Looking for the Black Méliphage, The Ouinée

New Caledonia - Posted On

It is the first time in three years that I stay so long in a country. Three months already.

We think now about maybe staying here for a whole year to work. This would be the perfect place for it.

The middle point in our trip, a French territory so that working is not a visa problem, and time to settle down a little to fix numerous things before going to the second part of our trip.

It’s not an easy choice though. I can’t wait to see New Zealand, and the idea of being in a French territory doesn’t appeal me really. I travel to learn and to live other cultural aspects, not to be surrounded by French people!
One evening, in a supermarket, we get approached by a girl we happened to meet a few weeks earlier, once, in a party.

She tells me they are looking for someone keen to go searching for a bird in extinction in the deep jungle on the “Forgotten coast” of Caledonia. I am 100% for !

I will be going along with a naturalist from the Reunion island, Fabien

We are dropped by a small plane in a mining village La Ouinee and go for five days for the hardest trek I have ever endured.

250m per hour going forward! Every 30 minutes, we stop and set the bird song for 4 minutes to check if he is around.
Five days, very very hard mountain field and .... no birds seen. So we can say they are NOT in that part of the country. Great!

Fortunately for the bird species (emblematic of Caledonia), they eventually got spotted in other parts of the country.

One morning we find out that the battery of the bird song MP3 player is dead. We have to go back to the village and hitch-hike a plane there instead of crossing the all mountain range. This is how I get the chance to hitch-hike a plane for the first time of my life... and it worked!

This expedition must have been one of the greatest things I have ever done.