Thursday, 22 December 2016

Samoan Birding

For the final part of my 3-island Pacific Tour for Birding Ecotours I spent a couple of days on the beautiful island of Upolu, Samoa. There was some very nice birds there, one of my favourites was the Cardinal Myzomela - a real stunner and very different to the sub-species I'd seen while on Lifou in New Caledonia.

The Fruit Doves were again spectacular and the endemic Kingfisher - Flat-billed Kingfisher was very smart. It was also great to see White-tailed Tropicbirds and White Terns cruising around everywhere!

Trip Report here:

Cardinal Myzomela - stunner!

Crimson-crowned Fruit Dove - keeping up with the quality Doves from New Caledonia & Fiji

Crimson-crowned Fruit Dove with baby!

Flat-billed Kingfisher - a rather smart endemic

Blue-crowned Lorikeet

Pacific Golden Plover - common in gardens!

Buff-banded Rail - so common and out in the open! Running all over the place

Polynesian Wattled Honeyeater - a bit boring!

Samoan Fantail - keeping up with the many Fantails seen in the region

Samoan Starling - enjoying some palm fruits

Samoan Whistler - quite nice - quite different from the other Whistlers in the region

Samoan Whistler - quite nice - quite different from the other Whistlers in the region

Brown Noddy giving a flyby across the moon!

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Fiji Birds

It was great to be able to go birding in Fiji as part of the Birding Ecotours Pacific Tour. My Trip Report can be found here:

Fiji was a real treat in terms of Fruit Doves, we enjoyed Golden Fruit Dove, Orange Fruit Dove (my personal favourite), Whistling Fruit Dove, and Many-coloured Fruit Dove, along with a wide range of other really great birds, including Silktail and some smart parrots, like Masked, Maroon and Crimson Shining Parrots, and Collared Lory. So many great Myzomela, Flycatchers and Whistlers too.

I'll do a separate post on the Fiji Whistlers and some other species (e.g. Streaked Fantail and Fiji Bush-Warblers) soon as I think these warrant some discussion.

Some photos:

Orange Fruit Dove - simply spectacular 

Fiji White-eye - fairly common

Fiji Woodswallow - fairly common on some islands we visited

Kadavu Fantail - single island endemic (Kadavu)

Kikau - a recent split from the Wattled Honeyeater complex

Many-coloured Fruit Dove - another spectacular Fruit Dove

Masked Shining Parrot -  nice bird but woeful photo in appalling light!
Pacific Kingfisher - common

Pacific Robin - friendly little Robin

Silktail - the taxonomic puzzle!

Silktail - showing the tail

Slaty Monarch - common across all islands we visited

Sulphur-breasted Myzomela - very nice bird

Vanikoro Flycatcher - common

Whistling Fruit Dove - single island endemic (Kadavu)

Chestnut-throated Flycatcher - a very recent (October 2016) split from Azure-crested Flycatcher 

Barking Imperial Pigeon - common

Collared Lory - fairly common but timid

Fiji Parrotfinch - seemed common but tricky to get close enough for a decent photo

The details of the 2017 tour can be found here: 

Monday, 19 December 2016

New Caledonian Endemic Birds

Here are a few of the endemic birds I saw whilst in New Caledonia with Birding Ecotours. For the Kagu check out my previous post below.

My trip report can be found here: just follow the New Caledonia links.

Cloven-feathered Dove - one of the most spectacular birds I've ever seen! 

Cloven-feathered Dove - worth going there just to see this bird!

Barred Honeyeater - fairly common

Goliath Pigeon - one of the largest pigeons in the world - this one is HUGE!

Green-backed White-eye - a common endemic, rather smart for a white-eye

Horned Parakeet - spectacular but this picture really doesn't do it justice - google it to see its 'horn'

Lifou White-eye - common endemic on a small island off Grande Terre (the main island of New Cal)

New Caledonian Crow - the tool-using crow. Cool to see it with tool too!

New Caledonian Cuckooshrike - fairly common

New Caledonian Friarbird - very common and vocal and quite nice-looking for a Friarbird

New Caledonian Myzomela - simply stunning!

New Caledonian Whistler - gorgeous

Red-throated Parrotfinch - very smart but a bit too shy for the camera

Striated Starling - distant!

White-bellied Goshawk - had several great looks at these, including a displaying bird at length

Yellow-bellied Flyrobin - very friendly little birds

Thursday, 15 December 2016

New Caledonia - KAGU

Sorry for the lack of posts over the last couple of months I've been rather busy! So over the next few weeks I'll do some blog posts on my birding in New Caledonia, Fiji, Samoa, New Zealand, Australia.

My New Caledonia trip was a tour for Birding Ecotours. The trip report can be found here: When on the New Caledonia page click 'view' for text only, or click 'download' to see report with photos. 

One of the main reasons birders want to go to New Caledonia is to look for the Endangered Kagu - a strange-looking, flightless bird with a long shaggy crest, belonging to a monospecific family. The Kagu also makes some interesting vocalizations, some sounding like a barking dog, ironic as feral dogs, along with cats and rats are a real threat to this species through predation.

Despite being rare and Endangered I got multiple, really great views of this species. It was fascinating watching it feed by moving huge fallen tree branches to collect grubs. Sometimes they would just freeze on seeing you, but other times it would walk right up to you and carry on their way.

The 2017 New Caledonia Tour Itinerary (including Fiji and Samoa) can be found here.