Wallace's megapode mystery...

By Tony Whitten (Fauna & Flora International)

Four times I have managed to land Wallace cruise guests on the north side of Klaarbeek at the far west of the Raja Ampat islands.  This is where Wallace finally came ashore after his terrible trip from Seram and after losing two of his crew on the island to the south (where we also visit).

In his bird notebook in London's Natural History Museum Wallace wrote:

The first time I went to the top of the hill in early 2013 I guess, I was delighted to see two tumuli near the top of the hill (where we set up a geocache but only the cruise people ever go there) from which Wallace wanted to see his two men.  Last time, a year ago, I heard megapodes twice.  One of two species is possible and on this visit I set up a camera trap.  Since we weren’t going to leave until midnight I persuaded my crew to take me ashore again (it’s not an easy landing) after dinner  just to check the SD card in case anything had chanced by.  I really didn’t expect anything. But there was this photo.  It is a dusky megapode which must walked on the mound in the hour between our leaving and dusk.

Of course none of this helps answer Wallace’s question of how on earth the birds got there in the first place!

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith