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View From Here - Outrigger Travel Blog - Birdwatching

Total Number of Entries - 80
  • Fly Away Home Big Little Short-Tailed Albatross

    Destination: Kauai

    Short-tailed albatross chick nears fledgingOn Saturday, I headed to the North Shore of Kauai to check on some Laysan Albatross chicks. There are a total of 11 that I monitor on behalf of several wildlife agencies. Already, their wings have filled out from their stubby hatchling days. Brownish-grey down has given way to clean and white contour feathers covering their bodies. Primary and secondary flight feathers on their wings and tails are in—and groomed regularly by these chicks.

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  • The Most Capable of Change

    Destination: Maui, Kauai, Oahu

    I am sitting in a chair in the air, somewhere over the Pacific Ocean between the Hawaiian Islands of Kauai and Oahu. I am headed to Maui for a short getaway, and I am writing this on a wireless keyboard using the Notes app on my iPhone4. While sitting at the Lihue Airport waiting to board Hawaiian flight #508, I received a phone call from my friend Pat, who lives on a sailboat at the Ala Wai Boat Harbor on Oahu. I checked my Facebook account to read about her cat’s morning swim in the harbor. I tweeted about the three birdwatchers sitting next to me, pouring over their bird books and plotting their birding adventures on Maui. (Hosmer Grove, I leaned over and whispered.)

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  • A Humpback Whale Visit on Endangered Species Day

    Destination: Kauai

    humpback whale calf breaching at Kilauea Point National Wildlife RefugeAt exactly 3:53 p.m. at Kauai's Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge on Friday, May 20, I heard a woman's voice exclaim, "There's a spinner dolphin." I remember thinking that I hadn't see any earlier in the sandy-bottomed waters off Kauapea Beach. Maybe, I thought--it's really amazing how fast thoughts can whiz through your mind--maybe it's a pod coming from the bay around the point--Kalihiwai--and headed out to sea for a night of foraging. I've seen them rest there during the day before, too.

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  • Trade Winds March in Like a Lion

    Destination: Kauai

    Laysan albatross adult flying into sceneThey're back. Our long absent trade winds arrived with vigor today. What is it people say about the month of March--in like a lion; out like a lamb. Well, we're right on track. During the first weekend of March, the volcano--Kilauea--blew in a fiery display. The second weekend saw a tsunami roll through the Hawaiian Islands, damaging harbors and homes but leaving Hawaii relatively unharmed, especially in light of what's going on in Japan. And, now, we're under a high-wind advisory—east winds up to 35 mph and gusts of 55 mph.

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  • Preparation Meets Opportunity in Hawaii

    Destination: Oahu, Kauai

    Yesterday, I walked from one side of Waikiki to the other, from Outrigger Reef on the Beach and nearly to the Honolulu Zoo. I walked out of the sunshine and into a fluorescent room to sit on a straight-backed chair for eight hours. I listened to real scientists toss around phrases like foraging ecology, protozoal threats, cestode egg presence, Allee effects and genetic stock structure. All in an effort to suss out the best way to reverse the downward population trend of endangered Hawaiian monk seals.

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