11 June 2013

Birding New Ireland - April 2013 Part 2 Lelet Plateau


Long-tailed Myna 
Mino kreffti


After our success with the mannikins, Larry Clark (father of Shane) took us up to the Puroro Guest House in Limbin, where we stayed five nights.  

Puroro Guest House, Limbin, Lelet Plateau


Walking from the guesthouse every morning we covered part of the road that we had covered by vehicle from the coast a few days earlier. We sometimes met kids going to school in Limbin coming the other  way.



Typical plateau birds for us included Red-banded Flowerpecker, Bismarck White-eye, and Bismarck (Black) Imperial Pigeon,  White-bibbed Fruit Dove, and Red-chinned Lorikeet, among others.

Red-banded Flowerpecker
Dicaeum eximium layardorum


Red-banded Flowerpecker
Dicaeum eximium layardorum


Bismarck White-eye
Zosterops hypoxanthus




Bismarck Imperial-Pigeon
Ducula melanochroa


Pied Cuckoo-Dove
Reinwardtoena browni browni

White-bibbed Fruit-Dove
Ptilinopus rivoli rivoli

Knob-billed Fruit-Dove
Ptilinopus insolitus insolitus

Singing Parrot 
Geoffroyus heteroclitus heteroclitus


As on the coast, Long-tailed Mynahs were quite common.

Long-tailed Myna 
Mino kreffti


Lelet is of ornithological interest as the site where in 1962 Ernst Mayr shot a specimen of what is now known as Mayr's Swiftlet.  This and one specimen shot in the Solomon Islands are the only specimens of this enigmatic species.  The Swiftlet remained something of a mystery to to us, too.  We dutifully took lots of digital photos of swiftlets, but sorting out just which might be Mayr's (mainly among Uniform Swftlets) proved difficult.

We saw New Ireland Friarbird once, and Papuan Mountain Pigeons twice.

Papuan Mountain  Pigeon (right)
Gymnophaps  albertisii albertisii



It seemed to rain at about midday everyday, but we still got several hours birding each day. The birds everywhere were quite shy, probably due to boys with catapults.  

Everyone turns out in their "Sunday Best" for church and Sunday School. 

Limbin Church, Lelet Plateau

"Subsistence" farming, Lelet Plateauu

Collared Kingfisher
Todirhamphus chloris nusae

Moustached Treeswift
Hemiprocne mystacea

Moustached Treeswift
Hemiprocne mystacea


It was difficult to get close photos of anything in the open, but here are a few shots from inside the guesthouse living room. These photo opportunities were my excuse for lounging around.

Black Sunbird
Leptocoma a. corinna
(endemic to New Ireland) 

Black Sunbird
Leptocoma a. corinna


Red Myzomela
Myzomela cruentata erthrina

Red Myzomela
Myzomela cruentata erthrina

Variable Goshawk
Accipiter hiogaster lavongai


Collared Kingfisher
Todirhamphus chloris nusae

Oriental Cuckoo
Cuculus optatus

Varied Triller
Lalage leucomela falsa

White-necked Coucals were quite common.

White-necked Coucal
Centropus ateralbus


White-necked Coucal
Centropus ateralbus


Few vehicles come and go from Lelet, but after five nights at Limbin we got a lift to Dalom Guesthouse on the coast. On a vehicle LIKE this, but not this one, it was too full !



Dalom's position is idyllic, set beneath palm trees with a clear stream running into the ocean. We photographed yet more swiftlets - mostly Uniform - drinking the stream water as it flowed into the sea.  Few scenic spots in creation could be finer to do that kind of thing.


Dalom Guesthouse, New Ireland

Dalom Guesthouse, New Ireland

Mmmmm- a locally-sourced salad


For a rustic idyll, it was not cheap... but the money was going to a good cause, all our hosts' grandchildren had surfboards !





We got a PMV back to Kavieng the following day, where we stayed at the Malagan Beach Resort, with views of the sea.  

"Public Motor Vehicle"

At a PMV station, Jemi's instant-print camera is about to be a big hit


A last hurrah for New Ireland was the sight of Hunstein's Mannikins photographed as we waited - and waited - for our flight to New Britain. Here's a shot taken from the airport waiting room - three or four birds were in the grass outside. We really liked New Ireland !

Hunstein's Mannikin
Lonchura h. hunsteini



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