Thursday, 16 November 2017

New Caledonia

We flew to New Caledonia this afternoon, arriving about an hour before sunset. Now although this was Noumea Airport, it's roughly a 45 minute drive to the modern city of Noumea. We've based our trip on using Google Maps to find our way around so far, however upon arrival here it was apparent that Google Maps doesn't work here, or rather our cell phones don't work here. So we're totally buggered. I did order a Satnav when I booked the hire car but there wasn't one available, not even paper maps so we have to wing it. Anyway, we do find our apartment eventually on the south side of the city and get settled in.

The next morning we are up a couple of hours before daybreak and set out on the drive to Parc de la Riviere Bleu. I was able to download the route on Google maps last night using wifi but it goes all wonky on the drive to the park and we arrive late to the meeting spot where we are due to pick up Isobel from Birding Caledonia who is going to show us around today.  It's my 50th birthday today and I didn't want any mess ups or anything going wrong. So we pick up Isobel and then drive for ages to the park. Upon arrival we see New Caledonian Friarbird (5997), Dark-brown Honeyeater (5998) and then I missed a flyover White-bellied Goshawk whilst walking back to get the car. Driving further into the park we head to the Kagu site - seeing this bird has been a long held dream of mine and I've been saying I want to see this bird on my 50th birthday for years. 

Goliath Imperial-Pigeon

And now we are actually on the way..... The next stop gives us Goliath Imperial-Pigeon (5999) and then Isobel is scraping the leaf litter with her boots. Apparently this brings in a Kagu and there it is..... Species 6,000 on my 50th birthday...

Kagu - lifer 6,000 on my 50th birthday

We enjoy this bird for ages before walking along the road and nailing a number of endemics and other goodies: Southern Shrikebill, Striated Starling, Melanesian Flycatcher, Streaked Fantail, New Caledonian Myzomela, Barred Honeyeater, Yellow-bellied Robin, New Caledonian Crow, Green-backed White-eye, Crow Honeyeater, New Caledonian Parakeet, New Caledonian Cuckooshrike, New Caledonian Whistler, Fairy Gerygone and eventually Horned Parakeet.

Barred Honeyeater

Dark-brown Honeyeater

New Caledonian Crow

New Caledonian Myzomela

Southern Shrikebill

Yellow-bellied Robin

We ended this fantastic day with a pair of Kagu along a narrow trail. Amazing!

A Happy Birthday indeed

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