Nov 16, 2008

Fiji Nov/Dec 2006 - BirdForum

We wanted to fly to Kadavu ( pronounced ‘Kandavu’) but Air Fiji doesn’t fly directly there from Taveuni so we had go via Suva which was ok, but it meant that we had to use 2 sectors to get to one destination, leaving us with one flight left.

We had to wait 1.5h in Suva for the 30min trip over to Kadavu which was on the same plane....! Oh well, the visuals were very nice as we landed and also saw 58 Pacific Golden Plovers and interestingly a pair of Masked Lapwings on the grass here – a species which looks as if it’s slowly colonizing. We walked literally just across the road to the bayside Airport Inn that we’d read about in a trip report with a lovely cool breeze blowing in off the sea...hope that stays!

Quite a few Brown Boobies were watched hunting over the bay’s turquoise waters. A lot of birders seem to stay away from here but it’s right on the doorstep and all the birds are easily found (or so I thought...!) It was a little steep at F$20 each for a dorm but it was clean enough and Sabe (the owner’s wayward son) was nice enough. In fact Sabe’s dad came over to greet us and delicately asked if we were married, much to Sabe’s embarrassment, and when we said no, he made up bunks at opposite ends to each other! How sweet!!

Thankfully there were no other guests so it made little difference to us. Even the aircraft on final approach practically overhead didn’t detract from its charm either and it has a kitchen or can supply meals if asked. A pair of Vanikoro Broadbills was nesting in the gardens giving good views.
Name:  broadbill vanikorosspkandavensis (9).bmp Views: 46 Size:  141.8 KBName:  parrot kadavushining (1).bmp Views: 46 Size:  133.9 KBName:  fantail kadavu (5).bmp Views: 46 Size:  169.3 KB
There’s a nice shop in the town of Vunisea, about a 5min walk from our digs where we bought some lovely fresh bread, beans and cheese for dinner later and saw the endemic Kadavu Honeyeater, Collared Lory and Collared Kingfisher and more broadbills on the way – cool!

We then wandered up out of the town along the road that goes into the hills and walked for a good 4km, seeing the beautiful Kadavu Shining-Parrot and Kadavu Fantail, a family party of Polynesian Trillers, Fiji Bush-Warblers and White-eyes, Peale’s Imperial-Pigeons, a single fly-over White-throated Pigeon, Island Thrush, Slaty Monarch and Polynesian Starling. Lots of large flying foxes flew overhead with a couple swooping in low to crash into the trees and land hanging upside-down.
Name:  dove velvet (15).bmp Views: 46 Size:  174.7 KBName:  whistler goldensspkandavensis (5).bmp Views: 45 Size:  142.9 KB
We spent three days on the island and finally caught up with the gorgeous Velvet Dove on the last day – realizing that I’d actually been hearing it for the last couple of days anyway!! All three ‘chrysoenas’ doves have the most un-dove-like calls imaginable but it was worth the wait for he was a truly stunning columbid! We also saw a fine female Black-faced Shrikebill too which was very nice, the local race of stunning Golden Whistlers, Lesser Shrikebills and Australasian Harrier. The walks along the road that cuts through the forest were very pleasant and on one occasion we picked a couple of friends in the form of a pair of local dogs that took it upon themselves to be our guides for the morning! In fact the younger one followed us back to the inn and spent the afternoon with us as we got through far too many beers with Sabe and his friend Ron...the 4 of us drank 18 750ml bottles of Fiji Bitter – it’s amazing how much you can drink when it’s poured into a small cup, downed, and then passed to the next person and so on!!

Dawn brought hers back up in a bag at bedtime, apparently I dozed off for a couple of hours sometime during the afternoon (don’t recall that...) and I vaguely remember Dawn ‘decorating’ the flowerbeds in the wee hours too...!! Ha ha ha! So that was the friendly island of Kadavu, great birds, great people and great visuals. What more could you ask??

Fiji Nov/Dec 2006 - BirdForum