This Hawaii trip report (4-27-96 thru 5-26-96) is long in coming. I
visited the four main Islands: Hawaii (the Big Island), Maui, Kauai,
and Oahu. This was my first real trip outside of the ABA area. A total
of 88 species were seen during the entire four-island trip of which 57
were lifers. For all locations mentioned in this report I refer to site
numbers used in Douglas Pratt's Enjoying Birds in Hawaii, 2nd Edition,
1995 (available at ABA Sales: email@example.com). I have also
included mile-post markers as an aid in finding these locations.
Hawaii (The Big Island)
First bird seen while I was waiting for my luggage at Kailua-Kona International Airport was a HOUSE SPARROW, but soon a pair of COMMON MYNAS flew in under the roof carrying nesting material. Common is a true label for this bird which was introduced to the islands in the 1880s and is now found virtually everywhere.
The first stop for birds was at Aimakapa Pond (Site #6), closest to the airport. This is the best spot in all the islands for HAWAIIAN COOT (now a separate species) and (HAWAIIAN) BLACK-NECKED STILT which may some day become a separate species. Other birds seen were a single PIED-BILLED GREBE, BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON, YELLOW-BILLED CARDINAL, NORTHERN CARDINAL, SAFFRON FINCH, JAPANESE WHITE-EYE, WANDERING TATTLER, RUDDY TURNSTONE, ZEBRA DOVE, HOUSE FINCH, a single LAUGHING GULL (the only gull seen during the entire trip), SANDERLING, WARBLING SILVERBILL, PACIFIC GOLDEN-PLOVER. Pratt warns birders of creating a stir approaching Aimakapa Pond with spotting scopes and binoculars since the adjacent beach is frequented by nude sunbathers. The sunbathers there are still much part of the scene there as are the coots and stilts. My approach with binoculars certainly created no stir. I was however asked what kind of ducks I was seeing. Unfortunately, all wintering ducks had already departed for their northern migration.
The next stop was at Site #7, Kaloko Mauka Subdivision, along Kaloko Drive just over 4 miles out of Kailua-Kona off Rt. 190 just past the intersection with Rt. 180 at MP 34.2. Birders should turn right (east, mauka) onto Kaloko Drive. About mid-way at the roadside 20-30 SAFFRON FINCHES were feeding, and further ahead a KALIJ PHEASANT crossed the road. I turned left onto the last street before the end of Kaloko Drive a female WILD TURKEY flew uphill away from the street. HAWAII AMAKIHI and APAPANE were numerous here along with SPOTTED and ZEBRA DOVES. Pratt warns of the invasion of alien parrots into the area, but on my several visits to this site I was yet to find one.
Next stop was Puu Lani Ranch (Site #8) between MP 21 and 22 on Rt. 190. Here I spotted my first ERCKEL's FRANCOLIN at the entrance to the housing development. I should guess that other birders visiting the Ranch would find ERCKEL's FRANCOLINS at the entrance. On my several return visits to the Ranch ERCKEL's FRANCOLINS were foraging around the entrance. I found three banded NENES (HAWAIIAN GOOSE) standing on lot number 30, and just down the street from there a male BLACK FRANCOLIN posed for a photograph. Here too KALIJ PHEASANTS were to be found. On a later visit YELLOW-FRONTED CANARIES and WARBLING SILVERBILLS were found near the Club House. On my several visits to the subdivision no RED-CHEEKED CORDONBLEUS, LAVENDER WAXBILLS, or RED AVADAVATS were found.
After checking into the hotel in Waimea-Kohala I drove down to the Mana Road Pond (Site #9). Birders should head east out of town along Rt. 19 past the signal light. Here I had my first five KOLOAS (HAWAIIAN DUCK).
The next morning, 4/28/96, I made a quick stop on the way to the West Hawaii Concrete Plant (Site #9) at Waimea Airport where I found two female BLACK FRANCOLINS. This was on a Sunday, and the Concrete Plant was closed, but from the gate I could hear calling what I later learned to be BLACK FRANCOLINS and see a couple SKY LARKS flying overhead. The next turn off was up Saddle Road... that place the car renters still don't want you to visit. All the travel guides advise ignoring the tabu. I must agree with the travel guides, but don't let the renters know of your plans. The advice paid off. Only the first part of the road from the west end is a little rough in parts. At about six miles up the road I stopped off at Waikii Ranch where I found my first three GRAY FRANCOLINS running across the yard. Next I stopped off at Puu Laau (Site #11, at MP 43.5). The hunter check station pictured on the south side of the road in Pratt's book has been torn down and has been replaced with a new one on the north side of the road. Pratt advises that driving on unpaved roads is "at your own risk", but I found the road to be passable in an ordinary vehicle. Birding by foot will let you see more. After a mile or so the road will make a sharp turn to the left. It was just past this sharp turn where I found a pair of PALILAS in the tree-tops. Here I found numerous ERCKEL's FRANCOLINS, WILD TURKEYS, RED-BILLED LEIOTHRIXES, SKY LARKS, HAWAII AMAKIHIS, CALIFORNIA QUAIL, one MELODIOUS LAUGHING-THRUSH, one SHORT-EARED OWL, one (MAUNA KEA) ELEPAIO, and one YELLOW-FRONTED CANARY.
By the time I got to the Saddle Road Kipukas (Puu Oo Trail, Site #13) it began to rain. But all the same this was the best spot during my four-island trip for I'IWIS and APAPANES which were everywhere. I got one look at a HAWAII CREEPER as it was chased away by an I'IWI.
In Hilo (Site #1) on the lawn north of Waiakea Pond I found my first flocks of NUTMEG MANNIKINS (20+ each). At the pond itself no CATTLE EGRETS were present, but a couple of BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS, a few MALLARDS, a couple of HAWAIIAN COOTS, and numerous COMMON MYNAS, ZEBRA DOVES, SPOTTED DOVES, JAPANESE WHITE-EYES, NORTHERN CARDINALS, HOUSE FINCHES, and HOUSE SPARROWS were easily seen.
The next morning (Monday, 4-29-96) I returned to the West Hawaii Cement Plant. The truck drivers didn't seem to mind my entry into the plant. Near the plant buildings I had two separate groups of CHESTNUT-BELLIED SAND-GROUSE (4 and 2 each) fly over. In the same area a CALIFORNIA QUAIL was heard. Of course there were also a few SKY LARKS, COMMON MYNAS, and HOUSE SPARROWS. On the way out I found a male BLACK FRANCOLIN cross the road, and a YELLOW-FRONTED CANARY landed on the fence as I exited the Plant.
I found only one HAWAIIAN HAWK during the entire trip. I tried all the HAWAIIAN HAWK spots mentioned by Pratt without seeing a single hawk. Late in the morning on 4-29-96 at MP 5.0 on State Route 240 on the way to Waipo Valley a light-morph HAWAIIAN HAWK circled overhead. This site is not mentioned in Pratt's Guide.
Arriving rather late in the day at Volcanoes National Park (Site #2) I drove past the pullout at Keanakakoi Crater, but this was closed in respect for the nesting NENES. Along the Devastation Trail I found numerous APAPANES, HAWAII AMAKIHIS, JAPANESE WHITE-EYES, and HOUSE FINCHES. These HOUSE FINCHES were introduced years ago. Along the start of the Chain-of Craters Highway a KALIJ PHEASANT ran out of the Hawaiian Tree Fern Forest across the road. I made it to the lava flow eruption site shortly before 7 PM and while looking for a spot to park the car, two NENES (HAWAIIAN GEESE) flew up along side the car and headed down the coast.
If camping is your sort of thing, only one campground in the National Park is open during the spring, the second one being closed during NENE nesting season. I stayed several nights at a Namakani Paio Campground within the Park and just off Highway 11.
The next morning, 4/30/96, I birded around the Volcano Golf and Country Club Golf Course in the hopes of finding something special. Three PACIFIC GOLDEN-PLOVERS roamed the lawn, one of which was already in full breeding plumage. A small flock of NUTMEG MANNIKINS foraged the lawn, and a couple of SKY LARKS flew up over the lawn.
Back inside the park at the parking lot across from the Thurston Lava Tube Trail countless APAPANES foraged the tree-tops, and along the trail I found my first OMAO.
Along the Chain of Craters Road at MP 15.5 a CHUKAR was perched on a rock above the road, and about a dozen BLACK NODDIES flew into their nests on the cliff below the Holei Sea Arch (MP 19).
Back in the park at Halemaumau Crater I viewed my first pair of WHITE-TAILED TROPICBIRDS that flew within a stone's throw of the overlook. No other birders were around. I just had to share these beauties with the tourists who appreciated my pointing out the TROPICBIRDS since they weren't mentioned in their tour guides.
On the way up Mauna Loa Road I found another pair of KALIJ PHEASANTS cross the road, and a MELODIOUS LAUGHING-THRUSH fly across the road. At the end of the road (elevation 6,800 feet) a trail leads up Mauna Loa. Here in a slight rain I found one I'IWI, one HAWAII AMAKIHI and several APAPANES.
The next morning (5-1-96) I drove to the end of SR 148 where among the several COMMON MYNAS there was a small flock of NUTMEG MANNIKINS. On the return to the main highway I found a male COMMON (GREEN, RING-NECKED) PHEASANT hiding in the brush along the side of the road. Pratt uses the term COMMON PHEASANT for RING-NECKED PHEASANT, because the 1983 AOU Check-list listed P. versicolor as a subspecies of P. colchicus. He prefers this name because many subspecies of RING-NECKED PHEASANT like the "GREEN" PHEASANT lack a neck ring.
By late morning I made it down to South Point (Site 3), the southern-most point in the United States. Two fishing boats were just off the point behind which WEDGE-TAILED SHEARWATERS, BROWN BOOBIES, and BLACK NODDIES flocked. The grassy area at the east side of the point had SKY LARKS, and along the entrance road small flocks of NUTMEG MANNIKINS gathered along the side of the road. Near the end of the road to South Point you will pass by the Kamoa Wind Farm owned by the Mitsubishi Corporation which reminded me of the windmills near my home in Livermore, CA. Here the leeward and windward sides of the island do not meet, but the west and east sides of the island appear to continue their divide southward out to sea. The winds from the eastern side of the island appear to leave a scar on the ocean surface while the surface of the ocean on the west side of the island appears unmarked.
Further up the west side of the island I stopped off at Manuka State Park which resembled more a roadside rest for birders. The area was not too birdy; it was already past midday, but JAPANESE WHITE-EYES, APAPANE, HAWAII AMAKIHI, and RED-BILLED LEIOTHRIX were all visible.
About mid-way up the Kona Coast all birders should take time to visit the City of Refuge National Park (Site #5). Most of the birds were along the nature trail south of the parking area although some interesting birds hang out around the exhibits. Present were NORTHERN and YELLOW-BILLED CARDINALS, JAPANESE WHITE-EYES, YELLOW-FRONTED CANARIES, SAFFRON FINCHES, ZEBRA and SPOTTED DOVES, COMMON MYNAS, HOUSE FINCHES. I looked for LAVENDER WAXBILLS which are supposed to present around the homes at the north end of the parking lot but didn't find any, and none were found along the nature trail. Be sure to check more closely around the private homes; I did not venture beyond the parking lot.
The next morning while driving north through South Kona I recognized the McCandless name on a mailbox. Here at the ranch is the last remaining flock (under 20 birds) of HAWAIIAN CROWS ('ALALA). I birded along the highway adjacent to the McCandless Ranch not seeing any species I hadn't already seen. Talking to the property owners was at least worth the chance. Here I observed ABA's Rule #3 by respecting the privacy and property of others by observing "No Trespassing" signs and by asking permission to enter private or posted lands. Mr. McCandless and his hired hands were unloading lumber from his truck at the top of the driveway. Mr. McCandless was not about to give permission unless I were part of an ecotour. He had no kind words for the Audubon Society and their captive breeding programs for the CALIFORNIA CONDOR and the HAWAIIAN CROW. He had nothing but kind words and respect for Doug Pratt. I was not aware of a possible ecotour at the time, but here is one you can check out before your arrival in Hawaii:
McCandless Ranch EcotourThe next morning, 5-2-96, I parked at Kona Surf Hotel and Country Club in Keauhou Bay where I found my first three JAVA SPARROWS in the garden between the hotel and the parking lot. Several species (COMMON MYNA, NORTHERN and YELLOW-BILLED CARDINALS, YELLOW-FRONTED CANARY, ZEBRA DOVE) may be found here. I observed a SAFFRON FINCH collecting nesting material here. From the garden I observed two WANDERING TATTLERS roaming the rough lava rocks along the beach.
P.O. Box 500
Honaunau, HI 96726
Birders should make it a point to visit Mahalei Hawaii Country Club on State Route 190, MP 31.3 where I first heard and then saw two male COMMON PEAFOWL. I parked across the road from the Country Club, and walked in and along the walkways around the golf course. I don't think anyone would have complained if I had parked in the parking lot. These are truly wild PEAFOWL. I was accustomed to seeing tame ones that are easily approached. These disappeared quickly once they sensed my presence.
That night I camped at Samuel M. Spencer Beach Park. Camping is by permit only. I called the phone number on the sign for a permit, and a man said someone would come by to collect the camping fee which amounted to no more than $1. No one ever did. Here around the restroom lights I saw my first GECKOS, a small nocturnal lizard of the tropics with suction toes.
Early the next morning, 5/3/96, I checked out the birds at Samuel M. Spencer Beach Park and the adjacent Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site. Along the trail between the two parks I found a BARN OWL perched in a low tree, and at the Heiau I found numerous WARBLING SILVERBILLS with a maximum of five in one flock. Also seen were YELLOW-BILLED and NORTHERN CARDINALS, ZEBRA and SPOTTED DOVES, JAPANESE WHITE-EYES, and SAFFRON FINCHES. BLACK FRANCOLINS were heard at both parks.
From here I made a return trip to Saddle Road. On the way along State Route 190 at MP 1 a CHESTNUT-BELLIED SANDGROUSE was sitting at the side of the road. About mid-way along Saddle Road I took the turnoff to the north up the slopes of Mauna Kea. Only four-wheel-drive vehicles are permitted past the visitor center which is at an elevation of about 10,000 feet.
On the way back I noticed the Keanakolu Road turn-off to the Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge (Site #14). The refuge is closed to the public but can be accessed in organized tours. Here at least four endangered species make their home: HAWAIIAN HAWK, AKIAPOLAAU, HAWAII CREEPER, and AKEPA. Numerous are I'IWI, OMAO and ELEPAIO. KALIJ PHEASANTS, WILD TURKEYS, and both CALIFORNIA and GAMBEL's QUAIL are seen here. I didn't bird here since I didn't have the chance to join a tour, but you may have your chance by contacting
Bob Pacheco of Hawaii Forest and TrailNext I returned to the Puu Oo Trail along Saddle Road (Site 13, MP 22.4) where I hiked out over the lava flow about 4 miles following one marker and then search for the next. At one point I lost the connection to the next marker and didn't find the trail again for about 45 minutes. The only other course would have been to hike due-north. Eventually I would have come across Saddle Road. Here APAPANES and I'IWIS were abundant. A few Hawaii AMAKIHIS were present as well as one OMAO. Near the start of the trail I found two NENE eggs that were devoured by a MONGOOSE, the NENE's primary predator.
P.O. Box 2975
Kailua-Kona, HI 96745
(800)-464-1996, (808)-322-8881 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The next morning, 5/4/96 on a return trip to Site #6 two MOURNING DOVES flew over State Route 19 at MP 72. Back at Site #6 the HAWAIIAN COOTS and (HAWAIIAN) BLACK-NECKED STILTS were numerous. 6 RUDDY TURNSTONES and one WANDERING TATTLER were still present in addition to SAFFRON FINCHES, HOUSE FINCHES, YELLOW-FRONTED CANARIES, YELLOW-BILLED and NORTHERN CARDINALS, and JAPANESE WHITE-EYES. Four SANDERLINGS were on the lava rock at the south end of the beach.
Later in the day I made a return trip to Site #7 where the turn off is off Highway 190 at MP 34.2 where the APAPANES were numerous. Once again two KALIJ PHEASANTS crossed the road on the ascent to the Kaloko Mauka Subdivision. Also COMMON MYNAS, HAWAII AMAKIHIS, SPOTTED DOVES, NORTHERN CARDINALS, SAFFRON FINCHES, HOUSE FINCHES, YELLOW-FRONTED CANARIES were seen.
Next I made a return trip to Puu Lani Ranch (Site #8, MP 21.9) where two ERCKEL's FRANCOLINS awaited my return at the from gate. A female ERCKEL's FRANCOLIN with four young roamed a vacant lot. Several BLACK FRANCOLINS were heard, and small flocks of WARBLING SILVERBILLS foraged the trees east of the country club.
The next morning, 5/5/96, a stop at Hapuna Beach State Park produced a flock of several WARBLING SILVERBILLS, MOURNING DOVES, HOUSE SPARROWS, HOUSE FINCHES, SAFFRON FINCHES, and COMMON MYNAS.
With less than two hours to spare before my flight to Maui I checked the residential area of Kailua-Kona just south of the main tourist area in the hope of finding a LAVENDER WAXBILL. I drove down Alii Drive, turned left on Lunapule Road, turned right on Walua Road which crossed the Kuakina Highway where the street became Oni Oni Street, passed the first house on the left and parked at a ball park on the left. I walked to the back side of the park and checked the trees behind the caged bleachers where I found three LAVENDER WAXBILLS in an acacia tree. Also in the park were 8 ZEBRA DOVES, YELLOW-BILLED and NORTHERN CARDINALS, COMMON MYNAS, JAPANESE WHITE-EYES, HOUSE FINCHES, and HOUSE SPARROWS.
From here I returned to Lunapule Road where I found three more LAVENDER WAXBILLS at the Hawaii Carpenters Union at the south side of the road next to the house at 75-124 Lunapule Road.
Now that I gained a last-minute lifer, I drove to Kailua-Kona International Airport to catch my flight to Maui.
Listed below are the 56 species encountered on Hawaii, the Big Island, 4/27/96 thru 5/5/96. "F" signifies a life-bird.
Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps F Wedge-tailed Shearwater Puffinus pacificus F White-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon lepturus Brown Booby Sula leucogaster Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax F Nene (Hawaiian Goose) Nesochen sandvicensis Mallard Anas platyrhynchos F Koloa (Hawaiian Duck) Anas wyvilliana F Hawaiian Hawk Buteo solitarius F Black Francolin Francolinus francolinus F Gray Francolin Francolinus pondicerianus F Erckel's Francolin Francolinus erckelii Chukar Alectoris chukar F Kalij Pheasant Lophura leucomelana Common (Ring-necked) Pheasant Phasianus colchicus F Common Peafowl Pavo cristatus Wild Turkey Meleagris gallopavo California Quail Callipepla californica F Hawaiian Coot Fulica alai Pacific Golden-Plover Pluvialis fulva (Hawaiian) Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus Wandering Tattler Heteroscelus incanus Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres Sanderling Calidris alba Laughing Gull Larus atricilla F Black Noddy Anous minutus F Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse Pterocles exustus Rock Dove Columba livia Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis F Zebra Dove Geopelia striata Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura Barn Owl Tyto alba Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus Sky Lark Alauda arvensis F (Mona Kea) Elepaio Chasiempis sandwichensis F Omao Myadestes obscurus F Melodious Laughing-thrush Garrulax canorus F Red-billed Leiothrix Leiothrix lutea Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos F Common Myna Acridotheres tristis F Japanese White-eye Zosterops japonicus Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis F Yellow-billed Cardinal Paroaria capitata F Saffron Finch Sicalis flaveola House Finch Carpodacus mexicanus F Yellow-fronted Canary Serinus mozambicus F Palila Loxioides bailleui F Hawaii Amakihi Hemignathus virens F Hawaii Creeper Oreomystis mana F Iiwi Vestiaria coccinea F Apapane Himatione sanguinea House Sparrow Passer domesticus F Lavender Waxbill Estrilda caerulescens F Warbling Silverbill Lonchura malabarica F Nutmeg Mannikin Lonchura punctulata F Java Sparrow Padda oryzivora
The time involved in returning the car rental and boarding the plane was longer than the actual flight to Maui. As the plane began its approach, I quickly recognized Molokini Island (Site #9) where numerous boats were docked along the north side of the small island. Later I would return to Molokini Island at the sea level where the snorkeling was great as well as were the good views of WEDGE-TAILED SHEARWATERS.
After arriving at Kahului International Airport and picking up the car rental (on 5 May 1996), I made a go for Kanaha Pond (Site #1 in Pratt's Guide). Here I came across my first two CATTLE EGRETS in the Islands (none were present at any of the expected locations on the Big Island). Several (HAWAIIAN) BLACK-NECKED STILTS were present including one pair with two young. Of course the regular introduced species were easy finds: COMMON MYNA, HOUSE SPARROW, ZEBRA and SPOTTED DOVES, and NUTMEG MANNIKINS.
A drive to the Hansen Ponds (also included in Pratt's Guide as site #1) produced no ORANGE-CHEEKED WAXBILLS until my second visit there on 8 May 1996 where I found only one single ORANGE-CHEEKED WAXBILL among the large flock of NUTMEG MANNIKINS in the reeds along the west side of the road opposite the Hansen Road Ponds. Other finds included JAPANESE WHITE-EYE, NORTHERN and YELLOW-BILLED CARDINAL, BLACK FRANCOLIN, ZEBRA and SPOTTED DOVES, WARBLING SILVERBILL.
From here it was a short drive across the Isthmus of Maui to Keilia Pond (Site #2) which has now attained the status of National Wildlife Refuge. Here I counted at least 36 CATTLE EGRETS. Other species included (HAWAIIAN) BLACK-NECKED STILT, BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON, HAWAIIAN COOT, COMMON MYNA, and one PACIFIC GOLDEN-PLOVER in breeding plumage.
The next day, 6 May 1996, I drove up to the Needle, Iao Valley State Park, west of Kahului. Pratt dismisses the park for its lack of interesting bird-life, but includes it in his guide since most visitors wish to go there for the beauty of the site. That is true, and for that a visit there should not be skipped. The only species I found there were JAPANESE WHITE-EYE, NORTHERN CARDINAL, and COMMON MYNA.
A drive up to Haleakala National Park produced one SKY LARK each at elevations 4,500 and 5,000 feet respectively. Once inside the park make a left into the Hosmer Grove Campground which is a large plot of introduced trees and plants. In the early 1900s Hosmer conducted an experiment to see what plants and trees could survive the Hawaiian Climate. In the grove you will even find a few California Redwoods, various conifers, ash, cypress, and sugi. Hosmer had hopes of a future lumber industry for the islands. The experiment eventually failed since the lack of seasons in the islands failed to produce a hardy wood.
Here in the grove I found numerous APAPANE, JAPANESE WHITE-EYE, MELODIOUS LAUGHING-THRUSH, HOUSE FINCH, and heard distant call of a COMMON (RING-NECKED) PHEASANT. I would return to the grove on 9 May 1996 since three-hour-long ranger-led walks through the near-by Waikamoi Nature Preserve are conducted at 9 AM on Mondays and Thursdays. I arrived early enough on Thursday May 9th so that I could re-bird the Hosmer Grove one more time. Here I found my first MAUI 'ALAUAHIO (also known as MAUI CREEPER), an adult. Numerous were APAPANE and HAWAII AMAKIHI.
Meet the ranger, as I did on 5/9/96, at the structure next to the parking lot at Hosmer Grove Campground just inside the entrance to the National Park at 9 AM on any Monday or Thursday to hike into the adjacent Waikamoi Nature Preserve. Reservations are not necessary. MAUI CREEPER (MAUI 'ALAUAHIO), APAPANE, I'IWI, HAWAII AMAKIHI, RED-BILLED LEIOTHRIX and MELODIOUS LAUGHING-THRUSH were encountered during the hike. I had actually seen more I'IWIS along Saddle Road on the Big Island. I saw only one here. I saw no MAUI PARROTBILLS or CRESTED HONEYCREEPER ('AKOHEKOHE) during my visit. See if you can get the ranger to walk you toward Transect 7. Most organized hikes do not go to Transect 7, the best place to find a CRESTED HONEYCREEPER ('AKOHEKOHE) although this specie is sometimes seen during hikes. The ranger who led the walk when I was there (Amber) was shocked when I mentioned "Transect 7" alias "the forbidden territory". She even said it was illegal to bring a copy of Pratt's "Enjoying Birds in Hawaii" into the preserve. The guide was being sold at the nearby visitor center. Mine was hidden in my backpack. She even had the audacity to use Pratt's illustrations during her walk.
Carol Gentz, Administrative/Outreach Coordinator for the Maui Field Office of The Nature Conservancy has informed me that Transect 7 located on the east side of Koolau Gap outside of Waikamoi Preserve is inaccessible by foot due to its remoteness and there may be very steep terrain. Most organized hikes do not go to this area, but Pratt states in his guide that his organized hikes do.
The Nature Conservancy does lead walks to Waikamoi Nature Preserve on the 2nd Saturday of the month (and not the second Sunday of the month as stated in Pratt's Guide). Reservations are required to take part on this hike. Call (808) 572-7849 to place your reservation. The Nature Conservancy also requests a minimum donation of $5 for members of the Nature Conservancy and $15 for non-members of the Conservancy. The moderately strenuous hike is approximately 3.25 miles in length and goes further into the preserve than the above-mentioned ranger-led walks and begins at Hosmer Grove at 9:00 AM on the second Saturday of the month. CRESTED HONEYCREEPER ('AKOHEKOHE) is known to nest in the area. MAUI PARROTBILLS are periodically heard and seen in the area as well.
Be prepared for the hike. You should bring water and food. Dress in layers, it can be warm and sunny or cold, wet and windy. Sturdy shoes with good traction should be worn. You will be asked to clean all shoes and gear at the gate. This helps prevent the further introduction of non-native species to the preserve.
Early on 5/6/96 I drove up to Haleakala Crater to take in the view before actually birding Hosmer Grove as the elevation of the crater is over 10,000 feet, and the crater does fill in with clouds as the day wears on. I saw no bird-life here, but on a return trip on 5/8/96 I did hear a CHUKAR call from near the Kalahaku Overlook. I also saw a couple of SILVERSWORDS near the Kalahaku overlook. These were not yet in bloom; late summer is the time to find SILVERSWORDS in bloom. Next I drove back to the visitor center at the lower crater overlook near sunset. I had to take refuge under the roof of the visitor center to avoid the "cold, hurricane-force" winds. I was hoping to at least hear if not see the Hawaiian race of DARK-RUMPED PETRELS which nest in burrows here. I even walked back along the road below the visitor center at about 30 minutes after sunset in hopes of at least hearing a DARK-RUMPED PETREL. This never became a reality.
On 5/7/96 I drove east from Kealia Pond NWR to the first hotels and parked. Here there is a tourist information center where I purchased tickets for the snorkeling trip to Molokini Island (Site #9). I recommend a trip with the "Silent Lady". Breakfast is served on the boat, and the dock-hands are dressed like Pirates of the Caribbean, not exactly what you would expect on Maui, but the trip is worth the investment plus more. While waiting for the boat early on 5/8/96, I saw my first two RED-CRESTED CARDINALS near the boat dock. These would be by no means not the last. When you get tired of seeing WEDGE-TAILED SHEARWATERS on the "Silent Lady", you can get into the water and enjoy the beauties of the sea.
You may want to drive on the Hana on the east coast to the eastern portion of the National Park as I did on 5/8/96, but you can see the same birds elsewhere. At the start of the trail to the Seven Sacred Pools is the only place on Maui where I actually saw (besides heard) a MELODIOUS LAUGHING-THRUSH.
The drive to Hana will take a few hours as you will have to share the road at spots with the on-coming traffic. You will be passing by numerous waterfalls and bamboo forests.
In Waianapanapa Caves State Park near Hana you should find BLACK NODDIES. I didn't make it there, but I did not visit Waianapanapa Caves State Park as I had already seen BLACK NODDIES on the Big Island at the Holei Sea Arch along the road to the eruption site within the National Park.
Pratt does not mention GREAT FRIGATEBIRDS on Maui. Take Highway 360 toward Hana along the north coast to the town of Keanae. Drive down to the end of the peninsula near a small church and scope the rock to the east. I had 2-3 FRIGATEBIRDS flying around here on 5/9/96. Also, you can view the rock from the highway at a small pullout at MP 17.
You may want to visit the Olinda Endangered Propagation Facility at 535 Olinda Road, Makawao, HI 96768 (808) 572-0690. It was closed when I was there during breeding season on 5/9/96, but it is open at non-breeding times. Hawaii Audubon Society's "Hawaii's Birds" states RED AVADAVATS have been reported around the town of Olinda, but I found none here.
In the town of Wailea (south of Kihei) along the grassy parkway along the main street to Big Makena Beach I found two GRAY FRANCOLINS on 5/10/96.
Next I drove on past Big Makena Beach to where the pavement ends. Park and hike along the trail over the lava flow to Kanaio Beach, two miles down the Hoapili Trail, also known as the King's Highway built 1823-1840. This area is also known as Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Preserve. Near Kanaio Beach I had a late BRISTLE-THIGHED CURLEW fly down the beach and back on 5-10-96. 4-5 WANDERING TATTLERS were still around as well.
On 5/12/96 after having returned the car rental, I prepared to board the flight on to Kauai. While I waited for the announcement to board, a tourist reminded me of the roofless Aloha Airline aircraft that was stationed for months here near the tarmac during the investigation after its doomed flight in the mid-80s in which the plane's roof broke loose and one person was sucked from the plane.... that was a very "pleasant" reminder to hear when you are about to board a plane.
Below are listed the species encountered during my Maui visit 5/5/96 thru 5/12/96. "F" signifies a life-bird
Wedge-tailed Shearwater Puffinus pacificus Sooty Shearwater Puffinus griseus F Great Frigatebird Fregata minor Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax Black Francolin Francolinus francolinus Gray Francolin Francolinus pondicerianus Chukar Alectoris chukar Common Pheasant Phasianus colchicus Hawaiian Coot Fulica alai Pacific Golden-Plover Pluvialis fulva Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus Wandering Tattler Heteroscelus incanus F Bristle-thighed Curlew Numenius tahitiensis Rock Dove Columba livia Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis Zebra Dove Geopelia striata Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus Sky Lark Alauda arvensis Melodious Laughing-thrush Garrulax canorus Red-billed Leiothrix Leiothrix lutea Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos Common Myna Acridotheres tristis Japanese White-eye Zosterops japonicus Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis F Red-crested Cardinal Paroaria coronata Yellow-billed Cardinal Paroaria capitata House Finch Carpodacus mexicanus Hawaii Amakihi Hemignathus virens F Maui Alauahio Paroreomyza montana Iiwi Vestiaria coccinea Apapane Himatione sanguinea House Sparrow Passer domesticus F Orange-cheeked Waxbill Estrilda melpoda Warbling Silverbill Lonchura malabarica Nutmeg Mannikin Lonchura punctulata
Kauai, the Garden Island
Upon arrival in Lihue (5-12-96) and once I picked up the car rental, I made a bee-line for Kilauea Point NWR which to my disappointment (different from the information in Pratt's Guide for Site #2) is closed Saturdays and Sundays. I made the best of it by having to view the birds from the fence. Here I picked up three more lifers: RED-FOOTED BOOBY, RED-TAILED TROPICBIRD, and WHITE-RUMPED SHAMA. I even found a LAYSAN ALBATROSS quickly disappear around the rock while 5 GREAT FRIGATEBIRDS circled around overhead. Here I just got three new lifers, and I became tour-guide to disappointed tourists who didn't know about the week-end closures by pointing out the species present. I must have converted at least some of these to the love of birding.
Next stop was Hanalei NWR off of Ohiki Road (Site #3). The refuge is made up of Taro Root Ponds. Taro is the main ingredient in the making of poi. Here two KOLOAS (HAWAIIAN DUCKS) swam across the ponds as two calling WANDERING TATTLERS flew overhead. Also present were COMMON MOORHENS, HAWAIIAN COOTS, (HAWAIIAN) BLACK-NECKED STILTS, NUTMEG MANNIKINS, BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS, CATTLE EGRETS, etc.
At Haena State Park (Site #4) at the end of State Route 560 I saw my first RED JUNGLEFOWL. Pratt mentions Kokee State Park as the only place where true RED JUNGLEFOWL can be found. Moreover, Pratt states that true wild RED JUNGLEFOWL have gray feet; those with yellow feet are of domestic stock. All the birds I found at Haena State Park had gray feet while some of the birds I found at Kokee State Park had yellow feet. At Haena State Park either on or near the parking lot I found an adult male and two females, an adult male, and adult male and two females, a female with three young, and two females with three young.
I stayed the entire week at the Garden Island Inn in Nawiliwilli just outside Lihue. It's probably equidistant from Kokee and Haena State Parks. The hotel has a New Orleans/French Quarter-style facade, and the owners maintain a bird-feeder. The Inn was heavily damaged by Iniki in September 1992, and the owners have put on display pictures of the damaged building.
Here is what J.D. Bisignani says about the Garden Island Inn in his Kauai Handbook:
"The loved but worse-for-wear Ocean View Motel built and operated by the irrascible but lovable Spike Kanja is now the new, refurbished and very attractive Garden Island Inn, at 3445 Wilcox Road, Nawiliwilli, HI 96766, tel, 245-7227 or (800) 648-0145. The new owners, Steve and Susan Lange, have done a wonderful job of turning the once character-laden, but dilapidated hotel into a bright and cheery Inn. Head down Rice Street toward Nawiliwilli, and at the corner of Wilcox Road, across from Nawiliwilli Beach Park, just a stroll from Kalapaki Beach, is the inn. The ground-floor rooms, $55 d, are appointed with textured bamboo-motif wallpaper, and are cooled by louvered windows and ceiling fans. Each room has a color TV, microwave, refrigerator, and a coffee-maker. Second-floor rooms , $65 d, are about the same, but each has its own lanai. The best rooms, $75-85, are on the third floor from where you look down on a fully matured banana grove.... For the money, the Garden Island Inn is one of the best deals in Kauai."On Monday 5/13/96 I headed north of State Route 56 to Wailua Bay and made a left turn at the Coco Palms Resort (which still remained closed as a result of damage done by Iniki in 1992; from the outside the damage did not look severe; I have heard that rebuilding plans have been cut short because of insurance problems) onto State Route 580. Stop at the Opaeka Falls Overlook. Here I found 3 WHITE-TAILED TROPICBIRDS flying along the cliffs. At this point most tourists turn back. I continued to the end of the road to the Keahua Arboretum. Here I found small flocks of CHESTNUT MANNIKINS, JAPANESE WHITE-EYES, WHITE-RUMPED SHAMAS, MELODIOUS LAUGHING-THRUSHES, and heard what I later learned was a JAPANESE BUSH-WARBLER.
On 5/14/96 and 5/19/96 I made two visits to Makahuena Point (Site #7) once at mid-morning and once very late in the day along Kauai's south coast in search of HAWAIIAN (DARK-RUMPED) PETREL, BULWER'S PETREL, WEDGE-TAILED SHEARWATER, and TOWNSEND'S (NEWELL'S) SHEARWATER. None were to be found. There was no real wind during either of the two visits. I have been told that petrels and shearwaters are more likely to be found here on windy days. During my second visit I did spot a SEA TURTLE off Kamala Point which can be reached by parking near the Poipu-at-Makahuena Condominiums and walking to the rear of the condominiums to the "blinking light" at the edge of the cliff. From here you can see Makahuena Point in the distance.
On my return trip to the Arboretum on 5/16/96 I recorded the call of the JAPANESE BUSH-WARBLER which I played back only once. Up popped the BUSH-WARBLER to investigate. I was surprised to learn such a loud call actually came from this small bird.
I next made a return trip to Kilauea Point NWR which was now open. RED-FOOTED BOOBIES were perched on every available branch of each and every tree over the entire cliff below. Many were nesting. Some nests contained chicks that were being fed. About a dozen RED-TAILED TROPICBIRDS flew over and around the outer point, and about three or four GREAT FRIGATEBIRDS (FRIGATEBIRDS do not nest here) crossed over the point repeatedly. I am not sure who put on the biggest show: either the three re-released NENES (HAWAIIAN GEESE) or the nesting WEDGE-TAILED SHEARWATERS that were calling from their burrows right below your feet.
I received a tip from the Ranger at Kilauea Point NWR and Susan Lange of the Garden Island Inn that LAYSAN ALBATROSSES now nest on Kauai on a cliff below Princeville; I need only drive down one of the roads to the cliff to view the nesting flock below. Within an hour I ran out of roads to the cliff. I never did find the right cliff with the nesting ALBATROSSES, but I did find remnants of Iniki at a place called Queen's Bath, a large natural pool carved into a lava shelf that is reached via a trail from the end of Kapiolani Road. About mid-way on the trail I had to maneuver around the roof of a house.
I continued my drive around Princeville in search of that road that led to the ALBATROSS nest site. I must have crossed back and forth through that small town about a half a dozen times. As usually is the case, I never have the camera ready at that perfect moment. As I drove down the road as it crossed the Princeville Golf Course a LAYSAN ALBATROSS crossed the road within about 50 feet right in front of the car. What a sight! Just think, pelagic birding by car! And that wasn't the end. The ALBATROSS circled around the golf course and crossed in front of my car for a second time and a third time. This was much more exciting than the WESTERN MEADOWLARK I found at the edge of the golf course near the highway.
The next morning, 5/14/96, I made a go for Huleia NWR (Site #5). The directions in Pratt's Guide are a little off. Pratt says from the airport turn left in Nawilwilli onto Wapaa Road (also Route 51); Actually you should turn left onto Wilcox Road the same road the Garden Island Inn is located on and the turn right onto Wapaa Road. It took me a couple of drive-arounds before I figured that one out. Otherwise the directions are right on the dime. On the way there stop off at the overlook to Menehume Fishpond. The view is well worth the stop. At the refuge itself I had both NORTHERN and RED-CRESTED CARDINALS, COMMON MYNAS, JAPANESE WHITE-EYES, JAPANESE BUSH-WARBLERS, WHITE-RUMPED SHAMAS, ZEBRA and SPOTTED DOVES, COMMON MOORHENS, a SHORT-EARED OWL (PUEO), and a MELODIOUS LAUGHING-THRUSH. I returned a couple times to this location in hopes of finding a GREATER NECKLACED LAUGHING-THRUSH. Pratt says the GREATER NECKLACED LAUGHING-THRUSH is more elusive than the MELODIOUS LAUGHING-THRUSH, and I must agree. Pratt says the GREATERS can be in the tops of the several huge flat-toped monkey-pod trees downslope from the road. Yet Pratt says they are not always present, but this is the most reliable spot for them. I was yet to find one here on return visits nor at any other location on Kauai. Give yourself a prize if you see this bird. I did drive to the end of Kipu Road, and the open field there did have WESTERN MEADOWLARKS (as Pratt mentions) along with two CATTLE EGRETS.
On the way to Waimea Canyon (Site #9), the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific", I stopped off at Hanapepe Valley Overlook (Site #8) on 5/14/96. The view is tremendous. Here I had three WHITE-TAILED TROPICBIRDS. ROSE-RINGED PARAKEETS are supposed to be here as well as in fields accessed by the back roads through the Hanapepe Valley below, but I saw none at this time nor at six subsequent visits at various times of the day.
Car renters on Kauai will post a reminder in their cars for drivers to use low gear when descending from Waimea Canyon. Looking back, you can see privately owned Nihau Island. At the first pullout I found five WHITE-TAILED TROPICBIRDS circling on the updrafts through the canyon. Pratt states "even the casual tourist notices" the WHITE-TAILED TROPICBIRDS. Yet, the tourists here were noticing more a feral goat on the edge of the cliff. They were glad though that I pointed out the WHITE-TAILED TROPICBIRDS. At the next pullout a reintroduced NENE (HAWAIIAN GOOSE), Hawaii's state bird, was roaming the parking lot. In the trees at the north end of the parking lot I found a (KAUAI) ELEPAIO.
In Kokee State Park (Site #10) you will want to visit the Kokee Natural History Museum which is open from 10 AM to 4 PM daily. On the lawn I counted 12 re-introduced NENES (HAWAIIAN GEESE) and several RED JUNGLEFOWL (some of which had yellow feet!). Also around the premises were ZEBRA DOVES, NORTHERN and RED-CRESTED CARDINALS, and JAPANESE WHITE-EYES. Along the Pilea Trail at the upper end of the road I found both ANIANIAU, called so in my opinion for the song it sings, and AKEKEE, both lifers. The Pilea Trail is probably the most rugged eroded trail in the world; you will probably have to do some mountain climbing negotiating over exposed tree roots.
For the next day 5/15/96 I had made arrangements to bird the Alakai Swamp along the Kawakoi Stream Trail with David Kuhn of Terran Tours (P.O. Box 1018, Waimea, HI 96796, (808)-335-3133) and another birder. David Kuhn is an experienced outfitter who knows the birds well. Whether you are one birder or a group of 10, total rate is the same.
ELEPAIO and APAPANE were numerous. Also seen were AKEKEE, ANIANIAU, AKIKIKI, KAUAI AMAKIHI, and I'IWI. Here many of the tops of the Ohia trees are barren of leaves, a reminder of Iniki of 1992. I made a return trip with David Kuhn on 5/19/96 to try to pick up some of the species missed on 5/15/96 deeper into the Alakai Wilderness Preserve. On 5/19/96 many of the same species were seen along with a couple of PUAIOHIS.
On 5/16/96 on the way for a return visit to Kilauea Point NWR I turned off onto Aliomanu Estate Drive (off State Route 56 at MP 15.2) with the hope of finding introduced JAPANESE QUAIL. I found no quail, but I did find 6 RUDDY TURNSTONES, 2 WESTERN MEADOWLARKS, one COMMON (RING-NECKED) PHEASANT, ZEBRA DOVES, and several CHESTNUT MANNIKINS along the road.
On the return visit to Kilauea Point NWR I found a female ERCKEL's FRANCOLIN with two young along the entrance road. Some of the "usuals" were still at the point. I counted two LAYSAN ALBATROSSES, three GREAT FRIGATEBIRDS, 12 RED-TAILED TROPICBIRDS, and one WHITE-TAILED TROPICBIRD. The ranger informed me that WHITE-TAILED TROPICBIRDS rarely fly over the point as they usually restrict themselves to the cliffs immediately to the west.
On 5/17/96 I drove out to the west end of the island to Polihale State Park to see what other birds could be seen. The park here is not very birdy. Here I found one GREAT FRIGATEBIRD, one WHITE-TAILED TROPICBIRD, one NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD, one NORTHERN CARDINAL, one RED-CRESTED CARDINAL, one ZEBRA DOVE, and several SPOTTED DOVES, HOUSE SPARROWS, and COMMON MYNAS.
On 5/18/96 I toured the golf course behind the Kauai Marriott in Nawiliwilli across from the Garden Island Inn where numerous exotics have their home. Several CHESTNUT MANNIKINS foraged the gold course lawn. HAWAIIAN COOTS swam the ponds, and 18 NENES (HAWAIIAN GEESE) flew in and landed on the island in the middle of the pond. I made an interesting observation that water for the NENE is for drinking and serves the NENE no other purpose but that. Years ago as I boy I had raised JAPANESE QUAIL in an aviary. Here I recognized the call of the JAPANESE QUAIL but never saw them and did not count it as a life-bird as this park had various non-countable exotics like BLACK SWAN, RUDDY SHELDUCK, MANDARIN DUCK, BLUE CRANE, and GREY-CROWNED CRANE.
Below are listed the species encountered during my Kauai visit 5/12/96 thru 5/20/96. "F" signifies a life-bird.
Laysan Albatross Diomedea immutabilis Wedge-tailed Shearwater Puffinus pacificus White-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon lepturus F Red-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon rubricauda F Red-footed Booby Sula sula Great Frigatebird Fregata minor Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax Hawaiian Goose Nesochen sandvicensis Hawaiian Duck Anas wyvilliana Erckel's Francolin Francolinus erckelii F Red Junglefowl Gallus gallus Common Pheasant Phasianus colchicus California Quail Callipepla californica Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus Hawaiian Coot Fulica alai Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus Wandering Tattler Heteroscelus incanus Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres Rock Dove Columba livia Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis Zebra Dove Geopelia striata Barn Owl Tyto alba Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus F Japanese Bush-Warbler Cettia diphone Elepaio Chasiempis sandwichensis F White-rumped Shama Copsychus malabaricus F Puaiohi Myadestes palmeri Melodious Laughing-thrush Garrulax canorus Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos Common Myna Acridotheres tristis Japanese White-eye Zosterops japonicus Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis Red-crested Cardinal Paroaria coronata Western Meadowlark Sturnella neglecta House Finch Carpodacus mexicanus F Kauai Amakihi Hemignathus kauaiensis F Anianiau Hemignathus parvus F Akikiki Oreomystis bairdi F Akekee Loxops caeruleirostris Apapane Himatione sanguinea House Sparrow Passer domesticus Nutmeg Mannikin Lonchura punctulata F Chestnut Mannikin Lonchura malacca Java Sparrow Padda oryzivora
Upon arrival in Honolulu on 5/20/96 and after picking up the car rental I drove to Kapiolani Park (Site #3) below Diamond Head. Here I easily found my next lifer, a RED-VENTED BULBUL. I found two ORANGE-CHEEKED WAXBILLS in the vicinity of the fountain at the south-east corner of Kapiolani Park. Most of the ROCK DOVES in the Park are of the white variety. I found only four JAVA SPARROWS in the park on the lawn, 3 adults and 1 juvenile. Probably the most common bird in the park is the ZEBRA DOVE. Also seen in smaller numbers were HOUSE SPARROW, HOUSE FINCH, COMMON MYNA, SPOTTED DOVE, RED-CRESTED CARDINAL, NORTHERN CARDINAL, and YELLOW-FRONTED CANARY. ROSE-RINGED PARAKEETS were not seen on this visit to Kapiolani Park nor on any other subsequent visit to the park. The Ironwood Trees certainly had a large enough seed crop, but no parakeets were present. I have read earlier reports about ROSE-RINGED PARAKEETS being seen here in Kapiolani Park, but I didn't see any.
Just west of Kapiolani Park at the west side of the Waikiki Aquarium I found two FAIRY TERNS circle over in flight, and two more were feeding a single adult-sized juvenile in the Kiawe Tree behind the Hale Koa Hotel.
At the Diamond Head Lighthouse just to the east of Kapiolani Park and directly below Diamond Head I found two separate flocks of JAVA SPARROWS, a flock of 12 and a flock of 40, on the lawn. Also here were 12 WARBLING SILVERBILLS, numerous ZEBRA DOVES, and a single WANDERING TATTLER flying down the beach below the lighthouse.
The next morning, 5/21/96 I drove to the Punchbowl Memorial Cemetery, which had the usual introduced NORTHERN CARDINALS, RED-CRESTED CARDINALS, ZEBRA and SPOTTED DOVES.
From the Punchbowl I continued the drive up Tantalus Drive (Site #1). At the third pullout I had one OAHU AMAKIHI, numerous RED-VENTED BULBULS, JAPANESE WHITE-EYES, one JAPANESE BUSH-WARBLER (seen!), ZEBRA and SPOTTED DOVES. The fourth pullout which provides a good view of the Punchbowl Memorial Cemetery had two RED-WHISKERED BULBULS and one RED-VENTED BULBUL, one WHITE-RUMPED SHAMA, more JAPANESE WHITE-EYES, and more ZEBRA and SPOTTED DOVES.
Further up the road just before the "Road Narrows" sign near the summit numerous COMMON WAXBILLS, a species PRATT does not mention for Site #1 moved about the bushes along the side.
At the State Park at Round Top Drive I found two more COMMON WAXBILLS, a WHITE-RUMPED SHAMA, RED-VENTED BULBUL, RED-CRESTED CARDINAL, NORTHERN CARDINAL, JAPANESE WHITE-EYE, and heard another JAPANESE BUSH-WARBLER.
From here I moved on to the Lyon Arboretum which is open weekdays from 9 AM to 3 PM (not 4 PM as is given in Pratt's guide). Here I found both RED-VENTED and RED-WHISKERED BULBULS, ZEBRA and SPOTTED DOVES, NORTHERN and RED-CRESTED CARDINALS, WHITE-RUMPED SHAMAS, JAPANESE WHITE-EYES, NUTMEG MANNIKINS, two more COMMON WAXBILLS, COMMON MYNAS, one adult and three juvenile JAVA SPARROWS, and one unidentified green parrot. Some time ago the HILL MYNAS used to inhabit the huge Albizza Trees above the parking lot, but these have not been seen here for some time as Pratt mentions in his guide, and none were to be seen while I was there.
Next I drove on to the Kuliouou Forest Preserve (Site #4) via the Lunalilo Freeway (H-1) to the east from Honolulu which eventually becomes Kalanianaole Highway. After passing Niu Valley Shopping Center turn left (mauka) on Kuliouou Road which winds through a subdivision. As you approach the upper end of the valley, watch for Kalaau Place (not Kalaau Street as given in Pratt's Guide) to the right which dead-ends at the start of the Kuliouou Trail. Here at the start of the trail were 8 JAVA SPARROWS, two RED-CRESTED CARDINALS, one NORTHERN CARDINAL.
Further up along the trail I encountered both ZEBRA and SPOTTED DOVES, RED-VENTED BULBULS, and one WHITE-RUMPED SHAMA. David Kuhn reminded me of the presence of OAHU ELEPAIOs at this location which may attain an endangered species status and may eventually become a separate species. Pratt states this location is the most reliable place for finding the increasingly rare OAHU ELEPAIO. Pratt states birders should look for OAHU ELEPAIOS along the streambed and the adjacent slopes about 0.25 mile from the start of the trail. Actually I had to walk some 2 miles into the heavily wooded area near the top of the ridge before I actually saw one.
Birding in the Aloha State is probably as expensive as it can get. A beach-front room and a chair positioned along-side a pool where mai tais are served was not a requirement for me. I opted to camp the last few days of my birding vacation. There are several state-run campgrounds on Oahu, but campsites must be reserved no earlier than 5 weeks in advance and no later than one week prior to arrival. County-run campgrounds are closed Wednesdays and Thursdays. Details on these campgrounds can be found in J.D. Bisignani's Honolulu -- Waikiki Handbook -- The Island of Oahu, Moon Publications, 1994. I opted for a private campground at Malaekahana Beach near the Polynesian Culture Center just north of Laie on the windward side of the island. Contact Network Enterprises, 56-335 Kamehameha Highway, Laie, telephone: (808) 293-1735, Mon., Wed., Fri. 10 AM to 6 PM; other days 3 to 5 PM daily. Campground's gates are closed from 7 PM to 7 AM the following day. Their numbering of campsites is somewhat disorganized as there seems to be no set pattern in the numbering of the campsites. For this reason and since I had difficulty in remembering that name of the campground, Malaekahana Beach, I resorted to calling the location in my birding notes: "Crazy Campground". After circling around the campground several times, I had to ask campground management for assistance in finding my campsite.
The next morning, 5/22/96, while waiting for the gate to open at 7 AM I birded around the campground where I found NORTHERN CARDINALS, ZEBRA and SPOTTED DOVES, RED-VENTED BULBULS, COMMON MYNAS, AND HOUSE FINCHES. Along the highway I heard a (COMMON) RING-NECKED PHEASANT, and found about a dozen COMMON WAXBILLS in the brush along the campground side of the side of the highway, and in a field on the opposite side of the highway was a small flock of CATTLE EGRETS. I soon noticed at about 6:30 AM that a side gate was already open. So, I snuck out early and headed for Laie Point (Site #10) nearby.
At Laie Point on 5/22/96 just as I got out of the car a group of eight MASKED BOOBIES (seven adults and one juvenile) flew by to the north in the direction of the campground at about 6:40 AM. Numerous BLACK NODDIES were also flying in the same direction. That evening I returned to find both WEDGE-TAILED and CHRISTMAS SHEARWATERS, and on 5/23/96 I found two GREAT FRIGATEBIRDS and single BROWN NODDIES there. I found no MASKED BOOBIES that evening on 5/22/96 nor on any of my subsequent return trips to Laie Point. On my final visit I parked at nearby Malaekahana Bay State Recreation Area where I intended to wade out to nearby Moku'auia Island, also known as Goat Island, as is suggested in the travel guides as it is only a stone's throw across to the island. At low tide I put on my cheap Cosco Reef Walkers and proceeded to cross. The Reef Walkers soon slipped up my legs and offered no more assistance walking over the rough coral. I made it only about 1/3 the way across to island when I was stung by a couple of PORTUGUESE MEN-OF WAR. I never made it to the island.
From here I moved onto Kualoa Regional Park (Site #9) to the south. Here on the lawn I counted 12 PACIFIC GOLDEN-PLOVERS (two of which were already in full breeding plumage). Here I also found both NORTHERN and RED-CRESTED CARDINALS, both ZEBRA and SPOTTED DOVES, NUTMEG MANNIKINS, RED-VENTED BULBULS, one WHITE-RUMPED SHAMA, one WHITE-RUMPED SHAMA, and one heard-only JAPANESE BUSH-WARBLER. In order to see Apua Pond which is surrounded by "No Trespassing Signs" as it is pictured in Pratt's Guide, you have to climb up onto a stone wall and look over the tall bushes. Here there was a small number of "HAWAIIAN" BLACK-NECKED STILTS.
Next I drove into the Marine Corps Base Hawaii-Kaneohe Bay (Site #8) and obtained an entry permit at the gate. I zigzagged through the residential portion of the base and onto the RED-FOOTED BOOBY colony at Ulupau Crater. Pratt states visits to the crater must be made in the late afternoon after firing range activities have ceased for the day. This was true. So, as I arrived here at mid-day, I restricted my viewing to the nesting RED-FOOTED BOOBIES in the haole koa trees from the fence. I didn't mind restricting myself to the fence, but I had to forfeit viewing of Moku Manu Island which can be seen from Ulupau Head, the outer rim of Ulupau Crater, and where a number of interesting species nest: SOOTY TERNS, BROWN BOOBIES, BROWN NODDIES, GRAY-BACKED TERNS, and MASKED BOOBIES. While Pratt states that GREAT FRIGATEBIRDS nest here, Hawaii Audubon Society's booklet Hawaii's Birds states GREAT FRIGATEBIRDS are not known to nest on the main islands but are frequently seen throughout. I did see one GREAT FRIGATEBIRD soar overhead on my drive to Ulupau Crater.
A visit to Nuupia Pond on the Marine Corps Base Hawaii-Kaneohe Bay produced "HAWAIIAN" BLACK-NECKED STILTS, CATTLE EGRETS, BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS, three RUDDY TURNSTONES, 2 PACIFIC GOLDEN-PLOVERS (one juvenile and one in full breeding plumage), and six JAVA SPARROWS (2 juveniles and four adults).
I regret that I did not make it back to Ulupau Head, but moreover I regret not driving to the "tall grass patches that border" the Bay View Golf Center in nearby Kaneohe which Pratt states in "The Species Guide" in the back portion of his guide is the best place in the islands to find flocks of ORANGE-CHEEKED WAXBILLS. I remembered reading about this earlier, but as a result of long days of tiring birding, it had completely slipped my mind. If anything should be modified in Pratt's already great guide is to include the species' name in the account section and to prevent over-duplication state only see details on a specified page number.
Next stop was Manana Island lookout and Makapuu Beach Park (Site #6). Here GREAT FRIGATEBIRDS flew into and out of the nearby Sea Life Park. Four SOOTY TERNS flew directly overhead over the lookout toward Manana Island. A few RED-TAILED TROPICBIRDS and RED-FOOTED BOOBIES flew up and down the beach. Through my scope I viewed SOOTY TERNS in the thousands on Manana Island. At the base of Manana Island on the beach were tight flocks of BLACK NODDIES. BROWN NODDIES are supposed to be scattered over the island as singles and pairs, but I was not able to detect any through my scope from the beach park. WEDGE-TAILED SHEARWATERS are supposed to nest in burrows on Kaohikaipu Island which is relatively flat and closer to view than Makapuu Island, and the best time to see these is at dusk when they return to their burrows. Numerous LAYSAN ALBATROSS decoys have been spread throughout Kaohikaipu Island possibly in attempt to attract them to nest here. But such attempts to do so do not seem to have been successful.
Next stop was the Halona Blowhole (Site #5) which is actually a lava tube at the perfect height for waves to be driven into it. As the waves flow into it , the water compresses, and the pressure sends a spume into the air. It is odd that tourists stopping off here pay little or no attention to the beauties of the sky. Here as I watched one GREAT FRIGATEBIRD circle overhead, and four RED-TRAILED TROPICBIRDS perform their acrobatics up and down the face of Koko Head.
Late that day I stopped off at the lookout between Hanauna Bay and the Halona Blowhole. Among the numerous fly-by SOOTY TERNS I was able to pick out at least one GRAY-BACKED TERN, and several WEDGE-TAILED SHEARWATERS, RED-FOOTED BOOBIES, and single RED-TAILED TROPICBIRDS through my scope. Hanauna Bay is hardly a birder's paradise, but if you wish to do some snorkeling between your birding expeditions, be sure to arrive there early. As the day passes, the bay becomes much too crowded to be enjoyed.
The next day, 5/23/96, I stopped off at the Amorient Ponds (Site #11) which are nearly all dry now since the Amorient Aquafarm ceased its operations in early 1994. Apparently the only water that remains there is collected from rainwater. I did not see any FULVOUS WHISTLING-DUCKS there, and they have not been seen there since early 1994. I was able to find however four "HAWAIIAN" BLACK-NECKED STILTS, one HAWAIIAN COOT, one CATTLE EGRET, and a female HAWAIIAN DUCK with four young. Around the edges of the ponds I found RED-VENTED BULBULS, COMMON MYNAS, JAPANESE WHITE-EYES, COMMON WAXBILLS, SPOTTED DOVES, CHESTNUT MANNIKINS, a "COMMON" RING-NECKED PHEASANT, and a fly-over GREAT FRIGATEBIRD.
Next stop was Punamano Pond (Site #12), a disjunct unit of James Campbell NWR which is actually closed to the public but can be viewed without trespassing. To reach the refuge, take Marconi Road (which is unmarked, but a row of powerlines runs parallel to it) makai off Kamehameha Highway between Turtle Bay Resort and the Amorient Aquafarm. Here I found both ZEBRA and SPOTTED DOVES, JAPANESE WHITE-EYES, NORTHERN CARDINALS, COMMON WAXBILLS, COMMON MYNAS, CATTLE EGRETS, RED-VENTED BULBULS, and I heard the call of a "COMMON" RING-NECKED PHEASANT.
Next stop was Haleiwa (= "Frigatebirdhouse") Beach Park in the town of Haleiwa (Site #13), located at the "notch" of Oahu's North Shore. A walk along the rocky shore along the bay to the north brought me within scope's distance of the largest of three buoys in the Haleiwa Boat Harbor on which six BROWN BOOBIES were perched. Also in the area were SPOTTED and ZEBRA DOVES, COMMON MYNAS, one WANDERING TATTLER, and Lokoea Pond across the road had one HAWAIIAN COOT. The sign here reads Lokoea Pond, which Pratt writes as Loko Ea Pond.
Next stop was in the town of Waipahu (Site #15) in the Pearl Harbor Area at the south end of Waipahu Depot Street in search of RED AVADAVATS (formerly known as STRAWBERRY FINCHES, a much easier name to pronounce and remember). Pratt states RED AVADAVATS were at one time restricted to the Pearl Harbor Area, but that they can now be found throughout the island of Oahu in the edges of sugar cane fields. The problem with that is that there are very few if any sugar cane fields left on Oahu. RED AVADAVATS are also supposed to be found at Campbell National NWR (Site #13) or at the Waialua Lotus Ponds (Site #14), but I found none at either location. The latter location I found nearly birdless when I was there on 5/23/96.
Here at the end of Waipahu Depot Street (reached via the Farrington Highway) on 5/23/96 I birded the nearby neighborhood in search of RED AVADAVATS. Each yard in the neighborhood was enclosed by a cyclone fence and a "Private Property, No Trespassing" sign and a "No Dumping" sign. This area is certainly not a friendly place to bird, and few seem to have observed the "No Dumping" signs. I did find both RED-CRESTED and NORTHERN CARDINALS, RED-VENTED BULBULS, ZEBRA and SPOTTED DOVES, COMMON WAXBILLS, and CHESTNUT MANNIKINS in the neighborhood. The nearly dry pond to the south had a few "HAWAIIAN" BLACK-NECKED STILTS.
In Pratt's 1995 edition of his original guide a list of 1995 updates are listed in which he gives newer directions on reaching this area. The Oahu Sugar Company has ceased its operations here, and the military has relaxed its restrictions. Pratt writes birders should park at the end of Waipahu Depot Street and walk up a levee. On 5/23/96 I found no RED AVADAVATS here. I returned the next day on 5/24/96, parked at the end of Waipahu Depot Street, crossed the small foot bridge here across the creek to the west, turned left and walked along the rather weedy levee. This is "the only" levee here. As I walked south through the weeds I found more and more COMMON WAXBILLS, and more COMMON WAXBILLS, and more COMMON WAXBILLS fly out of the weeds until I came across numerous RED AVADAVATS. The males were just breaking onto breeding plumage.
Late that day I birded Sand Island Regional Park (Site #17) in the Pearl Harbor Area. I have read other birders' earlier reports on birding in Hawaii in which very few or no JAVA SPARROWS were found. If this species is on your "hit" list, then come to Sand Island Regional Park; in one huge Silk Tree I had over 100 JAVA SPARROWS. Other birds of note here were CHESTNUT and NUTMEG MANNIKINS, COMMON WAXBILLS, ZEBRA and SPOTTED DOVES, YELLOW-FRONTED CANARIES, RED-VENTED BULBULS, and two CATTLE EGRETS.
The next morning (5/24/96) back at the Malaekahana Beach Campground I scoped the birding activity from the beach where I found CHRISTMAS SHEARWATERS, RED-FOOTED BOOBIES, and a single GREAT FRIGATEBIRD. A WANDERING TATTLER foraged the beach. Besides the other regular species within the campground a single WHITE-RUMPED SHAMA put on a show.
The next day, 5/24/96, the only rainy day I had on Oahu, I birded the Aiea Ridge Trail (Site #16). Here I found RED-BILLED LEIOTHRIX (which Pratt does not mention for this location), both RED-VENTED and RED-WHISKERED BULBULS, COMMON WAXBILLS, JAPANESE WHITE-EYES, ZEBRA and SPOTTED DOVES. Near the top of the ridge I had both APAPANES and OAHU AMAKIHIS. I found no signs of OAHU ALAUAHIOS, but I wasn't expecting one as Pratt states not to hold your breath.
On 5/25/96 I returned to some of the earlier locations I had already visited. At the Diamond Head Lighthouse 20 JAVA SPARROWS were still there with COMMON WAXBILLS and a fly-by FAIRY TERN. Back at Kapiolani Park a FAIRY TERN flew over the fire station at the corner of Kapahulu Avenue and Paki Avenue.
A stop-over at Ala Moana Park on the way to the airport for the return flight to the mainland on 5/26/96 produced my last looks at COMMON MYNAS, ZEBRA and SPOTTED DOVES, COMMON WAXBILLS, and two JAVA SPARROWS.
This was my first birding trip outside of the ABA area, in which I counted a total of 88 separate species, 57 of which were lifers. Winter birding in Hawaii should offer a different selection. A return trip in the spring would allow however another chance to pick up those species missing on this trip.
Below are listed the 47 species encountered on Oahu 5/20/96 thru 5/26/96. "F" signifies a lifer.
Wedge-tailed Shearwater Puffinus pacificus F Christmas Shearwater Puffinus nativitatis Red-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon rubricauda F Masked Booby Sula dactylatra Brown Booby Sula leucogaster Red-footed Booby Sula sula Great Frigatebird Fregata minor Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax Hawaiian Duck Anas wyvilliana Common Pheasant Phasianus colchicus Hawaiian Coot Fulica alai Pacific Golden-Plover Pluvialis fulva Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus Wandering Tattler Heteroscelus incanus Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres F Gray-backed Tern Sterna lunata Sooty Tern Sterna fuscata F Brown Noddy Anous stolidus Black Noddy Anous minutus F White Tern Gygis alba Rock Dove Columba livia Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis Zebra Dove Geopelia striata F Red-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus cafer Red-whiskered Bulbul Pycnonotus jocosus Japanese Bush-Warbler Cettia diphone Elepaio Chasiempis sandwichensis White-rumped Shama Copsychus malabaricus Red-billed Leiothrix Leiothrix lutea Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos Common Myna Acridotheres tristis Japanese White-eye Zosterops japonicus Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis Red-crested Cardinal Paroaria coronata House Finch Carpodacus mexicanus Yellow-fronted Canary Serinus mozambicus F Oahu Amakihi Hemignathus chloris Apapane Himatione anguinea House Sparrow Passer domesticus Orange-cheeked Waxbill Estrilda melpoda F Common Waxbill Estrilda astrild F Red Avadavat Amandava amandava Warbling Silverbill Lonchura malabarica Nutmeg Mannikin Lonchura punctulata Chestnut Mannikin Lonchura malacca Java Sparrow Padda oryzivora
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