A really good trip that although experienced some rain did not dampen our enthusiasm as we toured three major islands (Viti Levu, Taveuni and Kadavu) attempting to see as many of Fiji's birds as possible. By doing this we visited remote forest areas and were guests in a Fijian homestay seeing more of this fascinating archipelago than most tourists or even Fijians. It was an action packed week.
Dining at Taveuni by Jack Shapiro
We did very well on the birds recording 54 species including good views of 20 endemics and several regional specialties. Great highlights included excellent views the three endemic doves (Golden, Orange and Whistling) that took considerable effort. We had stunning views of all of the Shining Parrots and the brilliantly colourful Collared Lory. Although Fiji has a small bird fauna it sure compensates for that with colourful species as even locally common species like Collared Kingfisher, Orange-breasted Myzomela, Blue-crested Flycatcher and Red-headed Parrotfinch added their vibrant hues to an already exotic location. Then there was the Giant Forest Honeyeater whose siren call was perhaps the most impressive bird song in the rainforest although the deep booming bark of the Barking Imperial-Pigeon was stiff competition.
I would like to thank all who travelled with me on this tour for your good company, patience and humour. So a special thanks to Malcolm Cox, Barbara Glover, Rodger Hall, Dorothy and Allen Lawson, Julie Luff, Jack Shapiro and Belinda Webster.
Mon 10 July: Fly Sydney to Suva on Air Pacific. Transfer by taxi to Raintree Lodge.
Tue 11 July: Colo-i-Suva Forest birding in morning and afternoon between heavy rains. Overnight Raintree Lodge.
Wed 12 July: Colo-i-Suva Forest (0700-1130). Transfer to Nausori Airport and fly to Taveuni. Walk along the coastline from resort (1700-1800). Overnight Garden Island Resort.
Thu 13 July: Morning exploring Des Voeux Peak (0700-1200). Afternoon Taveuni Estates.
Fri 14 July: Fly Taveuni to Kadavu. Transfer by boat to Reecešs Place. Afternoon exploring Galoa Island.
Sat 15 July: Transfer by boat to Daku village exploring waterfall trails (0730-1100) Afternoon boat trip around Galoa Island.
Sun 16 July: Fly Kadavu to Viti Levu. Tour concludes.
Mon 17 July: Fly Suva to Sydney on morning flight.
Dion & Humprey Kadevu by Jack Shapiro
* introduced species
E endemic species
Brown Booby Sula leucogaster: T (10) on 12th, K (1-2) daily with some great perched views on navigation beacons.
Great Frigatebird Fregata minor: T (1) on 13th seen by Belinda, K (1) female on 15th
Lesser Frigatebird Fregata ariel: T (1), K (3) on 14th. Excellent views of male and female in flight low overhead.
Eastern Reef Egret Egretta sacra: T, Nausori Airport and K-the majority dark morphs with just a few white morphs.
White-faced Heron Ardea novaehollandiae: Singles at Nausori Airport on both 12th and 14th July.
Striated Heron Butorides striatus: (1) at Galoa Island, K seen in flight on 15th was a good record of this rarely recorded species in Fiji. My first Fijian record.
Pacific Black Duck Anas superciliosa: (5) on small settling pond near Nausori Airport on 12th and (2) in flight over Garden Island Resort, T on 14th.
*Red Junglefowl Gallus gallus: Feral chickens were recorded in secondary scrub in Taveuni but most looked very dissimilar to the genuine Red Junglefowl.
E Fiji Goshawk Accipiter rufitorques: Quite common and often very tame-recorded on all the islands visited with several great views of perched birds down to 20 metres.
Swamp Harrier Circus approximans: Recorded on 5 days mostly (1-2) per day on all three islands visited.
Buff-banded Rail Gallirallus philippensis: Heard only T at Estates Road on 13th and Galoa Island, K on 16th.
Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio: (1) T on 13th on the main road east of GIR.
Crested Tern Sterna bergii: (7) T perched on boat mooring devices off GIR daily and up to (10) around Galoa, K on 15th.
*Rock Pigeon Columba livia: (5) Nausori Airport on 14th. Common in Suva.
White-throated Pigeon Columba vitiensis: (1) in flight, Galoa Island, K on 14th gave a good view and (1) at the Airport in Vunisea, K on 16th gave an excellent view even being able to see the green gloss on the crown. A difficult bird to see in Fiji, only my second and third sightings here.
*Spotted Turtle-Dove Streptopelia chinensis: In small numbers near Raintree Lodge and on Taveuni, around our hotel.
Arriving at Coli-i-Suva by Jack Shapiro
E Barking Imperial-Pigeon Ducula latrans: Recorded daily in forested areas on all three islands with several outstanding views, the deep gruff barking being a feature sound anytime we were in quality forest.
Many-coloured Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus perousii: (1) male scoped well at Des Voeux Peak, T on 13th and a female that perched out and was well scoped on Galoa Island, K on 16th.
E Golden Dove Chrysoenas luteovirens: (1) female scoped well at Colo-i-Suva Forest on 11th and then a great male and female on the 12th in the same area that allowed mega scope views including watching it barking.
E Orange Dove Chrysoenas victor: (1) male at Des Voeux Peak, T on 13th was well spotted by Roger and everyone managed a view as it made repeat active appearances in the mid-canopy of a roadside tree and sat briefly in the scope. Another seen leader only lower down the road where we could hear them clicking in the forest but remained elusive.
E Whistling Dove Chrysoenas layardi: (2) males tracked down with considerable effort in dense forest above Daku village on K on the morning of 15th. where we managed one male in the telescope for several minutes.
E Collared Lory Phigys solitarius: Heard only at Colo-i-Suva with a small flock scoped well on Des Voeux Peak, T on 13th. On Galoa Island, K several small flocks were present around our rooms, attracted to flowering Coconut Palms allowing daily great views of this spectacular parrot.
E Sulphur-breasted Shining-Parrot Prosopeia personata: Recorded in pairs and singly (up to 6) on both 12-13th at Colo-i-Suva where we had several great close range scope views of this great bird.
E Red Shining-Parrot Prosopeia tabuensis: (12) seen on 13th at Des Voeux Peak and Estates Road, T with several excellent close-up scope studies.
E Kadavu Shining-Parrot Prosopeia splendens: (2-4) seen daily 14-16th on K with best views on Galoa Island.
Fan-tailed Cuckoo Cacomantis flabelliformis: (1) seen behind the Forestry Management Building at Colo-i-Suva in the morning on the 12th was a great record of this rarely recorded species in Fiji, my first sighting. It was an adult and only seen briefly by Roger and myself. Endemic subspecies simus.
White-rumped Swiftlet Collocalia spodiopygius: Recorded in small numbers on 5 days on all the major islands.
Collared Kingfisher Todiramphus chloris: Recorded in small numbers daily but a favourite with all because of the great views and colour.
E Orange-breasted Myzomela Myzomela jugularis: Recorded daily on all islands-a successful, common and colourful species.
Wattled Honeyeater Foulehaio carunculata: Common at Colo-i-Suva and Taveuni.
E Kadavu Honeyeater Xanthotis provocator: Moderately common in flowering Coconut Palms around our accommodation at Reecešs Place, Galoa Island, K. Also seen at the airport.
E Giant Forest Honeyeater Gymnomyza viridis: (1-2) present around Raintree Lodge and adjacent Colo-i-Suva Forest on 11-12th with individuals singing throughout the night also.
Also (1-2) seen on Des Voeux Peak Road, T on 13th , two different subspecies recorded with brunneirostris on Viti Levu with the siren song with brown bill and olive legs and nominate viridis on Taveuni with less powerful song and yellow bill and legs.
Golden Whistler Pachycephala pectoralis: (1-2) daily in Colo-i-Suva of the subspecies graeffi with yellow throat and ŗheadlights˛, no breastband; (4) seen on Des Voeux Peak, T of the subspecies torquata with yellow throat and black breastband and very diverse song repertoire and (2) of the more familiar Australian looking types with white throat and thin black breast band belonging to the subspecies kandavensis.
E Silktail Lamprolia victoriae: (2) in primary forest interior on Des Voeux Peak Road, T on 13th. Most people managed a view but it was difficult in the gloomy forest interior to pick up these active birds.
Spotted Fantail Rhipidura spilodera: (2-4) present Colo-i-Suva Forest and at least (10) Des Voeux Peak Rd., T on 13th allowed for many close views of this charming little bird.
E Kadavu Fantail Rhipidura personata: (10) seen very well in forest interior on trails behind Davua Village, K on 15th.
E Slaty Flycatcher Mayrornis lessoni: Present on all major islands, recorded on 5 days with several great views.
Vanikoro Flycatcher Myiagra vanikorensis: Present on all islands and recorded daily allowing numerous great views.
E Blue-crested Flycatcher Myiagra azureocapilla: (1-2) seen on both days in Colo-i-Suva Forest and at least (3) seen well on Des Voeux Peak Rd., T. A very beautiful if restless bird.
Fiji Shrikebill Clytorhynchus vitiensis: (1) Colo-i-Suva Forest on 12th, (5) Des Voeux Peak Rd., T on 13th and (4) in forest interior Davua Village, K on 15th. Several great views.
Polynesian Triller Lalage maculosa: Recorded daily in small numbers on all islands mostly in secondary forest and forest edge.
*Australian Magpie Gymnorhina tibicen: (7) seen around the Taveuni Estates on 13th.
E Fijian Woodswallow Artamus mentalis: Numerous on forest edge at Colo-i-Suva with several around Nausori Airport and Taveuni Airport. Great views of this obliging, chunky and cheeky endemic.
E Red-headed Parrotfinch Erythrura peali: Moderately common in forest edge and village gardens at Colo-i-Suva where everyone appreciated this glowing bird. Also present on T.
*Red Avadavat Amandava amandava: A few small flocks found in weedy fields adjacent to Nausori Airport while we killed sometime due to a delayed flight on 12th. Most birds present were not fully coloured with a few males moulting into their red breeding plumage.
Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica: Recorded in small numbers on 5 days on all three islands with best views at Galoa Island, K.
*Red-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus cafer: Abundant in village gardens in Viti Levu.
E Fiji Bush-Warbler Vitia ruficapilla: Heard only at Colo-i-Suva; one bird taped in a couple of times at Des Voeux Peak Rd., T gave a few glimpse views but finally in the forest interior we enjoyed several great views near Davua Village, K on the 15th.
E Fiji White-eye Zosterops layardi: Recorded in quality forest on all three islands with best views at Colo-i-Suva where we could look down on a feeding flock in a fruiting tree on the forest edge on the 11th. Very brilliant yellow green plumage.
Silvereye Zosterops lateralis: Recorded on two days, at Colo-i-Suva on 12th and Galoa Island, K on 16th in forest edge and secondary scrub.
Island Thrush Turdus poliocephalus: Small number seen on Des Voeux Peak Rd., T mostly glimpsed in flight in forest interior.
Polynesian Starling Aplonis tabuensis: (2) on Estates Rd., T on 13th and 2-4 daily in coconut palm gardens at Reecešs Place, Galoa Is., K was a good result for this uncommon and inconspicuous bird.
*Common Myna Acridotheres tristis: Abundant in village gardens, cleared areas on Viti Levu and Taveuni. Not recorded on Kadavu.
*Jungle Myna Acridotheres fuscus: Abundant on Viti Levu and a couple seen on Taveuni on 14th.
Samoan Flying-Fox Pteropus samoensis: (1) at Raintree Lodge roosting in tree adjacent volleyball court allowed a scope view of this less common and inconspicuous species.
Tongan Flying-Fox Pteropus tonganus: Recorded daily on all three islands including a roosting tree next to Garden Island Resort that allowed scope studies.
by Dion Hobcroft guiding and leading for Follow That Bird