New Dengue Vaccine Offers Some Protection

I wish they would have had this vaccine available before we went to West Papua!  My husband managed to get both dengue and malaria, took him about a week to get it out of his system.  Since many birders travel to exotic places where mosquitoes are rampant, this vaccine would be fantastic!  But always best to avoid being bitten in the first place.

Pictorial – Birding From The Pension, Ua Huka

Lazy birding is kind of my thing and there is nothing better than kicking back on a peaceful verandah with a cold drink watching exotic birds fly by!  OK, seeing them up close is better, but still!  Here’s an idea of what to expect if you stay at Maurice & Delphine’s pension, Ua Huka.  The Ultramarine Lorikeets mostly just whizzed by in the valley.  You can see how far they were by how much I had to crop the photos to get them enlarged.  My husband had gotten up for an early morning walk and was chatting to some locals while I was looking for birds before breakfast.  Sorry about the blurry shots, I tried to hold the camera as steady as possible!

IMG_0086 IMG_0088 IMG_0093 IMG_0096 IMG_0100a IMG_0109 IMG_0110a IMG_0113a IMG_0114a IMG_0120 IMG_0121a IMG_0122a IMG_0127a IMG_0130 IMG_0136a IMG_0143a IMG_0156a IMG_0169 IMG_0170 IMG_0172a IMG_0182 IMG_0184 IMG_0185 IMG_0186 IMG_0188


Ultramarine Lorikeet (Vini ultramarina)


Ultramarine Lorikeet (Vini ultramarina)

The Utramarine Lorikeet or Lory (Vini ultramarina), also known as the lori ultramarin in French, is a species of parrot in the Psittaculidae family, endemic to the Marquesas Islands.  They are called “Pihiti” by the locals.  They are considered endangered as they only exist on the one island of Ua Huka in the Marquesas.

Location of Ua Huka

Manu, the Ornithological Society of French Polynesia is very concerned with conserving them and keeping the island free from black rats.  These rats climb trees and kill nesting birds, babies and eggs.

IMG_0041PihitiUltramarine Lorikeets aka Pihiti are regularly seen in the Hokatu Valley.  I saw them from a fair distance while sitting on the verandah of my bungalow but they were too fast to get a good photo.

IMG_0109 IMG_0114aWe went birding with local Manu-trained guide, Geoffray Sulpice who took us to his plantation where I was able to get closer shots of the birds perched, courting and eating.

IMG_0234a IMG_0288a IMG_0335a IMG_0420a IMG_0436aMore photos will appear in the upcoming posts about the day’s excursion.



Manu (French)

World Parrot Trust



This isn’t mine, I found it on YouTube.  Nice close up!





IHG Pointbreaks Through 30 Sept Unveiled, Some Good Ones For Eco-tourists

Last time they were so bad, I was calling them “Disa-Pointbreaks“!   The new list which is valid from July 28- September 30th has much better options for eco-travelers.  For those new to the program, PointBreaks properties are Reward Nights for only 5,000 points per night.  Bookings will be open on 28 July.  Unfortunately, it seems Oceania has been left out in the cold – pun intended since it is winter Down Under!  The entire list can be found here, but I’ll point out a few that may be of use to those traveling to Central & South America.  Remember, don’t go crazy booking multiple nights at these city based hotels, you just need a night before and after a flight, what you really want is to be out in the bush where the birds are!


I have stayed at the Crowne Plaza Belem, it’s a good gateway to the Amazon region of Brazil.  There is a plaza within walking distance where you can see Jenday Conures and White-winged Parakeets, you can also take a river cruise to Parrot Island to see 100′s of Orange-winged Amazons.  Manaus is also an excellent gateway to the Amazon.


Another travel blogger, Weekend Blitz has created a very handy Google map to show where the concentrations of Pointbreaks are.  Click on the image to see the map full sized and be able to zoom in on locations.

Notice poor Oceania left out in the cold!

Marquesan Traditional Dance & Handicrafts – Ua Huka

After leaving the museum, we headed back past the airport to the festival grounds.  We were lucky the Aranui was in port, otherwise we wouldn’t have gotten a chance to see the traditional Ua Huka dancers!  On the map below, I have indicated where this is with the blue arrow.  We drove past a small shop, saw how the Arboretum (which we had had all to ourselves!) was now swamped with tourists, then made a quick stop at the airport.