The final leg of this epic trip took us to Waigeo Island via a ferry between Sorong and Waigeo. The ferry is a great pelagic (will post separately on that). Waigeo is a great place to finish a trip to West Papua as the coral reefs, sandy beaches and bays provides a holiday like atmosphere following some very tough lowland rainforest and mountain environments. Ebird trip report with trip lists from Waigeo HERE.
Also the great thing about finishing a West Papua trip here too is that the best birds have been left to last.
Red Bird-of-Paradise. This is the iconic kind of BOP with streamers and long plumes and plenty of dance moves that I dreamed of seeing one day after various David Attenborough programs from when I was young. The ultimate birds of the planet.
Wilson's Bird-of-Paradise. Debate broke us in our group of whether top bird of the trip was Wilson's or Red BOP (or even Mountain Owlet-nightjar). I went for Red BOP- totally Glam, iconic BOP in every sense. However I was out voted and the group voted for this rather gaudy looking champion.
Western Crowned Pigeon- what the actual f@@k! It's like a flying Dodo. It was massive.
Palm Cockatoo- one mind blowing bird after another - this was a monster too
A highlight of a stay on Waigeo was a boat trip, two hours out to sea to a deserted tropical island (literally like something out of a Survival reality TV show) called Merpati. These Violet-necked Lorys greeted us on arrival. The island also hosted Island Whistler, Pied Imperial Pigeons, Puff-backed Honeyeaters and on the way back we drove past other islands (more forested and mountainous) and saw more Pied Imperial Pigeons, Spice Imperial Pigeons and Torresian Crow.
Pied Imperial Pigeons
Spice Imperial Pigeon
Dusky Scrubfowl- apparently not an easy one to see or photograph. We also came across the amazing communal nests of this species, huge mounds of earth in which they lay eggs collectively in a self heating incubator like structure
Grey-tailed Tattler- finally got to see one of these iconic waders. Would still love to find a vagrant one.
The tide was high when we arrived at Merpati Island so it was a wet walk round
On the way back from Merpati we stopped offshore Bat Island to watch the Black Flying Foxes leaving the day roost in their thousands