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View From Here - Hawaii Travel Blog - Birdwatching

Total Number of Entries - 80
  • Midway Albatross Count: Day 2

    Destination: Hawaii Island, Kauai, Maui, Oahu

    The plane may be child size.  Cellular service may be non-existent.  Internet speed may be the equivalent of dial-up.  But you’ve got to hand it to Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge:  The showers are hot, hot, hot. It helps soothe the sore muscles.

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  • Midway Albatross Count: Day One

    Destination: Hawaii Island, Kauai, Maui, Oahu

    Our prop plane touched down at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge under cover of darkness just a couple minutes before 6:00 a.m. local time, nearly 5 hours after we departed Honolulu International Airport.Laysan albatross lined the runway, like spectators at a parade.  It was as if they were awaiting our arrival.

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  • Next Stop: Midway

    Destination: Hawaii Island, Kauai, Maui, Oahu

    It was another Friday afternoon at Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge when a man asked what kind of bird was perched on Moku’ae’ae Island. I lifted my binoculars and spied the profile of a seabird with a dark-colored body. My fellow volunteer Lee asked, “What color is it?” “Dark,” I said.

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  • Nene Goslings Getting Around

    Destination: Kauai

    What do I do with these flipper-feet? It’s nene nesting season at Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge on Kauai.  That means beware the daddy nene. e guards his family’s nest site of two to five eggs as defensively as a hockey goalie.  And he’s not afraid to leave his territory to chase down an interloper like me.

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  • Albatross Are in the Air

    Destination: Kauai

    They’re back.  The majestic Laysan albatross are returning to the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge. The males tend to arrive first and await the females who may arrive hours or a day later, but all albatross that nest here at the refuge tend to arrive within a three- or four-day period.  Shortly after the pair arrive, they will mate.  (Albatross form “pair bonds.”)  The courtship, if you will, doesn’t take long and follows a ritualized behavior that goes something like this:  Sky moo, head shake, bill clack.  Then, the two get down to business.

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  • Bird Day Afternoon

    Destination: Kauai

    This is a white-tailed tropicbird chick.  When I arrived at Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge today, this speckled, little guy (girl?) was sitting on a launch box thinking about what it did wrong the first time it left its nest.  It didn’t quite make it out to sea, but someone found it, thankfully, and gave it a second shot at fledging by placing it here, atop the perfect launch pad overlooking the sea. 

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  • Coming In For A Landing

    Destination: Kauai

    This is what a juvenile Red-footed Booby looks like when it’s about to land on your head. It seems that unlike our other seabirds at Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, when a red-footed booby fledges, it actually hangs around its nestsite, learning to fly and returning home to its parents like a college graduate.

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  • Nene News

    Destination: Kauai

    This fall’s first goslings made their debut last week. I haven’t seen any yet, but we knew the adults were nesting, because they’d gone underground, so to speak, for the past few weeks. Instead of strutting through the golf-course-like grass on the grounds surrounding the Kilauea Lighthouse like they normally do, noshing on the salt-tolerant seashore paspalum, the adult nene have been spending their time under the native naupaka bushes, near their nests. That is, until closing time. Right at 4:00 p.m., when the gates to the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge shut and the people disappear, nene emerge.

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  • The Landing Pad

    Destination: Kauai

    The path in the photo on the right is a sidewalk, leading to the Kilauea Lighthouse on Kauai.  It is also a runway for coming and going wedge-tailed shearwater seabirds.  When the white markings start appearing in early spring, we know the wedge-tailed shearwater have returned from their wintering grounds of Central America.

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  • As the Beacon Turns

    Destination: Kauai

    Kilauea Point lighthouse lens, close upThe walk to the historic lighthouse at Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge takes me about three minutes from the parking lot.  I call out hello to Christa, the park ranger at the fee booth (a mere $5 per person or free with a National Parks pass) as I go by. I note the burrows on the hillside where the wedge-tail shearwater chicks are starting to hatch at the back of three-foot tunnels.  I skirt a cliff that freefalls down to a cove where Hawaiian monk seals sometimes bask on smooth volcanic rock, and I follow the sidewalk on a narrow strip of land to the northernmost point in the main Hawaiian Islands.

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