14 June 2013

Birding New Britain - April to May 2013

New Britain Boobook
Ninox odiosa



From Kavieng, New Ireland we took a direct flight to Kimbe (Hoskins) in New Britain. 

Crossing the coast, New Britain


We stayed at the Walindi Plantation Resort, which is about 45 minutes drive through oil palm plantations from the airfield. New Britain is relatively  "developed" compared to New Ireland, which is much more rustic .  New Britain is volcanically active and cone-shaped mountains are a feature of the landscape.

"Volcano, landscape, feature" (see above)

A brochure picked up at the British Bird Fair, a personal recommendation back in February 2013 and the knowledge that several bird tour companies base their "New Britain Extension" tours at Walindi made the place selection a "no-brainer".   

Walindi is well-established and well-run place with a main clientele of divers, who dive the usually clear waters of Kimbe Bay. When we arrived it was raining really hard and runoff from the land was clouding things a bit for most of our fellow guests. We saw a good variety of birds around the accommodation in the following few days, especially when the rain eased off.

New Britain Friarbird
Philemon cockerelli

New Britain Friarbird
Philemon cockerelli

Olive-backed Sunbird 
Cinnyris jugularis

Metallic Starling
Aplonis metallica

Blue-eyed Cockatoo
Cacatua ophthalmica

Blue-eyed Cockatoo
Cacatua ophthalmica

Bismarck Crow
Corvus insularis


Oriental Hobby
Falco severus

White-necked Coucal
Centropus ateralbus

Anyhow, having pre-booked and pre-paid our birding outings we were led out into the field by Walindi's specialist local bird guide, Joseph.  Access to original rainforest was usually through palm plantations, and on a couple of early excursions we found tracks through the plantations cut off by floodwaters.  The plantation areas themselves had birds such as Black Bitterns and Pacific Black Ducks.

Oil Palm "dates"

Collared Kingfisher
Todirhamphus chloris tristrami


Buff-banded Rail
Gallirallus philippensis meyeri

Pacific Black Duck
Ana superciliosa

Black Bittern
Dupetor flavicollis



Willie Wagtail
Rhipidura leucophrys


(Edited)Common or Black Treesnake   Dendrelaphis punctulatus (Thanks to Jeff C.)

Red-knobbed Imperial Pigeons
Ducula r rubricera

Comb-crested Jacana
Irediparra gallinacea novaeguineae

We visited most of usual birding sites, including the Garu Wildlife Management area, and Kulu river. 

Violaceous Coucal
Centropus violates


We visited the Melanesian Megapode nesting areas and saw White-mantled Kingfishers nearby. 


Melanesian Megapode
Megapodius eremita

White-mantled Kingfisher
Todiramphus albonotatus


A bonus for us was the sight of a family of New Britain Boobooks at a day roost within the grounds of the resort.

New Britain Boobook
Ninox odiosa


New Britain Boobook
Ninox odiosa

New Britain Boobook
Ninox odiosa

Later we had a couple of mornings on a boat out in the bay.  There were quite a few terns on the water. 

Common Tern
Sterna hirundo

Common Tern
Sterna hirundo

Black Noddy
Anous minutus



We birded some of the small islands, where Nicobar Pigeons were a "tick" for us.  

Island Imperial-pigeon 
Ducula pistrinaria vanwyckii


Nicobar Pigeon 
Caloenas nicobarica

Nicobar Pigeon 
Caloenas nicobarica


A few more island birds......


White-bellied Sea Eagle
Haliaeetus leucogaster


Brahminy Kite 
Haliastur indus

Sclater's Myzomela
Myzomela sclateri

Bismarck Tube-nosed Bat
Nyctimene vizcaccia


Then we were able to do some snorkeling before returning.

And that was just about it.  We flew from Hoskins to Port Moresby, where my cunning plan to avoid spending the night in PNG's capital was thwarted by Air Niugini, who postponed our flight by 24 hours.

11 comments:

  1. John, I think you can see Nicobar Pigeon in HK Park. No need to go so far. Bird of the trip definitely the Tube-nosed Bat.

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    1. Tube-nosed Bat is so cute ^^....one my favorite flying friends!
      ^^
      Jemi

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    2. Thanks Andrew, and the bat posed nicely for us....

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  2. Some of the birds starting to look more familiar........

    Looks like another great trip you went on!

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  3. Another exciting armchair adventure for me. Some of those birds I have seen in Southeast Asia. Great photos.

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  4. Hi John, - Thanks...

    Things like Nicobar Pigeon and the terns are quite widespread, it's true.

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  5. Really enjoying the account of your trip. I met 3 of your shipmates who came to Port Moresby after the trip & I took them for a day's birding in Varirata NP.
    Your unidentified snake is a Treesnake, Dendrelaphis sp. On New Britain there are a couple of candidates: D. calligastra and D. punctulatus. I'm fairly certain this is D. punctulatus, the Common or Black Treesnake. (In Australia it is called the Green Treesnake, but in PNG it is rarely green.) It is non-venomous.

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    1. Hi Jeff,

      I'm grateful for your for taking the time to identify the treesnake for us; our library doesn't include much on snakes and I wouldn't know where to start "Googling" for them..

      The photo caption has been updated

      Thanks again.

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  6. John, this and the last few posts are simply "wow". Great images and interesting write-ups as usual.

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    1. Thanks, Mun - things are a bit less exciting now we're back in hot-and-wet summer Hong Kong !

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