Saturday, 23 July 2016

Pacific Odyssey

This September-October I'm going to be journeying around the Pacific a little. I'll be commencing my travels from Brisbane, Australia (where I'll get a couple of days birding in with my mate Rob) before heading over to Noumea in New Caledonia for two-weeks of endemic searching. Obviously top target there is the endemic and rather unique Kagu (below).

Kagu (Pelagic Odyssey)

I'll likely try and get across to a couple of the loyalty islands if flights aren't prohibitively expensive - I'm thinking Ouvea and Lifou, each island also has some endemics to go for - such as the Ouvea Parakeet, and Lifou Large White-eye. Anyone know of a cheap way to do these islands?

There's so many exciting birds on New Caledonia - with New Caledonian Crow and Crow Honeyeater being two birds I'm keen on locating for different reasons, but one I really 'want/need' to see is Cloven-feathered Dove - wow!

Cloven-feathered Dove (Unknown)

After a couple of weeks exploration in New Caledonia I'm heading over to Fiji for a couple of weeks. I'll be visiting three islands - Viti Levu, Vanua Levu, and Kadavu, each with an interesting set of birds. Again some of the highlights are likely to be Pigeons... I don't say that often! But with Crimson-crowned Fruit-Dove, Many-coloured Fruit-Dove, Golden Fruit Dove, Whistling Fruit Dove, and Orange Fruit Dove (below) it's easy to see why! Plenty of interesting endemics to chase across all the different islands too - such as Silktail for example - still a bit of an unknown quantity.

Orange Fruit Dove (Aviceda)

The final stop on this leg of the trip will be a few days in (Western) Samoa - here there are a few more endemics to go look for. I think it will take a bit of luck for Tooth-billed Pigeon, but I'll give it a go! I'll be happy to see the Samoan Flycatcher (below)!

Samoan Flycatcher (Peter O)

I've got some personal birding while here, but the majority of my time will be leading the Birding Ecotours Pacific Tour - details of the 3 week tour can be found by CLICKING HERE. We're taking bookings for 2017!

After this tour is completed I head across to New Zealand. More on that soon....

Friday, 22 July 2016

Big Australia Trip Coming Soon!

Really excited to have a birding tour along the East Coast of Australia this October and November. We'll be birding in Victoria, New South Wales (just over the border) and in south, then North Queensland. Last years tour resulted in some incredible birds seen

I'll also probably be spending time in Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and hopefully the Top End too - I'll be scoping out new areas for upcoming Birding Ecotours trips.

Really looking forward to have another in-depth look at what is quickly becoming my favourite wildlife-watching destination on the planet.

During the three-week tour we'll be looking for some quality birds, such as Plains-wanderer, Mallee Emu-wren, Malleefowl, Superb Lyrebird, Southern Cassowary, Great-billed Heron, Golden Bowerbird, Regent Bowerbird, Victoria's Riflebird, Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher, Hooded Plover, Inland Dotterel, Major Mitchell's Cockatoo, Superb Parrot, and so much more!

Last years tour recorded 416 species of birds, 42 mammals, 19 reptiles, and 10 amphibians. with standout mammals being Koala, Platypus, Short-beaked Echidna, Red Kangaroo and Common Wombat.

There are a couple of places still available on the tour. If you're interested, or know of anyone who might be interested please click this link for tour details. CLICK HERE.

Plains-wanderer - always a highlight and this female showed so well for our group last year.

Southern Cassowary - my favourite bird on the planet and another star bird that performed well during last years tour. Here the adult male with his two chicks.


The Australia 2015 Trip Report can also be found here:

After the tours I'm aiming to spend time in the Perth area of Western Australia where I'll be targeting the nearly 20 or so regionally endemic species such as Carnaby's and Baudin's Black Cockatoos, Western Corella, Red-capped Parrot, Western Rosella, Noisy Scrub-bird, Western Bristlebird, Red-winged Fairywren, Western Fieldwren, Western Thornbill, Western Wattlebird, Western Spinebill, Gilbert's Honeyeater, White-breasted Robin, Western Whistler and Red-eared Firetail. Also looking forward to some new and exciting mammals and reptiles.

If I get to the Top End (in the Northern Territory), I'll be looking for Rainbow Pitta - need a Pitta fix! But while I'm 'in the area' I'll be looking for Gouldin Finch, Purple-crowned Fairywren, Red Goshawk, Hooded Parrot, Red-collared Lorikeet, Varied Lorikeet, Northern Rosella, Arafura Fantail, Paperbark Flycatcher, Buff-sided Robin, Sandstone Shrike-thrush, Pied Heron, Great-billed Heron, Beach Thick-knee, Chestnut Rail, Rufous Owl, Partridge Pigeon, White-quilled Rock-Pigeon, Banded Fruit-Dove, Little Kingfisher, Long-tailed Finch, White-throated Grasswren, and Black-tailed Treecreeper.

I'm also planning to catch up with my friends Dave and Sue in Adelaide where I'll be looking to add a few new birds to my South Australia list, such as Rock Parrot, and maybe even Western Whipbird, though definitely some more reptiles and mammal - or who knows, maybe I'll even get on a pelagic trip - 3rd time lucky? Grey Falcon might have to wait until 2017...

Before all of this Australia coolness I'll be leading a trip round the Pacific - New Caledonia, Fiji and Samoa, and scoping the North Island of New Zealand - more on that awesome prospect later. My entry into New Caledonia will be from Brisbane so before all of the above fun starts I'll have a few days with my friends Rob and Di in Brisbane and there's a few birds there that I fancy looking for. Masked Owl is high on the target list!

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Thailand June 2016

I had a nice couple of weeks back over in Thailand in June after finishing up with the consultancy work. It wasn't totally all about the birding on this trip but I did go down to the south of the country for a bit of birding around Krabi, Khao Nor Chu Chi NP and Khao Sok NP. It rained most of the time I was down here but I still managed a couple of nice birds during a couple of wet walks,such as the following highlights:

Mangrove Pitta
Hooded Pitta
Blue-winged Pitta
Ruddy Kingfisher
Brown-winged Kingfisher
Red-bearded Bee-eater
Oriental Paradise-Flycatcher (white morph with long tail)
Rufous-winged Philontoma
Vernal Hanging-Parrot

Also saw a couple of cool reptiles, such as Cross-bearing Tree Lizard and Crested Forest Lizard.

Ruddy Kingfisher

Cross-bearing Tree Lizard

Crested Forest Lizard

Saturday, 2 July 2016

A Big Update - Lots of change!

I've not posted an update for a while, was in Thailand most of June - post coming soon! Has been a busy month...

I've updated the blog template to give it a fresher look. Hopefully I'll have a bit more time and content to get back into the swing of keeping things ticking over here again. Sorry for the lack of posts over the last few months.

My main news is that I've quit my consultancy job (after working there for 6 years) to work full time for Birding Ecotours. I've been working for Birding Ecotours on a part-time basis for about the last 18-months or so but this exciting opportunity was too good to ignore! I'll still be doing the odd bit of freelance consultancy work if you are looking for an ornithological consultant in the UK - drop me an email!

I'm mainly going to be focusing on Europe, Asia and Australasia and have a few interesting trips lined up over the next 8 months... Thailand, Australia, New Caledonia, Fiji, Samoa, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Costa Rica...

Lots of potential for some incredible birds and other wildlife and as you can imagine I'm very excited. So please stay tuned for some cool bird/wildlife sightings...