Purple Orchid

On Location: Tahiti’s Inland Bird Paradise

Zegrahm Contributor|October 5, 2010|Blog Post

Tahiti is best known for its amazing beaches, but the vast and luscious interior of the island is a birder’s paradise. Today, we were treated to a rare view of deep vegetation draped over spectacular pinnacles and steep ridges in the volcanic heart of Tahiti. Yes, the roads were bumpy and filled with potholes, but that's all part of the adventure! After a few minutes of culture shock (and fighting our way through a city and traffic), we headed off into the interior of this gorgeous island. We followed alongside the Papenoo River which afforded us grand vistas of ridges and waterfalls created by multiple days of rain that preceded us. Purple orchids festooned the roadsides. Several times our intrepid drivers crossed riverbeds, and we wondered if our feet would get wet inside the vehicle. While the birds were elusive, we were treated to nice views of the omnipresent common mynas, endemic Tahiti kingfishers, reef egrets, lovely white-tailed tropicbirds, and two species of introduced finches—red-browed firetails and common waxbills. We also admired red-vented bulbuls, Japanese white-eyes, and zebra doves. Some of us were lucky enough to get a look at the endemic Tahiti reed warbler, but this hard-sought territorial bird was shy and retiring. Back aboard the Clipper Odyssey the alert birdwatchers were also lucky enough to get good views of the Tahiti petrel.

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