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NEW CALEDONIA & FIJI including Vanuatu and Samoa

Sunday 26th July - Monday 31st August 2009

Guy Dutson

The 2009 tour to New Caledonia and Fiji was very successful in producing wonderful views of all of the key species. Starting on the main island of New Caledonia, the most popular birds were the Horned Parakeet, New Caledonian Goshawk, the weird Crow Honeyeater and, of course, we had fantastic views of the amazing Kagu. On Lifou and Ouvea (or Uvea) islands, we found the endemic white-eyes and had point-blank encounters with Uvea (or Ouvea) Parakeet. Moving on to Fiji, we found all of the possible endemics including the psychedelic Many-coloured, Velvet (or Whistling), Golden and Orange Doves. Other favourites included the strange Silktail, Blue-crested Flycatcher, Black-throated Shrikebill and the recently rediscovered Long-legged Warbler. On the extension, starting in the lowlands of Vanuatu, we had good views of Vanuatu Megapode and Chestnut-bellied Kingfisher. Trekking into the mountains, we were bogged down by weeks of rainfall but some found most of the montane endemics, from the booming Baker’s Imperial Pigeon to the Palm Lorikeet and Santo Thicketbird. An enforced transit in Fiji gave us time for repeat views of some of the best endemics and a great pelagic with Kermadec, Murphy’s and Herald Petrels. On Samoa, the Mao with is cat-calls was a favourite alongside the confiding Samoan Flycatchers and Flat-billed Kingfishers. A highlight for many was the trek to 1500m for Samoan White-eye – rarely has a white-eye caused so much excitement and so much physical effort! The full tour recorded 154 species (one heard-only), 74 of them endemic to these countries, plus about 11 Melanesian or Polynesian endemics.