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This October Birding Ecotours tour leader and guide Andy Walker led a custom Pacific Tour around New Caledonia, Fiji, and Samoa. This custom tour followed our scheduled departure Pacific Tour itinerary, and the 2017 itinerary can be viewed here. The trip report is now online and can be found here. Below, Andy summarizes the trip and provides a few photos. Please visit our tour page for many more photos.

 

We had a great tour around several Pacific Islands this October. First stop was Grande Terre, the largest island in New Caledonia and home to plenty of endemics, several of which are totally astonishing, like Kagu, Cloven-feathered Dove, Horned Parakeet, and the tool-using New Caledonia Crow. These are some of the most interesting, beautiful, and bizarre birds on our planet, and we enjoyed taking pictures and observing them all at length.

birding ecotours kagu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kagu

Cloven-feathered Dove

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cloven-feathered Dove

We also enjoyed spending time with numerous other endemics, such as New Caledonian Whistler, Yellow-bellied Flyrobin, Crow Honeyeater, White-bellied Goshawk, New Caledonian Myzomela, and Red-throated Parrotfinch.

Our second destination was Fiji. We spent time on three islands: Viti Levu, Vanua Levu, and Kadavu. Here we experienced real Fijian culture and weather and an assortment of exciting birds. Endemic parrots were a big draw with Masked Shining Parrot, Maroon Shining Parrot, Crimson Shining Parrot, and Collared Lory all spectacular birds. However, the shining parrots were outshone by the totally outrageous fruit doves with the following all seen well: Golden Fruit Dove, Orange Fruit Dove, Whistling Fruit Dove, and Many-colored Fruit Dove.

Orange Fruit Dove

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orange Fruit Dove

It wasn’t all about the doves and parrots, though, with loads of other endemics seen well: Azure-crested Flycatcher, Vanikoro Flycatcher, Fiji Whistler, Sulphur-breasted Myzomela, Black-throated Shrikebill, Fiji Goshawk, and of course one of the main Fijian targets – Silktail.

Our final stop was a brief one on Upolu, Samoa, where we found some very nice birds during our short stay. Flat-billed Kingfisher was a big target, and we got good views of several birds. Other highlights included the showy Crimson-crowned Fruit Dove, Cardinal Myzomela, Blue-crowned Lorikeet, Pacific Robin, Mao, Samoan Whistler, and Red-headed Parrotfinch. It was also hard not to enjoy the sight of Buff-banded Rails walking around gardens and roadside verges out in plain sight and totally abundant!

Also while on Upolu we saw the graceful White-tailed Tropicbird and White Terns displaying over forests we were birding in along with a constant stream of Brown Noddies passing overhead taking a shortcut across the island. All very spectacular!

Cardinal Myzomela

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cardinal Myzomela

This Pacific Tour gives the perfect introduction into the region. Some great food, scenery, and people also accompany the wonderful birds and make for a great experience. A final word from Andy:

There is a lot of work to do on the taxonomy of many species in the region. Recent updates from BirdLife International hint at many proposed splits; however, we used the IOC taxonomy for our tour and so will have to wait whether any of these are accepted by the IOC.

We saw several subspecies across different islands in Fiji or the wider region, and many of these may be elevated to full-species status in the near future. Examples that spring to mind include the Fiji Whistler complex – we saw at least three very different subspecies on the Fijian islands we visited (these looked and sounded very different to each other – see the photos below of two of the three subspecies we encountered, one from Vanua Levu and one from Kadavu). Similarly, the Streaked Fantail on Grande Terre (New Caledonia) looked and sounded very different to those seen on Viti Levu and Vanua Levu (Fiji)… just some food for thought.

The trip list in the Trip Report is broken down to subspecies level so that we can keep track of any potential armchair ticks that may arise in the future!

Fiji Whistler – (aurantiiventris) from Vanua Levu, Fiji

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fiji Whistler – (aurantiiventris) from Vanua Levu, Fiji

Fiji Whistler – (kandavensis) from Kadavu Island, Fiji.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fiji Whistler – (kandavensis) from Kadavu Island, Fiji.

 

 

 

Tours by destination



Canada

Magnificent Canada, humongous (the second largest country on the planet) yet sparsely populated, boasts endless tracts of wilderness. The great boreal forests of Canada are inhabited by some very special birds such as Boreal Chickadee, Boreal Owl, Great Gray Owl, Spruce Grouse, Black-backed Woodpecker, and other desirables that are more difficult to find in the USA than here in Canada. Snowy Owl and Northern Hawk Owl can occur in good numbers near the American border in a different habitat, the prairie grasslands of the central provinces. Point Pelee is arguably the most famous spring stopover site in the whole of North America for wood warblers and other migrants as they cross over Lake Erie from Central America, the Caribbean, and the United States, en route to their Canadian breeding grounds.

Canada is famous for its absolutely spectacular scenery, from Vancouver Island and the Canadian Rockies in the west to the Niagara Falls and Great Lakes in the east.

Not surprisingly considering Canada’s vast tracts of wilderness, some of North America’s most iconic mammals, including wolf, bears (three species – Churchill is for example famous for polar bear), moose, etc., which are still relatively common.

Birding tours to Canada not only generate some highly desirable bird species, but, as a by-product of the birding, good mammals and truly impressive scenery are the bonus.

 

Please also visit Bird Treks, A Quality Birdwatching Tour Company.

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USA

Loveland Pass

From the eastern shoreline west across the rolling Appalachian mountains, across the wide open plains of the mid-west into the towering Rockies and across the arid desert-like western slope — the continent of North American offers a very wide range of habitats to explore. The Appalachians offer the widest array of North American wood warblers, and our Tennessee tour offers the chance to see over 30 of them in breeding splendor, both on territory and in migration. The foothills of the eastern Rockies and the plains leading up to them offer the chance to see one the world’s great birding spectacles: the lekking dances of grouse and prairie chickens trying to win mates. North along Hudson Bay, there is the chance to see open tundra prairie shorebirds in breeding plumage, like Hudsonian Godwit and American Golden Plover, as well as grouse like White-tailed Ptarmigan and Spruce Grouse. Sparrows and warblers are also in abundance in the forested regions up there. This continent has a lot of spectacular owls, and we offer several “Owls of the World” (R) trips here. North America is one of the most scenically spectacular continents, and it is also teaming with wildlife in addition to birds: moose, elk, bears, mountain goats, and so much more. Join us in exploring this rich wilderness.

Please also visit Bird Treks, A Quality Birdwatching Tour Company.

Click Here to Read More

We can run any of our tours privately any time and we can also arrange custom itineraries - send us your wish-list and we'll put the itinerary together! See more here.



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