May 30, 2009



by Petri Hottola

Bula! The following notes will provide some up-to-date information for bird tourists visiting Viti Levu, the main island of Fiji, and Kadavu (pronounced Kandavu), another Fijian island, as collected during a one week visit, 17th to 22nd January, 2009. The main emphasis is on endemic bird species, sites and travel arrangements. A few of photographs have been included to illustrate some of the locations and conditions on the islands. F$ refers to Fiji dollar, the local currency.

My itinerary in Fiji was pretty straightforward. Soon after my arrival from Brisbane, Australia, to Nadi (pronounced Nandi), I took a domestic flight to Vunisea, Kadavu, and spent one afternoon, night and morning there, to see the island’s four endemic species (Whistling Dove, Red Shining-Parrot, Kadavu Honeyeater, Kadavu Fantail). After a return flight to Nadi International Airport, I rented a car and drove to Suva (driving time 3 hours 15 minutes), together with a new local friend, Buka, and stayed at the Raintree Lodge. The lodge was used as a base for four days of birding in and around the capital
region. On the last day, I spent the morning in Suva, did some seabird observations on the way to Nadi and eventually arrived at the airport well after sunset, having had a supper at the close-by Raffle’s Gateway hotel. I had an early hours Air Pacific departure to Apia, Samoa, on the 23rd.

BIRDING SITES : Vunisea, Kadavu

In Vunisea, Namara Road is the place to go for the Kadavu endemics. All four species are readily seen there. In fact, I saw three of them already on the first afternoon at the Biana Accommodation, scanning the treetops of Vunisea. Red Shining-Parrots flew over the forest, a single Kadavu Honeyeater sat on top of a close-by tree and a pair of Whistling Doves were seen flying by, late in the afternoon. One night on Kadavu clearly is enough to ‘do’ the main target species. There is no need to hire a taxi and a guide to take one to more remote forest locations, unless you prefer it for the fun of it. A Pacific Black Duck, Lesser Frigatebirds, Eastern Reef-Egrets, Swift Terns, a Wandering Tattler, Collared Kingfishers and White-rumped Swiftlets were among the other birds recorded in Vunisea. The village is one of the blessed places on earth with hardly any noise of engines. Relax and enjoy the sounds of waves braking against the tropical shoreline...

The Namara Road is easy to locate as long as you know where to go. From Biana Accommodation, proceed on the bayside road towards the air strip, for a short distance, and turn left at the first major crossing. The climb up a hill, to a distinctive roundabout, had many Kadavu Honeyeaters, Collared Lorys and a few Fiji Parrot-Finches. At the five-way roundabout, take the second road to the left, signposted as Namara Rd (Fig. 6). The endemics will start to show at the first trees of secondary forest, and should all appear within the next few hundred meters. I was greeted by my first Kadavu Fantails right by the edge of the secondary forest, and saw many Red Shining-Parrots along the road, which could have been walked for several kilometers. The most difficult of the endemics, the Whistling Dove is easier in the proper forest, but two birds were seen in the beginning, too. Other nice birds along the Namara Road included Fiji Goshawks (breeding), Barking Pigeons (very common, great views), Slaty and Vanikoro Flycatchers (both quite common), a Fiji Bush-Warbler (Kadavu subspecies), Polynesian Trillers and Starlings, Fiji White-eyes and Silvereyes, and Golden Whistlers (Kadavu subspecies).

A very attractive feature of Vunisea were the hundreds of magnificent Tongan Flying- Foxes (Fruit-Bats), active both day and night, and much easier to observe there than on Viti Levu.

Birdwatching Trip Reports Fiji - Birding Travel Fiji

May 22, 2009

Pacific Seabird Group (PSG) Website:

Pacific Seabird Group

Pacific Seabird Group

Dedicated to the study of Pacific seabirds and their environment

The Pacific Seabird Group (PSG) is a society of professional seabird researchers and managers dedicated to the study and conservation of seabirds. PSG was formed in 1972 out of a need for increased communication among academic and government seabird researchers. The principal goals of PSG are (1) to increase the quality and quantity of seabird research through facilitating exchange of information and (2) to identify and assess the importance of threats to seabird populations and provide government agencies and others with expert advice on managing the threats and populations.
PSG is a member of the Ornithological Council and the American Bird Conservancy. PSG members include biologists, wildlife managers, students and conservationists from the United States, Mexico, Canada and Japan and 12 other countries. PSG annual meetings and publications provide forums where members can share their findings on all research topics relating to Pacific seabirds and discuss local and large scale conservation issues. The PSG is headed by an Executive Council including regional representatives.
The interest and concern of the PSG encompasses millions of birds of over 275 species--all related by their dependence on the ocean environment, but widely divergent in their natural histories and the problems they face. Pacific seabirds include representatives of 23 families, including penguins, loons, grebes, albatross, shearwaters, storm-petrels, boobies, pelicans, cormorants, frigatebirds, geese, ducks, puffins, murres, murrelets, auklets, guillemots, phalaropes, sandpipers, plovers, terns, jaegers, and tropicbirds.
Some Pacific seabirds are astonishingly numerous and wander widely over the seas. For example, millions of shearwaters that nest on islands off Australia and New Zealand annually Noddy migrate to feeding areas in the Bering Sea. These millions of shearwaters complement the arctic population of nesting seabirds that in Alaska alone may number over 40 million. Other species are uncommon or occur only in restricted areas. Several Pacific seabird species are endangered, including the Short-tailed Albatross and Dark-rumped Petrel. With increasing human development and pollution of the marine environment, the list of threatened and endangered species is growing. PSG members have worked hard to help the recovery of species like the brown pelican.
Although our knowledge is growing, our understanding of the ecology of Pacific seabirds is inadequate. We have yet to learn the most basic breeding biology of several species and the feeding ecology of most species is poorly known. Decades of research are still needed to understand the population dynamics of seabirds, as most are long-lived and reproduce slowly. Yet changes are swiftly coming to the seabirds world. Oil pollution, plastic in the ocean, fishery depletion's, are but a few threats that need addressing.
SEABIRDS FOR THE FUTURE - Protection and conservation of the great variety of fascinating seabirds of the Pacific Ocean is a challenge that will require the contributions, research, concern and dedication of many people from many countries if the diversity and numbers of seabirds are to be preserved

Pacific Seabird Group (PSG) Website:

May 18, 2009

Eco park sigatoka fiji

Kula Eco Park is set in the southern Coral Coast area of Viti Levu close to sigatoka, very nice animals in a tropical forest environement

Pacific Islands Conservation Research Association - Home

PICRA's mission is to advance knowledge of Pacific species, populations, and ecosystems through unbiased scientific investigations. We facilitate and conduct research that focuses on understanding of islands and the conservation issues they face. Results are used to develop solutions to conservation problems.


PICRA was formed in 2004 when founding members felt that conservation issues on Pacific islands could benefit from additional research. Although many organizations were already attempting to address various facets of conservation, much more work was needed to form the basis of a complete conservation program.

Documenting the distribution, behavior, interactions, and population dynamics of species inhabiting Pacific Oceania were of utmost importance. Conservation planning and management are complex endeavors, however, so focus on the evolutionary foundations of these species is also important.
Our Work
We are proud of the progress that has been made since our inception in 2004, and we intend to continue expanding.

PICRA sponsored scientists have conduct investigations to facilitate the recovery of insular birds and fish. Before land managers and policy makers plan recovery actions for endangered species, information is often needed about the natural history, population biology, behaviour, resource use, and demography of those organisms.

Pacific Islands Conservation Research Association - Home

May 14, 2009

Planning a bird watching vacation that allows birdwatchers The best choice

When choosing a bird watching vacation or birding tour, careful planning is the birdwatchers best resource for a successful trip.

Planning your own vacation will also suit your time and money needs more effectively.

You choose where you want to go and what birds you want to see on your trip. In addition, you choose what you do when you're not birdwatching.

Proper planning of your birding vacation will give you the ability to choose the types of birds you are most interested in spotting.

You'll also be able to set up the accommodations and other community interest that you may have.

This allows any members of your family to enjoy the same vacation, whether they enjoy birdwatching or not.
While you can set up a bird watching vacation with an agency, I believe you'll get greater enjoyment out of a birding trip you develope within your own interest.

After the first time, you'll be able to plan consecutive trips faster and with less expense than a tour company.

Full article here: Planning a bird watching vacation that allows birdwatchers The best choice

May 12, 2009

Bird Social Network

Bird Network , a leading social network for bird enthusiasts worldwide, has been launched in Dec 2008. The website has already had a successful beginning with hundreds of members taking interest and signing up.

Bird Network ( encourages members to share their passion with fellow members, by uploading images or videos of their latest bird spot, blogging about their sightings or stories, interacting on the discussion forums, and uploading their own news stories, press releases and white papers. Bird Network welcomes bird enthusiasts of all kinds, from bird watchers, to twitchers, to those who admire from their garden habitat.

“The feedback on Bird Network has been fantastic” says Kate Cummings, Online Editor of Bird Network . “Our members are very passionate about birding, and are keen to share stories and photographs from their trips and sightings. Many of our members are avid bloggers, and share some amazing stories.”

Bird Network logo

For marketing, partnerships and other queries, please contact;
Name : Kate Cummings
Tel : +44 (0)117 3119 338
Fax: +44 (0)117 3119 340

Bird Social Network

May 10, 2009

Trip Report Fiji 1999

For those of you who have not had the opportunity to visit Fiji, I'd say that you have missed one of the truly fabulous places on the planet. Aside from birding, there is ample opportunity to see many of the wonders of the sea and make connections with some of the friendliest people we have met in our travels. People still greet each other, and foreigners, with a friendly "Bula". We were fortunate to get to spend 5 nights with a Fijian-Indian family and form bonds that hopefully will last our lifetime. Often times as we were walking down roads to look for birds, farmers would stop and talk to us and offer a papaya. Theirs is a culture that seems to want to make time to be more human with each other. Probably not a bad idea for other cultures to emulate.

Fiji is the kind of place where birding can be much more leisurely than in other locales. There are not that many birds that can be seen (somewhere around 120 according to Pratt, et al). Most of the birds are fairly easy to see, with the more difficult species creating enough of a challenge to make it interesting. It was because of this that we found we had time to enjoy other activities as well. Therefore, it made for a much more rounded trip than other journeys where birding was our only focus.

Read full list here: Fiji 1999

May 8, 2009

The Fiji Petrel Expedition 2008

The Fiji Petrel Expedition 2008
Most birders will know the story behind the enigmatic and near-mythical Fiji Petrel. Unrecorded from the type specimen taken in 1855 until 1984 when Dick Watling had the extraordinary experience, when spotlighting, of a bird crash-landing into his head! Breeding is suspected on the small island of Gau but detailed searching there has not found any birds. Some 10 though, mainly juveniles, have since crashed onto roofs and grounded in a local village there. One of these last year, 2007, having died, is now preserved as a study skin (the 1855 skin is at the BMNH and this second in Fiji). The biology of the species is completely unknown.
Left and right - the Fiji Petrel of 1984
Left, right and below -
Fiji Petrel, the bird of 2007
The voyage had three main goals:
1. To learn the at-sea identification of the Fiji Petrel, observe behaviour if possible, and hopefully get an understanding of the likely numbers in the area.
2. To try to obtain photos of Fiji Petrel at sea, for use in both scientific and conservation/education publications to protect native Fijian birds.
3. To survey other species of petrels in this area, on which limited information is currently available.
The proposed expedition dates, at sea, were 17th-26th July
The seabird team aboard consisted of Hadoram Shirihai (Israel), Dick Watling (Fiji), Tony Pym (England),
Patric Blomquist (Sweden), Jörg Kretzschmar (Germany), Geoff Jones (Australia) and Dick Newell (England)