For those of you who have not had the opportunity to visit Fiji, I'd say that you have missed one of the truly fabulous places on the planet. Aside from birding, there is ample opportunity to see many of the wonders of the sea and make connections with some of the friendliest people we have met in our travels. People still greet each other, and foreigners, with a friendly "Bula". We were fortunate to get to spend 5 nights with a Fijian-Indian family and form bonds that hopefully will last our lifetime. Often times as we were walking down roads to look for birds, farmers would stop and talk to us and offer a papaya. Theirs is a culture that seems to want to make time to be more human with each other. Probably not a bad idea for other cultures to emulate.
Fiji is the kind of place where birding can be much more leisurely than in other locales. There are not that many birds that can be seen (somewhere around 120 according to Pratt, et al). Most of the birds are fairly easy to see, with the more difficult species creating enough of a challenge to make it interesting. It was because of this that we found we had time to enjoy other activities as well. Therefore, it made for a much more rounded trip than other journeys where birding was our only focus.
Here is the list of birds seen and the islands they were located on. The letters following the species relate to the following:
VL= Viti Levu
Taxonomy is taken from The Birds of Hawaii and the Tropical Pacific by H. D. Pratt.
Brown Booby T,K,O Great Frigatebird K Lesser Frigatebird T,VL Pacific Reef Heron VL,T,K,O (all three morphs seen) Gray Duck T Swamp Harrier VL,K Fiji Goshawk VL,T,K Banded Rail T Spotless Crake T Purple Swamphen T Great Crested Tern VL,T,K Black-naped Tern O Brown Noody T Black Noddy N Rock Dove VL Spotted Dove VL,T Many-colored Fruit-dove VL Whistling Dove K (found across the water from Reece's Resort) Golden Dove VL (Colo-I-Suva) Orange Dove T (Qilene Road sp??) Peale's (barking) Pigeon VL,T,K Collared Lori VL,T,K Red-throated Lorikeet T (very nice bird, found near the top of Qilene Rd. near Thomas' house) Red-Shining Parrot T Masked-Shining Parrot VL White-rumped Swiftlet VL,T,K Sacred Kingfisher VL,T Pacific Swallow VL Australian Magpie T Polynesian Triller VL,T,K Red-vented Bulbul VL Scarlet Robin VL Golden Whistler VL,K Fiji Shrikebill VL Black-faced Shrikebill T (1 female seen on road about 1 mile from the communications tower on Des Voeux peak) Slaty Flycatcher VL,K Vanikoro Flycatcher VL,T,K,O,N Blue-crested Flycatcher VL,T Silktail T (15 individuals seen at Lavena Falls, along the road to the tower at a similar spot as the Black-faced Flycatcher, and on the trail to Lake Tagemouthia (sp??) Steaked Fantail VL,T Kandavu Fantail K (across the water from Reece's Resort) Fiji Bush-Warbler VL,T Island Thrush VL,T White-breasted Woodswallow VL,T Polynesian Starling T,K Common Myna VL,T,O Jungle Myna VL,O Orange-breasted Honeyeater VL,T,K,O Wattled Honeyeater VL,T Kandavu Honeyeater K (seen at Reece's Resort) Giant Forest Honeyeater VL,T Layard's White-eye VL,K Silver-eye VL,K Avadavat VL Red-headed Parrotfinch VL,W
Overall 55 species seen. The only disappointments were the very difficult Pink-billed Parrotfinch, which we didn't attempt at Joske's thumb, due to bad weather. Also, the Kandavu form of the Island Thrush. Finally,the Shy Ground Dove, which certainly appeared to be just that to us. I have refrained from changing some of these innocent bird names to more funny bastardized forms (as I have in previous trip reports) due to the recent thread that is circulating on Birdchat. I hold this forum to be sacred and if in the past I have crossed the line, then I apologize. If you would like more information on this trip feel free to e-mail, and I'll gladly supply that to you.
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