I woke from a sleep troubled by crabs on the bedroom floor, mynas calling outside and siblings calling inside. Remembering where I was, I grabbed my binoculars, shook Shoshanah awake and we walked outside. Our semiconsciousness was soon driven away by the beautiful White Terns flying and calling overhead - similarly to other terns, the illusion of elegance was soon shattered by the incredible banal and grating calls. The Brown Noddies that joined them remained wisely silent. Lured onwards by the crash of the surf, we stumbled over coral and rocks to arrive at the sea. A Reef Heron gave us the cold shoulder while we strained our eyes looking out to sea, unintelligible grunts punctuated by remarks of "should have brought the scope". Our wandering feet far from satisfied, we walked back inland and soon picked up a veritable convoy of misplaced dogs. They insisted on snapping at any Red Junglefowl that came our way, while we waved our fervent apologies to the cars that had to give way to our canine tagalongs. Other than a Pacific Imperial-Pigeon sitting inconspicuously in a coconut tree, no further birds were found despite our diligent scanning of the orchards and plantations. Our spirits undampened, we headed back for breakfast.
Amidst the general first-day sightseeing, Shosh and I managed to fit in a solid seawatch in Avarua yielding… no seabirds. On the bright side, we pinned down a Wandering Tattler (split from its similar Grey-tailed cousin by the flight call) out on the rocks, and a White-tailed Tropicbird riding the thermals inland. To my frustration, a possible Herald Petrel disappeared before I could clinch the ID.
The rest of the day was spent snorkeling and relaxing in one of the most beautiful places I had ever visited, as we dreamt up our next few days on the island. Despite managing a measly 9 species, two-thirds were new birds for me and they were all stunning. Except for the mynas.
|A Pacific Imperial-Pigeon checking us out from a coconut tree|