Rand Rudland – “Melanesian marvels”

Rand Rudland – “Melanesian marvels”
by Andrew Bryant, 
21 April 2016. 

Rand Rudland, MD,  is just one of those people who’s hard to pin down. Physician to high arctic communities, whitewater rafting guide, globetrotting birder, Antarctic explorer, and Director of the Sunshine Coast Natural History Society,  Rand visited Powell River to speak about his recent travels in Melanesia.

As Ship’s Physician aboard the Spirit of Enderby, he was able to visit some of the most remote places in the southwest Pacific – islands with exotic names like Nissan, Mussau, VanikoroDuff, Bipi, and Espiritu Santo – together with places that might resonate for some – like Guadalcanal, the Coral Sea, and Rabaul.

Did I mention that Rand is also a very talented photographer?

Although he mostly focused on birds – and the incredible level of endemisn to be found there – he also regaled us with images of seldom-seen tribal “sing-sings”, artifacts from the second world war, scary spiders, even scarier snakes, gorgeous butterflies, orchids, flying fish, and some of the happiest children in the world!

It’s not every day that you have a guest speaker casually say “oh and that’s a Superb Pitta…I think that’s only about the 4th or 5th time this species has ever been photographed…sorry for the poor quality, but the jungle was a bit dark, and it was about 42° C in the shade…”

A talk not to be missed.  A more detailed description of his adventures was published in his own club’s wonderful Marsh Wrenderings, which I’ve made available here.