Saturday, 12 December 2015

Australia, Fiji and New Caledonia - 17th November (Day 7)

Today was going to be a bit of a lazy day having cleaned up pretty much on Taveuni. We didn’t awake until 06:00 and actually spent time sitting and relaxing and eating a breakfast of bacon, eggs, coffee and juice we were still unnaturally early for the staff at the hotel who are evidently used to the lazing around of normal tourists. At around 08:00 we headed up the hill behind the hotel into the scrub but I think we failed to see or hear any birds but for a few chicken. A seawatch at the top of the hill produced a very distant white phase Red-footed Booby and distant Bridled and Greater Crested Tern and we tried hard to string other birds - albatross was even mentioned at one stage! It was time to leave before we disgraced ourselves. We had planned to spend the morning here in the scrub behind the hotel as others had seen Shy Ground-dove but it was so birdless that we decided to employ the services of Aslan (+679 9581013) to take us around the north of the island and then south along the east coast. Aslan picked us up at 09:30 and we drove around the coast stopping at a few spots where 24 Wandering Tattler, 4 Pacific Golden Plover, 6 Greater Crested Tern and 6 Collared Kingfisher were the highlights. Offshore, scans produced Brown Booby, many Brown Noddy and several Bridled Tern. A final seawatch just to the east of our hotel produced hundreds of Brown Noddy, 12 Red-footed Booby, 25 Brown Booby and more Bridled Terns as well as distant unidentifiable shearwaters and Pterodroma's.

It was time to head for the hotel at 13:00 and we packed, showered and enjoyed a fish and chip lunch before transferring to the airport and boarding our 16:30 Fiji Link flight to Navi. A Pacific Golden Plover showed well on the airfield and as we took off a total of 12 birds were counted. We arrived on time at 16:40 at Nadi. Then flew to Suva (the capital of Fiji) on the island of Viti Levu departing at 18:40 and landing at 19:10 we then transferred to our hotel Colo-i-suva Rainforest Eco Resort. The six of us shared a lodge building at the hotel with a single shared toilet, three of us in the tiny upstairs room, one on the floor in the sitting room and two sharing a bed in the main bedroom. It was very cosy.

Collared Kingfisher of race vitiensis with the native skink Emoia cearuleocauda - Taveuni, Fiji

Greater Crested Tern of race cristatus - Taveuni, Fiji

Pacific Golden Plover, an adult moulting to winter plumage - Taveuni, Fiji

Our plane landing on the airstrip on Taveuni, Fiji

Links to other days of the trip