Friday, April 06, 2012

Up, Up and Hawaii, Part I

Hawaii. The mere mention of that word conjures up visions of white sandy beaches, of lounging by the shore sipping mai tais and enjoying the cool ocean breeze while lovely wahines in grass skirts dance the hula to the accompaniment of ukeleles. Or watching various Polynesian tribal dances while partaking of a sumptuous luau on a warm tropical night under star-studded skies.

Did we do any of these?


The last time Cynthia and I visited the Big Island of Hawaii was in September of 2005.  It was an all-expense paid trip that my company gave me as a reward for my 10 years of loyalty. That was when we did all the beach lounging and luau feasting, with only some birding on the side.

This time however, we took off our tourist's hats and put on our birding caps. The bird photographs that I had taken in 2005 were saved in the external hard drive that was stolen from our home early last year. I already have photographs of some Oahu birds taken during our two previous visits there but now I wanted to compile a Big Island bird gallery inasmuch as there are some birds here that are not found in Oahu.

Birding in an Airport?

Actually, our birding began, quite unplanned, I might add, at the Honolulu Airport. We were on a 5 hour layover while waiting for our flight to Hilo. We just had lunch and Cynthia and I were conditioning ourselves for a long, boring wait (wi-fi is not free and I have no desire of putting in my credit card information in a public place like this) when a Spotted Dove walked nonchalantly towards my feet! It kept on walking and only flew off when it was almost stepped on by someone unaware of its presence. My wife, out of curiosity, wanted to know where the wild dove went. A few minutes later she came rushing and practically hauled me (and our carry-on luggage) to an open air area within the airport where there were trees and plants and bushes. It was a small park complete with concrete benches! And even better, it had birds! Wild, free-flying birds! We counted a total of 7 species in all: Spotted Dove, Zebra Dove, House Sparrow, Common Myna, Japanese White-eye, Red-whiskered Bulbul and Red-vented Bulbul. 

And then it was time to board our plane to Hilo. We were so happy that we were able to enjoy our waiting time at the airport watching all these birds.

Spotted Dove
Common Myna
Japanese White-eye
Red-whiskered Bulbul
Red-vented Bulbul

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