Trip Report – January 2019
Comments: This was just a short trip to Papua New Guinea because my daughter lives there. It was the wrong time of year really but we had to be down that way anyway and thought we would stop at a couple of locations. I only list lifebirds here. For a full list click on link above.
Day 1: We were staying at the Walindi Plantation in New Britain and using their guide. He picked us up at 6.00am. All birding locations require that you drive through a huge oil palm plantation which is very bumpy and quite long. But this first morning it was really worth it and at our first stop we had: Eclectus Parrot, Metallic Starling, Pied Coucal, Stephan’s Dove, Nicobar Pigeon, Red-knobbed Imperial-Pigeon, Purple-bellied Lory, Brush Cuckoo, Blue-eyed Cockatoo, Buff-cheeked Pygmy Parrot, Ashy Myzomela, Red-banded Flowerpecker, Variable Goshawk, Red-flanked Lory, Northern Fantail, Shining Flycatcher, Bismark Crow, Long-tailed Myna, Black Sunbird, Blyth’s Hornbill, Pink-legged Rail, Black-billed Cuckoo-dove, Moustached Treeswift, White-Mantled Kingfisher and New Britain Dwarf Kingfisher. We didn’t get the megapod ( wrong time of year) but we had seen so much that we weren’t too upset!
We went back out in the afternoon to some grasslands which were great, Papuan Grassbird, Australian Reed-warbler and Swinhoe’s
Snipe. But then it started raining so we tried to find a dryer area in the hills before the rain stopped play completely. Yellowish Imperial-pigeon, Coconut Lory, Slate-Mantled Goshawk. Night at Walindi Plantation.
Day 2: This morning we headed to some upland forest habitat on a trail that left from a local village and that involved a fairly strenuous hike uphill. It wasn’t raining but the birds were fairly quiet – what we did see though was great – Song Parrot, Chanel-billed Cuckoo, Bismark Drongo, Violaceaous Coucal, Pacific Baza, Black-tailed Monarch and the amazing Black-headed Paradise Flycatcher. We were ready for lunch after that.
The afternoon brought the rain again but we decided to try our luck at some lowland riverine habitat. Unfortunately it was completely dead so we called it a day – on the way back we lucked out with an Oriental Hobby before enjoying a nice beer at the lodge. Night at Walindi.
Day 3: Today we drove back through the plantation to try for some species we had missed on our first day. We tramped through some fairly challenging habitat which provided nothing new until we managed great views of Knob-billed Fruit-dove and then a Finch’s Imperial-pigeon. Tried again for Megapod but again no luck so decided to have a lazy afternoon and stay out of the rain.
Day 4: Today was all about travelling back to Port Moresby to hang out with my daughter and 2 year old grandson
Day 5: We had hired a local guide to take us to Varirata Park so left at 5.30 am. This turned out to be one of the best days’ birding we have ever had. I can’t list all the life birds we had because it was over 45 but all I can say is you have to go! And then to crown it all we stopped at the university on the way home and got another 10 life birds including Papuan Frogmouth. It was an unbelievable day.
Day 6: Flew up to Mt Hagen and got picked up by our lodge to drive the 45 minutes to Rondon Ridge Lodge. We arrived in time for lunch and then settled in to our room. The weather was looking a bit ominous but we
couldn’t wait so headed out anyway with our guide, Joseph. It wasn’t spectacular because of the weather but we did get 9 life birds before the rain was too hard. Ornate Melidectes, Smoky Honeyeater, Large & Papuan Scrubwrens, Varied Sitella, Schlater’s Whistler, Friendly Fantail, Island Leaf Warbler and Hooded Munia.
Day 7: Started early for the 1.5 hours hike up the mountain. It was still raining but we were hopeful that we might get a break at the top. We had some good birds but the views weren’t spectacular because of the light – still any day you can see Birds of Paradise can’t be too bad. Papuan Mountain-pigeon, Mountain Fruit-dove, King-of-Saxony, Superb BOP, Brown Sicklebill, Stephanie’s Astrapia.
Back down for lunch and to dry out – Yellow-billed, Orange-billed and Papuan Lorikeets all on the way down.
The weather was a bit better in the afternoon and we ventured back out to the area around the lodge – we were missing Blue BOP, which was supposed to be easy! Still no luck but New Guinea White-eye,
Papuan Flycatcher, Black Fantail, Black Pitouhi, Fan-tailed Berrypecker, Grey Thornbill, Red-headed & Red-collared Myzomela, McGregor’s Bowerbird and Yellow-browed Melidectes were all great.
Day 8: This was our last morning so last chance for Blue BOP and we ended up with amazing views which we really felt we deserved – and Black-throated and Blue-gray Robin in the process.
A final outing in the afternoon for Torrent Lark and Torrent Flycatcher only resulted in Great Woodswallow and White-shouldered Fairywren but that was OK the birding here had been much harder work that we expected so we were really done.
Guides & Resources
Guides: We used the lodge guides in Walindi and Rondong Ridge.
In Port Morseby we used a great guide, Daniel Wakra.
Birds of New Guinea – Pratt & Beehler
Birds of New Guinea ( includes New Britain) – Phil Gregory
Lonely Planet guide for points of interest.