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View From Here - Hawaii Travel Blog - Birdwatching

Total Number of Entries - 80
  • Species Spotlight: Hawaiian Moorhen

    Destination: Kauai, Oahu

    hanalei valley, kauai, north shoreThe road into the town of Hanalei on Kauai’s north shore bends to the right after crossing the historic, one-lane Hanalei Bridge, and an anecdotal 99 percent who cross the bridge in polite groups of six or eight vehicles at a time head this way. But for taro farmers, hikers, select homeowners and a few early morning photographers, the slip of a road that drops to the left dips into the valley of Hanalei. And here, in the Hanalei Valley National Wildlife Refuge, at the base of waterfall-laced mountains and among ponds of leafy taro, are birds that possess the secret of fire.

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  • The Mexican Dancer in Hawaii

    Destination: Kauai

    mexican dancer in hawaii a laysan albatrossI call this guy the Mexican Dancer, because he was banded as a chick on Isla Guadalupe in 2003. For the past two years, I’ve watched him tilt his head to the sky on remote bluff of land on the North Shore of Kauai. I’ve seen him bow his head, shake it and dip his bill under a lifted bent wing--as if he’s sniffing his armpit. I’ve heard him whistle, moo and clack his bill. For two seasons, I’ve watched this 10-year-old Laysan albatross perform his species’ complex courtship dance.

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  • Hawaiian Crow Population Tops 100

    Destination: Hawaii Island

    hawaiian crowI am in St. Louis attending my best friend’s daughter’s wedding, and while I am seeing family and old friends, I am also spotting wildlife that I am not used to seeing in Hawaii:  Squirrels swinging from trees; a bunny shyly hopping about the yard; a robin snagging a worm from the ground; a heron pacing the air over a stream; a red-tailed hawk hovering in the sky, its tail feathers fanned. And, in the city, crows. In their own way, they all remind me of Hawaii’s wildlife, from the mongoose to the shama thrush to the black-crowned night heron to the Hawaiian hawk and crow.

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  • May in Photos

    Destination: Kauai, Oahu

    otsuji farm greensMay was busy but the photos may not show it. The month started with a tour of Otsuji Farms on Oahu. The farm got its start in 1954, and the city sorta grew up around it, so now you could call it an urban farm. It’s a three-generation farm. The middle generation still makes sure the place runs. Edwin, wearing his signature Crocodile-Dundee-hat, led the tour.

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  • April in Photos

    Hawaiian monk seal pup races for the waterFor me, April saw the breeding plumage of Golden plovers come in. A visit to The Contemporary Museum, now called Spalding House, on Oahu. An afternoon meditation at Broken Ridge Buddhist Temple--in advance of a talk by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. A hike on Manoa Cliff Trail off Round Top Drive in Honolulu, Oahu. An architectural tour of Chinatown.  Wedge-tailed shearwaters clean up their burrows and pair up in advance of laying some eggs. The birth of two Hawaiian monk seal pups.

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  • Birding at Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge

    Destination: Maui

    hybrid duck at kealia pond national wildlife refugeEarlier this month, when I was on Maui, my rental car naturally gravitated to a familiar place for me--a national wildlife refuge. Like Kilauea, where I volunteer (on Friday afternoons, stop by some time), this one is dedicated to birds. Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge is located at the south end of the isthmus that runs between East Maui's Kihei and Wailea and West Maui's Lahaina and Kaanapali.

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  • Kapalua Coastal Walk

    Destination: Maui

    I didn’t plan it. Seriously. But I went on a bird walk in West Maui. In my defense, I thought it was a fitness walk. When will I accept that I am a birder? Am I in denial of age? Because, stereotypical or not, I always think of birders as, well, older. Or am I in denial of the feathery cute- and cuddly-ness of birds? I met Ben Auerbach at Kapalua Spa at the decent hour of 9:00 a.m. A couple from Wisconsin, a mother and daughter from Dallas, Texas and another couple from Central California joined us.

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  • A Meditation on the Chickens of Kauai

    Destination: Kauai

    rooster with tailI have written extensively here on this blog about excursions in search of monitoring and counting and observing Hawaii’s native and, often, endangered species from Laysan albatross, black-footed albatross, short-tailed albatross and Newell’s shearwater. To Hawaiian monk seals, humpback whales, false killer whales. Green and hawk’s bill sea turtles. And hedyotis st. johnii. And yet, I have not once written about a species of great intrigue, especially to Kauai’s visitors. Perhaps because the species of which I allude is found in my backyard. Its numbers are rising unchecked. And it’s not included on any list except, perhaps, one of a nuisance to insomniacs. I refer, of course, to the chicken.

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  • Dark Night of the Shearwater

    Destination: Kauai

    dark night of the shearwater postcardBut nights like tonight—the dark nights of the new moon—aren’t so great for the endangered Newell’s Shearwater on Kauai. Especially the fledglings. They fly for their first time around now, leaving their nests high in the mountains and using the reflection of the moon to guide them to the sea. On dark nights, when the moon is new, these fledglings mistake the bright lights of civilization for that of the moon. They circle around areas they shouldn’t be. Areas with electrical lines. Areas with complicated electrical arrays. Tall street lamps. Telephone poles. And exhaustion sets in. Collisions occur. Many birds, mostly chicks, fall from the sky.

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  • Jack's Best Bet for Birding on Hawaii Island

    Destination: Hawaii Island

    hawaii akepa by jack jeffreyJack Jeffrey knows birds. He knows plants. He knows when plants will bloom and what birds will flock to those blossoms like my husband gravitates to chocolate. For 30 years, Jack has roamed the valleys, rainforests and mountains of Hawaii Island studying, observing and photographing Hawaii’s endemic forest birds as wildlife biologist, photographer and all-around birder. Here, he shares his favorite birding spots on Hawaii Island, as well as some exquisite images of Hawaii’s beautiful birds.

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