Saturday, April 07, 2012

Up, Up and Hawaii, Part IV

Well, Hilo there!

On our third day, our visit to the Bird Park was once again cut short by a busload of students doing a nature walk. Before that we were able to take photos of the male Hawaiian Elepaio and a documentary shot of an Oma'o.

Before we left, Ted Brattstrom, a teacher of the school having an outing, engaged us in a really serious avian conversation. He encouraged us to check out the areas not far from our hotel. He even mentioned Coconut Island which is more of an islet, really, that is connected by a short concrete bridge from a park about a stone's throw away from where we were staying.

Back in Hilo, per Ted's suggestion, we surveyed the areas somewhere between the airport and our hotel. And discovered a pond. This pond harbored only two species of birds, Black-crowned Night Heron (we saw a total of 2 and both were juveniles) and Hawaiian Coots.

Across the street from the pond was a "beach". Not the white sandy kind that you probably picture in your mind. The shore was rocky, yet there were still a lot of beachcombers around. Despite the presence of a lot of people, some of which were rather loud, there were birds! Common Mynas, Pacific Golden Plovers, Zebra Doves, Spotted doves and even Yellow-billed Cardinals were mingling insouciantly with humanity. The rocky crags by the shore harbored Wandering Tattlers and Ruddy Turnstones, just as Ted said.

After lunch we ventured towards the famed Coconut Island. Along the way, I was surprised to find Scaly-breasted Munias (or Nutmeg Mannikins, as they are known here) feeding on the grass by the sidewalk! 

Coconut Island was pretty much a reprise of what we have seen earlier, except the beach goers here were of the more genteel variety. The birds were even more accustomed to the presence of human beings. The Yellow-billed Cardinals were checking out the trash cans while Ruddy Turnstones were feeding on chips! A Wandering Tattler, already in breeding plumage, decided to stop wandering for a while and a Zebra Dove thought a little sun would do good for its underwing feathers.

That evening while we were buying some foodstuff to take to our room, I got my bonus bird. It was a Northern Cardinal, quite common here in the Big Island. We've seen it Kona, and even at the Bird Park, but never managed to get a good picture of it. But now, here it was trilling from a tree next to the parking lot and not flying away when I came near unlike it's unfriendly cousins elsewhere. 

That brought closure to our birding trip to the Big Island. We got the birds that we expected and then some.

1 comment:

Jann said...

I was excited to see your post because my hubby and I will be in Hawaii (for the first time) doing a 3 month seasonal job, June - Aug. I can't wait to see some of the birds there!