For two weeks I birded in Fiji on Taveuni, Kadavu (pronounced “Kandavu”) and Viti Levu, three of the four major islands, after an ocean cruise from Australia and New Zealand. I flew home to the USA via Air Pacific, the Fiji national airline which offers the only direct flights to the USA.
Planning & Resources:
I developed my itinerary on the basis of other birders’ trip reports, mostly from www.surfbirds.com; A Field Guide to The Birds of Hawaii and the Tropical Pacific, H. Douglas Pratt, et al., Princeton University Press, 1987; A Guide to the Birds of Fiji & Western Polynesia, Dick Watling, Environmental Consultants, 2004 (the best price I found for Dick’s book was at the University of the South Pacific bookstore, www.uspbookcentre.com; air shipping was essential & reasonable); and an extended e-mail conversation with Vilikesa Masibalavu (“Vili”). He is National Coordinator, BirdLife International Fiji; his address is 11 Ma’afu St., GPO Box 18322, Suva, Fiji; email@example.com. He is a knowledgeable and dedicated environmentalist who works incredibly hard to educate villagers about the value to them of bird conservation, to negotiate the acquisition or setting aside of bird reserves, to assure their protection, and overall to achieve bird conservation in a culture otherwise poorly attuned to it. He also is a keen birder and a delightful birding companion.
I investigated going to Rotuma Island far to the north of the main archipelago and to Ogea Levu Island in the Southern Lau Group to see their respective island endemics, Rotuma Myzomela (Honeyeater), Myzomela chermesina, and Ogea Monarch (a/k/a Versicolor Flycatcher), Mayrornis versicolor. However, Rotuma has Friday-only airline service, Ogea Levu has none, a round trip by ship to either island would have taken a week or more, & air charters would have cost more than I was prepared to spend. Similarly, a post-dusk or pre-dawn visit by chartered fishing boat to the waters off Gau (pronounced “Ngau”) in search of a Fiji Petrel, Pterodroma macgillivrayi, the only pelagic species in which I was interested for these two weeks, would have been prohibitively expensive for me alone, especially in view of the long odds against seeing that rare species in the dark as it returns to or leaves its burrow.
I alloted no time in Fiji for pelagic or shore birds. On the other hand, I concluded that, so long as I had come all the way to Fiji, I should add some time to seek true rarities, all of which are found only deep in the Fiji bush. Accordingly, I added five days to my initial plan and hired Vili to guide me.
I recommend getting a good road map before arriving in Fiji, e.g., www.hemamaps.com or www.hemamaps.com.au. No map may be available at Nadi (pronounced “Nandi”) International Airport on Viti Levu, there are no stores of any kind at the Taveuni or Kadavu airports, and driving into the capital city of Suva to a bookstore is a long, slow & noxious trip.
Fijian friendliness is delightful and ubiquitous. Everyone I met, or passed on a city street, or drove by on a back-country road, greeted me with a nod or a wave, the universal greeting “Bula”, and a smile. If I paused but momentarily, I became engaged in a friendly conversation.
While several trip reports intimate one can see all of Taveuni’s and Kadavu’s endemics in a single day of birding on each island, I understood my visit would be during the rainy season, so I allotted two days for each island. Although it was not all that rainy, I used both days to the fullest on both islands and recommend against relying upon a single day of birding in any season. I hired local guides on both islands; in light of the territoriality of several endemic rainforest species, I was very glad I went with someone who knew exactly -- within 10 meters -- where to find them.
Inter-island air travel is, at best, something of an adventure. I flew on Air Fiji, mostly because that was the first Fiji air transport web site I found, and my travel agent got me an excellent discount package. All my flights departed late. I recommend scheduling travel days as just that and against trying to squeeze in essential birding the same day as one is flying between islands, otherwise one risks missing some good birds.
Altogether I saw or heard 60 species, 37 of which were life birds. By visiting these three islands, I readily saw 19 of the 26 Fiji endemic species. During my extra time in the Viti Levu bush country I saw one more and heard yet another, both of which are extraordinarily rare. Two of the endemics I missed are presumed extinct, the other three are singularly expensive to reach (as noted above). Not a clean sweep, but pleasingly close. I also saw nearly all of the subspecies I had sought.
My first Fiji Islands birds I saw from the cruise ship as we passed Kadavu on February 18: Red-footed Booby, Sula sula rubripes, and Wedge-tailed Shearwater, Puffinus pacificus.
Day One, Sunday, Feb. 19: On Viti Levu. Debarked from ship & driven to hotel. Brief birding along waterfront in the capital city of Suva. Species & subspecies seen: Red-vented Bulbul, Pycnonotus cafer (introduced, common in lowland towns); Vanikoro Flycatcher (Broadbill), Myiagra vanikorensis rufiventris (fairly common in lowland towns; this subspecies endemic to western Fiji); Great Crested Tern, Sterna bergii cristata; Pacific Swallow, Hirundo tahitica subfusca (common in lowlands); Common Myna, Acridotheres tristis (introduced, ubiquitous in cities & towns); Jungle Myna, Acridotheres fuscus (introduced, also ubiquitous in cities & towns).
Day 2 My 0730 flight to Taveuni left Nadi Airport at 0830, but only after one boarded passenger had to get off because the flight was overloaded. Moreover, none of our luggage flew with us; it all came on a later flight; my hotel retrieved it while I was birding. Met at Taveuni airport by car from Garden Island Resort (www.aquatek.com) on the west coast. Hotel comfortable, food passable, SCUBA resort, staff familiar with birders & transferred me between airport & hotel, telephone call from hotel to USA outrageously expensive. Subsequently I bought calling cards and used public telephones – easy & economical (four 10-minute+ calls to USA for F$20).
Birded in the afternoon overlooking Somosomo Strait and strolling about 4 km. along the coast road. Species & subspecies seen: Spotted Dove, Streptopelia chinensis (uncommon on Taveuni & Viti Levu); Black-naped Tern, Sterna sumatrana; Fiji Woodswallow, Artamus mentalis (northern Fiji endemic, common on all islands I visited); Collared Lory, Phigys solitarius (Fiji endemic, locally common); Silver-eye, Zosterops lateralis flaviceps (common on three islands, subspecies endemic to Fiji); Orange-breasted Myzomela, Myzomela jugularis (uncommon Fiji endemic); White-rumped Swiftlet, Aerodramus spodiopygius assimilis (common in lowlands, subspecies endemic to Fiji); Collared Kingfisher, Todirhamphus chloris vitiensis (fairly common; currently Birds of the World, A Checklist, 5th ed., James E. Clements, Ibis Publishing Co., 2000, and Dick Watling put the kingfishers of Fiji among Collared Kingfishers; Doug Pratt, on the other hand, feels they belong among Sacred Kingfishers, Halcyon sancta; all the kingfishers I saw on Taveuni & Kadavu had brownish supercilia and varying amounts of brown on breast sides and flanks; on Viti Levu I saw similarly plumaged Kingfishers as well as one adult and one juvenile with white supercilia, breasts, flanks & vents); Pacific Reef-Heron, Egretta sacra sacra (locally common on three islands); Gray-tailed Tattler, Heterosceles brevipes; Purple Swamphen, Porphyrio porphyrio samoensis; Great Crested Tern; Pacific Swallow; Vanikoro Flycatcher; Jungle Myna; Common Myna.
Day 3 Left hotel at 0530 with local guide “Boro” (who has been guiding for 40 years & knows the birds well; he also is the Garden Island Resort bartender), drove up nearby Des Voeux Peak to approximately 2 km. below telecom tower company gate. Birded afoot up to gate & back down the road to lower boundary of forest reserve, twice entering rain forest on side trails. Back at hotel around 1100. [Boro is very, very good; if you wish to hire him, I urge you to approach him directly and discretely at the bar (after 2 p.m. when he usually comes to work) and not through the hotel’s front desk; if the hotel becomes involved, it takes the lion’s share of the guiding fee, even though Boro guides on his own time & does the work.] Species & subspecies seen: Fiji Parrotfinch, Erythrura pealii pealii(locally common endemic to Taveuni, Kadavu, VitiLevu & Vanua Levu); Layard’s White-eye, Zosterops explorator (common Fiji endemic); Golden Whistler, Pachycephala pectoralis torquata (subspecies endemic to Taveuni); Polynesian Triller, Lalage maculosa woodi (subspecies endemic to Taveuni & Vanua Levu); Slaty Monarch, Mayrornis lessoni lessoni (endemic to Fiji, subspecies to northwest Fiji & Lau Group); Streaked Fantail, Rhipidura spilodera rufilateralis (fairly common, subspecies endemic to Taveuni); Fiji Goshawk, Accipiter rufitorques (common Fiji endemic); Orange Dove, Ptilinopus victor (uncommon at higher forested elevations, Fiji endemic, Taveuni & Vanua Levu only); Wattled Honeyeater, Foulehaio carunculata taviunensis (subspecies endemic to Taveuni & Vanua Levu); Peale’s Imperial (Barking) Pigeon, Ducula latrans (common Fiji endemic in forests, local “Barking” name is apt); Red Shining-Parrot, Prosopeia tabuensis taviuensis (common Fiji endemic, subspecies endemic to Tavueni, Ngamea); Blue-crested Flycatcher (Broadbill), Myiagra azureocapilla azureocapilla (Fiji endemic, subspecies endemic to Tavueni); Collared Lory; White-rumped Swiftlet; Collared Kingfisher; Vanikoro Flycatcher; Silver-eye; Fiji Woodswallow; Jungle Myna; Common Myna.
Day 4 Left hotel with Boro at 0530, drove up Des Voeux Peak to telecom tower company gate; birded afoot about 1.5 km. further up the mountain until too cloudy & rainy to see much, then back down to lower boundary of forest reserve, entering forest on same trails as yesterday, plus one lower down the mountain. Raining nearly all the time. Species & subspecies seen: Fiji Bush-Warbler, Cettia ruficapilla funebris (Fiji endemic, subspecies endemic to Taveuni); Giant (Forest) Honeyeater, Gymnomyza viridis viridis (Fiji endemic, subspecies endemic to Taveuni & Vanua Levu); Fiji (Lesser) Shrikebill, Clytorhynchus vitiensis layardi (subspecies endemic to Taveuni); Island Thrush, Turdus poliocephalus tempesti (subspecies endemic to Taveuni); Silktail, Lamprolia victoriae victoriae (Fiji endemic, very territorial, so having a local guide was most important); Orange Dove (despite the rain, several small flocks seen well from the road, usually in ratio of 1 male to 6 females); Peale’s Imperial-Pigeon; Red Shining-Parrot; White-rumped Swiftlet; Collared Kingfisher; Polynesian Triller; Blue-crested Flycatcher; Golden Whistler; Layard’s White-eye; Orange-breasted Myzomela; Wattled Honeyeater; Giant (Forest) Honeyeater; Common Myna; Fiji Parrotfinch.
In the afternoon I took a taxi to Qeleni Road (and arranged to be picked up later) & walked uphill through land cleared for taro cultivation to the edge of forest before I ran out of time, then back down to main road and along the ocean mudflats. Qeleni Road is marginally driveable only by a high-clearance 4WD. Additional species & subspecies seen: Metallic (White-throated) Pigeon, Columba vitiensis vitiensis (common, subspecies endemic to Fiji); Pacific Golden-Plover, Pluvialis fulva; Pacific Black Duck, Anas superciliosa pelewensis; Buff-banded (Banded) Rail, Gallirallus philippensis sethsmithi (crossing the road); Pacific Reef-Heron; Fiji Goshawk; Great Crested Tern; Pacific Swallow.
Day 5 My 0915 flight to Suva left at 1000; my scheduled 1230 connecting flight to Kadavu left at 1430. Met at Kadavu airport by Humphrey, the proprietor of Reece’s Place (Galoa Island, PO Box 6, Vunisea, Kadavu, Fiji. Tel: +679 3336097; no website). We walked to the far end of the landing strip to his boat in which we traveled to the small offshore island where the hotel is located. We stopped along the way for a 30-minute visit in a small village where I was honored to be invited to join the village men for conversation and kava. I was welcomed most warmly, understood none of the Fijian conversation, learned that, by custom, one drains his kava bowl in one long swallow, and found kava to be an “acquired” taste.
Reece’s Place is isolated on a small island. The food and lodging costs are low, but the accommodations are quite basic: my bed was comfortable, but the place suffers from lots and lots of deferred maintenance, and electricity is provided only by a generator run approximately 90 minutes each evening, thus cold showers, no cold beer, no telephone. Humphrey’s delightful wife does the cooking, all Fijian style, so lots of casseroles, lots of fish, lots of white & sweet potatoes, pasta, rice and taro, lots of fried food, bland seasonings. All quite good and filling, but I craved a steak by the time I left Kadavu. Birded around the hotel grounds in the late afternoon. Species & subspecies seen (quite close): Swamp (Pacific) Harrier, Circus approximans (seen at Suva airport, between flights); Kandavu Honeyeater, Xanthotis provacator (Fiji endemic, Kadavu only); Kandavu Fantail, Rhipidura personata (Fiji endemic, Kadavu only); Crimson (Kadavu) Shining-Parrot, Prosopeia splendens (Fiji endemic, Kadavu only); Lesser Frigatebird, Fregata ariel; Fiji Goshawk; Collared Lory; Collared Kingfisher; Pacific Swallow.
Day 6 Being located on an island that has virtually no forest left on it, and Humphrey being my boat pilot and a late riser, I could not get off Galoa Island and begin birding until after around 0900. Humphrey took me across the bay to a forested area on Kadavu itself and introduced me to Seru who lives next to the “Pipeline Track" in the forest with his family. Seru speaks little English, but he understands that birders come to his forest to see Velvet Doves (known locally as “Whistling Doves”), and he knows all his birds, although not their English language names. After I pointed out in the guidebook all the birds I thought we might see and impressed upon him that I was interested in all of them and not only in the doves, he readily pointed out lots of birds. His fee of F$5 for our 1½ hours in the forest was the best $5 I spent during my time in Fiji. Species & subspecies seen: Black-throated (Black-faced) Shrikebill, Clytorhynchus nigrogularis nigrogularis (subspecies endemic to Fiji); Velvet (Whistling) Dove, Ptilinopus layardi (Fiji endemic, Kadavu only); Scarlet Robin, Petroica multicolor becki (subspecies endemic to Kadavu); Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Cacomantis flabelliformis simus (subspecies endemic to Fiji, not seen, but its distinctive call heard); Fiji Bush-Warbler, Cettia ruficapilla ruficapilla (subspecies endemic to Kadavu); Fiji Shrikebill, Clytorhynchus vitiensis compressirostris (subspecies endemic to Kadavu); Golden Whistler, Pachycephala pectoralis kandavensis, (subspecies endemic to Kadavu); Lesser Frigatebird; Pacific Reef-Heron; Great Crested Tern; Black-naped Tern; Peale’s Imperial-Pigeon; Collared Lory; Crimson Shining-Parrot; Kandavu Fantail; Slaty Monarch; Layard’s White-eye; Silver-eye.
Day 7 0900 Humphrey took me across the bay to the village of Vunisea on the main island of Kadavu. Virtually all the land around Vunisea has now been cleared. The Pipeline Track begins at a six-way intersection in the center of Vunisea; with the school on your right, the first road on the right goes down to the shore, the second road from the right is the Track. I walked approximately 3 km. along the Track before I reached the forest; note that my distance estimate from Vunisea to the forest differs from Graham Talbot's mentioned in his October 2005 trip report (www.surfbirds.com/trip_report.php?id=873) -- different men, different estimates, but land clearing does continue apace on Kadavu. Birded awhile after reaching the forest; had I continued along the track, I could have reached Seru’s home. Realizing that, I decided that getting to his area of the forest by boat with Humphrey the day before had been much easier than walking, and that I probably had connected with Seru earlier than I would have if I had left at the crack of dawn and walked in from Vunisea. On my flight out of Vunisea, I noted that the forest has been cleared even further on the opposite side of the village. The habitat destruction, much of it within the past several years, was disheartening. Species & subspecies seen: Many-colored Fruit-Dove, Ptilinopus perousii; Striated Heron, Butorides striata solomonensis; Polynesian Triller, Lalage maculosa soror (subspecies endemic to Kadavu); Vanikoro Flycatcher, Myiagra vanikorensis kandavensis (subspecies endemic to Kadavu); Lesser Frigatebird; Pacific Reef-Heron; Fiji Goshawk; Black-naped Tern; Peale’s Imperial-Pigeon; Collared Lory; Crimson Shining-Parrot; Collared Kingfisher; Pacific Swallow; Polynesian Triller; Kandavu Fantail; Slaty Monarch; Fiji Shrikebill; Silver-eye; Orange-breasted Myzomela; Kandavu Honeyeater; Fiji Woodswallow.
Day 8 Today I was scheduled to fly to Suva in the early afternoon. I had not seen the Kadavu subspecies of Island Thrush, so Humphrey took me back to Seru’s place in the forest. No luck in the single hour I believed was all the time I had available. My scheduled 1315 flight departed at 1515.
Four nights I stayed at Raintree Lodge in Colo-I-Suva, 15 km north of Suva (www.raintreelodge.com). This is a fine eco-lodge with dormitory-style accommodations as well as suites and a good restaurant. It is a short walk (< 1/2 km) away from Colo-I-Suva Forest Park, a prime Viti Levu lowlands birding site. Birded on hotel grounds. Species & subspecies seen: Masked Shining-Parrot, Prosopeia personata (Fiji endemic, Viti Levu only); Wattled Honeyeater, Foulehaio carunculata procerior (subspecies endemic to Viti Levu & neighboring islets); Pacific Reef-Heron; Pacific Black Duck; Spotted Dove; Many-colored Fruit-Dove; Collared Lory; White-rumped Swiftlet; Red-vented Bulbul; Vanikoro Flycatcher; Jungle Myna; Common Myna.
Day 9 I slept later than I had planned & enjoyed a leisurely breakfast -- big mistakes. By the time I had walked to Colo-I-Suva Forest Park, the sun had been up for two hours and was shining in my eyes as I worked my way northeastward along its primary access road. Also, the birds had settled down. I took the very hilly but virtually birdless "Nature Trail" into the forest and then the "Big Dakua Loop Trail" and eventually reached the other side of the park. It is a mahogany plantation with substantial second growth and did not seem especially attractive to birds. In hindsight, I should have stuck to the access road along which two mixed flocks accounted for nearly all the birds I saw this day. Species & subspecies seen: Streaked Fantail, Rhipidura spilodera layardi (subspecies endemic to Viti Levu & Ovalau); Blue-crested Flycatcher, Myiagra azureocapilla whitneyi (Fiji endemic, subspecies endemic to Viti Levu); Scarlet Robin, Petroica multicolor kleinschmidti (subspecies endemic to Viti Levu & Vanua Levu); Golden Whistler, Pachycephala pectoralis graeffii (subspecies endemic to western &, recently, to southern Viti Levu; P. p. optata now found only in remote northeastern Viti Levu); Masked Shining-Parrot; Slaty Monarch; Silver-eye; Jungle Myna; Common Myna.
Day 10 I left the hotel at 0530 and had walked to the east end of the Colo-I-Suva Forest Park road before sunrise. Much better with the sun over my shoulder as I worked my way southwestward back along the road. All the same, as I looked into the roadside forest to my left -- eastward -- the flying birds were silhouetted by the morning sun still low in the sky and were easy to track through the trees to where they landed. Bird activity quit around 8 a.m., so back to Rainforest Lodge for laundry, updating my trip records & reading. Before dinner Vili, who would be my guide for the rest of my birding on Viti Levu, met me at hotel to plan the following week. Species & subspecies seen: Island Thrush, Turdus poliocephalus layardi (subspecies endemic to Viti Levu); Fiji Bush-Warbler, Cettia ruficapilla badiceps (subspecies endemic to Viti Levu); Fiji Shrikebill, Clytorhunchus vitiensis vitiensis (subspecies endemic to western Fiji); Giant (Forest) Honeyeater, Gymnomyza viridis brunneirostris (subspecies endemic to Viti Levu); Swamp Harrier; Fiji Goshawk; Spotted Dove; Many-colored Fruit-Dove; Peale’s Imperial-Pigeon; Collared Lory; White-rumped Swiftlet; Red-vented Bulbul; Streaked Fantail; Slaty Monarch; Vanikoro Flycatcher; Blue-crested Flycatcher; Scarlet Robin; Golden Whistler; Silver-eye; Orange-breasted Myzomela; Wattled Honeyeater; Giant Honeyeater; Fiji Woodswallow; Jungle Myna; Common Myna.
Day 11 Out at sunrise to a site Vili recommended for Golden Doves, near the Colo-I-Suva Water Authority pumping station which is around the corner & uphill from (& overlooks) Raintree Lodge; just past the pumping station I set up my scope to look across a wide expanse of cropland & forest. Several Golden Doves flew into trees within easy scope range. Having seen all the species and subspecies one could expect in the lowlands, I spent the afternoon sightseeing in Suva & visiting the Fiji Museum, time well spent. Species & subspecies seen: Golden Dove, Ptilinopus luteovirens (Fiji endemic); Fiji Goshawk; Many-colored Fruit-Dove; Peale’s Imperial-Pigeon; Masked Shining-Parrot; White-rumped Swiftlet; Pacific Swallow; Red-vented Bulbul; Vanikoro Flycatcher; Layard’s White-eye; Orange-breasted Myzomela; Wattled Honeyeater; Giant Honeyeater; Jungle Myna; Common Myna.
Day 12 Before dawn Vili picked me up at my hotel, and we drove south through Suva to the coast and then westward past Galoa. We turned inland on the road to Namosi (small signpost) and began our birding. Inasmuch as Pink-billed Parrotfinches have become quite rare in this area, and since we had seen our other target species for this habitat before we reached Namosi, and because the rest of the loop to Namosi & on to Colo-I-Suva is an especially poor road, we turned around and retraced our route to Suva. Species & subspecies seen: Polynesian Starling, Aplonis tabuensis vitiensis (subspecies endemic to Fiji); Many-colored Fruit-Dove; Golden Dove; Peale’s Imperial-Pigeon; Collared Lory; White-rumped Swiftlet; Collared Kingfisher; Pacific Swallow; Polynesian Triller; Red-vented Bulbul; Streaked Fantail; Black-throated Shrikebill; Vanikoro Flycatcher; Scarlet Robin; Golden Whistler; Layard’s White-eye; Silver-eye; Orange-breasted Myzomela; Wattled Honeyeater, Giant Honeyeater; Fiji Woodswallow; Fiji Parrotfinch.
Day 13 Vili's and my target species for our several day in the Fiji bush were three endemics, Long-legged Warbler, long presumed extinct because only one had been recorded since the 1890's (one collected in 1973, per Watling) but was found again by Vili and a companion in 2002; Pink-billed Parrotfinch, an elusive species rarely seen by visiting birders; and Red-throated Lorikeet, Charmosyna amabilis, recorded only a handful of times during recent decades. We headed northwestward from Colo-I-Suva, past the Monasavu Dam and across the central Viti Levu highlands of the Rairaimatuku Plateau. 70+ km of this road are unpaved and bone-jarring rough, suitable only for high-clearance 4WD vehicles. We stopped often and saw lots of birds but new no species or subspecies. For several hours we staked out the site where Vile first found the Long-legged Warbler, but no luck. Usually this species responds readily to songs Vili has recorded, but not this time. Little is known about this species’ preferred habitat, nothing is known about its nesting preferences or timing. Perhaps they were nesting when I was there and, accordingly, had ceased singing for awhile; the timing of its atypical unresponsiveness to the tape has been added to the scant data assembled so far. We continued our trip to the “Mountain House”, a gold mining company guest house at Nadarivatu (arrangements made through Chris Gaskin, firstname.lastname@example.org). The company caretaker and his wife were gracious hosts. She prepared ample and hearty dinners, Fijian style. The guest house is clean, plain and spacious, and my bed was quite comfortable. On our way from Colo-I-Suva we had provisioned for breakfasts & lunches.
Day 14 Up early, we drove about an hour to the end of the Wabu Reserve Road and hiked for another hour higher up the mountain to good habitat for our target species. We were really out in “the bush” and spent the day there. Highlight was one of our target species, a Pink-billed Parrotfinch, at which I got good looks. Species seen: Pink-billed Parrotfinch, Erythrura kleinschmidti (Fiji endemic, Viti Levu only); Metallic Pigeon; Many-colored Fruit-Dove; Golden Dove; Peale’s Imperial-Pigeon; Collared Lory; White-rumped Swiftlet; Polynesian Triller; Red-vented Bulbul; Fiji Bush-Warbler; Streaked Fantail; Fiji Shrikebill; Black-throated Shrikebill; Vanikoro Flycatcher; Blue-crested Flycatcher; Scarlet Robin; Layard’s White-eye; Silver-eye; Orange-breasted Myzomela; Wattled Honeyeater; Giant (Forest) Honeyeater; Fiji Woodswallow; Jungle Myna; and Fiji Parrotfinch.
Day 15 We devoted the day to seeking Long-legged Warblers. We drove 40 km or so over that horrible road back to the Monsavu Dam area and tried several thickly-forested stream sites where Vili had seen them upon prior occasions. One responded to Vili’s tape and approached tantalizingly close to us -- we agreed to within a couple of meters -- but we never got it in sight. New species: Long-legged Warbler, Trichocichla rufa rufa (heard only).
Day 16 Today we headed again into the mountain forests and the Tomaniivi Reserve, hoping to get lucky and see Red-throated Lorikeets. Not this day. New species seen: Red Avadavat, Amandava amandava (in village at base of the mountain; introduced).
Day 17 My last day in Fiji. We drove from Nadarivatu out of the mountains to Tavua and then along the north coastal road to Nadi Airport with just a little birding along our way along the coast. New species seen: White-faced Heron, Egretta novaehollandiae (not seen in Fiji before 2004 and now becoming more common); Wandering Tattler, Heterosceles incanus; Pacific Reef-Heron; Pacific Black Duck; Fiji Goshawk; Pacific Golden-Plover.
My birding holiday in Fiji was great fun and most successful. Birding with Vili was very enjoyable.