Trip Report – Sept 2019
Comments: We had intended to do this trip as part of a cruise from Sydney but we hated the boat (regular cruise ship!) so much that we disembarked as soon as we landed in New Caledonia and didn’t go back! Instead we enjoyed 4 lovely days on Noumea. It is an easy place to get around and has great restaurants and accommodation.
Day 1: As soon as we had disembarked and picked up our rental car we started birding straight away. Parc Minicipal de Ouen Toro is in town and is a good spot to get some of the common species but we didn’t see anything here that we didn’t get elsewhere – Grey-eared Honeyeater and Green-backed White-eye.
We still had lots of time so went to Mt. Khogi – we didn’t even make it into the park (there is an entrance fee) but the birding on the road on the way up was enough for one day – Goliath Imperial Pigeon, New Caledonian Myzomela, Striated Starling, Satin Swiftlet, NC Friarbird and NC Crow.
It was a great start so we decided to have a lazy afternoon– night at Le Meridian Hotel.
Day 2: Decided to go back up Mt Khogi and walk into the park. It is 500 XPF per person and worth every penny. We walked to the left once we entered the park and we were glad that we did – Metallic Pigeon, Cloven-feathered Dove, Barred Honeyeater, South Melanesian Cuckooshrike, NC Whistler, Streaked Fantail, Southern Shrikebill and Melanesian Flycatcher. We figured that earned us another lazy afternoon at the Le Meridian Hotel.
Day 3: We had arranged a guide for today to take us into Blue River Park so we met her, Isabelle, in Robinson at 5.30 am. It took over an hour to drive up but the birding started before we entered the park itself. Isabelle certainly knew where to stop for the target species and our first stop delivered NC Parakeet, Horned Parakeet and Long-tailed Triller.
You can’t drive into the park from this entrance (it is by far the closest though) because the bridge is closed to traffic, but Isabelle is really organized and has permission to leave a vehicle in the park. So we transferred to the other vehicle and continued on. Once again Isabelle knew exactly where to stop and our first stop was in Kagu territory. Wow! We had amazing views of at least 6 of them as they wandered the trail – it was a really amazing experience. Kagu, White-bellied Goshawk, Crow Honeyeater and NC Cuckooshrike.
We were running out of species to find – only Red-faced Parrotfinch left up here so we dedicated some time to finding them. Wasn’t too easy but Isabelle to the rescue – She insisted that we stay in one stop way longer than I would have done and we were rewarded with a pair that flew in. Another night at the Le Meridian.
Day 4: With only one species left on the island we decided to take the risk and drive the 2.5 hours up to Pepe’s Thicketbird spot for New Caledonian Thicketbird. I had found it on ebird and so we went for it. When we arrived there we started to question our sanity as it was late in the morning and pretty quiet but we used playback for literally one minute and one flew in. It was a great end to a short trip that had given us 25 lifebirds!
Le Meridian Resort – Noumea
Guides & Resources
Guide: Isabelle Jollit – Caledonia Birds
Field Guide: Birds of Melanesia (Bismarks, Solomons, Vanuatu & New Caledonia), Guy Dutson