11th – 13th September – Vanuatu   Leave a comment

The next island group we visited on my South Pacific trip this September was Vanuatu, an archipelago of 83 islands situated to the north-west of New Caledonia.

We landed at the capital Port Villa and spent a few hours birding before flying on to the island of Espirito Santo. Our time at Port Villa was not wasted as we saw the trips only Tana Fruit Dove.

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Port Villa. The Vanuatu archipelago has become a popular destination for Australian based cruise ships.

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On Espirito Santo we stayed at a pleasant hotel on the east coast. We easily saw the five lowland endemics but the remaining montane endemics that can only be seen after days of arduous trekking, remained out of reach.

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The view from our hotel on Espirito Santo

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A giant fig tree. Fig seeds are deposited in bird droppings high in trees and send out aerial roots which then grow up around the host tree and eventually kill it, leaving the now mature fig standing on its own.

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Looking upwards from where the host tree once stood.

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An endemic Buff-bellied Monarch

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After a hot walk in the dense undergrowth, a refreshing drink from freshly cut coconuts was most welcome.

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Introduced Nutmeg Mannikins were common in some vilages.

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The endemic santoensis race of the widespread Collared Kingfisher.

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As well as the endemic Tana Fruit Dove we saw the more widespread Red-bellied Fruit Dove

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Pacific Imperial Pigeon

Posted October 11, 2013 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

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