Recent USA and North American Trips 3/1/23 to 3/13/23

ALOHA from Hawaii – From 3/1/23 to 3/19/23 we were on three islands of Hawaii: Hawaii the Big Island, Oahu, and Kauai. Many of the great birding spots are restricted or hard to get to, so we hired two wonderful guides to make sure we saw it all. A big, big thanks to Mandy Talpas at Hawaiian Bird Tours (12 days including 2 pelagic trips and 2 Hakalau NWR visits ) and Lance Tanino at Hawaii Birding Guide (2 days including a Hakalau NWR visit). Unfortunately, so many endemic birds are vanishing due to avian malaria (increasing due to global warming), so while the trip was amazing, it was also so sad to see these beautiful birds in terrible decline and so near extinction.


3/13/23 Big Island, HI: Guided by Mandy, a very special day was spent in the restricted access Hakalau Forest NWR. Here we saw the Akiapolaau using its strange bill, the Hawaii Creeper , Hawaii Elepaio , and the skulky Omao .

3/13/23 Big Island, HI: Guided by Mandy, a very special day was spent in the restricted access Hakalau Forest NWR. One of our favorite Hawaiian birds put on a show for us: the Iiwi (Pronounced: EE-EE-VEE) (HI endemic). WOW – what a cool bird! Also: Hawaii Amakihi (BI endemic) , Kalij Pheasant (m,f,), Erckle’s Spurfowl , Hawaiian Goose (Nene – HI endemic), and a Chukar found along Saddle Rd.

3/12/23 Big Island, HI: Back on the Big Island, Mandy highlighted the day with finding us an endangered Palila (BI endemic – population is plummeting) on the Palila Discovery Trail, along with a Hawaii Elepaio (BI endemic). Also on this day: Scaly-breasted Munia , Red Avadavat , Black Francolin , and Common Waxbill .

3/11/23 Kauai, HI: Day 5 of the tour, Mandy took us to the wetlands at Hanalei NWR (see below), then showed us the Laysan Albatross nesting in people’s yards and Red-footed Booby nesting on the sea cliffs of Kauai. Also shown: Great Frigatebird individuals, White-tailed Tropicbird , and a rare Monk Seal resting on the beach.

3/11/23 Hanalei NWR, Kauai, HI: Hawaiian Duck (Kauai endemic though hybrids found on other HI islands, f-white around eye, m), Hawaiian Goose (Nene – HI endemic), Black-necked Stilt (HI subsp.), Common Gallinule (HI subsp,), and Black-crowned Night-Heron with its catch. Also: Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush and Java Sparrow .

3/10/23 Kauai, HI: Day 4 of the tour, Mandy took some of us to see some very special critically endangered Kauai endemics. The trail was too extreme for me, I sat and slid the mud slides rather than attempt to hike them. I made it to see the Kauai Amakihi (Kauai endemic):

Then, two of us remained there while Mandy led Hal and two others up to see the Puaiohi, Akekee , and what might be the last two wild Akikiki (all Kauai endemics). (These two will be collected and hopefully will breed in captivity, safe from the mosquitoes.) We don’t usually post other photographers’ photos on our website but we would very much like to thank Jonathan Slifkin – a wonderful young birder with a swift camera finger – who allowed us to post his images here since Hal had left our camera with me. Appreciate it, Jonathan! Below are Jonathan Slifkin’s images of Puaiohi , Akekee , and Akikiki (all Kauai endemics with populations plummeting).

3/9/23 Day 3 of the tour, Mandy flew us to Kauai, HI: We dropped off our luggage and headed off to find the Kauai endemics, Anianiau and the Kauai Elepaio. Also: Apapane , Red Junglefowl (best true example found at Koke’e SP), and a very, very distant White-tailed Tropicbird.

3/8/23 Oahu, HI: Day 2 of the tour, Mandy showed us the endangered Hawaiian Coot (HI endemic) and the endangered Black-necked Stilt (Hawaiian subsp.). (Interestingly, there was an un-banded individual with more white on it that looked suspiciously like the continental subsp.) Also: Bristle-thighed Curlew , Common Waxbill , Sooty Tern , and Pacific Golden-Plover .

3/7/23 Oahu, HI: Day 1 of tour. Our “Hawaiian Birding Tours” began with Mandy and we thought the first day was spectacular: Oahu Amakihi (Oahu endemic. Juv. has the wingbars- last pic), Oahu Elepaio nest (Oahu endemic, m-banded, f, and 2chicks) , Red-tailed Tropicbird , Sooty Tern , Brown Booby , Common Gallinule (HI Subsp.), White Tern , Yellow-fronted Canary , Pacific Golden-Plover , Hawaiian Duck hybrid (True Hawaiian Duck found on Kauai – pics later), Java Sparrow , White-rumped Shama , Scaly-breasted Munia, distant White-tailed Tropicbird nesting in the cliffs, and Common Myna .

3/6/23 Oahu, HI: On our own for the morning, we drove along the east coast and caught Red-tailed Tropicbirds coming into the cliffs where they nest. Caught these again with Mandy 3/7 which was great since we could not get enough of these beauties! Also: Spotted Dove , distant Red-footed Booby flybys , and distant Great Frigatebird (m) in flight. Our Hawaiian Birding Tour begins 3/7/23.

3/5/23 Oahu, Hawaii: We flew to Oahu and headed to Keaiwa Heiau SP for a hike, then wandered Queen Kapiolani Park: Oahu Amakihi (Oahu endemic) were active at the KHSP, but sneaky. (1 pic shown here; see above for better pics 3/7/23.) White-rumped Shama (f), Common Waxbill , Red-crested Cardinal , Red-vented Bulbul , and Red-whiskered Bulbul . At QK Park, we picked up Yellow-fronted Canary, the gorgeous White Tern pairs that hang in the trees there, along with a Rose-ringed Parakeet pair in the waning light of sunset. A very fun day!

3/4/23 Big Island, Hawaii: On our own for the day, we had a little fest with a Hawaii Amakihi (Big Island endemic) along a trail off of Saddle Road. Also: Apapane (Hawaii Islands endemic), Hawaii Elepaio (BI endemic – better pics coming) , Iiwi (HI endemic), Red-billed Leothrix , and Omao (BI endemic – better pics coming.)

3/3/23 Big Island, HI: A Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse study (m-chest ring, f – patterned throat) – because they came up to our car! Also: Erckle’s Spurfowl , Hawaiian Coot , Kalij Pheasant males interacting , Pacific Golden-Plover , Yellow-billed Cardinal (ad, imm,).

3/3/23 Big Island, HI: Lance (see above) gave us a wonderful birding tour of the western part of the Big Island (and later, on 3/18/23, took us to Hakalau NWR for endemics) – we saw so much in such a short time: Hawaiian Hawk (endemic BI only), Hawaiian Coot (endemic to Hawaiian Islands), and Black-necked Stilt (HI subsp.), and Short-eared Owl (HI subsp.), and Hawaiian Goose (locally called Nene – Endemic to Hawaiian Islands) with young.

3/3/23 Big Island, HI: Lance also showed us many of the introduced, migrant, and vagrant species on the Big Island: Safron Finch (juv., ad.), Scaly-breasted Munia , White-faced Ibis , Zebra Dove , African Silverbill, Black Francolin , Bristle-thighed Curlew , Gray Francolin , Cattle Egret , juv. Yellow-billed Cardinal , Java Sparrow (ad., juv.), Rosy-faced Lovebird group, Kalij Pheasant (m), and a distant Ruff . Also: Red Avadavat group , Pacific Golden Plover , and Black-crowned Night-Heron . Thanks, Lance!

3/1/23 Big Island, HI: On our own for the first day, we hit one of the trails off Saddle Road at dawn, then visited a few parks we saw on the way to our hotel. We caught some of the common endemic Hawaiian birds found on the Big Island: (Some of these we would see often during our stay.) Apapane (ad, juv), Hawaii Amakihi (endemic BI only), Iiwi (one of our favorites with that wonderful curved bill), and Hawaiian Goose (Nene). Some common introduced birds we found: Safron Finch , Warbling White-eye , Wild Turkey , Yellow-fronted Canary , and Zebra Dove .