New Caledonia comes up on this list now and then and I thought I'd
send along a couple of notes about it and a link to a more detailed
trip report. I generally don't get around to writing up trip reports
but, in this case, I figured it was worth the effort as I'd say New
Caledonia is really under-appreciated. For Aussie birders, it should
be a real treat.
For anyone that has birded the Pacific, New Caledonia is _easy_. On
Grande Terre, the main island, there are some fantastic forests full
of native (often endemic) birds that are, by-and-large, very easy to
For those that haven't thought about visiting, New Caledonia is only a
few hours flight from Australia and the main island is an ancient
chunk of Gondwanaland - so it shares some ancient roots with
Australia. The plants have amongst the highest degrees of endemism on
the planet and the birds are really first rate. Coming from Australia,
some of the birds are familiar (Kestrel, Whistling Kite, Rufous
Whistler) and many of the endemics are closely related to Australian
birds - such as their native Friarbird, Whistler (stunning), Myzomela,
The infrastructure is first-world, the food is great, and there are
ways to do the trip affordably. People were extremely nice everywhere
* There's a new park ("Parc des Grandes Fougères") open near Farino
(about 1.5 hours north of the international airport) and it is
incredible. Nice tracks, great birds....you can hear the Kagu calling
there before dawn. We must have heard 15 going woop-woop-WOOP very
loudly from all sides of the hill we stood on.
* The Kagu is remarkably easy to find in Rivière Bleue - a beautiful
park in any case.
* Many of the endemics are stunning (parrots, pigeons, and songbirds)
and easy to see.
* The cheese section in the local supermarket in Noumea rivaled
anything I've seen in all of Australia! (Well, they are a French
For a more detailed report with a lot of logistical details, see
Anyone planning a trip should feel free to write me with specific
questions. I'll be glad to help, if I can.
-- David Adams
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