|Itinerary & schedule:
22 May: Fly Armidale – Sydney – Manila
23 May: Fly Manila – Palau (arrive 24 May)
24 May: Meet Norman; Palau Pacific Resort; birding hotel grounds, Koror and SE Babelbaob.
25 May: 05.30 depart on excellent boat charter to Ulong I. and Rock Islands; glorious early am/sunrise; large numbers of terns and shearwaters followed by fine views of very distinctive Palau Scrubfowl; swim at Eco Island; lots of sightseeing. PM Babeldaob.
26 May: 05.00 – 14.30 Babeldaob. Late afternoon, early evening very successful search for the superb Palau Owl.
27 May: 01.10 Fly Palau to Guam and Guam to Saipan. Sleep 09.00 to 13.30. PM shopping and relaxing remainder of afternoon.
28 May: AM Birding Suicide Cliffs area; PM Mt Tagachao & Lake Susupe, Saipan.
29 May: 06.45 fly Saipan – Tinian – Tinian Monarch; Atomic Bomb Bays; fly Tinian – Saipan 10.45. PM search for Mariana Scrubfowl; Commonwealth Forest area.
30 May: Birding Saipan – Commonwealth Forest area; PM Banzai & Suicide Cliffs
31 May: Fly Saipan – Guam – Rota.
1 June: AM and PM Exploring Rota.
2 June: AM & PM Rota seabird colony.
3 June: AM seabird colony. Fly Rota – Saipan – Guam.
4 June: Fly Guam – Yap. Cultural and historical tour in PM. ON: The delightful ‘Trader’s Ridge Hotel’.
5 June: 05.45 Yap - B’fast; Birding 06.10 – 11.09 and cultural tour 17.00 -19.20.
6 June: 04.10 Fly Yap – Guam – Chuuk – Pohnpei 13.30 Dreadful hotel which screwed us re our rooms! Totally shagged re no sleep and sorting the accomod. mess out BUT resolved with move to Village Hotel tomorrow. Ocean View Plaza feels like a run-down brothel.
7 June: 06.0 – 12.00 birded around the entire island anti-clock-wise. Lunch and fabulous sleep on a waterbed at Village Hotel followed by a delightful evening reminiscing over a wonderful dinner watch a sunset over the Pacific. This is THE ultimate.
8 June: Visited archaeological site of Nan Madol by boat during the morning – very interesting and quite impressive; 16.30 birding Nan Pil Valley
9 June: 06.15 -08.30 Birding Nan Pil Valley; fly Pohnpei to Kosrae; pouring rain but delightful accommodations and scenic island. Huge storm overnight.
10 June: Gentle meander along the little bit of road that exists on Kosrae then fly to Chuuk. Worst main road in the Pacific, whole island of Weno looks very care-worn and run down but people surprisingly friendly and the Blue Lagoon Resort is surprisingly nice although air-con. in the rooms is marginal.
11 June: Birding on Weno before late b’fast. Last lifer – Oceanic Flycatcher! Not permitted to land on Tol South by local landowners without special permission and clearance from police, thus excluded the opportunity of looking for Truk Monarch and Great Truk White-eye. Time to head for home…..
12 June: Fly Weno, Chuuk to Guam and much to my surprise saw four White-fronted Ground-Doves in someone’s backyard – an area of leafy scrub and trees. What a wonderful way to finish a great trip!
Palau Scrubfowl Megapodius senex (old man with white hair)
(Distinctive subspecies of Micronesian Scrubfowl. Marianas population NOT treated a separate species by Birdlife International)
25 May 2008: Two foraging on beach at dawn on Ulong; another 1-2 pairs on the same island; heard and briefly saw one pair on Eco I. Searched for extensively but unsuccessfully on Saipan.
Red Junglefowl Gallus gallus
24-26 May 2008: Common and widespread, Palau. 27-28 May: Common and widespread, Saipan. 29 May: Several, Tinian.
Tropical Shearwater Puffinus bailloni
(formerly subspecies of Audubon’s Shearwater)
25 May 2008. A total of ca. 50 seen flying westwards in ones and twos and small, loose groups of 6-10 from the Rock Island, Palau, including one or two coming off forested islands shortly after dawn (ca. 05.30 – 06.30). Several seen in perfect light at close quarters as they crossed the bows of our boat.
Yellow Bittern Ixobrychus sinensis
28 May 2008: 1-2 on Mt. Tapochua; 1 at Lake Susupe, Saipan. 31 May - 2 June: One or two seen in flight daily on Rota. 5 June: Total three seen in flight, Yap. 6 June: Total five seen in flight, Yap.
Great Egret Egretta alba
26 May 2008: One in non-breeding plumage within the grounds of the new capital building, Babeldaob.
Pacific Reef Heron Egretta sacra
24-26 May 2008: Ratio of 55%:45% dark to light; no intermediates, Palau; 29 May: One dk. morph at the Blow-hole on Tinian. 7 June: One white morph, Pohnpei. 8 June: Two white one grey morph, Pohnpei. 9 – 10 June: 10 White morph, three grey morph Kosrae. 10 – 11 June: Several grey and white morphs on Weno, Chuuk.
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
4 June 2008: One in partial b.p. between the airport and Colonia, Yap. 5 June: Two in non b.p., Yap.
Rufous Night Heron Nycticorax caledonicus
24 May 2008: 4-6 on mudflats, Koror; 25 May 2008: One in flt. in Rock Is.
White-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon lepturus
24, 25, 26 May 2008: 5, 10, 20 totals recorded over and around Palau incl. 1-4 dropping into forest on Babeldaob. One flew through the entrance of our hotel – spectacular!
31 May - 2 June: Two flying around Rota seabird colony and landing in cliff – nesting?. 7 – 9 June: Six or more flying in front of verandah at Village Hotel – pairs nest in surrounding forest and base of giant rain tree right in the hotel grounds! Stunning!
Red-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon rubricauda
1 – 2 June 2008: One seen superbly in flight at the Rota Seabird Colony.
Lesser Frigatebird Fregata ariel
8 June 2008: One female between Village Hotel and Nan Madol, Pohmpei.
Great Frigatebird Fregata minor
31 May – 2 June 2008: 3-5 females chasing boobies and in flight over Rota seabird colony
Abbott’s Booby Papasula abbotti
31 May 2008: Two seen in flight almost certainly this species; dark grey wings and mantle; large size; seen in flight flying away low over Rota seabird colony.
Red-footed Booby Sula sula
31 May – 2 June 2008: 100-150+ nesting, many with large young and in flight, Rota seabird colony. Apparently an even larger but inaccessible site is located at the western end of the island. Noticeably more birds present in early am.
Brown Booby Sula leucogaster
31 May - 2 June 2008: Circa. 30+ nesting in Rota seabird colony.
Little Pied Cormorant Phalacrocorax melanoleucos
24 & 25 May 2008: One Babeldaob; one jellyfish lake.
Buff-banded Rail Gallirallus philippensis
26 May 2008: Approximately 30+ seen, many with multiple chicks on the road feeding on road-kill; foraging at the road-edge or crossing the road.
Slaty-legged Crake Rallina eurizonoides
26 May 2008: 2-3 seen briefly and poorly in rank roadside grass on west side Badeldoab.
Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
28 May 2008: Two ad. Lake Susupe.
Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva
29 May: 4-5 Saipan Airport and total 10 on Tinian. 4 June: 2 on Rota; 5 June: 4 on Yap; 10 June: 6 on Kosrae airstrip.
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
25 - 26 May 2008: Singles and total three on Palau.
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
5 June 2008: One heard and seen in flight in mangroves, Yap
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
29 May 2008: 2 in non b.p. Saipan airport. 5 June: Three on the coast road, Yap. 8 June: Three on islet near Nan Madol, Pohnpei. 10 June: One on the coast on Kosrae.
Great Crested Tern Sterna bergii
24 May: Two off hotel; 25 May: Six in Rock Islands; 26 May: Ten near hotel. 8 June: Five, Pohnpei near Nan Madol.
Black-naped Tern Sterna sumatrana
25 May 2008: ca. 40-50 Rock Islands; 26 May: ca. 30 in 1s and 2s over Babeldaop.
28 May: Two near Bird Island, Saipan. 11 June: 20-30 off Weno, Chuuk.
Bridled Tern Sterna anaethetus
25 May 2008: ca. 20 seen daily between Rock Islands and Koror, Palau.
White-winged Tern Chlidonias leucopterus
25 May 2008: Two spectacular looking birds in full breeding plumage shortly after dawn off Rock Islands; one ad. in breeding plumage in rank grasslands, east side Babeldaob.
Brown Noddy Anous stolidus
24 -28 May 2008: Very common (ca. 200), Palau.
28 May: ca. 500 (nesting?) Bird Island and scattered ones and twos throughout Saipan.
31 May - 2 June: Circa 20 nesting Rota seabird colony; many ones and twos over forest and scrub. 4-5 June: 5-10 indivs. over Yap. 7 - 9 June: Circa. 15 total over Pohnpei. 9-10 June: Several Kosrae; 10-11 June: <10 singles, Weno, Chuuk.
Black Noddy Anous minutus
25 May 2008: ?1-2 seen shortly after dawn, Rock Islands.
Pacific White Tern Gygis candida
(= Angel, Common Fairy Tern; formerly subspecies of Gygis alba)
25 May 2008: Up to 20+ Rock Islands – not as conspicuous as on Lord Howe Island.
27-28 May: Common in 2s and 3s throughout Saipan; 29 May: Ditto Tinian. 31 May – 3 June: Common on Rota. 4-5 June: Common on Yap, often perching in trees (nesting?). 7 - 9 June: Circa 40+ over Pohnpei – well inland into hills. 9-10 June: Small numbers on Kosrae; 10-11 June: Common over Weno, Chuuk.
Feral Pigeon Columba livia
Seen mainly in Kolonia on Pohnpei and in Weno, Chuuk.
Island Collared Dove Streptopelia bitorquata
27-29 May 2008: Common on Saipan; abundant on Tinian.
White-throated Ground Dove Gallicolumba xanthonura
28 May 2008: Superb, prolonged views of two indivs. perched in top of or mid-storey of hotel tree and scrub near Japanese War memorial. Several others incl. a juv. seen in flight. 29 May 2008: One juvenile flushed from the roadside on Tinian.
NOTE: Birdquest suggest treatment of Yap birds as separate species viz: White-
headed Ground-Dove Gallicolumba yapensis
White-fronted Ground Dove Gallicolumba kubaryi
(=Caroline Islands Ground Dove)
12 June 2003: A group of three followed by a fourth seen superbly well but rather too quickly in a leafy. Scrubby backyard of someone’s house with a few trees along the main road to Weno airport. An amazing last bird at the eleventh hour! Fabulous stuff!!!!
Palau Ground Dove Gallicolumba canifrons
BVD 26 May 2008: One seen briefly in weak fluttery flight – looked very rich rusty; short tail and rounded wings; Babeldaob.
Pohnpei Fruit Dove Ptilinopus ponapensis
(formerly subspecies of Crimson-crowned Fruit Dove P. porphyraceus)
7 – 9 June 2008: Several seen in flight and whilst perched; many heard, Pohnpei. 11 June: Heard commonly, two seen on Weno, Chuuk.
Palau Fruit Dove Ptilinopus pelewensis
24 – 26 May 2008: Heard and seen commonly in all forested/wooded areas; ca. 100-200 per day.
Mariana Fruit Dove Ptilinopus roseicapilla
28 May 2008: Two seen well and ca. 10 others heard Saipan; 29 May: Two seen very nicely in native forest on Tinian.1-2 June: 1-2 seen well, Rota.
Micronesian Imperial Pigeon Ducula oceanica
25 May 2008: 2 pairs seen briefly in flight, Rock Islands; 26 May 2008: One pair and one indiv. seen well in flight, Babeldaob. 5 June: One in flight, Yap.
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo Cacatua galerita
(= Greater Sulphur-crested Cockatoo)
25 May 2008: Circa 10-20, seen on Rock Islands and from beaches, Palau.
Pohnpei Lorikeet Trichoglossus rubiginosus
(= Pohnpei Lory)
7 - 9 June 2008: Very common to abundant; heard and seen constantly throughout the day in 1s to 4s. Noisy and when seen well, spectacular looking – rich, bright but deep red; bright deep yellow bill and dull yellow tail.
Eclectus Parrot Eclectus roratus
25 May 2008: One male seen, Rock Islands, Palau.
Oriental Cuckoo Cuculus orientalis
26 May 2008: 1-2 ad. seen well in ornamental trees along narrow peninsula at northern tip of Babeldaop – mid-brown iris; narrowish, slightly broken barred underparts; pale buff under-tail coverts with scattered dark feather tips; white ‘patches’ in tips of primaries of partially open wing.
Palau Owl Pyrrhoglaux podargina
26 May 2008: One seen superbly in response to tape play-back, 19.10hrs. in tall, lush forest at dusk on Babeldaob – could still see with naked eye; 4-5 others heard!!!!!!!!!
Palau Swiftlet Aerodramus pelewensis
(= pelewensis subspecies of Island Swiftlet)
24, 25, 26 May 2008: Up to 80 seen daily over Koror, Rock Islands and Babeldaob, Palau.
Mariana Swiftlet Aerodramus bartschi
(= bartschi subspecies of Island Swiftlet)
28 – 30 May 2008: As many as 20-30 total seen over Saipan.
2-10 over central valley and Marpi Commonwealth forest, Saipan.
Pohnpei Swiftlet Aerodramus inquietus
6-9 June 2008: 10-20 seen; noticeably unmarked, all dull crown. 9 - 10 June: Several over Kosrae. 10-12 June: Common over Weno, Chuuk.
Collared Kingfisher Todirhamphus chloris
24, 25, 26 May 2008: 10, 15, 50 per day Palau.
Mariana Kingfisher Todirhamphus albicilla
(= albicilla + orii subspecies of Collared Kingfisher)
27 – 29 May 2008: Up to 50 seen daily, Saipan, Rota, Tinian.
Rota Kingfisher Todiramphus orii
31 May – 1 June 2008: Very common; pairs seen circa. every 200m on power-lines; also in scrub and woodland; dark bluish crown and call distinctly different.
Rusty-capped Kingfisher Todirhamphus pelewensis
(= pelewensis subspecies of Micronesian Kingfisher)
26 May 2008: One pair seen and heard very nicely perched on power-lines over rank grassland, <100m from forest, west side Babeldaob.
Pohnpei Kingfisher Todirhamphus reichenbachii
(= reichenbachii subspecies of Micronesian Kingfisher)
6-7 June 2008: 6-10 seen and heard daily; only adult seen but very striking and distinctive call.
Micronesian Myzomela Myzomela rubratra
(= Micronesian Honeyeater)
Commonly seen in all secondary and primary edge wooded habitats throughout Micronesia; less common in the Marianas.
Palau Cicadabird Coracina monacha
(= monacha subspecies of Common Cicadabird)
26 May 2008: Excellent views 3-4 females and a male in tall, lush forest, west side Babeldaob.
Morningbird Colluricincla tenebrosa
25 May 2008: One seen very nicely at close quarters in beach forest, Eco Island. Noticeably large head and bill. Another seen on Ulong Island.
Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus
Commonly seen in scrub, grassland and secondary woodland habitats on Rota.
Palau Fantail Rhipidura lepida
24, 25, 26 May 2008: Common, widespread and confiding in all mature woodland habitats; very handsomely marked birds; invariably in pairs.
Rufous Fantail Rhupidura rufifrons
28 May 2008: Four in woodland near Suicide Cliff, Saipan; 29 - 30 May: 5-6 in woodland, Tinian. 31 May – 1 June: Common in woodland, Rota. 4-5 June: 6 & 12, Yap.
Pohnpei Fantail Rhipidura kubaryi
7 – 9 June 2008: Several (circa. 12) pairs seen very well (illustration in book poor) several others heard, Pohnpei in secondary woodland and disturbed primary forest.
Yap Monarch Monarcha godeffroyi
5 June 2008: Superb views of two adult males plus one adult female and two immatures, Yap. A strikingly, bold-looking and powerfully built monarch; seen in the forest mid-storey.
Tinian Monarch Monarcha takatsukasae
29 May 2008: Excellent views of a total of three in woodland, Tinian, incl. 2 with a mixed flock of fantails, white-eyes and starlings in native forest. Large, heavy faced looking monarch with unusual plumage pattern.
Palau (Mangrove) Flycatcher Myiagra erythrops
24, 25, 26 May 2008: 1, 3, 10 – very attractive and confiding; strongly spade-like bill; in forest 1-10 m up.
Oceanic Flycatcher Myiagra oceanica
11 June 2008: One pair seen very well in secondary woodland and another pair heard,; subsequently one male seen in our hotel grounds, Weno, Chuuk.
Pohnpei Flycatcher Myiagra pluto
7 June 2008: One pair seen on west coast; 8 – 9 June: Several pairs seen superbly well in Nanpil Valley
Mariana Crow Corvus kubaryi
1 June 2008: Two heard then seen briefly in woodland behind Rota seabird colony. 2 June: 2 heard (distinctive, medium pitch, slightly musical, not very nasal or at all harsh or coarse) and then one seen in flight and one perched and ‘scope, buried in leafy crown of native tree just showing head and bill; then seen in flight (looked long-tailed). All obs. in native woodland patch on narrow limestone escarpment 200-300m back of the cliffs overlooking the seabird colony.
Palau Bush-warbler Cettia annae
24 May 2008: One seen very well with mixed flock in forest on Babeldaob – strikingly long bill and legs (yellowish).
Nightingale Reed Warbler Acrocephalus luscinia
28 May 2008: Great looks at a pair of singing birds in scrub and Casuarina on Mt Tapachao heard fairly commonly at several other sites.
Carolinian Reed Warbler Acrocephalus syrinx
(= Caroline Islands Reed-Warbler)
7 - 9 June 2008: Two seen several others heard, west coast in rank grass edge road, Pohnpei. 11 June: Common on Weno, Chuuk.
Saipan Bridled White-eye Zosterops saypani
28-29 May 2008: Abundant on Saipan and common on Tinian. Notably dully marked species with very little conspicuous marking about the head. “Bridled’ probably NOT a good name.
Rota White-eye Zosterops rotensis
(Formerly a subspecies of Bridled White-eye now treated as a full species by Birdlife International) 1 June 2008: Eventually good views of 3-4 with other woodland birds on Sabana Plateau mid-morning; foraging quietly in leafy lower canopy. Orange bill and legs together with overall yellowish appearance (more intense sulphur yellow in narrow throat band) strikingly different from taxa on Saipan and Tinian. Eye-ring looked broader.
Cute Yap (Plain) White-eye Zosterops hypolais
4-5 June 2008: Very common to abundant on Yap where groups of 4-10 seen and heard almost constantly in all habitats. Poorly named as when seen well rather attractive and distinctive species with its overall soft, mouse-grey appearance; conspicuous white iris; pinkish bill and sulphur yellow chin and throat. Better name ‘Cute Yap White-eye’.
Citrine White-eye Zosterops semperi
(= Caroline Islands White-eye)
24 May 2008: Two with Dusky White-eyes in hotel grounds. 9 June: Six or more with Grey-brown White-eyes in Nan Pil Valley, Pohnpei. The latter noticeably more yellow than birds seen on Palau.
Dusky White-eye Zosterops finschii
24 – 26 May 2008: Commonly seen (ubiquitous) in various locations, Palau.
Grey-brown White-eye Zosterops ponapensis
7 June 2008: Very common in flocks of ten to 30; some have clear, broad white orbital ring; Pohnpei.
Kosrae White-eye Zosterops cinereus
(Formerly subspecies of Grey White-eye)
9 – 10 June 2008: Very common in mangroves and ornamental shrubs around Nautilus resort, east coast and throughout coastal areas of Kosrae. Look slightly larger; entirely mouse grey no brown or darker colouration whatsoever; heavy-ish bill; groups of 2-5. Appear to be very common.
Olive-colored White-eye Zosterops oleagineus
(= Olive White-eye)
5 June 2008: Tough to find and only one pair finally located late in the am in 2G together with Cute Yap White-eyes, Rufous Fantail, Starlings, Myzomelas and Monarchs. Stolid appearance and behaviour. Overall dull, deep olive-green with dullish-orange legs and broad white orbital ring; upper mid-storey; Yap. Better name Olive-green White-eye.
Golden White-eye Cleptornis marchei
28 – 30 May 2008: Truly a spectacular species and quite unlike any white-eye I have ever encountered in fact much more reminiscent of a Hawaiian Honeycreeper with its similarly large size (compared to Zosterops!); strikingly heavy decurved bill and strongly coloured but uniformed plumage. 10-12 seen in various woodland types.
77. Long-billed White-eye Rukia longirostra
BVD 9 June 2008: At least one seen in flight over Nan Pil Valley, Pohnpei.
Micronesian Starling Aplonis opaca
24-27 May 2008: Palau; 28-29 May: Saipan; 29 May: Tinian. Commonly seen in all habitats, most common in secondary growth, throughout Micronesia. Frequent commensal of man’s.
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus
Seen in low to moderate numbers around towns & other human habitation on Palau, Yap, Saipan, Rota & Tinian.
80. Blue-faced Parrot Finch Erythrura trichroa
10 June 2008: One seen and heard in flight on Kosrae in rank scrub and roadside grass.
Black-headed Munia Lonchura malacca
(= Chestnut Mannikin)
24, 25, 26 May 2008: Common in groups 2-10 along roadside, Koror and Babeldaob.
82. Hunstein’s Munia Lonchura hunsteini
(= Mottled Munia [Mannikin])
8 June 2008: Five seen and photographed in seeding roadside grass, west coast, Pohnpei.
1. Pohnpei Fruit-Bat Pteropus molossinus - Common, mostly singly; noticeably small; looks like cuddly teddy-bear! Pohnpei. Ones and twos often seen in flight during the day. When it lands it clambers around presumably in search of food before flying off again. Apparently not hunted and my observations of its ease of observation would appear to endorse this.
2. Palau Fruit-Bat Pteropus pelewensis - Fairly common; seen frequently in ones and twos throughout the day on all islands of Palau.
3. Marianas Fruit-Bat Pteropus marianus - A total of three seen at Rota seabird colony, including one that showed very nicely as it flew by just below me (2 June 2008). According to the resident research-biologist studying this species it is now very rare on Rota.
4. Yap Fruit-Bat Pteropus yapensis – Several individuals seen in flight during the morning and late afternoon; one seen hanging in woodland canopy near the old airfield, Yap. A threatened and little known species.
5. Kosrae Fruit-Bat Pteropus ualanus – Very common; seen in flight over hotel/mangroves during late afternoon; ca. 100+ emerging from island in lagoon at dusk; smaller numbers shortly after dawn
6. Sheath-tailed Bat Emballanura semicaudata – Several seen well at dusk on Babeldaob, Palau. A small bat seen briefly at dusk on Pohnpei was presumably this species.
Totals: 82 species of birds (40 lifers + 2 BVD + 7 mammals all new); missed
1. Marianas Scrubfowl – Searched hard for it at sites specific by other birders by no hint of it being present. Dubious species split.
2. Guam Rail – Apparently population at Seabird colony on Rota extinct thanks to feral cats. No other sites known.
3. Nicobar Pigeon (not new) – Two seen by our boatman in the Rock Islands.
4. Palau Ground-Dove – A very quick fly by of a juvenile. Needed to spend more time in the Rock Islands and/or visit Peliliu.
5. Yap Ground-Dove – A dubious species split. No sign of it on Yap.
6. Guam Kingfisher – Extinct.
7. Yap Cicadabird – Searched for it but no luck; apparently very uncommon and difficult to find.
8. Pohnpei Cicadabird – Searched for it but no luck; probably not enough time in forest habitat.
19. Guam Flycatcher – Extinct.
10. Truk Monarch – Not permitted to land on Tol South.
11. Long-billed White-eye – Search for but no luck (one BVD); more time needed in upper elevation forest.
12. Great Trusk White-eye – Not permitted to land on Tol South!
13. Giant White-eye – I screwed up and we came back to the hotel before going to Urukthapel Island, Palau.
14. Guam White-eye – Extinct.100m>10>