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ONE FINE DAY …

...in Papua New Guinea

June 27, 2010

The

day

did

not

start

especially

auspiciously: waiting for our vehicle to arrive while rain crashed down around us. Not the best conditions for what I had touted the evening before as one of the best days of any Tropical Birding tour. I was starting to regret my hype. All the while I mused on how “interesting” our morning in the boat might be, what with no shelter at all! I fretted silently as I knew we had some big birds to go after this morning, and knew well that rain might cause those temperamental New Guinea birds to abandon their display posts. I continued to worry, although knew we simply had to head for the boat dock, and…well hope! We slipped and slid our way onto the boat as the rst glimmers of light penetrated the gloom. The rain was lighter but still noticeable, so my fretting continued unabated! I had some quiet discussions with our local guide, who did nothing to ease my fears saying that the performance of the birds “depends on the rain”. I wiped my forehead free of rain, and worried on…The day dawned, bringing with it a splendid view of the rainforest cloaked banks of the Fly River. Five minutes later and the early morn- ing storms had moved o and were forgotten, as a shape appeared on a prominent snag on the river edge. Quickly we all glassed the stated limb and watched in amazement as our rst target (on a considerable list of them), worked his way up and

of-Paradise. The rst bird of the day, and what a start to what turned out to be one of my very best days birding in New Guinea or indeed anywhere, ever. After the “TWBOP” apped lazily o his snag we pointed the boat upstream: we had a lot to t in. How do you top a BOP? With another

  • ashier one of course, so our next

mission was the “blood-and-snow” Bird-of-Paradise. We canoed our way to an area of swampy forest and worked our way to a large rainforest tree draped in thick vines. These vines were to be our next

  • xation; they are the “platform”that

the male King BOP uses to show o his amazing feathers to any passing female. Luckily, as we shifted and shued to gain footing in the squelchy mud, we did not have to wait for long before this vision in red appeared, with gleaming white underparts topped o with a ne coil of green ribbon for a tail, a marvelous male King Bird-of- Paradise, one of the World’s most

Sam Woods sums up one of his best recent days in the field

impressive birds. In PNG more than anywhere else I know, there are simply so many huge target birds, that there is always another one just around the next corner. OK on this occasion it was less of a corner than above a big river, a Flame Bowerbird

  • apping casually across the river as

we strained our necks upwards to take in this “avian torch” crossing from one patch of forest to another. That was a bonus for sure, although was not our next scheduled target bird. Our next target species was big in every sense: scarce (and becoming scarcer) bold, beautiful,

and

unquestionably

dramatic,

being the largest of its kind. How- ever, being big does not always equate with being easy to see. Lady luck, however, was shining on us that day. As always seems to be the

way with this bird, come boat driver,

our local guide quietly begun

realigning our boat, word uttered, and we

with not a surveyed him

down

the

“display

pole”.

Although

we

  • ne

could

not

  • laments

quite

make

out

the

that

lend

themselves

to the birds intriguing name, long, powerful bill, jet-black

the and

lemon doubt

yellow plumage left us in no we were ogling one of our

  • rst

birds-of-paradise

of

the

tour,

the

incredible Twelve-wired

Bird--

www.tropicalbirding.com

info@tropicalbirding.com

1-800-348-5941

Page 9

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