Sunday, 19 November 2017

Kiama Pelagic

Oh yes! The pelagic is on! After our Sydney pelagic was cancelled a couple of weeks ago due to some bullshit reason we were very (and I mean very) excited to get on the ocean today. The day got off to a great start with our one and only Australian Hobby of the trip flying over whist we were still docked. The previous evening we'd done a seawatch from Kiama headland and seen quite a few Humpback Whales and as we headed out to sea this morning passed a few more. There were lots of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters today and they were far and away the most numerous seabird seen today.

Wedge-tailed Shearwater

A few Australasian Gannets were also seen early doors...

Australasian Gannet

We also saw tens of Fluttering and Huttons Shearwaters flying by but it took most of the day to get decent views, but no pics. Heading out further it was apparent that there weren't big numbers of birds today and we went a spell without seeing much, until our first Black-browed Albatross appeared and we definitely saw 3 different individuals.

Black-browed Albatross

Then we began picking up what the local birders are calling Solander's Petrels, although this is not yet split from Providence Petrel by IOC.

Solander's (Providence) Petrel

At least 3 White-capped Albatross also began following our chum slick....

White-capped Albatross

We also saw a White-faced Storm Petrel, 4 Short-tailed Shearwaters and a single Flesh-footed Shearwater.

White-faced Storm-Petrel

Flesh-footed Shearwater

One of my personal targets was Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross and I was pretty excited to see a couple individuals....

Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross

But the undoubted highlight of the day was seeing this Wandering Albatross (exulans) come flying in from the horizon and then alighting on the water right beside us. Wow! The bird was captured and ringed and although it was rather humbling to be able to see this majestic bird so close, I didn't like the length of time it was kept in people's hands and also doubt the scientific value of stressing this beautiful creature so much.

Wandering Albatross

Saturday, 18 November 2017

New Caledonia (cont)

Our second day in New Caledonia saw us driving a few hours across the island to Parc des Grande Fugieres and our quest to mop up on the remaining endemics. It took a bit of finding but eventually we did and set out on the trails, taking a random route in high hopes more than due to careful planning! The best bird we had to start with was this stunning and very confiding White-bellied Goshawk...

White-bellied Goshawk

I enjoyed spending some time photographing this stunning endemic.

Moving on we headed lower down the trails and saw a bunch of other endemics we'd already seen. I'd already given up on the thicketbird so we concentrated on Cloven-feathered Dove. Well, we walked a long time and had some reasonable views in the forest but nothing too great. A Melanesian Cuckooshrike was a catch up bird from yesterday....

Melanesian Cuckooshrike

We also had much better views of Red-throated Parrotfinch and Melanesian Flycatcher.....

Melanesian Flycatcher

With the day getting very hot we decided to start heading back to Noumea, but a random stop just outside the park resulted in some very nice views of Cloven-feathered Dove...

Cloven-feathered Dove - oh yes!

And that was our birding finished as we are flying back to Sydney tomorrow and heading out on a pelagic...