Tabubil Rarities Extension
1-5 October 2023
Tour length: 5 days
Group size limit: 6
Joshua Bergmark and local guides
IMPORTANT: This expedition will be strenuous, with at least 6 days of >8 hour steep treks on uneven and muddy trails far from any professional medical assistance. We will be using local porters so participants are only expected to carry day-packs with water and birding gear, but an excellent level fitness is essential.
Day 1: Tour commences in Port Moresby, from where we will fly directly to the north side of the Owen-Stanley Range and meet our experienced trekking operator to prepare for the coming ascent. Night in Kokoda.
Day 2: Transfer to the start of the Kokoda Trail, and trek most of the day for arrival at our lodgings in the afternoon.
Day 3-4-5: Birding around Isurava in search of the four highland peninsula endemics – Eastern Parotia, Lesser Superb Bird-of-paradise, Black-capped Catbird, and Chestnut-shouldered Goshawk. Other enticing species common in the forests here include Pesquet’s Parrot, White-eyed Robin, Bicoloured Scrubwren, Black-billed Sicklebill, Growling Riflebird, Forbes’s Forest Rail and Pheasant Pigeon. The eastern form of Papuan White-eye is also worth seeing in this area, as it is likely different to birds distributed elsewhere in New Guinea.
Day 6: Trek back to Kokoda for evening flight to Port Moresby.
Day 7: Fly to New Britain in preparation for part two of the expedition. Night in Walindi Resort.
Day 8-9-10-11-12-13: Trekking up into the Nakanai Range, we will be the first birdwatchers to explore several key altitudes in search of some extremely poorly-known birds. Gilliard’s Melidectes, Rusty Thicketbird, Black-backed Thrush, Eastern Bronze Ground Dove, White-breasted Ground Dove, Red-breasted Pygmy Parrot, Bismarck Hanging Parrot, Red-chinned Lorikeet, Song Parrot, Black Imperial Pigeon, Bismarck Pitta, Bismarck Whistler, Bismark Fantail, Bismarck White-eye, and an endemic subspecies of Island Thrush are all exceptional species which are more-or-less expected, but we will be hoping to cross paths with several much rarer birds.
The mythical New Britain Thicketbird (not recorded since the species was discovered in 1959) is highest on our agenda, but in undisturbed primary hill forest we can certainly hope to chance across New Britain Goshawk, New Britain Sparrowhawk, Slaty-mantled Goshawk, New Britain Bronzewing, Yellow-legged Pigeon, and even Pink-legged Rail! When we return to Walindi Resort on the last afternoon, we will spending the evening searching for Golden Masked Owl as a fitting grand finale to this adventurous expedition!
Day 14: Return to Port Moresby where the tour ends this afternoon.
TABUBIL RARITIES EXTENSION (can be taken as a stand-alone tour)
With a new road now reliably producing several previously unavailable species at Tabubil, we will offer a five day extension before the tour targeting Yellow-breasted Satinbird, Sooty Shrikethrush, Rusty Whistler, and Greater Melampitta (which is probably the best candidate in the world to be split out as another monotypic family, so definitely worth seeing). We have a good chance of encountering all of these enigmatic species at new stakeouts. Tailoring the birding to also focus on any targets participants may have missed on previous tours, we can additionally search for New Guinea Bronzewing, Shovel-billed Kookaburra, Striated Lorikeet, White-rumped Robin and Splendid Astrapia amongst many other mid-montane specialties known from the area. Cost will depend on numbers.
Cost: $ 7,500
Deposit: $ 750
Single room supplement: $ 500
Cost will depend on numbers. Current estimate is $4,200, will drop with further bookings.
Accommodation: Basic guesthouses at Isurava and camping in the Nakanai Range. The in-between days will be at comfortable hotels to help us recharge!
Walking difficulty: This expedition will be strenuous, with at least 6 days of >8 hour steep treks on uneven and muddy trails far from any professional medical assistance. We will be using local porters so participants are only expected to carry day-packs with water and birding gear, but an excellent level fitness is essential.
Tour cost includes: All accommodation, main meals, drinking water, internal flights (as stated in itinerary), overland transport, tips to local drivers and guides, travel permits, entrance fees, and guide fees.
Tour cost excludes: Flights before and after the tour start/end, visa, travel insurance, tips to tour leaders, laundry, drinks and other items of a personal nature.