The reef-fringed islands of the Vanuatu group lie in the subtropical western Pacific Ocean. Their geographic isolation has lead to the evolution of species found nowhere else on earth.
Within earshot of waves breaking in the distance, we explore one of the Vanuatu's lowland rainforests. The mellow whistles of Southern Shrikebills are the first endemic species we hear. Another, the Fan-tailed Gerygone, creates a tinkling song like delicate chimes, while the soft calls of MacKinlay's Cuckoo Doves permeate the forest. A pervasive but soft insect chorus emanates from the canopy above, punctuated by the sharp calls of a pair of Melanesian Cuckoo-shrikes.
A high-pitched twittering song announces an inquisitive Streaked Fantail, and later a pair of Buff-bellied Monarchs chatter animatedly. The fluid song of Golden Whistlers is heard nearby and finally the deep, rich voices of Pacific Imperial Pigeons.
This album takes you to a exotic part of the world, to encounter rarely-heard species in a subtropical paradise.
"This recording was made in a rainforest reserve on the edge of Loru village. The chief of the village had the vision to protect this primary forest intact, when so much of Vanuatu's lowland landscape has been cleared or modified. His son accompanied us, formally as a guide but in practice as a friendly host and invaluable companion.
We spent ten days there, camping on the edge of the forest, enjoying a simple lifestyle that involved plucking fruit from trees and fishing in the nearby ocean. On occasions our field work can be arduous, but this wasn't one of them."