I just came back from a ten-day field trip to West Papua, the Indonesian side of New Guinea. It was technically a birding trip, as we (my uncle and I) stayed in a birding lodge and did the whole up-at-oh-four-hundred-and-straight-into-the-mud-without-tea thing every day. But this was also our first trip east of the Wallace Line, and our first to New Guinea, an island that has long held as much fascination for me as Borneo did 15 years ago, so we press-ganged our poor host and birding guide Jamil into taking us on nightwalks every day, too. He was as terrible with herps as he was excellent with birds, and he actually scared me into almost believing that a little Papuan Ground Boa (Candoia sp.) sitting on our watery trail one morning long before sunrise, was a major venomous demon, and a prodigious killer of men and livestock alike. (There are no field guides on the herps of New Guinea. I only ID'd it later through extreme luck - one of the guests at our lodge was an Australian herpetologist specialized in New Guinea snakes)
Papua was an unforgettable experience, from the indigenous resistance fighters to the cassowary crashing through the bush right next to us, from the betelnut-chewing children to the endless forests, from the birds of paradise in some of the most unwelcoming jungle we've ever entered, to one of the the world's largest tree frogs on our host's compost heap.
Unfortunately, I'm drowning in work and visitors at the moment, and I don't think I'll get around to creating a proper post anytime soon (I still owe the world a post about our Sri Lanka trip in March last year!). So, for those who would like to see images from a truly far-out land, and who are still on Facebook despite Cambridge Analytica, here are roughly 120 photos I just dumped in an album in no particular order. I did find the time for captions, so you won't be completely lost. Warning: We found only one snake, photographed only three lizards, one frog, and one (invasive!) toad; and of the 81 bird species we saw, I only managed to shoot a very small number before the world's highest humidity murdered the Nikon P900 I had specially bought for the trip (Nine months of rainy season. EPIC mud. Waterlogged lowland forests. No A/C in the house. Fans, yes, but blackouts a dozen times a day. Nuff said).
PS: Let me know if you're interested in the lodge, I can message you Jamil's phone number. (Yes, there is no Internet. But that just complements and completes the whole Lost World feeling...)
PPS: For those who still care: I'm now 38668 words into "Where the Flowers Eat the Monkeys - An Amateur Naturalist in Borneo". I hope to publish before retirement
Dedicated exclusively to field herping.
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