAU.
Lesser Frigatebird Fregata ariel
15 over Port Moresby on 24th.
Great-billed Heron Ardea sumatrana
1-2 seen daily along the Elevala River.
Great Egret Egretta alba
1 at PAU, 5 at Port Moresby Airport, 1-3 seen along the Fly and Elevala Rivers.
Pied Heron Egretta picata
6 of these very smart herons seen at PAU.
Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia
6 at PAU were the only ones seen.
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
1 at PAU and 3 at Port Moresby Airport.
Pacific Reef-Heron Egretta sacra
1 at Port Moresby Airport and 1 on Port Moresby sea front on 24th.
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
100+ at PAU and c.30 at Port Moresby Airport.
Striated Heron Ardeola striata
1-3 seen daily along the Elevala River.
Rufous Night-Heron Nycticorax caledonicus
2 adults seen at PAU.
Australian Ibis Threskiornis molucca
Just 3 seen at PAU.
Straw-necked Ibis Threskiornis sinicollis
At Port Moresby airport.
Spotted Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna guttata
A total of 21 seen roosting in trees at PAU.
Wandering Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna arcuata
c.300 present on the main pond at PAU.
Salvadori’s Teal Anas waigiuensis
A pair watched well at a Ok Menga near Tabubil, a bird of fast flowing rivers.
Pacific Black Duck Anas superciliosa
70 on the main pond at PAU.
Pacific Baza Aviceda subcristata
2 at Varirata, otherwise only seen in the Elevala River and Kiunga areas, with up to 5 a day.
Long-tailed Honey Buzzard Henicopernis longicauda
The first 2 were seen at Kumul Lodge and then 1-6 seen daily in the Kiunga/Tabubil area.
Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus
Just 1 seen from the bus between Tari and Mount Hagen.
Black Kite Milvus migrans
3 around Port Moresby on 3rd, up to 4 daily in the Mount Hagen area and 1 at Kiunga.
Whistling Kite Haliastur sphenurus
5 seen around PAU.
Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus
Widespread in small numbers.
White-bellied Sea-Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster
2 singles seen over the Elevala River and 2 at Tabubil Airport.
Eastern Marsh Harrier Circus spinolotus spilothorax
1-2 in the Tari area and 1 along the Fly River on 16th. This very distinctive race is treated as a separate species (Papuan Harrier) by some authorities.
Variable Goshawk Accipiter novaehollandiae
Singles were seen at PAU, Tari, Elevala River and on 3 dates around Kiunga.
Black-mantled Sparrowhawk Accipiter melanochlamys
One single seen at Tari Gap.
Grey-headed Goshawk Accipiter poliocephalus
Two singles seen along the Elevala River and 2 at Boystown Road, Kiunga.
Meyer’s Goshawk Accipiter meyerianus
Just 1 seen for sure at Tari Gap but 2 other large raptor sightings here were probably this species.
Doria’s Hawk Megatriorchis doriae
Superb, close perched views of an adult Dablin Creek, Tabubil and 1 flew across the track the following day.
New Guinea Eagle Harpyopsis novaeguineae
A pair heard duetting for 30 mins opposite Benson’s Trail, Tari (JH).
Little Eagle Hieraaetus morphnoides
A good showing, with singles at Tari, Elevala River and Kiunga, and 3 singles in the Kumul Lodge area.
Australian Kestrel Falco cenchroides
Just 1 male seen at Tabubil Airport.
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
1 perched near Benson’s Trail at Tari.
Black-billed Brush-turkey Talegalla fuscirostris
A very secretive bird, it was heard daily in good numbers at Varirata and Elevala River, eventually we had good views of one by the river at Varirata N.P.
Orange-footed Scrubfowl Megapodius reinwardt
One was seen well at Varirata N.P., a rare bird here.
Brown Quail Coturnix australis
5 at Tari Gap in the highland grasslands with two other singles seen in the Tari area and 2 at Mount Hagen.
Red-backed Buttonquail Turnix maculosa
3 flushed from the grass surrounding the airstrip at Kiunga.
Chestnut Forest-Rail Rallina rubra
1 seen on a trail up near Tari Gap and heard there two days later.
Forbes’ Rail Rallina forbesi
1 seen on Benson’s Trail, Tari and heard there again a few days later.
Red-necked Rail Rallina tricolor
Heard only with several calling daily along the Elevala River.
Purple Swamphen (Purple Gallinule) Porphyrio porphyrio
8 at PAU were the only ones seen.
Dusky Moorhen Gallinula tenebrosaac
Just 4 seen at PAU.
Comb-crested Jacana Irediparra gallinacea
3 on the main pond at PAU.
Masked Lapwing Vanellus miles
6 at PAU and 2 at Port Moresby Airport.
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius dubius
One of this distinctive race on some waste ground near Tabubil
[Dusky Woodcock Scolopax saturata]
Noises from a bird in flight at night over the Feline Owlet-Nightjjar site may have been this species.
Slender-billed Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia amboinensis
Small numbers seen at Varirata N.P., Mount Hagen, Kiunga, Elevala River and Tabubil.
Black-billed Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia nigrirostris
Small numbers at Tari, but commoner around Kumul Lodge with up to 12 a day.
Great Cuckoo-Dove Reinwardtoena reinwardtii
Three singles were seen in the Tari area (2 above Ambua Lodge and 1 on Steven’s Trail).
Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica
Just one seen at KM 17 near Kiunga.
Stephan’s Dove Chalcophaps stephani
Singles seen on the Fly and Elevala Rivers and 2 at KM 17, near Kiunga.
New Guinea Bronzewing Henicophaps albifrons
1 heard along the Elevala River and a probable flushed off a trail there.
Peaceful Dove Geopelia striata
Just 4 seen at PAU.
Bar-shouldered Dove Geopelia striata
1 seen at PAU and 1 in Port Moresby on the last day.
Bronze Ground-Dove Gallicolumba beccarii
A male was found roosting in the garden of Warili Lodge, Tari early in the morning on 9th.
Southern Crowned-Pigeon Goura scheepmakeri
One of the highlights of the trip, an incredible looking bird. Just seen along the Elevala River, 1 perched in the open for five minutes on 16th, a few heard on 17th and then 4 showed very well on 18th.
Wompoo Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus magnificus
Several heard at Varirata N.P., one seen and several heard on the Elevala River and 1 heard on Boystown Road, Kiunga.
Pink-spotted Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus perlatus
Small numbers seen daily at Varirata N.P., Elevala River and the Kiunga area.
Superb Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus superbus
2 at Varirata N.P., 1 or 2 at Tari, 1-2 in the Kiunga area and 2 at Dablin Creek, Tabubil.
Beautiful Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus pulchellus
1-2 seen daily at Varirata N.P., Elevala River, Kiunga and Tabubil.
White-breasted Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus rivoli.
1-2 seen on 3 dates in the Tari area.
Orange-bellied Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus iozonus
Up to 4 daily at Varirata N.P., and up to 10 daily in the Elevala River/ Kiunga area.
Dwarf Fruit Dove Ptilinopus nana
A tiny dove, 3 along the Elevala River on 18th and 2 at Boystown Road, Kiunga.
Purple-tailed Imperial-Pigeon Ducula rufigaster
Common along the Fly/Elevala Rivers and the Kiunga area, with up to 20 a day.
Pinon Imperial-Pigeon Ducula pinon
Just 3 seen at KM 17 near Kiunga on 20th.
Collared Imperial-Pigeon Ducula muellerii
Common along the Fly and Elevala Rivers, with 42 on 16th and 30 on 18th.
Zoe Imperial-Pigeon Ducula zoeae
2-4 seen daily on the Elevala River and 2 at Boystown Road.
Papuan Mountain Pigeon Gymnophaps albertisii
Widespread throughout and in good numbers, particularly at Tari where post roost movements were noted and on 9th a total of 1360 counted.
Palm Cockatoo Probosciger aterrimus
This fantastic bird was seen well along the Elevala River with 4 on 16th and 2 on 18th; also 1 at Ok Ma Road, Tabubil.
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo Cacatua galerita
Common along the Elevala River with up to 20 a day, also 1-2 seen in the Kiunga/Tabubil area.
Yellow-streaked Lory Chalcopsitta sintillata
Common along the Elevala River and in the Kiunga area, with up to 10 a day.
Rainbow Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus
Common around Port Moresby, Varirata N.P. and the Kiunga area.
Goldie’s Lorikeet Trichoglossus goldiei
Some fast flying lorikeets at Tari were probably this species, and up to 20 came into roost at Kumul Lodge each evening.
Black-capped Lory Lorius lory
1-4 daily at Varirata N.P., common along the Elevala River and Kiunga area where upto 10 seen daily.
Red-flanked Lorikeet Charmosyna placentis
20 seen along the Elevala River on 18th and 5 at KM 17, Kiunga.
Fairy Lorikeet Charmosyna pulchella
4 at Tari on 13th and 2 at Boystown Road, Kiunga.
Papuan Lorikeet Charmosyna papou
Up to 5 seen daily in the Tari and Kumul Lodge areas.
Plum-faced (Whiskered) Lorikeet Oreopsittacus arfaki
Up to 10 seen daily in the Tari area and 2 seen at Kumul Lodge.
Yellow-billed Lorikeet Neopsittacus musschenbroekii
Small numbers (up to 12) seen in the Tari area and a few at Kumul Lodge.
Orange-billed Lorikeet Neopsittacus pullicauda
Only seen at Kumul Lodge with up to 10 daily.
Pesquet’s (Vulturine) Parrot Psittrichas fulgidus
2 brief flyovers along the Elevala River on 17th and 2 at Ok Ma Road, Tabubil showed a little better.
Yellow-capped Pygmy-Parrot Micropsitta keiensis
Up to 5 seen on the Elevala River and Kiunga area.
Buff-faced Pygmy-Parrot Micropsitta pusio
Only seen at Varirata N.P. where good views were had, but more were heard than seen.
Red-breasted Pygmy-Parrot Micropsitta bruijnii
5 were seen in Tari village on 12th and 4 flew over the road up from Ambua Lodge on 13th; up to 8 seen daily in the Kiunga/Tabubil area.
Orange-breasted Fig-Parrot Cyclopsitta gulielmitertii
Common along the Elevala River and Kiunga/Tabubil area, with up to 40 at Dablin Creek, Tabubil.
Double-eyed Fig-Parrot Cyclopsitta diopthalma
1-2 seen along the Elevala River and 3 at Boystown Road, Kiunga.
Large Fig-Parrot Psittaculirostris desmarestii
1 in flight over the Elevala River was considered untickable.
Brehm’s Tiger-Parrot Psittacella brehmii
3 singles seen in the Tari area, and common at Kumul Lodge where it was regular visitor to the bird table.
Modest Tiger-Parrot Psittacella modesta
Just 3 seen along the King of Saxony Trail near Kumul Lodge.
Red-cheeked Parrot Geoffroyus geoffroyi
Small numbers at Varirata N.P. and common along the Elevala River and Kiunga area with up to 20 a day.
Blue-collared Parrot Geoffroyus simplex
Good numbers were seen on Steven’s Trail at Tari, with up to 30 on 2 days and 6 at KM17 at Kiunga.
Eclectus Parrot Eclectus roratus
1-2 seen at Varirata N.P., common along the Elevala River and Kiunga area with up to 30 a day and small numbers in the Tabubil area.
Papuan King-Parrot Alisterus chloropterus
Only seen in the Tari area where there were up to 5 daily.
Brush Cuckoo Cacomantis variolosus
Several heard at Varirata N.P., Mount Hagen and the Kiunga area, two were seen near Kumul Lodge at the Lesser BoP site and 1 was seen along the Elevala River.
Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo Cacomantis castaneiventris
1 showed very well at Dablin Creek, Tabubil on our last morning.
Shining Bronze-Cuckoo Chrysococcyx lucidus
Just 1 seen at Varirata N.P.
Rufous-throated Bronze-Cuckoo Chrysococcyx ruficollis
Heard on four dates in the Tari area and 1-2 seen daily at Kumul Lodge.
White-eared Bronze-Cuckoo Chrysococcyx meyeri
One heard at Varirata N.P., and singles seen at Ok Ma Road and Dablin Creek, Tabubil.
Long-billed Cuckoo Rhamphomantis megarhynchus
One of this elusive species was seen at Km17 near Kiunga.
Dwarf Koel Microdynamis parva
1 seen on two days in a fruiting tree at Dablin Creek, Tabubil.
Australian Koel Eudynamys cyanocephala
1-4 seen daily along the Elevala River and in the Kiunga area.
Greater Black Coucal Centropus menbeki
A few heard along the Elevala River and 1 seen there, also 1 heard at Km 17, Kiunga.
Lesser Black Coucal Centropus bernsteini
A couple heard at Km 17, Kiunga but couldn’t be seen.
Pheasant Coucal Centropus phasianinus
3 singles seen on the approach road to Varirata N.P., and one seen on waste ground outside the Lamana Hotel in Port Moresby.
Grass Owl Tyto capensis
One was watched very well at Tari Gap, feeding over the grasslands early in the morning on 9th.
Greater Sooty-Owl Tyto tenebricosa
I in flight in the Tari Valley on 6th and seen perched there on 12th; heard at Warili Lodge and Ekame lodge
Papuan Boobook Ninox theomacha
Several were heard around Warili Lodge during our stay, 1 was heard at Kumul Lodge and one was spotlit at Ok Ma Road at Tabubil.
Papuan Hawk-Owl Uroglaux dimorpha
A surprise was one seen in daylight on Steven’s Trail on 8th.
Feline Owlet-Nightjar Aegotheles insignis
A single was frustratingly only heard on two occasions above Ambua Lodge.
Mountain Owlet-Nightjar Aegotheles albertisi
One was heard calling while we were supping ale in the bar at Kumul Lodge; it gave fantastic views in the torchlight and was also heard there the following night.
Barred Owlet-Nightjar Aegotheles bennettii
At Varirata N.P. a roosting bird was ‘encouraged’ to show itself, but decided to only show from its bill upwards!
Marbled Frogmouth Podargus ocellatusA pair were disturbed off the forest floor at Varirata N.P. on 25th - they perched up giving scope views
Papuan Frogmouth Podargus papuensis
A pair gave crippling views at PAU, 1 was seen in the Sooty Owl garden in Tari, and on the Elevala River, one was seen on 16th and 2 on 18th.
Archbold’s (Mountain) Nightjar Eurostopodus archboldi
Singles seen on two days above Ambua Lodge and 2 heard there on 12th.
Large-tailed Nightjar Caprimulgus macrurus
Singles were heard on two mornings at Warili Lodge and 2 glimpsed on the Boystown Road.
Glossy Swiftlet Collocalia esculenta
Common and widespread.
Mountain Swiftlet Collocalia hirundinacea
Common above Warili Lodge and also in the Mount Hagen area.
Uniform Swiftlet Collocalia vanikorensis
Small numbers at Varirata N.P., common along the Elevala River and in the Kiunga/Tabubil areas.
Papuan Needletail Mearnsia novaeguineae
Up to 10 seen daily along the Elevala River and in the Kiunga area
Moustached Tree-Swift Hemiprocne mystacea
1-3 at Varirata N.P., and 1-4 seen along the Elevala River and in the Kiunga area.
Azure Kingfisher Alcedo azurea
Singles seen on 2 dates at Varirata N.P., 1-4 seen daily along the Elevala River.
Blue-winged Kookaburra Dacelo leachii
1-2 seen daily on the approach to Varirata N.P.
Rufous-bellied Kookaburra Dacelo gaudichaud
1 heard at Varirata N.P., and 1-3 seen daily along the Elevala River.
Shovel-billed Kookaburra (Kingfisher) Clytoceyx rex
Superb views of this stunning bird, close to its nest hole on Ok Ma Road, Tabubil and the next day a pair were seen there.
Sacred Kingfisher Halcyon sancta
6 at PAU and common along the Elevala River with up to 11 a day.
Hook-billed Kingfisher Melidora macrorrhina
Singles were watched very well in the same area on two days at Varirata N.P., and up to 3 heard daily along the Elevala River.
Yellow-billed Kingfisher Halcyon torotoro
1-4 seen or heard daily at Varirata N.P., and 1 heard along Boystown Road.
Mountain Kingfisher Halcyon megarhyncha
1 perched high in the forest above Benari Road below Warili Lodge on 8th and 1 heard opposite Benson’s Trail the following day.
Little Paradise-Kingfisher Tanysiptera hydrocharis
After a long duel, one was eventually seen well by all along the Elevala River and another 2 were heard there.
Common Paradise-Kingfisher Tanysiptera galatea
A few heard along the Elevala River and 1 seen at the same place as the above species.
Brown-headed Paradise-Kingfisher Tanysiptera dana
1-2 seen daily at Varirata N.P.
Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher Tanysiptera sylvia
1 seen along the Elevala river on the same day as Common and Little.
Rainbow Bee-eater Merops ornatus
Up to 10 daily at Varirata N.P., 4 and 2 seen on both visits to the Sooty Owl garden at Tari, and 6 along the Elevala River.
Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis
Common along the Elevala River with up to 27 in a day, also small numbers in the Kiunga/Tabubil area.
Blyth’s Hornbill Rhyticeros plicatus
Only seen along the Elevala River whith up to 20 a day.
Hooded Pitta Pitta sordida
Several were heard only along the Elevala River.
Red-bellied (Blue-breasted) Pitta Pitta erythrogaster
1 gave fantastic views and several were heard along the Elevala River.
Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica
Common and widespread in the lowlands.
Australasian Pipit Anthus novaeseelandiae
Just 1 seen at Tari Gap.
Black-faced Cuckoo-Shrike Coracina novaehollandiae
2-4 seen at Varirata N.P., a flock of 18 over the Fly River, a single along the Elevala River and 2 in the Kiunga area.
Stout-billed Cuckoo-Shrike Coracina caeruleogrisea
1 at Varirata N.P. and 1-2 daily in the Tabubil area.
Yellow-eyed Cuckoo-Shrike Coracina lineata
2-6 seen daily at Varirata N.P.
Boyer’s Cuckoo-Shrike Coracina boyeri
2-3 seen daily at Varirata N.P.
White-bellied Cuckoo-Shrike Coracina papuensis
4 at Varirata N.P. and 1 at Kumul Lodge.
Hooded Cuckoo-Shrike Coracina longicauda
1-4 seen most days in the Tari area.
Cicadabird Coracina tenuirostris
Just 1 seen in Tari village.
Papuan (Black-shouldered) Cuckoo-Shrike Coracina incerta (morio)
At least 2 seen on 2 dates along the Elevala River.
Grey-headed Cuckoo-Shrike Coracina schisticeps
1 seen along the Elevala River and 2-6 seen daily in the Tabubil area.
Black-bellied Cuckoo-Shrike Coracina Montana
2-6 daily in the Tari area and 2 seen at Kumul Lodge.
Golden Cuckoo-Shrike Campochaera sloetii.
5-6 seen daily along the Elevala River.
Varied Triller Lalage leucomela
1-2 daily at Varirata N.P., 2 along the Elevala River and singles daily at Tabubil.
Pied Bushchat Saxicola caprata
Widespread in small numbers, although absent from from the Elevala River and commonest around Tari.
Island Thrush Turdus poliocephalus
1-2 seen regularly at Tari Gap, common at Kumul Lodge where up to 10 came to the bird table there and 1 at Dablin creek, Tabubil.
Tawny Grassbird Megalurus timoriensis
1-5 seen daily in roadside grass in the Tari area.
Golden-headed Cisticola Cisticola exilis
1 at Port Moresby Airport and 3 on rough ground outside the Lamana Hotel in Port Moresby.
Island Leaf-Warbler Phylloscopus poliocephala
1-6 seen daily in the Tari and Kumul Lodge areas and 2 seen at Ok Ma Road, Tabubil.
Northern Fantail Rhipidura rufiventris
Just 2 seen on both visits to Ok Ma Road,Tabubil.
Willie Wagtail Rhipidura leucophrys
Widespread and very common.
Friendly Fantail Rhipidura albolimbata
Common in the Tari and Kumul Lodge areas.
Chestnut-bellied Fantail Rhipidura hyperythra
Up to 10 seen daily in Varirata N.P.
Sooty Thicket-Fantail Rhipidura threnothorax
1-2 seen on 3 dates at Varirata N.P. and 1 heard along the Elevala River. Very skulking, like the other Thick-Fantails.
Black Thicket-Fantail Rhipidura atra
Just 2 singles seen at Ok Ma Road.
White-bellied Thicket-Fantail Rhipidura leucothorax
Just 2 singles seen along the Elevala River.
Black Fantail Rhipidura atra
2-6 seen daily in the Tari area, 2 at Kumul Lodge and 2 along the Ok Ma Road, Tabubil.
Dimorphic Fantail Rhipidura brachyrhyncha
1-3 seen occasionally in the Tari area and at Kumul Lodge.
Rufous-backed Fantail Rhipidura rufidorsa
3 along the Elevala River, and singles at Km 17 Kiunga and Ok Ma Road, Tabubil.
Black Monarch Monarcha axillaris
Only seen in the Tabubil area, with 1 on Ok Ma Road and 3 at Dablin Creek.
Black-winged Monarch Monarcha frater
Singles at Varirata N.P. and Dablin Creek, Tabubil.
Spot-winged Monarch Monarcha guttula
2 seen daily at Varirata N.P, 1-3 seen along the Elevala River and 1 at Ok Ma Road, Tabubil.
Hooded Monarch Monarcha manadensis
Just 2 seen along the Elevala River.
Golden Monarch Monarcha chrysomela
2 singles at Varirata N.P., 1-3 daily along the Elevala River and 2 at Ok Ma Road, Tabubil.
Frilled Monarch Arses telescopthalmus
3-5 daily at Varirata N.P and 3-4 along the Elevala River.
Shining Flycatcher Myiagra alecto
Up to 4 seen daily along the Elevala River.
Black-breasted Boatbill Machaerirhynchus nigripectus
1-2 seen daily in the Tari area.
Yellow-breasted Broadbill Machaerirhynchus flaviventer
Only seen at Varirata N.P. with 2 on 3rd and 1 on 5th.
Lesser Ground-Robin Amalocichla incerta
A skulker, but at least 3 were seen and several heard along Benson’s Trail during our stay at Warili Lodge, also 1 heard at Kumul Lodge.
Torrent Flycatcher Monachella muelleriana
4 seen on the river at the Lesser BoP site near Kumul Lodge and 2 at the Ok Menga near Tabubil.
Lemon-bellied Flycatcher Microeca flavogaster
Just 1 heard below Varirata N.P.
Yellow-legged Flycatcher Microeca griseoceps
2 singles seen in Varirata N.P.
Olive Flyrobin Microeca flavovirescens
2 singles seen in Varirata N.P., and 2 at Ok Ma Road, Tabubil.
Canary Flycatcher Microeca papuana
1-4 seen daily in the Tari area.
Garnet Robin Eugerygone rubra
Singles seen on four dates in the Tari area.
White-faced Robin Tregellasia leucops
2 singles seen in Varirata N.P.
Black-sided Robin Poecilodryas hypoleuca
2 seen very well on the trail behind Ekame Lodge on the Elevala River.
Black-throated Robin Poecilodryas albonotata
A bit showier than most other robins, 1-2 seen on 3 dates above Ambua Lodge and 1-2 on 2 dates at Kumul Lodge.
White-winged Robin Peneothello sigillatus
1-3 almost daily in the Tari area, and up to 6 daily at
Kumul Lodge where they were found feeding in the
White-rumped Robin Peneothello bimaculatus
A few heard in the Tabubil area, and 2 seen on 2 dates at
Blue-Grey Robin Peneothello cyanus
Singles seen on 3 dates in the Tari area and on 2 dates at
Ashy Robin Poecilodryas albispecularis
Another very elusive bird, luckily 3 were seen along
Benson’s Trail on 7th and 9th.
Mottled Whistler Rhagologus leucostigma
Just 1 at Dablin Creek, Tabubil.
Dwarf Whistler (Goldenface) Pachycare flavogrisea
A beautiful little bird, 1-2 seen on 2 dates at Varirata N.P.
and 2 at Dablin Creek, Tabubil.
Rufous-naped Whistler Pachycephala rufinucha
1-2 on 4 dates in the Tari area and up to 6 daily at Kumul
Brown-backed Whistler Pachycephala modesta
6 in the Tari area on 9th and also 2 other singles there.
Grey-headed Whistler Pachycephala griseiceps
1-2 daily at Varirata N.P., and 2 at Ok Ma Road, Tabubil.
Sclater’s Whistler Pachycephala soror
1-5 daily in the Tari and Kumul Lodge areas.
Regent Whistler Pachycephala schlegelii
1-4 almost daily in the Tari and Kumul Lodge area.
Black-headed Whistler Pachycephala monacha
This bird favours casuarina trees and was heard in the Sooty Owl garden at Tari and seen in the village later, also seen en route to and at Kumul Lodge and Dablin Creek.
White-bellied Whistler Pachycephala leucogaster
Just 1 seen on the approach road to Varirata N.P.
Little (Rufous) Shrike-ThrushColluricincla megarhyncha
1-2 at Varirata N.P., Tari area and in the Kiunga and
Hooded Pitohui Pitohui dichrous
1-5 daily in the Varirata N.P. and 1-2 in the Tabubil area.
White-bellied Pitohui Pitohui incertus
Only seen along the Elevala River, with 5 on 17th and 3+
Rusty Pitohui Pitohui ferrugineus
A couple heard along the Elevala River and 1 seen there, also heard in the Kiunga area.
Crested Pitohui Pitohui cristatus
Singles heard only at Varirata N.P. and Dablin Creek.
Variable Pitohui Pitohui kirhocephalus
1-4 seen along the Elevala River.
Black Pitohui Pitohui nigrescens
Just 1 seen on Steven’s Trail below Warili Lodge.
Wattled Ploughbill Eulacestoma nigropectus
A few heard in the Tari area and two males seen above Ambua Lodge, with an imm. seen on the King of Saxony Trail.
New Guinea (Rufous) Babbler Pomatostomus isidorei
6 seen along the Elevala River and at Km 17 near
Northern Logrunner Orthonyx novaeguineae
Brilliant views of 3 along Benson’s Trail at Tari.
Painted Quail-thrush Cinclosoma ajax
This skulker was seen by GJS and AM at Varirata N.P. on
5th and 1 was heard there on 25th.
Spotted Jewel-Babbler Ptilorrhoa leucosticta
Heard most days in the Tari area, with 2 seen on Steven’s Trail and 1 on Benson’s Trail. Like all the Jewel-Babblers, a difficult bird to get good prolonged views of.
Blue Jewel-Babbler Ptilorrhoa caerulescens
A few heard along the Elevala River and eventually 1 gave quite good views; also 1 heard at Boystown Road, Kiunga.
Chestnut-backed Jewel-Babbler Ptilorrhoa
A few heard at Varirata N.P. but wouldn’t show despite much effort; 2 were eventually seen well at Ok Ma Road, Tabubil and another was heard at Dablin Creek.
Blue-capped Ifrita Ifrita kowaldi
Seen in good numbers in the Tari area, with up to 10 a day, also 1 seen on the King of Saxony Trail near Kumul Lodge.
Orange-crowned Fairywren Clytomyias insignis
A very elusive bird that likes to keep inside the undergrowth, 3 singles were seen along Benson’s Trail and 4 on the King of Saxony Trail near Kumul Lodge.
Wallace’s Fairywren Sipodotus wallacii
5 of this very smart bird were watched very well at Dablin
Creek, Tabubil on 22nd.
White-shouldered Fairywren Malurus alboscapulatus
2-4 seen occasionally in the Tari area, 2 at Kumul Lodge,
2 along the Elevala River, and 4 at Varirata N.P.
Emperor Fairywren Malurus cyanocephalus
A pair performed very well at Boystown Road and heard at Km17, Kiunga the next day.
Broad-billed Fairywren Malurus grayi
A noisy group of this rare bird were unfortunately only seen by our guide, despite sounding very close.
Rusty Mouse-Warbler Crateroscelis murina
Common at Varirata N.P. and the Kiunga and Tabubil
areas but more often heard and only 1-2 seen at Varirata.
Bicoloured Mouse-Warbler Crateroscelis nigrorufa
Just 1 of these rare birds was seen in the grounds of
Ambua Lodge by JH.
Mountain Mouse-Warbler Crateroscelis robusta
1-4 seen daily in the Tari area and 3 at Kumul Lodge.
Large Scrubwren Sericornis nouhuysi
1-6 seen daily in the Tari and Kumul Lodge areas.
Buff-faced Scrubwren Sericornis perspicillatus
Up to 10 seen daily in the Tari and Kumul Lodge areas.
Papuan Scrubwren Sericornis papuensis
Probably overlooked, but small numbers seen on 4 dates
in the Tari area and 2 at Kumul Lodge.
Pale-billed Scrubwren Sericornis spilodera
3 at Varirata N.P. on 3rd.
Grey Gerygone Gerygone cinerea
Untickable views of 2 singing birds near Kumul Lodge.
Green-backed Gerygone Gerygone chloronotus
1-4 seen at Varirata N.P. and heard daily in the Kiunga
and Tabubil areas with 1 seen.
Fairy Gerygone Gerygone palpebrosa
1-2 daily at Varirata N.P. and 1 also at Dablin Creek,
Yellow-bellied Gerygone Gerygone chrysogaster
Up to 8 seen daily at Varirata N.P., 6 in Tari village, and
2-4 along the Elevala River.
Large-billed Gerygone Gerygone magnorostris
Just 1 seen along the Elevala River on 18th.
Brown-breasted Gerygone Gerygone ruficollis
Up to 8 seen daily in the Tari area and also heard at
Black Sittella Daphoenositta miranda
A total of 15 seen in the Tari area above Ambua Lodge on
Papuan Treecreeper Cormobates placens
Only seen on Steven’s Trail, Tari, with 1 on 8th and 2 on
Black Sunbird Nectarinia aspasia
Up to 5 seen daily along the Elevala River and in the
Kiunga and Tabubil areas.
Olive-backed (Yellow-bellied) Sunbird Nectarinia
Just 1 seen at Varirata N.P. on our first day.
Obscure Berrypecker Melanocharis arfakiana
Only seen at Ok Ma Road and Dablin Creek with 2 on 21st
and 3 on 22nd.
Black Berrypecker Melanocharis nigra
Up to 5 daily at Varirata N.P. and 1 seen along the
Mid-mountain Berrypecker Melanocharis longicauda
1-4 seen daily in the Tari and Kumul Lodge areas.
Fan-tailed Berrypecker Melanocharis versteri
2-4 seen daily in the Tari and Kumul Lodge areas.
Streaked Berrypecker Melanocharis striataventris
2 were seen on the trail to the waterfalls near Kumul
Lodge on 15th.
Yellow-bellied Longbill Toxorhamphus novaeguineae
Heard along the Elevala River on 17th, 4 seen there the
next day and 2 seen at Km17, Kiunga.
Slaty-chinned Longbill Toxorhamphus iliolophus
Heard daily at Varirata N.P. and singles seen on
Steven’s Trail, Tari and Dablin Creek, Tabubil.
Dwarf (Longbill)Honeyeater Toxorhamphus iliolophus
Just 1 was seen on the last day at Varirata N.P.
Pygmy (Longbill)Honeyeater T. pygmaseum
Singles seen at Ok Ma Road and Dablin Creek, Tabubil.
Tit Berrypecker Oreocharis arfaki
Not seen for the first three days at Tari, then daily in good flocks including a total of 62 on 12th, also 10 at Kumul Lodge on 15th.
Crested Berrypecker Paramythia montium
1-2 of these cracking birds seen on four dates near Tari Gap.
Olive-crowned (Papuan) Flowerpecker Dicaeum
Widespread in small numbers apart from Port Moresby
and Varirata N.P.
Black-fronted White-eye Zosterops atrifrons
Up to 25 daily at Varirata N.P. and up to 40 daily in the
Capped (Western Mountain) White-eye Zosterops
Only seen in the Tari area with up to 10 on 3 dates.
New Guinea White-eye Zosterops novaeguineae
2 at Warili Lodge, up to 30 near Kumul Lodge and at least
1 at Dablin Creek, Tabubil.
Long-billed Honeyeater Melilestes megarhynchus
3 at Dablin Creek, Tabubil were the only ones seen.
Green-backed Honeyeater Glycichaera fallax
Just 1 seen at Dablin Creek, Tabubil.
Silver-eared Honeyeater Lichmera alboauriculus
2 at the Granville Motel in Port Moresby were seen by 2
of the team.
Black Myzomela Myzomela nigrita
At Varirata N.P. 1 on 4th and 3 on 25th.
Mountain Myzomela Myzomela adolphinae
1 at Varirata N.P, and 3 at the Lesser BoP site near
Red-collared Myzomela Myzomela rosenbergii
1-4 seen almost daily in the Tari and Kumul Lodge areas.
Mountain Meliphaga Meliphaga orientalis
2 at the Lesser BoP site, 1 at Kumul Lodge, and 2 at
Dablin Creek, Tabubil.
Scrub Honeyeater (White-eared Meliphaga) Meliphaga
2-3 along the Elevala River, and up to 5 a day seen in the
Puff-backed Honeyeater (Meliphaga) Meliphaga
1-4 seen daily at Varirata N.P.
Mimic Honeyeater (Meliphaga) Meliphaga analoga
Small numbers seen along the Elevala River and in the
Kiunga area, also 2 at Ok Ma Road, Tabubil.
Black-throated Honeyeater Lichenostomus subfrenatus
1-3 on 5 dates in the Tari and Kumul Lodge areas.
Obscure Honeyeater Lichenostomus obscurus
Just 1 seen on the Boystown Road, Kiunga.
Yellow-tinted Honeyeater Lichenostomus flavescens
4 seen on waste ground outside the Lamana Hotel in Port
Moresby on the last morning.
Tawny-breasted Honeyeater Xanthotis flaviventer
1-2 seen at Varirata N.P., and up to 6 daily along the
Elevala River and in the Kiunga and Tabubil areas.
Spotted Honeyeater Xanthotis polygramma
Just 3 seen at Dablin Creek, Tabubil on 23rd.
White-throated Honeyeater Melithreptus albogularis
Only 1 seen at Varirata N.P.
Plain Honeyeater Pycnopygius ixoides
Singles seen along the Elevala river and at Boystown Road.
Marbled Honeyeater Pycnopygius cinereus
2 on Steven’s Trail and 2 in Henni’s garden, above Tari.
Streak-headed Honeyeater Pycnopygius stictocephalus
2 seen daily in Varirata N.P. and 2-4 seen daily in the
Helmeted Friarbird Philemon buceroides
Up to 10 seen daily at Varirata N.P., 2 at Kumul Lodge, and up to 10 daily along the Elevala River and in the Kiunga and Tabubil areas.
Rufous-backed Honeyeater Ptiloprora guisei
Common in the Tari area with smaller numbers at
Grey-sided Honeyeater Ptiloprora perstriata
Very common in the Tari and Kumul Lodge areas.
Belford’s Melidectes Melidectes belfordi
One of the commonest birds encountered in the Tari and
Kumul Lodge areas.
Yellow-browed Melidectes Melidectes rufocrissalis
Only seen in the Tari area and generally at lower
elevations, with up to 5 seen most days.
Ornate Melidectes Melidectes torquatus
8 seen at the Lesser BoP site near Kumul Lodge, and
singles seen Dablin Creek and Ok Ma Road, Tabubil.
Smoky Honeyeater Melipotes fumigatus
Another very common bird in the Tari and Kumul Lodge
areas, with 2-3 seen at Dablin Creek and Ok Ma Road.
Rufous-banded Honeyeater Conopophila albogularis
10 at PAU and on waste ground next to the Lamana
Hotel in Port Moresby.
Brown Oriole Oriolus szalayi
3-5 daily at Varirata N.P. and up to 6 daily in the Kiunga
and Tabubil areas.
Green Figbird Sphecotheres viridis
A minimum of 20 feeding in fruiting trees at PAU.
Long-tailed Shrike Lanius schach
1-2 seen occasionally in the Tari and Kumul Lodge areas.
Papuan (Mountain) Drongo Chaetorhynchus papuensis
2 at Varirata N.P. on 3rd and 25th, with 1 at Dablin
Spangled Drongo Dicrurus bracteatus
1-4 daily at Varirata N.P., up to 10 seen daily along the
Elevala River and in the Kiunga area.
Torrent-lark Grallina bruijni
A pair seen attending a nest at a small waterfall near
Kumul Lodge and 3 at Dablin Creek, Tabubil.
Great Woodswallow Artamus maximus
Up to 20 seen daily in the Tari and Kumul Lodge areas
and 2-4 in Tabubil Town
White-breasted Woodswallow Artamus leucorhynchus
Up to 10 around Port Moresby, and 12 in the Kiunga area.
Mountain Peltops Peltops montanus
2 seen at Varirata N.P., 1 on Steven’s Trail, Tari, and 2
daily at Dablin Creek, Tabubil.
Lowland Peltops Peltops blainvillii
Just 1 singing male seen at KM 17 near Kiunga.
Black-backed Butcherbird Cracticus mentalis
Just 2 seen on the way to Varirata N.P. on the first day.
Hooded Butcherbird Cracticus cassicus
Up to 5 daily at Varirata N.P., and up to 6 daily along the
Elevala River and in the Kiunga and Tabubil areas.
Black Butcherbird Cracticus quoyi
Heard at Varirata N.P. and Dablin Creek, Tabubil and 2 seen on each visit to the Sooty Owl garden in Tari.
Loria’s Bird of Paradise Cnemophilus loriae
A female seen on Benson’s Trail and a male about 1 Km further up hill on the same day.
Crested Bird of Paradise Cnemophilus macgregorii
A pair were watched well through scopes just below Tari Gap, a female was seen on the trails in Kumul Lodge grounds and a pair were seen on King of Saxony Trail nr Kumul Lodge.
Glossy-mantled Manucode Manucodia atra
Up to 10 seen daily along the Elevala River and heard on Boystown Road, Kiunga.
Crinkle-collared Manucode Manucodia chalybeata
Up to 6 seen daily at Varirata N.P., a few heard along the
Elevala River, and 1-3 seen on Ok Ma Road, Tabubil.
Trumpet Manucode Manucodia keraudrenii
Several heard along the Elevala River and in the Kiunga
area, with 3 being seen at Km 17 on 2 days.
Short-tailed Paradigalla Paradigalla brevicauda
A male was seen on two occasions around the garden
just uphill from Ambua Lodge, Tari.
Ribbon-tailed Astrapia Astrapia mayeri
Seen daily in the Tari and Kumul Lodge areas, with up to 12 a day and even full adult males coming to the bird table at Kumul Lodge.
Princess Stephanie’s Astrapia Astrapia stephaniae
Up to 6 seen daily in the Tari area, generally at lower
altitude than Ribbon-tailed, also 4 seen below Kumul Lodge.
Carola’s Parotia Parotia carolae
Up to 8 (inc.2-3 males) were found feeding on a couple of
fruiting trees at Dablin Creek, Tabubil.
Lawes’ Parotia Parotia lawesii
2 stonking males were seen at Banari Road below Warili Lodge, and on Steven’s Trail, 3 were seen on 11th and 1 on 12th.
King of Saxony Bird of Paradise Pteridophora alberti
The bird of the trip for most of us, with the stupendous antennae-like feathers protruding from its ear-coverts and its amazing electronic sounding voice. It was common below Tari Gap with up to 8 daily, and 2 seen below Kumul Lodge.
Magnificent Riflebird Ptiloris magnificus
Regularly heard along the Elevala River and in the Kiunga and Tabubil areas, eventually 3 were seen on Ok Ma Road, Tabubil and 4 at Dablin Creek on the last day.
Eastern (Magnificent) Riflebird Ptiloris (magnificus)
Some authorities split this race due to its completely different voice. Commonly heard at Varirata N.P. and 2 seen there on 3 dates.
Superb Bird of Paradise Lophorina superba
1-2 seen on visits to the Sooty Owl garden at Tari, 3 seen at Henni’s garden on Banari Road below Warili Lodge, and 4 including a male in full display at the Lesser BoP site near Kumul Lodge.
Black Sicklebill Epimachus fastuosus
4 seen at Banari Road below Warili Lodge, including a
superb male at very close range.
Brown Sicklebill Epimachus meyeri
1-5 seen or heard daily in the Tari and Kumul Lodge areas, including 2 coming to the bird table at Kumul Lodge; the call is a very good immitation of a machine gun!
Magnificent Bird of Paradise Cicinnurus magnificus
Seen daily in the Tabubil area, a fruiting tree at Dablin Creek held up to 7 birds including a couple of males, also a couple were seen on Ok Ma Road.
King Bird of Paradise Cicinnurus regius
A couple were heard along the Elevala River and a
fantastic male was seen there on 17th.
Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise Seleucidis melanoleuca
3 including 2 males were seen along the Elevala River on 16th, and 1 was heard on 18th; unfortunately we didn’t see the display.
Greater Bird of Paradise Paradisaea apoda
3 seen behind Ekame Lodge on the Elevala River, a couple seen on Boystown Road and up to 10 in a display tree at Km 17, Kiunga, also 2 at Ok Ma Road, Tabubil.
Lesser Bird of Paradise Paradisaea minor
6, including 4 males, were seen at close range and eye-level at a site near Kumul Lodge and 1 en route to Mount Hagen on 16th.
Raggiana Bird of Paradise Paradisaea raggiana
Common at Varirata N.P. with up to 25 a day and the display area there was superb with birds in the full throws of display. 3 also seen at the Km 17 Greater BoP display area.
Blue Bird of Paradise Paradisaea rudolphi
Another one of the contenders for bird of the trip, 2 males and 2 females were seen in Henni’s garden at Banari Road below Kumul Lodge.
Lesser Melampitta Melampitta lugubris
Heard or seen on Benson’s Trail on four dates, with 3 seen on 9th and 1 on 11th. An elusive ground-dweller.
Greater Melampitta Melampitta gigantea
At least one was heard on Ok Ma road, and after a play-back battle, GJS and AM eventually viewed this very elusive bird.
Spotted Catbird Ailuroedus melanotis
2-3 heard only on Boystown Road.
White-eared Catbird Ailuroedus buccoides
1 seen at Varirata N.P. on 3rd and 2 heard there on 5th
Sanford’s (Archbold’s) Bowerbird Archboldia sanfordi
One was heard near Tari Gap on 10th and 2 were seen at
Kumul Lodge on 15th.
Macgregor’s Bowerbird Amblyornis macgregoriae
2 seen on 2 visits to Steven’s Trail below Warili Lodge.
Flame Bowerbird Sericulus aureus
4 seen along the Elevala River, females were perched but the male only flew by, and 3 (1 male and 2 females) flew over Boystown Road.
Yellow-breasted Bowerbird Chlamydera lauterbachi
3 were seen at the Lesser BoP site near Kumul Lodge.
Fawn-breasted Bowerbird Chlamydera cerviniventris
At least 10 were seen at PAU.
Grey Crow Corvus tristis
1 seen at Varirata N.P. and common along the Fly and Elevala Rivers and in the Kiunga area where up to 10 a day were seen.
Torresian Crow Corvus orru
Up to 20 seen daily in the Port Moresby to Varirata area.
Metallic Starling Aplonis metallica
Common along the Fly and Elevala Rivers and in the Kiunga area. There was an emergence of millions of Mayflies on the Elevala River on 16th and the starlings were swooping down in large flocks to feed on them - over 500 were recorded.
[Yellow-eyed Starling Aplonis mystacea]
A few small flocks of starlings flying over Km 17 on the morning of 20th included this sp. according to Samuel....
Singing Starling Aplonis cantoroides
3 at PAU, 6 at Mount Hagen Airport and 8 on the way to
Varirata N.P. on 25th.
Yellow-faced Myna Mino dumontii
1-2 at Varirata N.P., common along the Elevala River and in the Kiunga area with up to 40 a day, also 2 seen at Ok Ma Road.
Golden Myna Mino anais
Only seen along the Elevala River with up to 9 per day.
House Sparrow Passer domesticus
Small numbers seen in Port Moresby.