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View From Here - Hawaii Travel Blog - Birdwatching

Total Number of Entries - 80
  • Counting Crows

    Destination: Hawaii Island

    hawaiian crowI’m standing on one side of a window in the library of the Keauhou Bird Conservation Center. On the other side of the glass, two crows, a couple, go about their day. The male presents the back of his head to the female. She reaches over, opens her bill and plucks out a feather. He flinches but presents his head to her again, and she reaches, opens and plucks. It’s molting season, a prickly, itchy time for a bird. A little help snagging those feathers in hard to reach places is greatly appreciated.

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  • A Weekend on Napali: Part Four

    Destination: Kauai

    sunset from nualolo kaiMike & Natalia caught a late afternoon boat ride back to Kīkīaola and civilization with Captain Andy’s Raft Expeditions, one of three boat tour operators permitted to land at Nu‘alolo Kai and take their passengers on a guided tour through the valley, and that left me with time on my hands to do some real work.

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  • Contemplating Kukui Trees and What to Pack

    Destination: Kauai

    Napali Coast, Kauai, HawaiiSo, I am sitting here contemplating kukui trees. Mine are weeping. The kukui tree is the official state tree of Hawaii. It was sort of the like the Swiss Army Knife of trees back in old Hawaii. Hawaiians used its leaves, branches, trunks and seeds to make fires, canoes, medicines, fish bait, fish floats, dye, an adhesive, tattoos, cloth and oil for lamps. Today, the kukui is most well-known for its seeds that are strung into lei. You might know it as the candlenut tree. Its scientific name is Aleurites moluccana. What I like about the tree is it embodies my personal philosophy when it comes to landscaping my yard—native and care-free.

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  • Another Friday Afternoon at Kilauea Point

    Destination: Kauai

    Kilauea Point lighthouse lens, close upIt’s just another Friday afternoon at the refuge, and I am blogging from “Birdville,” a.k.a. Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge. The skies overhead are clearing, after a surprising squall provided a bit of cloud clover and respite from the hot sun. Not enough rain fell to clean the windshield, much less soak the soil outside the wedge-tailed shearwater burrows and leach its nourishing bird guano deep into the ground. Funny how Hawaii skies sneak up on you like that.

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  • Mark Twain's New Stamp

    mark twain stampMark Twain visited Hawaii in 1866 and fell in love. And yet these were his words on first sighting the Hawaiian Islands, which he insisted on calling “The Sandwich Islands,” after Captain James Cook. Oahu loomed high, rugged, treeless, barren, black and dreary, out of the sea, and in the distance Molokai lay like a homely sway-backed whale on the water.

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  • 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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