Expedition Log: Birding the Pacific Voyage #1481

25-05-2014

Birding the Pacific

Voyage #1481

 
Dates: 16 April - 2 May 2014
 
 
Day 1
16 April 2014. Fiji.


New passengers boarded in the early morning to join those who had travelled on the Spirit of Enderby from New Zealand via the Kermadecs and Tonga to Fiji. The ship left the dock in Suva at 10am and we headed out to sea, setting a course east towards Gau (pronounced “now”). Introductions and safety briefings were conducted before lunch, allowing time on deck to enjoy a high density of colorful and varied flying fish, along with Red-footed Boobies and Black Noddies. After lunch we saw Wilson’s Storm-Petrel, Collared Petrel and Tahiti Petrel, plus a fairly large pod of Pantropical Spotted Dolphins. About 5 miles south of Gau calm seas meant we could launch the Zodiacs and set a chum slick in hope of attracting the very rare Fiji Petrel to the area. This bird was rediscovered in the 1980s after being ‘lost’ for about 130 years and was first photographed at sea as recently as 2009. After an hour our initial optimism dimmed to feint hope, but before it reached anxiety Adam called “get on this petrel!” as a Fiji Petrel flew in nicely and showed to all. Wow, that was too easy! A second sighting later might have involved another individual, and we also saw three Tahiti Petrels at the slick. A beautiful sunset as we headed back to the ship preceded celebratory drinks in the bar and a fine dinner, after which we retired for a welcome sleep. The day ended at 18o13’S 178o11’E; sea surface temperature (SST) 28oC. Variably cloudy, hot and sunny with 8-10 knot SE breeze, low seas.


 Photo © MKelly

Day 2
17 April 2014. Fiji.
Overnight we moved a short distance south to 18o20’S 179o12’E, still with Gau visible to the north. Before breakfast we noted a few birds, including Collared and Tahiti Petrels, and after breakfast the Zodiacs were launched for another chumming session. Seeing Tahiti and Collared Petrels up close from the Zodiacs was stunning and we also encountered some very curious Red-footed Boobies and a female Lesser Frigatebird – but sadly no luck with Fiji Petrels today, even after 6 hours. Loading back aboard we headed ESE towards our next destination, ending with a nice sunset at 18o34’S 179o30’E; SST 28oC. Variably cloudy, hot and sunny with 8-10 knot SE breeze and low seas.


 Photo © M.Kelly

Day 3. 
18 April 2014. Fiji.
Overnight we steamed ESE to arrive in the early morning off the small island on Ogea Levu in the southern Lau group, 19o09’S 178o29’W; SST 28oC. Everyone was ashore by 9.15am and we were greeted at a traditional sevu sevu – a ceremonial presentation of yaqona (kava root) to the village headman, after which we spent the morning birding near the town. The forest was alive with birds, not just the astonishingly noisy Wattled Honeyeaters, but also the very localized Ogea Monarch (never before seen by a birding group!), Fiji Shrikebills, Fiji Whistlers, Sulphur-breasted Myzomelas, and the near-constant sound of Fruit Doves and Imperial Pigeons. Back at the village we were treated to a meke (dancing and singing by the village children), along with passing of the bilo (kava bowl) and a presentation by Rodney of articles and a financial contribution to the school of this remote island outpost. Following the meke we had an hour to wander around the village, go for more birding, or dance and interact with the locals. At 3pm it was time to leave, and as had been predicted the tide had gone out, which meant a long walk across the tidal flats followed by a long push of the Zodiacs through the shallows. After being guided by the pilot through the narrow reef opening we Zodiac-raced back to the ship and pulled away by 4.30pm, heading WNW back towards Suva, ending with sunset at 19o11’S 178o45’W; SST 28oC.
 
The setting sun
Bleeds liquid gold
On molten pewter seas
 
As on we run
To lands untold
With soft and balmy breeze
 
In gentle swell
At end of day
We pass into the night
 
Where dreams propel
Our minds to play
’ere dawn will bring new light
 

Photo © M.Kelly

Day 4. 
19 April 2014. Fiji.

Dawn found us heading WNW to Suva, back on Viti Levu, where we arrived in the late morning to drop off some officials, bid farewell to Dave and pick up a new crew member. Next we headed south and then west off the coast of Viti Levu, with the rugged outline of Kadavu visible to the south for much of the afternoon. Mostly clear and sunny conditions made it very hot and sunny out on deck, where the rewards included scattered flocks of birds (mainly noddies and boobies), varied flying fish, a Cuvier’s Beaked Whale for some, and a couple of groups of flying squid. 18o35’S 179o07’E to 18o25’S 177o42’E; SST 28oC.
 
Day 5. 
20 April 2014. At Sea.

Today we headed west towards Vanuatu, 18o17’S 175o30’E to 18o10’S 173o24’E; SST 28oC. All day in the deep blue desert, although with good diversity and numbers of flying fish in the morning, including numerous pinkwings and necromancers that offered photo opportunities for all. The Sea Shop was opened mid morning to provide retail therapy and a respite from the heat outside, and after lunch Rodney, Adam, and Dr. Anne gave a briefing on the coming days in Vanuatu. A spectacularly illustrated talk by Meghan on reef fish also enlivened the afternoon. Outside, birds were few and far between, but included distant views of what were likely our first Vanuatu Petrels, along with Collared and Tahiti Petrels, a few Wilson’s Storm-Petrels, and a couple of White-tailed Tropicbirds.
 
Day 6. 
21 April 2014. At Sea.

We continued to head west in Vanuatu waters, 18o05’S 171o54’E to 17o57’S 169o46’E; SST 27oC. Another day in the blue desert, with scatterings of birds and flying fish throughout the day, the latter including silvery sprays of Small Clearwings and some spectacular turquoise-bodied model that earned the name Turquoise Vibrator, for their strong tail vibrations on the sea surface. Notable birds included Kermadec Petrel, our first (presumed) Vanuatu Petrel and small groups of northward-bound migrant Short-tailed Shearwaters. In mid-morning Chris gave a talk on the Russian Far East and after lunch an episode from the Blue Planet documentary offered another chance to escape from the outside heat. Adam set out a fish-oil slick in late afternoon, which quickly produced Tahiti and Collared Petrels and the day ended with a spectacular swarm of feeding Wedge-tailed Shearwaters (numbering perhaps 1,000 birds) in the green-flash sunset. After some days at sea we looked forward to landfall the following morning.
 
Day 7. 
22 April 2014. Vanuatu.

We awoke at anchor in Mélé Bay off the capital Port Vila, on the island of Efate, 17o44’S 168o18’E; SST 27oC (having anchored at 5am). After customs and port procedures we went ashore and wandered at leisure around the town. It was a bit of a shock to the system after the preceding days and weeks. There was a cruise ship in town, high-rise apartments, fancy jewelry stores, swarms of tourists and even another cruise ship arriving as we took the Zodiacs ashore! It was wonderful to stretch the legs a little as we explored the colourful local markets and the locals were all very friendly, even in the wooded outskirts that some birders sought out. Birds included Pacific Emerald Doves, Coconut Lorikeets, and the endemic Vanuatu White-eye, along with Glossy Swiftlets and Gray-eared Honeyeaters. Everyone was back on board for lunch as we cruised north a short distance to the offshore islet of Lelepa for some late afternoon snorkeling and a birding walk option. On the short transit there was a good show of flying fish along with a couple of Pantropical Spotted Dolphins which briefly rode the bow-wave. Birds on land were quiet as expected for this time of day, but the snorkeling was excellent. We remained anchored in the lee of Lelepa for dinner; 17o35’S 168o12’E; SST 27oC.
 
Day 8. 
23 April 2014. Vanuatu.

In the early hours we moved north to the Shepherd Islands group and anchored off the island of Tongoa. Zodiacs were in the water to ferry the party ashore by 7.15am. In the following three hours we got to appreciate the expedition nature of this trip, starting with a helpful local directing us to a landing that was not where we wanted to be, but at least it was an opportunity for the expedition team to practice a stern landing on a boulder beach! Next we endured a long and wet-splashing Zodiac ride as we looked for the fire that the islanders said would show us the landing spot, but when we saw what we thought was the obvious smoke signal, we found a landing site but no people… However, on the way back to the ship a small fire and group of people were spotted along the shore. We had finally located the right spot! Rodney, Adam and the agent Virginia went ashore to scout while the rest sat offshore patiently waiting in the Zodiacs, while rain showers rinsed off the salt water... Plan B+ was to return to the ship for snacks and regrouping before an 11.30am return to shore for birding.
 
Accompanied by local guide Joel the birding group found a massive fruiting fig tree, which hosted numerous Tanna and Red-bellied Fruit Doves along with the very local and sought after Royal Parrotfinch. Following this success some folks returned to the ship, while others kept birding and a small contingent made the tumultuous Zodiac ride over to Laika Island. Here the locals were harvesting Wedge-tailed Shearwaters, a traditional food source they continue to exploit in juxtaposition to their living in the modern world with cell phones. Some folks who stayed on the ship were treated to the sight of a small pod of Spinner Dolphins passing by so the afternoon proved a great success for all. We stayed in the calm anchorage for dinner and through the night, a pleasant change from the choppy seas on the windward side of the island. 20+ knots SE wind, mostly cloudy with rain showers (some heavy!); SST 27oC.
 
Day 9. 
24 April 2014. Vanuatu.

In the early hours we headed north along the sheltered west side of Epi Island, anchoring again just after 7am. From 7.30 to 11.30am we cruised along the coast at Lamen Bay, hoping for an encounter with the legendary Dugong – and then Adam spotted one! Some folks got into the water for closer views as the animal swam along the sandy bottom, occasionally surfacing to show its back and flukes. The Dugong is one of four living species in the order Sirenians, bizarre marine herbivores believed to be distantly related to elephants; all species have been hunted extensively by humans, and to see a living animal is a real treat. Also of note during our vigil were large numbers of Sea Striders – remarkable pelagic insects that skitter rapidly over the sea surface like tiny silver spots.
 
The anchor was hauled up at midday we headed back out to sea and steamed NNW through the islands towards Santo, with a following 15-20 knot SE wind, mostly cloudy skies and threatening rain that never quite fulfilled its potential. Birds were quiet at first, but later a steady stream of Collared and Magnificent Petrels plus a few Polynesian Storm-Petrels kept people out on deck until dark. There was also a flying fish show featuring spectacular Yellow Bandwings. Ended at 15o50’S 167o38’E; SST 27-28oC.


 Photo © M.Kelly

Day 10.
25 April 2014. Vanuatu.

We awoke anchored in the flat calm waters of Big Bay under grey overcast skies and ringed by the sharply outlined forested peaks of Santo Island; 15o09’S 166o56’E; SST 27-28oC. After breakfast and a briefing we went ashore “around about as soon as we could,” and all were on the black sand beach by 7.30am. We were greeted by the chief and villagers who adorned us with colorful leis. Following this formality guides Bill, Velda and Mike escorted us to the adjacent Vatthe (meaning “eye of the sea”) Conservation Area (CA), which comprises 2720 hectares and is believed to contain the only extensive alluvial and limestone forest left in Vanuatu. The CA was established in 1994 and holds 48 bird species, some 75% of the land and freshwater bird species recorded from Vanuatu and we saw a good selection of them. Highlights were the fancy Buff-bellied Monarch (placed in its own genus), the handsome but shy Vanuatu Kingfisher and, most surprising of all, a Vanuatu Megapode perched up in a tree for over 30 minutes for all to see in the telescope! Other highlights included Vanuatu Flying Foxes, Southern Shrikebill, noisy and numerous Melanesian Whistlers and three species of swiftlets. We enjoyed a delicious lunch at the village, with wonderful palm-woven plates and had the afternoon free to explore, go birding again, or return to ship for some rest. Everyone was back on board for dinner and we headed back out to sea just after darkness fell on another amazing day.
 
Day 11. 
26 April 2014. Vanuatu.

We awoke to calm seas off Vanua Lava, the only known breeding island for Vanuatu Petrel, formally described to science as recently as 2001 and first photographed at sea in 2009! This little-known bird closely resembles the much more common White-necked Petrel (which some of us had seen a few weeks earlier around the Kermadec Islands), but differs slightly in size, dimensions and underwing pattern. What would we find…?
 
The island peaks were shrouded in cloud and our morning vigil on deck passed under overcast skies and a few showers. However, from first light till breakfast a steady trickle of Vanuatu Petrels passed by (about 30 birds in total, seen by all out on deck), with some giving good views. After breakfast a few hardy souls took a Zodiac ride and spent the morning drifting in calm, bright overcast conditions, hoping for better views (and photos) of this little-known petrel – and with some success. Then, after lunch and some time to relax, we set out in the Zodiacs again. After a quiet period (if Beaked Whales blowing and surfacing around us could be termed quiet!) the sea surface began boiling with fish as Tuna chased baitfish and flying fish, whilst Vanuatu Petrels, boobies, noddies and a lone male Great Frigatebird swooped down around us snatching fish from the surface and in the air – wow! The backdrop of dramatic clouds and a beautiful sunset capped off “just another” amazing and successful day on this pioneering voyage. All day was spent around 13o33’S 167o36’E; SST 28oC.


 
Day 12. 
27 April 2014. Vanuatu.

At 6.30am we anchored off the village of Latneak on Vanua Lava in the Banks Islands, 13o47’S 167o33’E; SST 28oC. This was the base for the expedition to locate the breeding grounds of Vanuatu Petrel, up in the forested mountain slopes above the village. Our arrival ashore was marked with a traditional greeting ceremony that involved dancing, meeting all the villagers and being adorned with colorful leis. Birding was good around the village, where the endemic Vanuatu Honeyeater was seen easily, along with Coconut Lorikeets and for a few, the localized Palm Lorikeet. Then we split into three groups for forest walks with local guides. Some walks were more strenuous than others, involving a lot of bush-whacking, fording a few streams and really getting an appreciation for how it must have been for the early explorers – a true expedition day! Back in the village we enjoyed local food and drink before a farewell ceremony in which Adam, Dr. Anne, Rodney and others were somewhat reluctantly included. It had been a truly memorable morning all round.
 
Back on board we headed south to Sola, the capital of Torba Province where we bid farewell to Virginia, Anno and the customs agent, then continued south on a circumnavigation of Vanua Lava for a ‘lazy Sunday afternoon’ in gentle seas. Those out on deck were treated to a few Vanuatu Petrels, some nice flying fish, a pod of Pilot Whales and a breaching Blaineville’s Beaked Whale close inshore off the island! Beers on the bow were enjoyed thanks to Meghan and Dr. Anne at the end of a memorable day at 13o44’S 167o14’E. Overnight we headed steadily northwards toward the Solomons.


 Photo © MKelly

Day 13. 
28 April 2014. Solomon Islands.

The day began with a stunning sunrise and the island of Vanikoro (also spelled Vanikolo) off on the horizon as we headed NNW into the somewhat isolated outpost of Temotu Province (comprising the Santa Cruz Islands) in the Solomon Islands. 11o41’S 166o09’E; SST 28oC. Birding before breakfast was good, with feeding flocks of shearwaters and terns over ‘fish boils’ at the surface, and several Tropical Shearwaters and at least one Gray-backed Tern were noted. The flying fish show had become even more spectacular as numerous flights of several hundreds shot away from the bow in silver sprays and splashing chaos. Sea life was notably quieter after breakfast in the intense and humid heat, but a group of Longman’s Beaked Whales was seen, along with a scattered pod of False Killer Whales. We continued watching through to arrival around lunchtime off the island of Nendo, with the spectacular smoking volcanic island of Tinakula in view the whole time. At 12.45pm Rodney and Adam took a Zodiac ashore to pick up our local ‘man on the ground’ Malachi, along with the Solomon officials and we steamed on to the Graciosa Bay anchorage in a tropical downpour.
 
We completed our formal entry into the country while watching and photographing a Red-footed Booby which perched obligingly on the ship. Zodiacs were loaded at 3pm and we headed to the village of Malo on the satellite island of Tomotu Neo. After a welcome ceremony we broke into groups with local guides (each accompanied by about a third of the village!) for birding walks in the nearby plantations. Species seen included some nice Long-tailed Cuckoos, Coconut Lorikeets and Polynesian Trillers, along with numerous Temotu Flying Foxes. Back aboard at sunset we enjoyed another fine dinner before a short sleep…


 Photo © M.Kelly

Day 14. 
29 April 2014. Solomon Islands.

“Breakfast at 3.30am followed by two endemic white-eyes” was the order of the day on the island of Nendo, where we were the first ever birding group to visit! We were ashore by 4.30am on the dock in Lata, a small but bustling waterfront even at this hour, when it was already hot and humid. Our truck arrived at 5am and we loaded up for the hour long drive (during which we watched a beautiful sunrise) up into the island, near the village of Noipe. There we split into three small groups, each with 3 or 4 local guides, and spent about six hours on narrow trails in some beautiful forest that was surprisingly quiet for birds. With some work however, we found both Santa Cruz and Sanford’s White-eyes, along with Rusty-winged Starling (for some), numerous Cardinal Myzomelas, Banded Rails (on the road!), Fruit Doves, Imperial Pigeons and the handsome local subspecies of Rufous Fantail and White-throated Whistler, both of which (as is so often the case) looked little like the illustrations in the field guide. After resting a bit in the shade we moved on into the village where the traditional warrior greeting was quite a surprise. This was followed by most welcome and delicious coconuts, traditional dancing and a welcome speech from the Temotu Minister of Tourism. After viewing some handicrafts and a tree boa we were enlightened on how to chew betel nuts and how to prepare the traditional blow darts for bird hunting, which are adorned with red feathers from (countless) male Myzomelas. Given the importance and use of this small bird’s red plumage to the village, it was surprising how common the species remains. After this very memorable visit we loaded the truck and headed back to the dock, with all back aboard by 2.30pm for a ploughman’s lunch and an afternoon of relaxation. At 6pm we headed back out to sea again, around the north side of Nendo and our overnight transit south to Vanikoro.
 
Another island
Fruit-doves, white-eyes and whistlers
Time to go ashore


Photo © M.Kelly
 
Day 15. 
30 April 2014. Solomon Islands.

Another beautiful sunrise lit our arrival into Tevai Bay, on the east side of mountainous Vanikoro Island, whose slopes are densely cloaked in verdant forest. After breakfast we headed for the village of Usily, where the bellowing of a conch shell heralded our arrival. As the first Zodiac touched land a band of spear-waving and bow-wielding warriors emerged shrieking from the trees – a traditional greeting that can cause quite a fright if one is not ready for it! We exchanged greetings with the chief and elders of the village and split into groups to explore the forest and mangroves. The swamps and forest offered varied terrain, steam crossings and bush-whacking as there were no real trails to follow for some walks. Birding was great and all groups saw the endemic Vanikoro Monarch and Vanikoro White-eye, the latter described to science as recently as 2008! The distinctive local subspecies of Rufous Fantail and Vanikoro Flycatcher were also notable.
 
Convening back at the village at noon we enjoyed traditional dancing accompanied by jokoro acoustics (thick, hollow, bamboo poles pounded on the ground) and examined some remarkable local handicrafts. We also watched the skillful carving from local woods of a bow and arrow (smaller ones for fish, larger ones for birds and the largest for people – at least formerly!) and experienced local cooking of breadfruit and ‘spinach’ (a local forest leaf) soaked in coconut juice and steamed in banana leaf over hot rocks. Back aboard by 1.30pm we pulled anchor, ate a welcome lunch and headed back out to sea, filled with memories of a remarkable island experience. What a way to conclude our landings at rarely visited island outposts! During the afternoon at sea we observed hundreds of flying fish, a few Tropical Shearwaters, two Grey-backed Terns and a stunning double rainbow followed by a dramatic sunset over Utupua Island. Ended at 11o23’S 166o33’E; SST 28oC.
 
Day 16. 
1 May 2014. At Sea.

Now we were heading WNW across to the main Solomon Islands, 10o46’S 164o24’E to 10o04’S 162o01’E; SST 28oC. We awoke to a cloudy dawn after rain overnight. Seas were pleasant with calm to light northerly winds. By mid-morning the tropical sun made itself known although a good variety of marine life kept a lot of people outside on watch for wildlife throughout the day. Bird highlights included good views of Grey-backed Terns, all three species of jaegers and a northbound trickle of Short-tailed Shearwaters and Wilson’s Storm-Petrels. Marine mammals included both species of Kogia (Dwarf and Pygmy Sperm Whales), a small group of Striped Dolphins, several Beaked Whales and in late afternoon an obliging pod of Pilot Whales. The flying fish show was again particularly spectacular, with numerous Yellow Bandwings, Leopardwings, various pinkwings, some Solomon Ceruleans and Purple Hazes and hundreds of Small Clearwings, as well as a few groups of flying squid! Overall it was a really great day at sea and a fitting way to end our remarkable trip. To cap it off, Nicola and Brad, assisted by Dr. Anne and Meghan, brought Piña Coladas served in fresh coconuts out to the bow as the day wound to a peaceful end. Group photos were taken with a beautiful sunset backdrop over the Solomon Islands. A voyage recap with a fine slide show of images compiled by Meghan and a disembarkation briefing were held before a great last dinner together. But it wasn’t quite all over… A rather surprising ‘last bird of the trip’ was a female Yellow-bibbed Fruit Dove which flew aboard that night!


 
Day 17. 
2 May 2014. Honiara.

We arrived off Honiara in the early morning, and disembarked after breakfast at 07.00. It had been a wonderful pioneering journey with many ‘firsts’ which we were privileged to share.
 

BIRD LIST: (i) = introduced (non-native) species
MEGAPODIDIIDAE (MEGAPODES)
Vanuatu Megapode    Megapodius layardi 
PHASIANIDAE (PHEASANTS AND ALLIES)
Red Junglefowl     Gallus gallus (i)
PROCELLARIIDAE (PETRELS and SHEARWATERS)
Kermadec Petrel     Pterodroma neglecta
Vanuatu Petrel    Pterodroma occulta
Cook’s Petrel     Pterodroma cookii
Gould's Petrel     Pterodroma leucoptera
Collared Petrel    Pterodroma brevipes
Magnificent Petrel     Pterodroma [brevipes] magnificens
Tahiti Petrel     Pseudobulweria rostrata
Fiji Petrel     Pseudobulweria macgillivrayi
Wedge-tailed Shearwater     Puffinus pacificus
Short-tailed Shearwater     Puffinus tenuirostris
Christmas Shearwater    Puffinus nativitatus
Tropical (Audubon's) Shearwater     Puffinus bailloni
OCEANITIDAE (SOUTHERN STORM-PETRELS)
Wilson's Storm-Petrel     Oceanites oceanicus
Polynesian Storm-Petrel     Nesofregetta fuliginosa
PHAETHONTIDAE (TROPICBIRDS)
White-tailed Tropicbird     Phaethon lepturus
FREGATIDAE (FRIGATEBIRDS)
Great Frigatebird     Fregata major
Lesser Frigatebird     Fregata ariel
SULIDAE (GANNETS & BOOBIES)
Masked Booby     Sula dactylatra personata  
Red-footed Booby     Sula sula rubripes  
Brown Booby     Sula leucogaster plotus
ARDEIDAE (BITTERNS, HERONS)
Pacific Reef Heron     Egretta sacra
ACCIPITRIDAE (HAWKS)
Swamp Harrier     Circus approximans
Fiji Goshawk    Accipiter rufitorques
Brown Goshawk     Accipiter fasciatus
Pied Goshawk     Accipiter albogularis
FALCONIDAE (FALCONS)
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
RALLIDAE (RAILS)
Purple Swamphen (Pukeko)     Porphyrio porphyrio
Banded Rail    Gallirallus phippensis
CHARADRIIDAE (PLOVERS)
Pacific Golden-Plover    Pluvialis fulva
SCOLOPACIDAE (SANDPIPERS)
Gray-tailed Tattler     Heteroscelus brevipes
Ruddy Turnstone     Arenaria interpres
LARIDAE (GULLS AND TERNS)
Brown Noddy     Anous stolidus
Black Noddy     Anous minutus
Common White Tern     Gygis [alba] alba
Crested Tern     Thalassarche bergii
Grey-backed Tern     Onychoprion lunata
Bridled Tern     Onychoprion anaethetu
Sooty Tern     Onychoprion fuscata
Black-naped Tern     Sterna sumatrana
STERCORARIIDAE (SKUAS)
Pomarine Jaeger     Stercorarius pomarinus
Parasitic Jaeger (Arctic Skua)     Stercorarius parasiticus
Long-tailed Jaeger     Stercorarius longicaudus
COLUMBIDAE (PIGEONS AND DOVES)
Feral Pigeon (Rock Dove)    Columbia livia (i)
White-throated (Metallic) Pigeon   Columba vitiensis
Mackinlay's Cuckoo-Dove     Macropygia mackinlayi
Pacific Emerald Dove     Chalcophaps longirostris
Red-bellied Fruit Dove    Ptilinopus greyii
Yellow-bibbed Fruit Dove    Ptilinopus solomonensis  (on board at night!)
Tanna Fruit Dove    Ptilinopus tannensis
Golden Fruit Dove    Ptilinopus victor
Pacific Imperial Pigeon     Ducula pacifica
Barking Imperial (Peale's) Pigeon    Ducula latrans
PSITTACIDAE (PARROTS)
Coconut (Rainbow) Lorikeet     Trichoglossus [moluccanus] haematodus
Palm Lorikeet     Charmosyna palmarum
Blue-crowned Lorikeet    Vini australis
Masked Shining Parrot    Prosopeia personata
CUCULIDAE (CUCKOOS)
Shining Bronze-Cuckoo     Chrysococcyx lucidus
Pacific Long-tailed Cuckoo    Urodynamis taitensis
APODIDAE (SWIFTS)
Glossy Swiftlet     Collocalia esculenta
Uniform Swiftlet    Collocalia vanikorensis
White-rumped Swiftlet     Collocalia spodiopygius
ALCEDINIDAE (KINGFISHERS)
Collared Kingfisher     Todirhamphus chloris
Vanuatu (Chestnut-bellied) Kingfisher    Todiramphus farquhari
Sacred Kingfisher     Todirhamphus sanctus
MELIPHAGIDAE (HONEYEATERS)
Wattled Honeyeater    Foulehaio carunculata
Vanuatu (White-bellied) Honeyeater    Glycifohia (Phylidonyris) notabilis
Gray-eared (Dark-brown) Honeyeater     Lichmera incana
Cardinal Myzomela     Myzomela cardinalis
Sulphur-breasted Myzomela (Orange-br Honeyeater)   Myzomela jugularis
ACANTHIZIDAE (AUSTRALASIAN WARBLERS)
Fan-tailed Gerygone    Gerygone [flavolateralis] correiae
ARTAMIDAE (WOODSWALLOWS)
White-breasted Woodswallow     Artamus leucorhynchus
CAMPEPHAGIDAE (CUCKOO-SHRIKES & ALLIES)
South Melanesian Cuckooshrike     Coracina caledonica
Polynesian Triller    Lalage maculosa
Long-tailed Triller     Lalage leucopyga
PACHYCEPHALIDAE (WHISTLERS)
Melanesian [Golden] Whistler    Pachycephala [pectoralis] caledonica
White-throated (Fiji) Whistler    Pachycephala graeffi
RHIPIDURIDAE (FANTAILS)
Gray Fantail     Rhiphidura fuliginosa
Streaked Fantail     Rhiphidura spilodera
Rufous Fantail    Rhipidura rufifrons
MONARCHIDAE (MONARCHS)
Southern Shrikebill     Clytorhynchus pachycephaloides
Fiji Shrikebill     Clytorhynchus vitiensis
Vanikoro Monarch    Mayrornis schistaceus
Slaty Monarch    Mayrornis lessoni
Ogea Monarch (Versicolored Flycatcher)    Mayrornis versicolor
Buff-bellied Monarch     Neolalage banksiana
Vanikoro Flycatcher    Myiagra vanikorensis
Melanesian Flycatcher    Myiagra caledonica
Blue-crested Flycatcher   Myiagra azureocapilla 
PETROICIDAE (AUSTRALASIAN ROBINS)
Pacific Robin     Petroica multicolour
HIRUNDINIDAE (SWALLOWS)
Pacific Swallow     Hirundo tahitica
CETTIIDAE (BUSH WARBLERS AND ALLIES)
Fiji Bush Warbler    Horornis (Cettia) r. ruficapilla
ZOSTEROPIDAE (WHITE-EYES)
Silvereye     Zosterops lateralis
Santa Cruz White-eye    Zosterops santacrucis
Vanikoro White-eye    Zosterops gibbsi
Vanuatu (Yellow-fronted) White-eye    Zosterops flavifrons
Sanford's White-eye     Woodfordia lacertosa
STURNIDAE (STARLINGS)
Rusty-winged Starling     Aplonis zelandica
Polynesian Starling     Aplonis tabuensis
Common Myna     Acridotheres tristis
TURDIDAE (THRUSHES)
Island Thrush     Turdus poliocephalus
PASSERIDAE (OLD WORLD SPARROWS)
House Sparrow     Passer domesticus (i)
ESTRILDIDAE (WAXBILLS)
Red Avadavat    Amandava amandava (i)
Royal Parrotfinch    Erythrura regia
Fiji [Red-headed] Parrotfinch    Erythrura pealii

MAMMALS
Longman's Beaked Whale    Indopacetus pacificus
Cuvier’s Beaked Whale     Ziphuis cavirostris
Blainville’s Beaked Whale sp.     Mesoplodon densirostris
Beaked Whale sp. (“Crocodile Beaked Whale”)
Short-finned Pilot Whale     Globicephala macrorhynchus
False Killer Whale     Pseudorca crassidens
Pygmy Sperm Whale     Kogia breviceps
Dwarf Sperm Whale     Kogia sima
Striped Dolphin    Stenella longirostris
Pantropical Spotted Dolphin     Stenella attenuata
Dugong    Dugong dugon
Vanauatu Flying Fox    Pteropus anetianus
Insular (Pacific) Flying Fox    Pteropus tonganus
Cf. Vanikoro Flying Fox   Pteropus tuberculatus
Temotu Flying Fox   Pteropus nitendiensis

 

Flyingfish and other critters recorded (italics = newly described flyingfish photographed on this trip); for a key to most forms see: http://www.offshorewildlife.com/OffshoreWildlife/Flyingfish_of_the_WPO.html
Also see: Howell, Steve N. G. (in press, Princeton University Press) The Amazing World of Flyingfish.

Small Clearwing
Oddspot Midget
Bar-tailed Clearwing
Pink-tailed Clearwing
Large Clearwing
Fenestrated Naffwing
Radial Smurf
Necromancer
Milkwing Midget
Rosy-veined Clearwing
Kaiser
Careless Smudge (and smudget)
Big Pinkwing
Tickled Pinkwing
Bar-tailed Pinkwing
Freckled Pinkwing
Fiji Double Pink
Juicy Berrywing
Big Raspberry
Black-eyed Bruisewing
Leopardwing/Double Leopard (including smudget)
Solomon Cerulean
Purple Haze
Limoncello Smudget
Ornate Goldwing
Tortoiseshell Smurf
Fenestrated Glasswing
Blue Bandwing
Yellow Bandwing
Fenestrated Bandwing
Glaucous Bandwing
Great Duskywing

Flying Squid
Green Sea Turtle

 

Category: General News
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