EASTERN WHIPBIRD Psophodes olivaceus
A number heard calling in the South East at different localities and 2 were seen at Dharug Nat.Park on the 25th July.
CHIRRUPING WEDGEBILL Psophodes cristatus
Three seen on the 8th & 9th Aug in the stony desert with 25 on the 10th chiefly at Port Augustua Salt Bushes.
Chirruping Wedgebill at Port Augustua
A female showed well at Dharug Nat Park on 25th July.
CHESTNUT QUAIL-THRUSH Cinclosoma castanotum
Ten were seen including some fine males singing at Wyperfield Nat.Park on the 4th and two were seen on the 5th at Hattah-Kulkyne Nat.Park.
Chestnut Quail Thrush at Wyperfield National Park.
CINNAMON QUAIL-THRUSH Cinclosoma cinnamomeum
Twelve of these stunning birds were found in the stony desert near Lyndhurst and along the Birdsville Track on the 10th Aug. They showed very well even allowing some photographs to be taken. One of the highlights of the trip.
Male Cinnamon Quail Thrushs along the Birdsville Track
Female Cinnamon Quail Thrushs along the Birdsville Track.
Two seen on the 26th July on the drive to Deniliquin and three seen on the 27th near Deniliquin. Four seen on the 25th Aug on the escarpment at Waterfall Creek and one on the 26th.
WHITE-BROWED BABBLER Pomatostomus superciliosus
Recorded on eleven dates in small numbers all in the South.
White Browed Babblers in the Chiltern State Forest
CHESTNUT CROWNED BABBLER Pomatostomus ruficepsFour of these delightful birds were found at Hattah-Kulkyne Nat.Park on the 6th Aug.
Chestnut Crowned Babblers were found at Hattah-Kulkyne National Park.
Just three seen on the 26th Aug at Fogg Dam.
TAWNY GRASSBIRD Megalurus timoriensis
A single bird was located at the end of the boardwalk at Fogg Dam on the 26th Aug.
LITTLE GRASSBIRD Megalurus gramineus
Singles were seen on the 27th July near Denlinquin and on the 31st July at Werribee Sewage Farm.
GOLDEN-HEADED CISTICOLA Cisticola exilis
Recorded on six dates with a daily maximum of 8 on the 31st July.
PURPLE-CROWNED FAIRY-WREN Malurus coronatus
A superb male was taped into view behind the camp-site at the Victoria River Roadhouse on the 23rd & 24th Aug and was one of the highlights of this section of the trip. Considered by Collar as near-threatened.
Male Purple-crowned Fairy Wren at the Victoria River Roadhouse grounds.
Recorded in fair numbers on ten dates in the South. Many fine males were seen.
Superb Fairy Wren
SPLENDID FAIRY-WREN Malurus splendens
Three seen on the 4th Aug at Wyperfield Nat.Park, five seen on the 6th Aug at Hattah-Kulkyne Nat.Park and four seen at Port Gawler on the 7th Aug. Several fine males were seen.
VARIEGATED FAIRY-WREN Malurus lamberti
A party of 10 were seen at Little Desert Nat.Park on the 3rdAug which included 2 males.
WHITE-WINGED FAIRY-WREN Malurus leucopterus
Four were seen on the drive out into the stony desert on the 8th Aug, with 15 seen on both the 9th and 10th Aug. again in the stony desert around Lyndhurst. Several stunning male birds were seen but none were that approachable and no photographs were obtained.
RED-BACKED FAIRY-WREN Malurus melanocephalus
Two parties totaling 12 birds were seen in the scrub at Timber Creek on the 23rd August. The males were in heavy moult.
MALLEE EMU-WREN Stipiturus mallee
Seven of these fine birds were located in the mallee on the 5th Aug. at Hattah-Kulkyne Nat.Park on the 5th Aug. and one seen there the following day. Excellent views and photographs obtained and another highlight of the trip.
Mallee Emu Wren at Hattah Kulkyne National Park.
After much searching, a single bird was located at Budderoo Nat.Park on the 23rd July.
STRIATED GRASSWREN Amytornis striatus
After many hours of searching the mallee at Hattah-Kulkyne Nat Park, we located a pair during the evening of the 6th Aug and these showed well for 10 minutes from down to a few yards.
THICK-BILLED GRASSWREN Amytornis textiles
A pair showed briefly in the stony desert near Leigh Creek on the 9th Aug. Considered by Collar as vulnerable
EASTERN BRISTLEBIRD Dasyornis brachypterus
One showed very well from down to a few feet on the footpath for 15 minutes at Barren Grounds Nat.Park on the 22nd July and 2 were seen there on the 23rd July. Considered by Collar as vulnerable.
RUFOUS BRISTLEBIRD Dasyornis broadbenti
One seen at Aireys Inlet on the lst Aug with 2 in this general area on the 2nd Aug and at least 7 in this coastal scrub area on the 14th Aug. Excellent views obtained as the birds ran along the pathways. Considered by Collar as vulnerable.
Rufous Bristlebird at Aireys Inlet.
A single bird was taped out at the start of the entrance road to the Barren Grounds Nat.Reserve on the 23rd July. It showed well on the ground by the edge of the road on two occasions for several minutes.
ORIGMA Origma solitaria
A pair was located in shrubs and rocks along the Old North Road, Dharug Nat.Park on the 25th July and good views were obtained and were on show for at least 10 minutes.Considered by Collar as near-threatened.
WHITE-BROWED SCRUBWREN Sericornis frontalis
Recorded on eleven dates with a daily maximum of 10.
White-browed Scrubwren in the Chiltern State Forest.
A single bird was taped into view on the 4th Aug at Wyperfield Nat.Park.
Shy Hylacola ( living up to its name as being shy), at Wyperfield National Park.
REDTHROAT Sericornis brunneus
After much searching in the salt bushes, a single bird was taped into view and photographed at Iron Knob salt bushes where it sang from the wire fence on the 12th Aug.
STRIATED CALAMANTHUS Sericornis fuliginosus
Two seen at Werribee Sewage Farm on the 31st July, with one on the 2nd Aug. in the coastal scrub along the Great Ocean Road, and four showed very well here allowing some good photographs on the 14th Aug.
Striated Calamanthus in the coastal scrub along the Great Ocean Road.
Three seen on the 9th Aug along the Strzelecki Track with singles on the 10th Aug in the salt bushes at Port Augustua and on the 12th Aug in the salt bushes at Iron Knob.
A distant Rufous Calmanthus at Port Augustua.
Small numbers recorded on five dates with a daily maximum of 6 on the 23rd Aug.
BROWN GERYGONE Gerygone mouki
A single bird seen in the Royal Nat.Park on the 21st July with 2 there on the 22nd July. Two on the 25th July at Dharug Nat.Park.
LARGE-BILLED GERYGONE Gerygone magnirostris
Three birds seen visting nests overhanging the lake at Howard Springs on the 27th Aug.
MANGROVE GERYGONE Gerygone laevigaster
Two seen in the mangroves at the Elizabeth River Crossing on the 22nd Aug.
GREEN-BACKED GERYGONE Gerygone chloronota
Just a single bird seen at East Point on the 22nd Aug
BROWN THORNBILL Acanthiza pusilla
Fair numbers recorded on twelve dates in the South with a daily maximum of 12 on the 21st July.
INLAND THORNBILL Acanthiza p. apicalis
This distinctive race of Brown Thronbill was recorded on four dates with a daily maximum of 10 on the 4th Aug. at Wyperfield Nat.Park.
CHESTNUT-RUMPED THORNBILL Acanthiza uropygialis
Four seen on the 27th July near Deniliquin, two on the 29th July at the Chiltern State Forest, two on the 4th Aug at Wyperfield Nat.Park and six on the 6th Aug at Hattah-Kulkyne Nat.Park.
BUFF-RUMPED THORNBILL Acanthiza reguloides
Only identified on the lst Aug at Geelong when three were seen but probably overlooked at other sites.
SLENDER-BILLED THORNBILL Acanthiza iredalei
Four seen in the samphire at Port Gawler on the 7th Aug. Considered by Collar as vulnerable.
YELLOW-RUMPED THORNBILL Acanthiza chrysorrhoa
Recorded on nine dates in fair numbers.
YELLOW THORNBILL Acanthiza nana
Recorded on six dates in small numbers.
STRIATED THORNBILL Acanthiza lineata
Five seen on the 22nd July and one on the 23rd at the Barren Grounds Nat.Reserve, and two on the 25th July at Dharug Nat.Park were the only ones identified but others were probably missed.
SOUTHERN WHITEFACE Aphelocephala leucopsis
Three seen on the 26th and 27th July near Deniliquin with one on the 4th Aug at Wyperfield Nat.Park,four on the 6th, 7th and 8th at various localities.
Southern Whiteface near Deniliquin.
After virtually searching all day in the heat, a pair were located along the Strzelecki Track (28Kms stop) carrying nest material and good views and photographs obtained on the 9th Aug. Considered by Collar as vulnerable with some evidence of a recent decline in numbers.
Chestnut Breasted Whiteface carrying nesting material along the Strzelecki Track.
A single bird seen on the 27th July near Deniliquin and a party of six were seen in the Chiltern State Forest on the 29th July.
Varied Sittella in the Chiltern State Forest.
Recorded on eight dates with a daily maximum of five.
White-browed Treecreeper at the Hattah-Kulkyne National Park.
A pair showed well at the Yarrara Floral Reserve on the 7th August
BROWN TREECREEPER Climacteris picumnus
Recorded on eight dates with a daily maximum of six.
Brown Treecreeper in Wyperfield National Park.
Five seen on the 12th Aug at the Lake Gilles Conservation Park.
RED WATTLEBIRD Anthochaera carunculata
Very common in the South and recorded on 18 dates with a daily maximum of 50+.
BRUSH WATTLEBIRD Anthochaera chrysoptera
Recorded on six dates but only in small numbers with a daily maximim of 10.
SPINY-CHEEKED HONEYEATER Acanthagenys rufogularis
Recorded on twelve dates with a daily maximum of eight on the 10th Aug.
Spiny Cheeked Honeyeater on the Barren Grounds.
One seen on the 22nd Aug at East Point with eight on the 25th Aug and six on the 26th at Waterfall Creek and three on the 27th Aug at Howard Springs.
SILVER-CROWNED FRIARBIRD Philemon argenticeps
Twenty seen on the 24th Aug on the escarpment trial at Victoria River Crossing, with ten on the 25th and six on the 26th Aug on the escarpment at Waterfall Creek.
Silvery-crowned Friarbird on the Victoria River Crossing.
One hundred were seen in the early morning on the 26th July moving through our campsite.
LITTLE FRIARBIRD Philemon citreogularis
Small numbers recorded on four dates but only seen on one date in the South.
REGENT HONEYEATER Xanthomyza phrygia
Two of these fine Honeyeaters were seen on the 28th & 29th July in the Chiltern State Forest. Considered by Collar as endangered and the total population may be fewer than 1,000 birds.
Regent Honeyeater in the Chiltern State Forest.
BLUE-FACED HONEYEATER Entomyzon cyanotis
Recorded on two dates in the South and on four dates in the North with a daily maximum of 10.
BELL MINER Manorina melanophrys
Six seen on the 30th July at Listerfield.
Bell Miner at Listerfield
NOISY MINER Manorina melanocephala
Common and widespread in the South, recorded on twelve dates with a maximum of 50 on a day.
Looking down on two Noisy Miners in the Hattah Kulkyne National Park.
Eight seen near Denlinquin on the 27th July and just 2 seen on the 25th Aug at Waterfall Creek.
LEWIN`S HONEYEATER Meliphaga lewinii
Up to five recorded on five dates.
WHITE-LINED HONEYEATER Meliphaga albilineata
Just two seen with a flock of Banded and Dusky Honeyeaters on the escarpment at Waterfall Creek on the 26th Aug.
YELLOW FACED HONEYEATER Lichenostomus chrysops
Odd birds recorded on four dates but upto 30 seen on the 3rd Aug at Little Desert Nat.Park.
SINGING HONEYEATER Lichenostomus virescens
Recorded on twelve dates with a daily maximum of ten on the 9th Aug.
Singing Honeyeater at Bool Lagoon.
WHITE-EARED HONEYEATER Lichenostomus leucotis
White-eared Honeyeater at Wyperfield National Park.
YELLOW-TUFTED HONEYEATER Lichenostomus melanops
Two seen on the 25th July at Dharug Nat.Park with 60 seen on the 28th and 70 seen on the 29th July at the Chiltern State Forest.
Yellow Tufted Honeyeaters in the Chiltern State Forest
Four seen on the 3rd at the Little Desert Nat. Park and forty seen on the 4th Aug at Wyperfield Nat. Park, Upto 50 on the 5th and 20 on the 6th Aug at Hattah-Kulkyne Nat. Park and 20 on the 12th Aug at Lake Gilles Conservation Park.
Yellow-plumed Honeyeater at Wyperfield National Park.
GREY-FRONTED HONEYEATER Lichenostomus plumulus
Four seen coming into drink at Chinaman Creek during the early morning of the 23rd Aug.
YELLOW-TINTED HONEYEATER Lichenostomus flavescens
Up to 6 seen at Chinaman Creek coming into drink and 30 seen at Timber Creek on the 23rd Aug with 2 seen at Victoria River Crossing on the 24th Aug.
Yellow-tinted Honeyeater coming into drink at Timber Creek.
WHITE PLUMED HONEYEATER Lichenostomus penicillatus
Little Desert Nat. Recorded in fair numbers on eight dates with a daily maximum of 25 on the 3rd Aug at Park.
White Plumed Honeyeater in the Chiltern State Forest
BLACK CHINNED HONEYEATER Melithreptus gularis
Just a single bird seen very well and photographed on the 29th July at the Chiltern State Forest.
Black-chinned Honeyeater in the Chiltern State Forest.
Recorded on six dates but only in small numbers with a daily maximum of 8 on the 12th Aug.
WHITE-THROATED HONEYEATER Melithreptus albogularis
Only seen in the North when up to 10 on a day were seen on four dates.
WHITE-NAPED HONEYEATER Melithreptus lunatus
Recorded on five dates in the South with a daily maximum of 20 on the 28th July.
White Naped Honeyeater at the Chiltern State Forest
BROWN HONEYEATER Lichmera indistincta
Not seen in the South but very common in the North when upto 50 on a day were being seen.
TAWNY CROWNED HONEYEATER Phylidonyris melanops
Two seen on the 3rd Aug. at Little Desert Nat. Park and one on the 4th at Wyperfield Nat.Park. Two seen on the 11th Aug at Lincoln Nat.Park and two on the 14th Aug in the coastal scrub along the Great Ocean Road.
A distant Tawny-crowned Honeyeater in the coastal scrub along the Great Ocean Road.
Recorded in good numbers near to the coast on eight dates with a maximum of 100 at the Barren Grounds on the 23rd July.
WHITE-FRONTED HONEYEATER Phylidonyris albifrons
Four seen on the 3rd Aug at Little Desert Nat.Park and five on the 5th Aug at Hattah-Kulkyne Nat.Park.
BAR-BREASTED HONEYEATER Ramsayornis fasciatus
One seen at East Point on the 22nd Aug and excellent views with some good photographs obtained of a flock of 15 feeding in flowering eucalypyus at Timber Creek on the 23rd Aug.
Bar-breasted Honeyeater at Timber Creek.
Three seen at East Point on the 22nd Aug and six seen on the 26th Aug at Fogg Dam.
Rufous-banded Honeyeater at East Point.
Seen on four dates in the North with a daily maximum of 15 on the 23rd Aug.
EASTERN SPINEBILL Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris
Recorded on seven dates with a daily maximum of 25 on the 23rd July at the Barren Grounds.
BANDED HONEYEATER Certhionyx pectoralis
An adult male of this attractive species was seen on the 23rd Aug at Chinaman Creek on the 23rd Aug, with a female on the 25th Aug on the escarpment at Waterfall Creek and 12 were seen here in a mixed flock of Honeyeaters on the 26th.
Adult male Banded Honeyeater at Waterfall Creek.
Two seen on the 22nd Aug in the mangroves at the Elizabeth River Crossing, one seen on the 25th Aug and six seen on the 26th on the escarpment at Waterfall Creek.
RED-HEADED HONEYEATER Myzomela erythrocephala
Only seen in the mangroves, with one on the 22nd Aug at Elizabeth River Crossing, two on the 26th Aug. at the Adelaide River Crossing and four on the 27th again at the Elizabeth River Crossing.
WHITE-FRONTED CHAT Ephthianura albifrons
Recorded on five dates with a daily maximum of 10.
White Fronted Chat at Werribee Sewage Farm
GIBBERBIRD Ashbyia lovensis
Gibberbird along the Birdsville Track.
Two seen on the 9th Aug at Leigh Creek, two on the 12th Aug at Lake Gilles Conservation Park and two on the 23rd Aug at Chinaman Creek.
SPOTTED PARDALOTE Pardalotus punctatus
Just two singles seen, the first on the 25th July at Dharug Nat.Park and the second on the 1st Aug at Distillery Creek.
YELLOW-RUMPED PARDALOTE Pardalotus xanthopygus
Seen on four dates in the mallee. Four on the 4th Aug at Wyperfield Nat.Park, one on the 5th Aug. and 2 on the 6th at Hattah-Kulknye Nat.Park and one on the 12th Aug at Lake Gilles.
RED-BROWED PARDALOTE Pardalotus rubricatus
Singles seen on the escarpment at the Victoria River Crossing and at the Ferguson River Crossing on the 24th Aug.
STRIATED PARDALOTE Pardalotus striatus
Six seen on the 5th and four on the 6th Aug. at Hattah-Kulkyne Nat.Park and three seen on the 12th Aug at Lake Gilles Conservation Park. The birds seen on the first two dates had red tips.
Striated Pardalote at the Hattah-Kulkyne National Park.
Just two seen on the 22nd Aug at East Point Reserve.
SILVEREYE Zosterops lateralis
Recorded on seven dates in the South with a daily maximum of 25 on the 11th Aug.
EUROPEAN GOLDFINCH Carduelis carduelis
Recorded on four dates with a maximum of 70 on the 31st July in the Geelong area.
HOUSE SPARROW Passer domesticus
Recorded on 15 dates in the South but not seen in the North.
DIAMOND FIRETAIL Stagonopleura guttata
Singles seen on the 28th July in the Chiltern State Forest and on the 11th Aug at Lincoln Nat.Park.
Diamond Firetail in the Chiltern State Forest.
Two of these fine finches were located at the Barren Grounds on the 23rd July.
CRIMSON FINCH Neochmia phaeton
Twelve seen on the 22nd Aug at Howard Springs, two seen on the 23rd Aug at Chinaman Creek and two seen at Timber Creek on the 26th Aug.
Crimson Finch at Timber Creek.
Eight seen in the Royal Nat.Park on the 21st July and ten seen on the 25th July at Dharug Nat.Park.
ZEBRA FINCH Taeniopygia guttata
Six seen near Deniliquin on the 27th July and upto 70 seen in the Stony Desert near Leigh Creek on the 9th Aug.
DOUBLE-BARRED FINCH Taeniopygia bichenovii
Only seen in the North where it proved to be common and was seen daily with a maximum of twenty.
Double Barred Finch at Timber Creek.MASKED FINCH Poephila personata
One seen on the 22nd Aug on the drive to Pine Creek, 8 on the 23rd at Chinaman Creek and Timbercreek, four on the 25th, and three on the 26th on the escarpment at Waterfall Creek.
Masked Finch at Timber Creek.
Twenty seen coming to drink on the drive to Victoria River Crossing with ten drinking on the lawns at Timbercreek on the 23rd Aug, ten on the 25th and eight on the 26th on the escarpment at Waterfall Creek.
Long-tailed Finches drinking at a road-side stop en-route to the Victoria River Crossing.
Long-tailed Finches (with a Masked Finch in the background) .
Just a party of six seen at East Point Reserve on the 22nd Aug.
COMMON STARLING Sturnus vulgaris
Recorded virtually daily but only in the South.
COMMON MYNAH Acridotheres tristis
Recorded on six dates in the South chiefly near habitation.
YELLOW ORIOLE Oriolus flavocinctus
Ten recorded on the 22nd Aug at East Point with two seen on the 26th at Fogg Dam.
OLIVE-BACKED ORIOLE Oriolus sagittatus
Singles seen on the 25th July at Dharug Park and on the 27th July near Deniliquin.
FIGBIRD Sphecotheres viridis
Eight seen on the 22nd Aug chiefly at East Point.
Figbird at East Point.
Two seen on the 22nd Aug at Howard Springs, four seen on the 25th Aug and six seen on the 26th at Waterfall Creek.
SATIN BOWERBIRD Ptilonorhynchus violaceus
Four seen on the 25th July at Mitchell Park and a superb flock of 70 (no adult males) seen in a caravan park at the Victoria Alps on the 29th July.
GREAT BOWERBIRD Chlamydera nuchalis
Recorded on five dates in the North with a daily maximum of 20 on the 23rd Aug.
Great Bowerbird looking for water at Timber Creek.
Three seen in the Royal Nat. Park on the 22nd July.
WHITE-WINGED CHOUGH Corcorax melanorhamphos
Recorded in good numbers on ten dates with a daily maximum of 80 on the 7th Aug.
White Winged Choughs at Hattah Kulkyne National Park.
Recorded on five dates in the South and one date in the North with a daily maximum of 60 on the 26th July.
Apostlebirds at Hattah-Kulkyne Nature Reserve.
Very common, recorded virtually daily in both the North and the South.
Australian Magpie-Lark near Darwin.
Fifteen seen on the 22nd Aug and 30 seen on the 23rd Aug at several locations.
BLACK-FACED WOODSWALLOW Artamus cinereus
Recorded on nine dates in both the North and South with a daily maximum of 20 on the 23rd Aug.
Black-faced Wood-Swallows near Port Gawler.
Twenty seen on the 5th Aug but only 3 on the 6th at Hattah-Kulkyne Nat.Park, four on the 11th Aug at Lincoln Nat.Park and four on the 12th at Lake Gilles Conservation Park
Dusky Wood-Swallow at Hattah-Kulkyne Naional Park.
Disappointment at not finding this species on the escarpment at Waterfall Creek, I was therefore delighted to see a party of five flying through open woodland near a cliff-face on the drive out from Waterfall Creek on the 26th Aug.
GREY BUTCHERBIRD Cracticus torquatus
Up to six recorded on ten dates in the South.
Grey Butcherbird in the campsite at Hattah Kulkyne National Park.
Up to 4 recorded on seven dates in both the North and South.
AUSTRALIAN MAGPIE Gymnorhina tibicen
Very common and recorded in large numbers virtually daily in the South but surprisingly not seen at all in the North.
Recorded in fair numbers on thirteen dates in the South with a daily maximum of twenty.
Pied Currawong at the Barren Grounds.
Odd birds recorded on just six dates in the South, chiefly seen in the mallee areas.
AUSTRALIAN RAVEN Corvus coronoides
The commonest corvid seen in the South and recorded in good numbers virtually daily.
FOREST RAVEN Corvus tasmanicus
Eight seen in the forest at Distillery Creek on the 2nd Aug and best identified by call.
LITTLE RAVEN Corvus mellori
Recorded on eleven dates with upto 50+ on a day but probably overlooked.
LITTLE CROW Corvus bennetti
Only identified on a total of 6 dates, with a maximum of 50 on the 13th at Northcliffe.
TORRESIAN CROW Corvus orru
The only corvid in the far North West and seen in good numbers on all days in this area.
Torresian Crow near Darwin
Collar et al Birds to Watch 2 The World List of Threatened Birds.
Juniper & Parr A Guide to Parrots of the World.
Simpson & Day Field Guide to the Birds of Australia (The order and names taken from this).
Thomas & Thomas The complete guide to finding the Birds of Australia.
I travelled to New Caledonia with Richard Fairbank and Garry Edwards from Melbourne on a Quantas flight returning to Sydney and the return flight cost less than £200. We hired a car through Avis at Noumea airport and as we had already found out that food was expensive here we decided to take most of our supplies with us apart for bread and fruit. We also had tents with us, which we were using in Australia,and we had no problems camping anywhere including close to the Airport on the final evening. We changed currency in the Airport terminal and the unit of currency is the French Pacific Franc (CPF).
The weather was good, generally warm and sunny during the day with some light rain at nights. Although it became hot around mid-day it was not humid and we found we could bird-watch throughout the day. The day we spent at Mount Koaghis, it was very windy and this made birding difficult but the rest of the time it was calm. We had no problems from insects.
The language is French although we did meet some locals who spoke English. Visas not required for EEC passport holders. Driving is on the right hand side and although petrol was more expensive than in Australia, we found it still to be cheaper than in the UK, and anyway you do not have to do much in the way of mileage. During our five days we probably only covered 250 miles.
There are over 20 endemic or near-endemics present on the Island including the endangered Kagu and therefore if you are planning a trip to Australia, a short side-trip of around five days to New Caledonia is well worth while, as you could expect to see twenty plus species which you would not see in Australia. I saw twenty-three new species in five days.
There is a local ornithologist Yves Letocart who has a house in the Riviere Bleau National Park. We made arrangements to contact him on our third day and by this time we had seen most of the endemics and therefore we could concentrate on the few species we still needed when we were with him. He had good tapes of the more difficult species. We contacted him by asking at the entrance gate and they told us where his property was and where we could find him.
Under the species list I have included some identification notes on the endemics as there are no easily obtained field guides. In this respect, I have taken information from a trip report by Richard Thomas who visited the Island in 1992 and provided much useful information on the identification. I have used this information in this report and have supplemented it with my own observations. I would like to thank Richard for these extremely useful notes and we did not have any problems with identification.
16th Aug Riviere Bleue National Park, the Park closes at 5pm and does not open Mondays,so
we had to leave the Park and we camped overnight near the Hotel at Mount Koaghis.
Riviere Bleue National Park Entrance sign, New Caledonia.
17th Aug All day Mount Koaghis birding along the summit track returning in the evening toRiviere Bleue National Park where we camped outside the entrance gate.
View taken from Mt. Koaghis.
site situated about 15 miles from the entrance gate.
Views taken inside the Riviere Blueu National Park, New Caledonia.
The Great Tree in the National Park.
Early morning mist taken from our camp-site inside the Riviere Bleue National Park.
East coast to Goro, camping overnight close to the Noumea Airport for our return
flight in the early morning to Sydney.
Coastal view, New Caledonia.
Two general views taken on New Caledonia.
Three singles seen on the 16th, 19th and 20th. All flying along the flooded river in the Nat.Park.
WHITE FACED HERON Ardea novaehollandiae nana
Just a single bird seen in the Nat.Park on the 19th.
EASTERN REEF HERON Ardea sacra albolineata
One seen flying along the coast near Yate on the 20th. Endemic subspecies.
WHISTLING KITE Heliasur sphenurus
Four seen on the 16th and 19th in the Nat.Park and one on the 20th near the coast.
SWAMP HARRIER Circus approximans
A single bird seen in the Nat.Park on the 19th.
WHITE-BELLIED SPARROWHAWK (BLUE GOSHAWK) Accipiter haplochrous
Two adults seen in a small wood along the coast near Yate on the 20th.
A striking specie, appeared noticeably smaller and more compact than our own Sparrowhawk. The adults are slaty-blue on the upper parts with the breast slaty with a bluish cast, remainder of underparts
striking white. Legs and cere yellow. Fast direct flight. Immatures are brown with streaked underparts and could be confused with Brown Goshawk.
OSPREY Pandion haliaetus
Two seen along the coast near Goro on the 20th.
KAGU Rhynochetus jubatus
Four of these bizarre birds were seen in the Nat.Park on the 18th with at least 7 and possibly 10 seen on the 19th with two on the 20th. Chiefly seen in the forest or along the road running through the forest but also two seen on two days coming out of the forest and feeding on the grass at the camp-site.
Considered by Collar as endangered. Yves Letocart informed us that predation is chiefly by dogs and cats. The population has increased from 80 birds in the Nat.Park in 1980 to about 300 birds now this is due to the fact that all dogs and cats have virtually been eliminated from the Park and the population is still increasing. There are probably another 500 birds in the North of the Island although there are no plans to make any more National Parks.
Kagu is a Night Heron size bird, virtually flightless and we watched them feeding on worms. They are pale grey with a pale brownish wash on the upper parts and some have a pale brownish smudge on the breast. Large pale crest and darkish bars on the wings. Bill is long orangie-red and legs are reddish. At dawn,they make a loud dog like yap repeated and they call for around twenty minutes. When you are close to them, they seem to get annoyed and will make a loud hiss at you. When you approach them, they seem to run and then suddenly stop and then run on again. On several occasions while we were watching them, two would almost bump into one another while they were running around and they would become very excited by raising their crests and sometimes spreading their wings before running on. On one occasion, we observed one calling from a log throwing its head backwards and forwards and half raising its crest. It was joined by a second bird which jumped up onto the log a foot from the first bird and also started to call. They both kept up this behaviour for five minutes. Without doubt the highlight of the trip to New Caledonia and a truly bizarre bird and one of the strangest I have seen.
Twelve, several in summer plumage, were seen along the coast on the 20th.
Summer plumage Wandering Tattlers at the coast.SILVER GULL Larus novahollandiae forsteri
Fifteen seen on the coast on the 20th.
CRESTED TERN Sterna bergii cristata
Eight seen on the coast on the 20th.
Crested Tern with Silver Gulls at the coast.
Introduced, with six seen on the 17th and one on the 20th in the suburbs of Noumea.
CLOVEN-FEATHERED DOVE Drepanoptila holosericea
A superb species and one not to be missed. Three seen at Mount Koaghis on the 17th with one on the 18th and two on the 19th in the Nat.Park. Considered by Collar as vulnerable with a population of less than 5,000 pairs and declining due partly to hunting and habitat destruction.
Small size quite rounded looking with a shortish tail. Bright green back and head with broad white bars on the wings and tail. Breast bright green with a narrow white and broader black bands running across with lemon yellow belly, and a white throat patch. Under tail coverts yellow. It has conspicuous white-feathered legs really puffed out. Flight is fast and direct. Call is a very loud slow and deep oo-oo-oo repeated. They are a fruit-dove and can be found feeding in fruit trees but can also be easily identified in flight. We picked several out by hearing them call and then picking them out feeding in the trees. They will often come out on bare branches.
NEW CALEDONIAN PIGEON Ducula goliath
Small numbers seen daily at both the National Park and Mount Koaghis. Considered by Collar as vulnerable and is likely to be declining due to hunting.
A large pigeon larger than our own Woodpigeon with a long tail and often quite tame feeding quietly in the trees. A very loud booming call and the call carries for a long distance. General colouration dark greyish upper parts with the underparts and under tail coverts chestnut . The top of the tail has a broad dark greyish band on the tip with a chestnut central area. Feet reddish and the bill which appeared quite long and heavy for a pigeon red with broad dark tip.
New Caledonia Pigeon
EMERALD DOVE Chalcophapsindica chrysochlora
Two seen walking around the campsite on the 18th and one seen walking along the gravel road on the 19th.
Although appeared very similar to ones I have seen in Australia and Asia the dark breast was very well defined.
RAINBOW LORIKEET Trichoglossus haematodes deplanchei
Up to ten recorded on three dates in the Nat.Park.
NEW CALEDONIAN PARAKEET Cyanoramphus saisseti
A single bird seen near Yves house in the Nat.Park on the 16th and two seen in the Nat.Park on the 20th. This species has recently been split from the very similar Red-fronted Parakeet in New Zealand.
Medium size green parakeet with a yellowish tinge on the underparts,bluish wings and red crown and red stripe through eye and small red patches at the base of the tail. Long green tail. Noticeably smaller than Horned Parakeet. Generally a quiet bird and feeds quietly in the trees and could be overlooked quite easily.
HORNED PARAKEET Eunymphicus cornutus
All sightings from the Nat.Park with one on the 16th, five on the 18th and fourteen seen on the 19th with several seen well feeding in the trees. Considered by Collar as vulnerable due mainly to habitat destruction and trapping for the bird-trade.
Noticeably larger than the last species with a more extensive and darker blue area on the wings. Male has a distinctive yellow nape and red frontal area above bill and dark face. Female greener with far less red and no yellow nape. Both sexes have a very distinct long wispy crest and in flight a broader tail with bluish base.
BARN OWL Tyto alba lifuensis
A distinctive endemic subspecies. One found roosting on the edge on a small pine tree plantation just inside the Nat.Park by the entrance gate in the early morning of the 18th. It appeared noticeably darker on its head and back compared to our own Barn Owl.
WHITE-BELLIED SWIFTLET Collocalia esculenta uropygialis
Up to 15 seen daily at both the Nat.Park and Mount Koaghis.
Upper parts blackish with large whitish rump and underparts much paler grey. All birds kept very low gliding along the forest rides. A small party of Swiftlets were seen flying much higher in the sky higher up in the Nat.Park and may have been White-rumped Swiftlet Collocalia spodopygia leucopygia but when I discussed the identification with Yves Letocart he felt they were virtually impossible to identify in the field.
SACRED KINGFISHER Halcyon sanctus canacorum
Seen in small numbers daily. Maximum of 4 on a day.
WHITE-BREASTED WOODSWALLOW Artamus leucorhynchus melanoleucus
Up to five seen on a day in the Nat.Park with eight seen along the coast on the 20th.
Three seen at Mount Koaghis on the 17th with six in the Nat.Park on the 18th and two on the 19th and four near the coast on the 20th.
Very similar in appearance to Metallic Starling which I have seen in Queensland,Australia but the tail was noticeably shorter and no where near as pointed as that species. The birds we saw along the coast were in open land and therefore it is not restricted to forests.
COMMON MYNA Acridotheres tristis
Introduced, and seen on three dates around habitation.
NEW CALEDONIAN CROW Corvus moneduloides
Three seen on the 18th and two on the 19th in the forest at the Nat.Park.
A small Jackdaw size crow, all black in colouration with a large black eye and thickset stubby bill. It was a curious bird coming to pishing and usually carrying small sticks in its bill.
New Caledonian Crow carrying a stick
CALEDONIAN MOUNTAIN GREYBIRD Coracina analisOnly seen in the forests at Riviere Bleue Nat.Park with four on the 18th, two on the 19th and two on the 20th.
We found this species difficult to come to grips with. It appeared fairly large for a Cuckoo-Shrike and the ones we saw kept to the mid-storey and were usually partly hidden by leaves. Yves picked a number out calling but none of these were seen by us. The call was a loud whistle and a short trill all sounded rather jumbled up to my ears.
Its general plumage is dark grey with a dark eye quite a large rounded head and longish broad tail but by far its most conspicuous feature was its rufous under-tail coverts which I found to be the best identification criteria. In general I found it to be a rather non-descript species, fairly elusive and not showing at all well.
MELANESIAN GREYBIRD Coracina caledonica
One seen at the entrance gate to the Riviere Bleue Nat.Park on the 16th, three seen at the start of the summit track at Mount Koaghis on the 17th and two seen in the forest in the Nat.Park on the 20th.
A larger bird than the preceding species they sit out much more in the open again at mid-storey level
and good views including photographs obtained. Plumage much blacker with blackish under tail coverts and an obvious white eye.
Three seen in the 16th in the Nat.Park with one on the 17th at Mount Koaghis. Three seen on the 18th and one on the 20th again in the Nat.Park.
A black and white triller not unlike the Australian White-winged Triller but with a slightly longer looking tail. The ones I saw were usually on the edges of forest clearings.
NEW CALEDONIAN WHISTLER Pachycephala caledonica
Fairly common seen on all five days with a daily maximum of 15 on the 20th in the Nat.Park.
Similar in size to Golden Whistler. The male has a uniform grey head and the underparts more orangie-yellow and a narrow black breast band. Females browner-olive upper parts with a conspicuous white throat and dirty white underparts. It was interesting that while the males kept to the low to mid-storeys in the trees the females were often seen feeding on the ground. I found the best identification criteria to be the uniform grey head and the tones of the underparts of the males.
New Caledonian Whistler
An endemic subspecies. Odd birds recorded on all five dates.
Its general appearance and behaviour was very similar to birds seen in Australia.
FANTAIL GERYGONE Gerygone flavolateralis
Common with up to fifteen seen daily.
An obvious Gerygone usually seen well flitting around in the forest. Small size similar to a phylloscopus warbler, with pale brown upper parts, whitish underparts with yellowish flanks and white tail spots. No real confusion specie on New Caledonia.
SPOTTED FANTAIL Rhipidura spilodera verreauxi
Common, recorded daily in the forest areas with a daily maximum of 12 at Riviere Bleue Nat.Park on the 20th.
A typical fantail in size and jizz with rufous-brown upperparts white supercilium and throat,breast with black spots and buff tips to the tail feathers. In the early morning,it would hop around on the ground flicking its wings turning fallen leaves with both of its wings looking for insects.
GREY FANTAIL Rhipidura fuliginosa bulgeri
Endemic subspecies. Seen daily but not as common as the preceding species and not so much of a true forest fantail as the preceding species. Daily maximum of five at Riviere Bleue and would be seen around campsite and picnic sites in more open areas.
Appeared virtually the same as its Australian counterpart.
Four seen on the 18th and one seen on the 19th at Riviere Bleue Nat. Park.
A stunning specie,especially the female. Yves called this specie the Wide Billed Flycatcher which seemed a far more appropriate name for it. The male was like a male Satin Flycatcher but with a far broader based bill with thick hairy bristles. The female much like Broad-Billed Flycatcher which I saw near Darwin but with even a broader based bill than that specie and a wide white eye-ring with a brighter orange throat and breast. They made a short sharp call and could be easily picked out on call once known.
New Caledonian Myiagra Flycatcher
Just two singles seen and both at Riviere Bleue Nat.Park. The first on the 16th and the second which I watched feeding for some 15 minutes with some excellent views on the 20th.
Although classified as a Flycatcher, I would seriously question this as its jizz,structure and feeding behaviour was totally unlike any flycatcher I have seen. A medium size bird larger and heavier than most Flycatchers. Plumage non-descript brownish tips to the tail feathers and under tail coverts. Quite a longish tail and a large wedge shape pale bluish bill. It generally keeps to the mid to upper storeys where it moves around rather heavily. It feeds by poking its bill into crevices in the bark of the tree and I once watched it tear of a small piece of the bark with its amazing bill no doubt looking for insects under the bark. When it flew from tree to tree its flight was quite heavy.
YELLOW-BELLIED ROBIN Eopsatria flaviventis
Common with up to ten seen daily.
Similar in behaviour and looks to the Eastern Yellow Robin of Australia but probably slightly smaller.
Brown upper parts with grey face,throat and breast with belly and under tail coverts lemon yellow. A confiding bird often seen around the picnic sites and our camp site where it would sit out in a small bush and suddenly fly to the ground where it would hop about feeding, although it would also be seen in the dark forest.
Common often in flocks seen daily with up to 40 on a day.
A typical looking white-eye being olive-green above very large white eye-ring, breast and flanks greenish-yellow vent whitish.
New Caledonian White-eye.
New Caledonica endemic subspecies of Australian Scarlet Myzomela or Honeyeater. Fairly common up to five seen daily.
Appeared identical to those I have seen in Australia.
SILVER-EARED HONEYEATER Lichmera incana
Seen on all four dates in secondary habitat at Riviere Bleue Nat.Park but never more than four seen on a day and not seen at Mount Koaghis.
Brownish-olive above with a brighter greenish panel on the wings. Grey underparts becoming whiter on the belly. Distinct grey ear coverts and the bill was decurved.
Two seen at Riviere Bleue near the entrance gate on the 16th and up to 8 seen in the vicinity of the hotel at Mount Koaghis on the 19th.
I am surprised that I didn`t see more of this species and it is probably commoner than I saw it. For a Honeyeater it was quite impressive.Larger than the preceding species with quite a long decurved bill.
Upper parts greyish-brown with the underparts whiter with many narrow bars on the throat, sides of the breast and flanks.
Poor record shot of a Barred Honeyeater.
A single bird was taped into view by Yves along the forest road at Riviere Bleue Nat.Park on the 18th. The bird remained in the lower overhanging branches for some 10 minutes and gave excellent views. It immediately responded to the tape, coming in within seconds of the tape being played.
Size not as large as I was expecting, Jackdaw size but thinner with a longer tail. Long decurved bill was black above and yellow below. Yellow feet. All dull black plumage with bright red bare skin around the eye extending to the bill and red wattles on the side of the neck. A very odd looking bird.
Very dark picture of a Crow Honeyeater
Fairly common but shy seen daily with up to 12 on a day.
Medium size friarbird, Upperparts brownish with broad pale blue edgings to the wings. Greyish head streaked slightly darker with a pale and dark malar stripes. Underparts greyish-brown with long whitish pointed breast feathers,giving a streaked effect. Although I tried on a number of occasions to approach the bird to photograph it, it never allowed me to get to close and appeared quite shy although I saw it chasing other birds on several times. I was quite impressed with this friarbird.
HOUSE SPARROW Passer domesticus
Introduced , and seen around the Airport.
RED-THROATED PARROT-FINCH Erythrura psittacea
A stunning bird and one of the highlights. Singles seen on the 16th and 19th at Riviere Bleue and on the 17th at Mount Koaghis, with four on the 20th at Riviere Bleue. Good views obtained of most of these birds and some acceptable photographs obtained.
Small long tailed parrotfinch with a blackish conical shape bill. Body bright green with a red face,throat and the red long pointed tail. One was watched feeding on small fruit growing out from the trunk of a tree.
Collar et al Birds to Watch 2 The World List of Threatened Birds
Clement et al Finches & Sparrows an Identification Guide
Juniper & Parr A Guide to the Parrots of the World
Thomas, Richard New Caledonia - A Trip Report 1992.
(Many of the above descriptions were taken from Richard`s trip report and
I also used this trip report extensively in New Caledonia and found the
identification notes to be extremely useful as I had no field-guide to the area)