Just got back from a few days R and R in Port Vila. This wasn't a
birdwatching trip but I had binoculars and field guide (Doughty et al) which
helped me pick up a few species while moving between our room, the bar and
the pool. Iririki Island in Vila Harbour, only a few hundred metres from
the centre of Vila itself. There is some mature vegetation but most is
gardens but still some nice birds seen. I hadn't expected a lot from what
I'd read about the Vila area so quite pleased really. Most amazing was the
lack of birds on the harbour - no gulls, virtually no terns, no comorants,
no waders!! Lousy weather prevented me making a trip to Mele Cascade
Waterfalls that probably would have yielded a few more forest birds.
Pacific Reef Egret - one grey phase bird seen while going round the island
in a kayak, seemed to be darker in colour than those I'm familiar with from
Buff-banded Rail - reasonably common around Iririki, on open grassy areas
close to cover early morning and late afternoon.
Whimbrel - one flock of six birds on open grassy area not far from shore.
Crested Tern - a single bird seen twice flying in the harbour - the only
gull or tern seen the entire time.
Emerald Dove - pretty common and also found on the menu in some of the local
Red-bellied Fruit-dove - common bird on the island, an endemic that is very
similar to the Australian Rose-crowned Fruit-dove. There were quite a lot
of Ptilinopus fruit-doves and many were left without a proper ID so there
could have been other species (Tanna Fruit-dove perhaps??).
Glossy Swiftlet - the most common bird on the island, just everywhere. Often
close to the ground, almost flying into your legs - great views of their
Uniform Swiftlet - relatively common, though much less so than the Glossy
Collared Kingfisher - common and easily seen, this subspecies having a
supercilium going well being the eye.
Dark Brown Honeyeater - very common in the gardens, this bird was similar to
our Brown Honeyeater except, not surprisingly, a little darker.
Common Myna - sadly, one of the most common and obvious on the island and in
the Vila township.
Pacific Swallow - a few birds around the harbour but not particularly
Silvereye - common throughout the island.
Yellow-fronted White-eye - usually in mixed flocks with Silvereye (about
40/60) - surprisingly difficult to get in the binocular field though.
Common Waxbill - a small flock on one part of the island.
House Sparrow - absent from Iririki but very common in Vila.
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