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MICRONESIA

Wednesday 23rd March - Sunday 10th April 2016

Pete Morris

Palau Owl - our bird of the trip - was easily seen on several occasions (Pete Morris)

Palau Owl - our bird of the trip - was easily seen on several occasions (Pete Morris)

Our 2016 Micronesia tour was another epic twitch around the widely scattered group of islands in the Western Pacific which between them form Micronesia. It was, within the remit of the tour, an out and out success, with all desired endemics being seen, and seen well. The only small niggle was that just before the tour, the IOC decided to elevate two rather unimpressive ‘forms’ on Kosrae to full species status. Future trips to the area will therefore need to incorporate this seldom birded island in to the itinerary, further complicating logistics! That said, we survived without the extra fruit dove and the extra white-eye, and could reflect back on our impressive collection of seldom seen endemics, with favourites including Palau Owl, Micronesian Megapode (both Palau and Mariana forms), Palau, White-throated and White-fronted Ground Doves, the rare Guam Rail, Pohnpei Lorikeet, the stunning Golden White-eye and an excellent selection of kingfishers and fruit doves to name just a few. The impact of humanity on the fragile island ecosystems was sadly evident. Of the 116 species recorded, just over 23% are species of conservation concern. One species is considered ‘Extinct in the Wild’ (Guam Rail), three are considered ‘Critically Endangered’ (Mariana Crow, Golden White-eye and Rota Bridled White-eye) and five are considered ‘Endangered’ (Micronesian Megapode, Mariana Swiftlet, Mariana Fruit Dove, Chuuk Monarch and Long-billed White-eye). An additional three species are considered ‘Vulnerable’ and fifteen species considered ‘Near Threatened’. As a sad footnote, the endemic landbirds of Guam have already been obliterated (all are extinct), and although there are measures in place to try to prevent the spread of the destructive Brown Tree Snake, the survival of several species hangs in the balance!

Pohnpei Lorikeet (Pete Morris)

Pohnpei Lorikeet (Pete Morris)