Jun 14, 2009

WORLDTWITCH - Fiji Birding Trip Report, Dec 96 - Jan 97, by Phil Gregory


by Phil Gregory

Sicklebill Safaris Report #2
Composite list 29th December 1996 - 5th January 1997
Phil, Sue, Kaja and Rowan Gregory from PNG and Chris Eastwood from Australia.
We arrived from Honiara at Nadi on 29.12.96 skirting cyclone Fergus en route, and spent the first two days in the Nausori Highlands, having hired a small Suzuki at the airport. We did well and saw all that we could expect, including good views of male Golden Dove and Black-faced Shrikebill, so headed over to Taveuni on 31.12 for a 3-night stay. Prior to going to Taveuni we checked up on flights to Kadavu, which used to have just a couple a week, and were delighted to find that we could fit it into our schedule as flights are now daily.
Taveuni had the Silktail as the priority, with some anxiety as a recent Aussie trip had failed to find it. Fortunately we had no such problems and saw it easily on both of our visits to Des Voeux Peak, along with male Orange Dove and the Giant Forest Honeyeater that we had heard but not seen at Nausori. The weather was problematic on New Year’s Day, and poor on January 2nd, but we did very well and failed to find only the Red-throated Lorikeet, Charmosyna amabilis.
We flew back to Suva on 3.1.97. and then over to Kadavu that afternoon for two nights at Reece’s Place, on an island near the airport. This was brilliant as his lodge is just a 5 minute boat ride from forest that holds all the Kadavu endemics. That afternoon we saw all except the Whistling Dove, even Mayr’s Flycatcher that we had dipped thus far. Chris began next morning in spectacular style by scoping the Whistling Dove from Reece’s Place on the mainland opposite! I missed it so was a little apprehensive, but we had no problem locating it in the tall trees along the creek opposite Reece’s Island.
* and bold italic Latin name denotes a Fiji endemic.
WORLDTWITCH - Fiji Birding Trip Report, Dec 96 - Jan 97, by Phil Gregory