Papua New Guinea

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A longstanding dream became a reality this year as I travelled to Papua New Guinea on a specialist birding trip, primarily to see Birds-of-Paradise. After a short stopover in Singapore I arrived in Port Moresby (without baggage) to await the arrival of the rest of my tour group. We would comprise a tour leader from Liverpool and 6 other birders not including me. This diverse group included people from Spain, USA, France, Sweden, Germany and Japan. Quite a mix. Over the course of two weeks we would visit Varirata National Park and some university grounds, about an hour outside Port Moresby, and a variety of sites around Kiunga and Tari, a couple of towns that we would need to fly to. PNG remains a largely agrarian society with people living off the land. Vast swathes are still forested, but signs of degraded forests are evident. All land is private so the establishment of National Parks seems to be hard. There is only one in PNG, near Port Moresby. Who knows what the future will hold, but today there are still plenty of birds to see.

If it says it is, it must be….  Best or Only summed it up. Delicious food though and great birding sites close by.

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One night spent at Kwatu camp deep in the river system around Kiunga was a great experience. Basic but OK, and giving early morning access to a Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise display post. Food included Spam, not seen since the Seventies. 

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Have to admit that Ambua Lodge was a very nice lodge set in a beautiful location overlooking the Tari valley. All the major birding sites here were close to the lodge and provided views of a good number of the BoPs, including King of Saxony, Sicklebills, Parotias and Astrapias. 

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Seeking out (and failing) to see a Blue BoP we were accompanied by some of the local kids. They all had streaming colds and were fascinated by our optics. The life expectancy out here is still very low, no doubt not helped by the housing conditions where real fires are still a part of each household. Very bad for the lungs. 

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Departing from Tari airport we experience the delights of the departure lounge… 

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See Birds of Papua here

© Paul Hyland 2012