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Friday 3rd September - Sunday 3rd October 2010

Mark Van Beirs

On our second adapted tour to remote French Polynesia, Pitcairn and Henderson, we visited 12 islands, took lots of flights and visited remote atolls, motus and makateas that have been immortalized by people like Paul Gauguin, Herman Melville, Marlon Brando and Jacques Brel. We enjoyed a splendid 14 days of cruising on the Claymore II, followed the wake of the Bounty as we explored infamous Pitcairn Island and birded on Henderson, Oeno and Teneraro islands, which hold some of the rarest birds of our planet. We visited five areas which are defined by BirdLife International as Endemic Bird Areas: the Marquesas (EBA 212), the Society Islands (EBA 213), the Tuamotu Archipelago (EBA 214), Henderson Island (EBA 215) and Rimatara (EBA 211). We saw no fewer than 26 species that are listed in “Threatened Birds of the World” as Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable or Near-Threatened, an amazing 35 % of the species recorded on the tour (75). The Bird of the Trip was without any doubt the amazingly confiding and delightful Tuamotu Sandpiper, which gave us such a marvellous time on its remote island. The adorable Polynesian Ground Dove and the cute Henderson Island Crake also made quite an impression and other memorable birds included Buller’s’ Albatross, Tahiti, Collared, Phoenix, Henderson Island, Kermadec and Murphy’s Petrels, the outstanding Polynesian Storm-Petrel, Bristle-thighed Curlew, Blue and Grey Noddies, the bizarre Nukuhiva Pigeon, Kuhl’s, Stephen’s and glorious Ultramarine Lorikeets, Marquesas Kingfisher and Iphis and Fatuhiva Monarchs.