BIRDING TRIP REPORT:
Oahu, Kauai & Big Island,
Stephen Burch, England
This is a report
on a three week family holiday to Hawaii. As our children
are close to fledging, we decided on this grand holiday
which might be the last altogether. As such, this was by
no means a 100% birding trip, and I was further hampered
by a knee problem, which ruled out any 'proper' walking.
Fortunately, Hawaii has several good birding locations
easily accessible by car, though the scarcer endemics
were more of a problem.
in many ways an unusual destination for the birder. As
you quickly learn, all the 'normal' birds seen in lowland
areas are introduced. The endemics are confined to
mountain areas above about 4000ft, where disease carrying
mosquitoes have not penetrated. There is however good
seabird watching on both Oahu and Kauai, which I was more
successful with than the endemics.
priorities were principally the seabirds and endemics,
but I have ended up adding the introduced birds to my
life list as well (although I didn't positively search
for any of them, honest!). After all, we in Britain
happily tick Little Owl, Pheasant, Ring-necked Parakeet
etc! I was also keen to try out my new DSLR, and I also
took all the digiscoping gear as well. I ended up hardly
doing any digiscoping - the photo opportunities were much
better suited to the DSLR.
This was a
holiday we assembled ourselves, staying in a variety of
hotels and houses, all booked direct. We did however use
a travel agent (North American Travel) for the flights,
as they were cost effective and able to book the
international flights out to Honolulu back from Kona on
international flights were with United, via San Francisco,
where we had profitable one night stop-overs both ways.
The flight to San Francisco is about 11hrs, with Hawaii a
further 5hrs. As a carrier, United seemed about average,
not particularly good or bad. Food pretty mediocre on the
long flights to/from San Francisco, and absent, unless
paid for, on the Hawaii flights.
The very short inter-island
flights were with Aloha - seemed OK, and got free soft
drinks even on the 30 min flight to/from Kauai!
We used Alamo
from the airport on all three islands, as they were
reasonably cheap (worth not booking over the Internet,
but negotiating by phone instead, if you can find a
cheaper price, they tend to match it).
Importantly, Alamo do
allow their cars to be driven over the Saddle Road on Big
Island, where we also upgraded to an SUV (we got a 50%
discount on the quoted upgrade fee because we had flown
with Aloha). The SUV was useful for the road up to the
Palila site - not recommended in an ordinary car.
We made do with
the standard Rand McNally map of all the islands together.
There are more detailed maps of the key tourist areas to
each island available free at the airports and from the
car hire offices (important as they tell you where to
return the car to!).
Birding Field Guides
& Site Guides
guide is "A field guide to The Birds of Hawaii and
the Tropical Pacific", by H Pratt et al., although
many pages are not relevant for Hawaii.
The best site guide is
also by Pratt - "Enjoying Birds and other wildlife
in Hawaii". I also had "The Birdwatchers Guide
to Hawaii" by Rick Soehren. Not as detailed
generally, though quite good for Big Island.
The weather was
a bit mixed, and certainly not as good as we had expected.
Generally I thought rain, especially in summer, was less
frequent and confined to the windward sides of the
islands. Not so when we were there! We had a fair bit of
rain both on the leeward side of Kauai (especially on the
boat trip day - more of which later!), and also on Big
Island, where there was at least some rain almost every
day, even in Kona.
Temperatures were pretty
warm, though - usually about c. 30° C when sunny. The
sea was always nice and warm - just a bit warmer than
around the UK!
As this trip
featured quite a lot of non birding days, it seems best
to concentrate on site information, rather than give a
detailed daily itinerary.
This park, on
the edge of Waikiki, is famous for its White (formerly
called Fairy) Terns, and it did not disappoint! Our hotel,
the Kaimana Beach was very convenient for this site, and
our Diamond Head rooms overlooked the park. This provided
me with a White Tern within about 10
mins of arrival! Generally, the birds were more active
early morning, although they could be seen throughout the
day, on and off. The best area seemed to be directly
opposite the hotel, rather than in the trees by the
fountain mentioned by Pratt.
the hotel and in the park, were several introduced
species, including Red-billed Cardinal, Common Waxbill,
and a roost of Java Sparrows in the trees opposite the
note over the park, seen from our hotel room in poor,
windy weather was a Giant Frigatebird. I saw no seabirds
out in the bay during our stay, apart from the odd White
I bet this site
doesn't feature in many birder trip reports, but this was
a family holiday, and we had to visit here. There was a
birding bonus as well, in the form of a Wandering
Tattler, seen from the Arizona Memorial - it
flew in and landed on one of the nearby preserved
battleship moorings, and afforded distant views before
flying off. Just shows the value of taking bins
everywhere! Also around the harbour, and well seen from
the USS Missouri were more White Terns -
at least 5-6.
Koko Head Regional
We stopped more
than once at the parking area for the Halona Blowhole,
including once in the evening near dusk, and saw no
seabirds offshore, despite what the Pratt book says.
However, there were some obliging Red-tailed Tropicbirds
in the general area, coming very close to the road
between the blowhole and 'scenic point' car parks, just
inviting themselves to be photo-ed:
|Red-tailed Tropicbirds (click
top-left and bottom right to enlarge)
and Manana Island
This site was
within reasonably easy reach of Waikiki, and I visited it
three times. The best place to stop seemed to be the
beach park, opposite the Sea Life Centre, where there was
a separate small parking area up a rough track to the
left of the main car park. This gave a reasonable
viewpoint, but be warned the islands are distant, and
most birds are a long way off, even with a good 'scope.
On the first occasion,
during mid morning, there was a strong onshore wind and a
brief squall of rain. Several Red-footed Boobies
were flying close into shore. In the distance over the
islands, it was just possible to identify Sooty
Terns (plenty, but not the thousands mentioned
by Pratt) and some Brown Noddies. A
subsequent evening visit in poor weather turned up large
numbers of very distant Wedge-tailed Shearwaters.
There may also have been some Brown Boobies at this site.
James Campbell NWR
nature reserve was closed for the Stilt nesting season
during our visit. The Pratt book mentions a nearby Golf
Course which provides distant views. There did appear to
be an adjacent golf course, but it did not seem to
welcome visitors, with the access road saying "no un-authorised
vehicles", and nothing about golf. So, I managed
with roadside views. These produced a close pair of Black-necked
(Hawaiian?) Stilts, Hawaiian Coots,
Common Moorhen and Black-Crowned
Night Heron. I tried 'scoping the dunes, in the
extreme distance, for Bristle-thighed Curlew, and had
some waders of roughly the right size in flight, but
could not possibly tick them unless they had been much
Hawaiian Coot (click top left
Black-necked (Hawaiian?) Stilt
Black-crowned Night Heron
To locate this
site for Oahu Amakihi (now a separate
species?), I carefully followed Pratt's instructions from
downtown Waikiki, which worked out OK. This is a winding
road which leads up into the hills immediately behind
Waikiki. There were notices at the start indicating that
the road was closed at some point, presumably preventing
the motorist from taking the full circular drive
including RoundTop drive.
As instructed by Pratt,
I started at the Tantulus end, and drove up to the 3rd
left hand side pull out, which can be recognised because
it has a reasonable view (Punchbowl lookout). I spent
some time here being eaten by mosquitoes (I had forgotten
the repellent, as it wasn't needed in Waikiki!), and
seeing nothing but introduced species, including the ever
present (infuriatingly at times) Japanese White
Eye. So, I gave up, and drove further up without
seeing anything notable. I then returned the same way,
and gave the lookout another go. Almost immediately, I
had an Oahu Amakihi in a tree almost
dead centre in the lookout. It was feeding on down-turned
flowers which were hardly noticeable. It soon moved on,
so I reckon I was quite lucky.
Kauai provided a nice
contrast to the crowded Oahu, but even here there was
plenty of traffic, and it could hardly be called quiet.
Some of the areas were very scenic. No Mongoose means
plenty of Red Jungle Fowl (i.e. chickens) all over the
place, including in close to proximity to our house. They
started making their presence known around 4am!
This was where
our privately rented house was, with a sea view, just. In
fact, on the windy day of our arrival, I was able to 'scope
both Red-footed Booby and Wedge-tailed
Shearwater from the sofa! I also tried to get to
the nearby Makahuena Point, but there did not seem to be
any legitimate access. The vacant lot referred to by
Pratt had "Trespassers will be Prosecuted"
signs all over it. However, by walking a little way
towards the point from the Poipu Beach side, it was
possible to get closer to the masses of seabirds which
appeared late afternoon on windy days. But I couldn't
find anything different from R-F Booby and W-T Shearwater.
The Poipu Beach Park
opposite the house had quite reasonable snorkelling, and
also in the evenings, a large Hawaiian Green Sea
Turtle hauled itself out onto the beach to sleep.
The Wailua Flats
area, mentioned by Pratt, appeared very overgrown and had
no birds. However, the scenic Opaekaa Falls had the White-tailed
Tropicbirds immediately on arrival (near mid day),
but disappeared later in the day. I had time for some
photography, but with the family present, time was
up the valley, the Wailua Reservoir had a few Coot,
and plenty of (introduced) White rumped Sharma by
Kilauea Point NWR
We visited this
famous seabird reserve late morning, and it gave good
opportunities for flight shots of a few species - Great
Frigatebird, Red-footed Booby
and both Tropicbirds. Also some very
tame (introduced) Nene round the car
park. No sign of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters at this time of
day. Apparently they come in at dusk, when the reserve is
closed. The last remaining Laysan Albatrosses had
departed some 10 days earlier, but this was not
Red-footed Booby (adult
- left ; juv - right - click to enlarge)
Great Frigatebirds (click
right to enlarge)
Great Frigatebird chasing juv
Red-tailed Tropicbird (click
A brief stop at
the overlook by the main road was sufficient for the main
objective - somewhat distant, but acceptable 'scope views
of Hawaiian Duck (Koloa) in the flooded
fields below. Also there were Black-necked Stilt,
Boat Trip to Niihau
& Lehua Islet
We signed up in
advance, while still in the UK, for the Tuesday 7hr boat
trip to Niihau/Lehua, run by Blue Dolphin Charters. The advance Internet prices
were considerably discounted, but still very expensive
for four, and required a phone call to "open-up"
the Internet bookings. Check-in for this memorable trip
was at a challenging 06:15. It was a standard tourist
cruise which gives about 1hr snorkelling in the very
clear waters near Lehua, and a run along the Na Pali
weather was quite atrocious for large parts of this
lengthy trip - I have never been wetter! On the way out,
the weather was reputed to be better at Niihau, so we
went straight there, and only had sufficient rain to move
us off the upper, unprotected desk, to a lower side view.
Birds on the outward leg included the usual R F
Boobies, W T Shearwaters, but
also one or two smaller all dark Shearwaters which must
have been Christmas Shearwaters.
As we approached Niihau,
it even brightened up, allowing a few pics of the passing
seabirds, which included good views of a few Brown
there was even some sun for the snorkelling at Lehua -
the waters were very clear, but the fish somewhat distant
due to their depth. My wife saw a ray species, but not I.
After about an hour of this (we later learned that a
shark had been watching all the swimmers from under the
boat!), it was time to head for the Na Pali coast.
No sooner had we set off,
than the rain started. Initially reasonably light, it
rapidly turned torrential, and stayed that way for the
remaining c. 3-4 hours of the trip! Perhaps because of
this, in the channel between Kauai and Niihau, the birds
were better than the way out, with 1-2 presumed Band
Rumped Storm Petrels and a Bulwer's
Petrel. Both seen reasonably, before my bins
became too saturated for use!
The Na Pali coast was
very atmospheric in the downpour, being very "Jurrasic
Park" with mist/cloud shrouding the upper parts.
Lots of waterfalls too, and several Black Noddy when
we made a closer approach to land. We also saw a single
Turtle and quite a large group of Spinner
Dolphins. On the return to 'base', it was very
rough, and some of the other passengers were distinctly
unwell. There was a Monk Seal briefy to
keep our spirits up. Quite an epic!
Our visit here
was a disappointing day. Despite brilliant weather (what
a contrast to the boat trip the day before), I did not
see any of the endemics I had hoped for, and I was
considerably frustrated by my lack of mobility. We
managed a reasonably early start, but it was still after
10:00 before we reached the end of the road in Kokee - at
Kalalau Valley Lookout. The road to the Puuo Kila Lookout
is now closed to traffic, which means an extra 1 mile
each way for anyone attempting to reach the Alakai Swamp
by this route (the alternative requires a 4WD).
I was however confined
to the parking areas, but according to Pratt these could
well contain endemics. At the Kalalau Valley Lookout,
there was building work in the vicinity of the trees by
the restrooms. Whether due to this disturbance or not,
there was no sign of any endemics. Only the inevitable
introduced Japanese White Eye, and also
brief but good views of an (introduced) Hwamei
(a Laughing Thrush) almost immediately on arrival. There
was some compensation in the form of a few very large
dark dragonflies with a brilliant blue region at the base
of the tail. I believe these were Giant Hawaiian
Darners - apparently native, and the largest
dragonfly in the USA!
The Waimea canyon
lookouts were also very scenic, but there were building
works in the upper one, and not a sign of any endemics.
Plenty of tourists, though. I also drove some way down
the dirt road opposite the Kokee Lodge (to Camp Sloggett),
as I had read an Internet report of both Apapane and Iiwi
here. Not that day, though!
Of some note were plenty
of tickable Red Jungle Fowl (have been
in Hawaii since the Polynesians arrived!), and even some
(introduced) Nene in the Waimea parking
In comparison with Big
Island (see later), the endemics seemed very scarce here.
I would recommend hiring a 4WD to get within easy reach
of the Alakai Swamp trail, and staying overnight in one
of the cabins, or making a very early start to arrive
before all the visitors.
3. Big Island
This is by far the
largest island, and again was very different from the
other two. We spent 2 nights in the Volcano NP area, one
in Hilo and 4 on the Kona coast. Weather was very mixed,
with rain all day in Hilo, and plenty in the supposedly
drier Kona region, as well as at Volcano.
This was the
only area where endemics were expected in the immediate
vicinity of our accommodation.
We stayed at the Volcano House Hotel. This was
good for one endemic - plenty of Apapane
- you couldn't miss them, even in the rain! They were
high in the trees (look for the red flowering Ohia)
between the main hotel block and our wing (appropriately
named Ohia). Also, the viewing area immediately behind
the main restaurant gave views down on
the canopy, with good photography potential. The birds
were most active here early in the morning, when it
rained heavily (both times). Not the best photographic
Some rather damp Apapane and
Ohia trees (as was the photographer!)
think I heard Omao singing here, but I
found these birds totally invisible, and never caught
even a glimpse of one. Another notable sighting from this
spectacular viewing area was two small parties of Nene,
flying over, towards the crater, at dusk. Oh, and the
crater itself was well worth seeing as well!
This group of trees is the second one reached up the
Mauana Loa road. The best area seemed to be about midway
though the Kipuka, near a bend in the road, where it was
bit more open. Here I had loads of Apapane
on the flowering Ohia trees, and 2-3 Hawaii
Elapaio lower down. Also, there
was almost certainly the song of the ever invisible Omao.
We visited this 'site' in the late afternoon,
and as advertised, there was an obliging pair of 'real?'
Nene present. These were distinctly more wary than the
birds on Kauai, but with very obvious rings!
Nene in the sun! (click to
According to Pratt, the balcony-like lookout at
the entrance is the best place to see Omao,
but I visited here at least three times and failed every
time, though on the first visit I met an American birder
who had seen one on the path some 30 secs before I
arrived! My other two visits were around 7am, and
hampered by heavy rain and also, once, a park employee
with a very loud leaf blower! I could hear some
intermittent song, but never saw the originator. The
trail opposite also has them, but viewing
is less good (the American birder apparently had
excellent views by 'pishing'). In fact the only bird of
note I saw here was the introduced Kalij Pheasant,
which I saw by the roadside early morning, but not later.
Chain of Craters
We drove down here towards dusk, and were surprised to
find vast numbers of people, all presumably planning to
walk out to the lava viewpoints beyond the road end.
Although parking was impossible anywhere near Holei Sea
Arch, I did see some Black Noddies flying around. We
drove back up to a viewpoint which looks out distantly
over the lava sea outfall, and waited for dusk. The 400
mm lens was useful for capturing this view.
This road is the
location for endemics on Big Island, and with our Alamo
hire car, no restrictions on driving it. The road was a
bit rough and narrow in places, but traffic was light so
no real problems. We left the disappointing Wild Ginger
Inn (see accommodation notes below) in Hilo as early as
an 08:00 breakfast and a family of 4 allow.
It didn't take more than c. 40 mins from Hilo to get to
the main objective - Kipuka 21, which is a stand of
native trees readily accessible from the road. It was at
the 21.2 mile point (from Hilo), on the right side of the
road, just as the power line crosses the road. Some
parking beside the road. After yesterday's solid rain,
today was better but even so there was some rain and
cloud up here at c. 6,000ft.
The best spot seemed to
be towards the lower, Hilo end, where a path led down
into the trees. In this 'corner', before descending into
the trees, there were a few flowering Ohia, which
attracted several Apapane. I also caught
a glimpse of a Hawaii Amakihi, and there
was more song from the ever invisible Omao.
Suddenly, however, a real gem appeared, in the form of a
pair of IIWI, which flashed across in
front of me. Only brief flight views, but the male was
brilliant red, with black tail and wing tips -
unmistakeable & completely different from the Apapane.
Iiwi was one species I was really hoping for, and for
once I got lucky! Nothing other than this brief flight
view though, and after an hour or so, I had to leave.
This is the site for Palila, and is at
the 43.3 mile mark from Hilo. It is reached up a 4 mile
rough, un-surfaced track off the Saddle Road, which
appears to have eroded considerably recently. It was OK
in our SUV, but would have been quite problematic in an
ordinary vehicle. On the way up, there was party of
introduced Californian Quail, and some
Skylark(!). By the time we reached the hunters cabin it
was around mid-day - not the best time for birding. Sure
enough there was no sign of Palila, but this was a
pleasant spot, and had numerous Hawaii Amakihi,
and a couple of Hawaii Elapaio (different
race from at Volcano).
Hawaii Amakihi (click to
We stayed in a
splendid, privately rented house which was right on the
shore close to Kealakekua Bay. This is a marine reserve,
and snorkelling off the rocks by the house was the best
of the holiday. We saw several Spinner Dolphin, but no
Manta Ray, which can sometimes be seen from the house at
On the first evening, I
had two Wandering Tattler which flew in
to some rocks within good 'scope range. Also of note were
distant White-tailed Tropicbirds over
the bay itself. Maybe they breed on the cliffs near to
the Captain Cook memorial? The house was a great,
relaxing end to our stay, and gave good sunsets over the
ocean (although it was usually cloudy overhead, it was
clearer out to sea). Introduced birds included Yellow-billed
Cardinal and the common Palm Dove.
Myna (indeed common...)
general Kona area, I had another Wandering
Tattler, again at dusk, from a restaurant by the
sea in the Ali Drive area. The nearby Honaunau Bay and
Historical Park was notable for good views of several Green
Sea Turtle. We even managed to snorkel with
Spinner Dolphins (and the odd turtle) in the Bay!
The Historical Park had
a very approachable Black-crowned Night Heron
and (introduced) Saffron Finches. On the
lava, on the seaward side of the park, there was a single
Ruddy Turnstone. Pratt says this is a
good wader roost site, in winter.
Black-crowned Night Heron (click
Sunset from house
We opted to break our journey in San Francisco, as we
couldn't face 16+ hours of flight, plus associated
airport waiting time, without a break. The airport
Clarion hotel had, to my surprise, good birds in it's 'back-garden'
between the hotel and pool. On the first evening, I got
two lifers here - Brown Towhee and Chestnut-backed
Chickadee. Also an un-identified small hummer sp.
On the return, we had a
morning in San Francisco, where I spent some time on
Fisherman's Wharf with the camera. The end of Pier 39
proved to be a good location for overflying Brown
Pelicans (directly overhead), and the gulls were by a
quieter car park nearby.
Brown Pelican (click to enlarge)
modest list of 50 species for a three week stay:
in the Kaulakahi Channel (Niihau Boat Trip) on 1
seen on Oahu from Makapuu Beach Park in evening
28 July. Many also on Kauai - Poipu bay in late
afternoon and from the Niihau Boat Trip on 1 Aug
3 on the Niihau Boat Trip between Niihau &
Kauai outward bound (Kaulakahi Channel) on 1 Aug
|White-rumped (Madeiran) Storm-petrel
2-3 on the Niihau Boat Trip between Niihau &
Kauai Na Pali coast (Kaulakahi Channel) on 1 Aug
at Koko Head on Oahu (26 July), 1 distantly from
Kualoa Regional Park (Oahu). Plenty at Kilauea
Point (Kauai) on 2 Aug.
seen on arrival mid-day at Opaekaa Falls, Wailua
River Valley (Kauai) on 31 Jul. A few on the
Niihau boat trip. Also several at Kilauea Point (Kauai)
on 2 Aug. On Big Island a few seen distantly over
Kealakekua Bay from rented house - do they breed
on the cliffs there?
Oahu possibly seen in extreme distance from
Makapuu Beach Park. Much closer views on Kauai,
during Niihau Boat Trip.
Oahu seen from Makapuu Beach Park, close-in on 26
Jul in windy conditions. Thereafter much more
distantly. Also some associating with adjacent
Sea Life Centre. On Kauai, seen in Poipu Bay, and
Niihau Boat Trip & Kilauea Point.
lone individual first seen over Kapiolani Park,
Waikiki in windy conditions on 28 Jul. Thereafter
a single seen on Kauai at Poipu Bay, several over
Kilauea Point, and many over Lehua rock on the
Niihau Boat Trip.
||Seen at various
locations on Oahu & Kauai. Don't recall it
from Big Island.
birds seen at James Campbell NWR, Oahu on 26 Jul,
and at the City of Refuge, Honaunau, Big Island,
9 Aug. Also various other locations on Oahu (e.g.
wild (but ringed) pair on Volcano Golf Course,
Big Island, late afternoon 4 Aug. Also, two
parties of 2-3 flying over Volcano House towards
the crater at dusk on the same day. Introduced
birds on Kauai seen at Kilauea Point, Waimea
Canyon look-outs and over Alakoko Pond.
birds seen only at Hanalei NWR, Kauai on 2 Aug.
family party seen on way up to Pu'u La'au, Saddle
Road, Big Island, 7 Aug.
abundant on Kauai, from airport onwards.
few seen early in the morning by the road in the
Thurston Lava Tube area, Volcanoes NP, Big Island,
5 & 6 Aug.
seen at James Campbell NWR, Oahu on 26 Jul. Also
on Kauai at Hanalei NWR, Kauai on 2 Aug.
seen at James Campbell NWR, Oahu on 26 Jul. Also
up to c. 5 on Kauai on Wailua Reservoir.
pair close to the road at James Campbell NWR,
Oahu on 26 Jul. Thereafter, on Oahu by road
between Koko Head & Makapuu. Also on Kauai at
Hanalei NWR, Kauai on 2 Aug.
single seen from the Arizona Memorial, Pearl
Harbour, Oahu on 25 Jul. On Big Island, 2 seen
from house on Kona coast near Kealakekua Bay at
dusk, and 1 from sea-side restaurant on Ali Drive,
also at dusk.
1 seen on lava flats on seaward side of City of
Refuge, Honaunau, Big Island, 9 Aug.
in extreme distance from Makapuu Beach Park, Oahu
on 26 July.
10 seen in atrocious weather off Na Pali Coast on
Niihau Boat Trip (1 Aug). Also 1-2 on Big Island,
in vicinity of Holei Sea Arch (Chain of Craters
Road), late afternoon.
in extreme distance from Makapuu Beach Park, Oahu
on 26 July.
in Kapiolani Park, Waikiki, Oahu including within
10 mins of arrival at hotel. Especially active
opposite Kaimana Beach Hotel early morning. Also
seen in Pearl Harbour, from boat trip to Arizona
and inland from USS Missouri.
on all three islands.
on all three islands.
track to Pu'u La'au, Saddle Road, Big Island on 7
single seen on Tantalus Drive, Oahu, near the
Amakihi lookout, on 27 July.
on Oahu, especially Kapiolani Park.
from rented house in Poipu, Kauai 30 Jul only.
in various locations on Kauai, including rented
house in Poipu, and the Wailua River Valley -
especially near the Wailua Reservoir.
seen at Kipuka Ki, Mauna Loa Road, Big Island on
5 Aug. Also a pair at Pu'u La'au, Saddle Road,
Big Island, 7 Aug.
single at Kalalau Valley Lookout, Kokee SP on 3
on all three islands. Always hoping they were
on all three islands.
on Oahu only, at Visitor Centre, Pearl Harbour (25
Jul), and at Kapiolani Park, Waikiki.
at Kapiolani Park, Waikiki, Oahu on 26 Jul.
Oahu, at Visitor Centre, Pearl Harbour and also a
roost at Kapiolani Park, Waikiki, opposite
Kaimana Beach Hotel.
on Oahu, Kaimana Beach Hotel & Kapiolani Park,
and at various locations on Big Island.
seen from Kaimana Beach Hotel, Waikiki
abundant at Pu'u La'au, Saddle Road, Big Island
on 7 Aug.
single seen briefly at second attempt at
Punchbowl Lookout, Tantalus Drive, Oahu on 27 Jul.
pair briefly in flight at Kipuka 21, Saddle Road,
Big Island on 7 Aug. Probably the best bird of
the trip, especially if it had been seen better.
to miss, even in rain, around Volcano House Hotel,
Big Island. Also many at Kipuka Ki, Mauna Loa
Road and several at Kipuka 21, Saddle Road.
at various locations in Kona, including car park
of City of Refuge, Honaunau, Big Island, 9 Aug.
on Oahu and Kauai.
on Kona coast area of Big Island, where common.
on all 3 islands. Common.
|New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel, Waikiki, Oahu
||A pleasant if comparatively pricey
hotel, right on the beach. Away from downtown (about
a 10-20 min walk to the centre of the action, if
you want that sort of thing!), opposite the
Kapiolani Park. Our compact Diamond Head view
rooms conveniently shared a balcony, from which I
had two lifers - White Tern and Great Frigatebird!
Friendly staff, and a nice restaurant overlooking
the beach. Expensive dinner (not tried). If you
have a car, expect to pay extra for Valet parking
(c. $14 per day).
|Beachside Poipu Hale Poipu, Kauai
||Good quality privately rented
house. We had the upstairs, which slept 4 (with
one on a sofa bed in the living room). The
downstairs is also available, and both can be
hired as one combined larger property. Very close
and convenient for Poipu Beach Park, and with a
sea view (just) from the lanai (and living room),
which gave distant 'scope views of R F Booby and
W T Shearwater! Beware Red Jungle Fowl calling
from around 04:00 onwards! Other introduced
species from the lanai included White-rumped
|Volcano House Hotel, Volcano NP, Big Island
||Adequate, somewhat aged hotel in a
splendid location. Our Ohia wing rooms were OK,
but seemed a bit pricey for the quality/size.
Splendid view over the crater from the restaurant,
with reasonably good food. Apparently v. busy at
lunch time, but we avoided it then. See comments
in main report about birding in grounds.
|Wild Ginger Inn, Hilo
||Budget hotel with good internet
reviews, which we did NOT agree
with at all. Probably under new management, this
place was poor/bad and is certainly not
recommended. Various things wrong with rooms (defective
W/C, shower broken, lights not working) &
damp (though this probably due to torrential rain
all day). Pathetic 'continental' breakfast (sliced
bread, fruit & coffee, not even any fruit
juice) not available until 8am. Unhelpful staff,
and very noisy (both road noise & loud frog
Kona, Big Islandi
||The find of the holiday. This
privately rented house was superbly situated
right on the shore, close to the famous
Kealakekua Bay. Well equiped, modern and very
spacious, the only real drawback was its
remoteness - it was a 4-5 mile drive along a
steep winding road to get anywhere for shopping/eating
etc. A very peaceful and relaxing end to our stay,
and thoroughly recommended, though expect to pay
for all this! See notes in text about local
birding/wildlife. Absence of Red Jungle Fowl on
Big Island - too many Mongoose - made for better
sleep than on Kauai