12th February 1993 - 20th February 1993.
I arrived at Fiji's International Airport in Nadi early in the morning and met my driver/fixer/guide who was to be with me during my stay on Viti Levu, the largest of the 300+ Fijian islands. From Nadi we drove to Suva, the capital, on the other side of the island, on the way seeing Common Myna, Red-vented Bulbul, Fiji Wood Swallow, Spotted Dove, White-rumped Swiftlet, White-collared Kingfisher, Pacific Swallow, Pacific Harrier and Jungle Myna.
The hotel in Suva was near the beach and on an evening walk I saw Eastern Reef Heron, a flock of Pacific Golden Plovers, Wattled Honeyeater and at dusk thousands of Samoan Fruit Bats flying over the city.
Pacific Golden Plovers.
I needed somewhere near the city, but away from people, as I had a list of birds to record for 'Nomads of the Wind', my fixer found a valley north of Suva with a path by a slow moving river which was ideal, but early in the morning the cicadas here were deafening. Along the path I saw Grey-backed White-eye, 6 Sulphur-breasted Musk Parrots, Wattled Honeyeater, Red-vented Bulbul, Red-headed Parrotfinch, Polynesian Triller, a Fiji Goshawk, Samoan Fruit Bats, Giant Forest Honeyeater, a Golden Dove, Barking Pigeon, White-rumped Swiftlet, White-collared Kingfisher, Common and Jungle Mynas.
Later, along the coast I saw Eastern Reef Heron, around 80 Pacific Golden Plovers, Fiji Warbler, a Siberian or Grey-tailed Tattler, Fiji White-eye, a Small Indian Mongoose, Spotted Dove, Fiji Wood Swallow, Pacific Swallow and towards evening Tonga Fruit Bats and Sheath-tailed Bats.
An early start back at yesterday's site, this time getting further along the path, before the sun became too hot and the birds disappeared, seeing Sulphur-breasted Musk Parrot, Barking Pigeon, Wattled Honeyeater, Tonga Fruit Bats, Giant Forest Honeyeater, Golden Whistler, Fiji Shrikebill, Slaty Monarch Flycatcher, Vanikoro Broadbill, Fiji Warbler, Polynesian Triller, Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Fiji White-eye, Island Thrush, Red-vented Bulbul, Common and Jungle Mynas and White-rumped Swiftlets.
Photo: Golden Silk-weaver Spider.
Back at the site north of Suva, this time getting close enough to record Golden Dove, and more recordings of Sulphur-breasted Musk Parrots, also seeing Wattled Honeyeater, Fiji Wood Swallow, Fiji Warbler, Golden Whistler, Polynesian Triller, Red-vented Bulbul, Polynesian Starling,
2 Pink-billed Parrotfinches, Jungle Myna, White-rumped Swiftlet, Giant Forest Honeyeater and Tonga Fruit Bats.
A flight from Suva to Savusavu on Vanua Levu, the second largest island, although it was fine when I left by the time I arrived there was torrential rain and with a tropical storm moving in I had to find a hotel in the town. The storm lasted into the afternoon then it began to dry up, so later I had a walk around seeing Common Myna, Red-vented Bulbul, Wattled Honeyeater, Pacific Swallow, White-rumped Swiftlet, Fiji Goshawk, 4 Collared Lorys, a Grey-tailed Tattler, 6 Barking Pigeons, White-collared Kingfisher, a Small Indian Mongoose, a Striated Heron, Tonga Fruit Bats and a couple of geckos (Hemiphyllodactylus typus and Lepidodactylus lugubris).
After an early breakfast, Dr. Wolfgang Pfaeltzer arrived to take me to Savasi Island, a small private island about 15 minutes drive east of Savusavu, where he and his wife run an ocassional B&B, they couldn't get to me the previous day because of the rain, now it looks like they have left and the island has become a resort.
My reason for being there was to record Tonga Fruit Bats, as they had a colony of them in their garden. Also seen around the island was Fiji Goshawk, 2 Collared Lorys, a Small Indian Mongoose, Striated Heron, Eastern Reef Heron, Barking Pigeon, White-collared Kingfisher, Grey-tailed Tattler, Polynesian Triller, White-throated Pigeon, a Many-coloured Fruit Dove, a Striped Skink, a gecko (Gehyra oceanica) and 2 very distant frigatebirds.
In the evening they tried to get me to try a local seasonal delicacy, Balolo Worms (a species of Palolo Worm) which had been caught that afternoon in the bay infront of the house, but I passed on the offer.
Photos: Flowers on Savasi Island.
An early morning on Savasi Island recording the Tonga Fruit Bats again, and seeing Orange-breasted Honeyeater, Wattled Honeyeater, Barking Pigeon and Polynesian Triller.
Later I returned to the airport at Savusavu for the short flight to Taveuni, the 4th largest Fijian island, it was hot and very humid here and the accommodation I was booked into were huts with only a couple of small fans, the hotel next door had air-conditioning so I moved there.
The only way to get around the island is by taxi, so I booked one for the rest of the afternoon, and, went to a place that the programme had filmed, seeing Common Myna, Australian Magpie, Collared Lory, Red-breasted Musk Parrot, Wattled Honeyeater, and finally an Orange Dove, I had been looking for one of these since arriving, as it was on my recording list, but I was on Fiji at a different time of year than when they filmed, luckily it was calling and I was able to get close enough to record it.
Also seen was White-rumped Swiftlet, White-throated Pigeon, White-collared Kingfisher and along the coast Pacific Golden Plovers, Turnstone and Grey-tailed Tattler.
My first full day on Taveuni, I booked the same taxi driver, who had taken birdwatchers around before and let him show me the best places to visit, during the day I saw Red-breasted Musk Parrot, Collared Lory, Barking Pigeon, White-rumped Swiftlet, Fiji Fruit Bat, Wattled Honeyeater, Red-vented Bulbul, Fiji Goshawk, White-collared Kingfisher, Vanikoro Broadbill, Blue-tailed Skink, 3 Lesser Frigatebirds, Australian Magpie, Fiji Ground Frog, Fiji White-eye, Fiji Shrikebill, Slaty Monarch, Polynesian Triller, Spotted Fantail, West Polynesian Ground Dove and Pacific Harrier.
The last place we went to was the best, up a bumpy track almost to the top of the highland ridge, and there was no-one around so a good place to record, a pity we got there late in the day.
My last day on Taveuni and my last day recording in Fiji, the taxi picked me up early and we returned to the area found yesterday, it was much better and I got good recordings of Red-breasted Musk Parrot and Collared Lory. I also saw Wattled Honeyeater, Fiji Goshawk, Pacific Harrier, Fiji White-eye, Slaty Monarch, Polynesian Triller, Fiji Shrikebill, White-rumped Swiftlet, Golden Whistler, 3 Silktails, Vanikoro Broadbill, Island Thrush and Spotted Fantail.