|The Koko Crater, Oahu|
Naturally, my mind was filled with all the endemic birds that I wouldn't see, due to my being in this tropical paradise for work, rather than leisure. However, it dawned on me that despite my limited time there, I may just be able to see at least a couple of decent birds.
We flew out last Tuesday morning and arrived in Honolulu in the early afternoon. En route from the airport to the hotel in Waikiki I noticed a few birds, in particular several Pacific golden plovers which seemed to occupy any piece of grass or open ground available. Other less inspiring birds seen included several of the many exotic species which festoon the Honolulu landscape.
Having checked into the hotel and done some work related stuff such as assist with the erection of the exhibition booth at the conference centre, I managed to find a little time to explore the local area. An oceanside park was located close to the hotel and I headed there with my trusty bins and vague idea of what avian delights I might be looking for.
|Various cage birds at large|
|Pacific golden plover|
I got the chance to scrutinise the numerous, and highly variable, Pacific golden plovers that were feeding on the grassy areas, and managed a few snaps. A handful of ruddy turnstone were feeding along the water's edge and scanning offshore I noticed a distant brown booby (no sniggering at the back...) sat on a buoy. Not a bad start, really.
After a good scout around, stopping off here and there to admire the wonderful scenery (and a stream of red-footed boobies passing close offshore - pic), we opted to check out a trail heading up into the Kuliouou Forest Reserve. We took the Kuliouou Ridge Trail, a 5-mile round trek which took us up to an elevation of around 1000ft, passing through several habitat types.
|Kuliouou Forest Reserve|
|Me and a Banyan Tree|
Several minutes later, as we approached the summit and the end of the trail, I saw another (or possibly the same one) and watched it at eye-level, feeding in the upper branches of a large tree.
After we'd gorged our senses on the spectacular views (and gained our breath) we headed back down. I soon came across another feeding flock of avian exotica, and was thrilled to pick out a couple of Oahu amakihi among the mix.
The remainder of our descent went without incident, and we soon found ourselves heading back along the coast to Waikiki, stopping to admire the scenery along the way.
Much of the day was spent at the conference centre, where I was able to chat with local conservation experts and forest management professionals from around North America.
The last day. After a morning at the conference, Eric and I hired a car and headed up to the north of the island for a look around. Passing through large fruit plantations along the way, the scenery was considerably different from the south eastern region we had explored on Wednesday.
Bird life was almost restricted to yet more fence-hoppers, although things got considerably better around the James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge area. Although we couldn't access the site, I was able to see Hawaiian coots plus local distinctive races of moorhen and black-necked stilt. Our brief stop didn't allow enough time to locate any Hawaiian duck or bristle-thighed curlew.
A paddle around at Shark's Cove allowed us to see some fabulous tropical fish at close quarters, and again, we stopped at various points to take in the many amazing vistas.
We flew home late on Friday night, arriving back in Victoria on Saturday. Quite possibly one of the best working weeks I've ever had...! And I added a further 4 birds to my life list. Nice.