Monday, November 15, 2010

A few sightings on Kauai

In Hawaii again, on my regular annual trip, I was fortunate to have some free time on Kauai, my favorite of the four major islands. As usual when here, I can't pass up the opportunity to visit the Kilauea Lighthouse, where it's possible to have some close encounters with seabirds. In addition to one passing Laysan Albatross, a few Brown Boobies (above) and hundreds of Red-footed Boobies (below) put on a great show overhead. Great Frigatebirds were almost always hanging in the wind nearby, and a few White-tailed Tropicbirds were cruising back and forth over the small bay between the cliffs.

There were a few Wedge-tailed Shearwater chicks resting in the sun near their underground burrows, and this one spent some time stretching and flapping his wings.

Up in the remnant native forest above 3,500 ft. (in Koke'e State Park) I spent hours trying to get good photos of some of the remaining native species of birds. But the foliage is so dense, and the birds are so active, I managed only a few out-of-focus shots. But the effort, including the round-trip hike of eight miles down to the Alakai Swamp was well worth it, if only for the experience of being in such a unique forest environment.

Apapane foraging in Ohia Lehua trees


A few days earlier I had been in Honolulu, where about the only "native" bird you can expect to see is the Pacific Golden Plover, and that's only because they come down from the Arctic to spend the winter here. They can be found on almost any open grassy area.

But the introduced birds add color and interest to the city scene, even though you know they really should not be here.

Common Waxbill
Red-crested Cardinal


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