Steffan Straits at dawn.
Photo courtesy of Kat.
Birds are quite plentiful, especially large albeit distant flocks of Black Noddy. The odd Lesser Frigatebird soars overhead. A wader flies by looking suspiciously like a Bristle-thighed Curlew. Jan gets a couple of shots but nothing to confirm the identification. The ultimate one that got away!
Tench Island: unbelievably there are
permanent residents on here!
We then sail for Tench Island which is part of PNG, however we cannot land as we have already cleared customs. Sea birds are abundant around the island & for two hours were are treated to at least 10,000+ Black Noddies & over 270 Red-footed Boobies.
Immature Red-footed Booby.
Up to seven Red-footed Boobies
roosted on the mast.
Later on we see a feeding scrum of over 100 Streaked Shearwaters & a couple of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters, but they are distant & no photos taken. The rest of the afternoon was very slow with nothing of note seen.
It was pretty dead out there!
There is an awful lot of nothing!
It is 25th April & we are in the beginning of The Dead Zone! Birds are pretty few & far between, one can go an hour without seeing anything at all. Just after dawn a Bulwer’s Petrel & a Tahiti Petrel are seen. My camera was a little fogged so no photos taken.
Pale morph Wedge-tailed Shearwater
We see a pod of Spotted Dolphins & they put on a bit of a show for us around the bow of the ship.
The rest of the day was pretty uneventful!
Up at dawn on 26th April but yet again nothing doing just an odd White-tailed Tropicbird & a few Wedge-tailed Shearwaters. An Arctic Skua dashes by. The rest of the morning was birdless.
After lunch things started to pick up a bit as we drew ever nearer to Chuuk (Truk). Flocks of both Black & Brown Noddies were on the sea & among them a total of 27 Tropical Shearwaters!
Our first sight of Chuuk (Truk).
A little closer!
Not much of a town really!
Caroline Islands Swiftlet
Yes, they are quite good! And totally different
from all the other Swiftlets!!!!!!
As we were docking a couple of Black-naped Terns flew around.
We are all off the boat before dawn on 27th April. We board a rust riddled bus to take us just above town to Japanese Gun. This is a viewpoint over the town & bay complete with a Japanese Gun!
Caroline Island Ground Dove - not sharp, because
my lens was fogged, because of the humidity.
Endemic birds came fast & furious: Caroline Island Ground Dove; Crimson-crowned Fruit Dove; Caroline Islands Reed Warbler; Oceanic Flycatcher; Micronesian Myzomela; Caroline Islands White-eye & Micronesian Starling.
One of the main roads in the town.
Typical houses in the town.
Drink & drugs are major problems here - but
the government is doing its best to turn the tide.
Hung in one the shops!
Just for you Arthur!
A major service station!
This one is for you Robin!
Photo courtesy of Kat.
Photo courtesy of Kat.
After an hour the heavens opened & it poured! On the walk back to town we saw a couple of Blue-faced Parrotfinches.
On the way to The Blue Lagoon Resort.
The road was in a very poor state,
due to the recent typhoon.
The Blue Lagoon
The resort - luxury amid poverty!
Me amid the remains of
Japanese WW2 memorabilia.
After lunch on the boat we once again set out in the bus, this time to the Blue Lagoon Resort. The road was filled with potholes & totally flooded in some places. The resort itself was in a nice location & a great place to do nothing! Which is what I did!
Pacific Golden Plover
19 Ruddy Turnstones & 3 Pacific Golden Plovers were on the grass, with lots of Micronesian Myzomelas in the trees & bushes in the gardens.
The very busy little harbour.
Chris waiting for a lift!
Here it comes!
It was then time to board the zodiacs in the harbour & get back on board the ship.
We had a great meal on board, followed by a few drinks in the bar to celebrate the day & our last land for nine days until Japan!
Looking, but not seeing!
It was a little rough in the night, so I slept fitfully. I awoke just after dawn on 28th & birded until lunch time. It was slow going in The Dead Zone! The odd Wedge-tailed Shearwater & White-tailed Tropicbird throughout the day + a few feeding flocks of Sooty Terns & that was about it!
29th April & we are firmly in the dead zone! One & half hours to see a bird, I mean any bird! The ocean has a considerable swell to it which makes life on board kind of interesting! Birding is hard because one cannot hold binoculars steady in the strong buffeting wind. Boring! Boring! Boring! Nothing to see!
Adult Red-footed Booby
Young Red-footed Booby
In the afternoon both Brown & Red-footed Boobies made an appearance + a distant Red-tailed Tropicbird. Then it was a visit to the bar!
The last day of the month: 30th April. I stayed in bed until 8am then went to a lecture & then another sleep, so no birds seen before 2pm!
A shy & difficult species to photograph
Birding in the afternoon was slow, but interesting. 5 Bulwer’s Petrels & 4 Grey-backed Terns were the pick of the bunch.
Other species included Long-tailed Skua & plenty of Sooty & White Terns + a few Brown Noddies