Spring Hawaii: Feb 16—24, 2014

Register NowTour Details

Price: $3,895
Departs: Honolulu
Ends: Hilo
Tour Limit: 12
Operations Manager: Margaret Anderson
Download Itinerary: PDF (112.2 KB)

Route Map

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Tour Leaders

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Bob Sundstrom

Bob Sundstrom has led VENT tours since 1989 to Hawaii, Mexico, Belize, Trinidad & T...


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Dion Hobcroft

Dion Hobcroft has been working for VENT since 2001. He has led many tours (more than 130) to...


More Information

Register for this Tour

Register for this tour by phone (800/328-VENT or 512/328-5221), or by downloading a tour registration form. Signed and completed forms can be faxed, mailed, or scanned and emailed to the VENT office.

Iiwi

Iiwi— Photo: Brian Gibbons

A fascinating exploration of three of the chain’s most distinctive main islands, featuring stunning seabirds, unique endemic forest birds, and volcanic marvels.

The most remote archipelago in the world, the Hawaiian Islands offer a unique and dramatic view of nature. Hawaii rivals the famed Galapagos as a living microcosm of evolution, as each main island harbors unique bird and plant species. And for a spectacular firsthand view of the life of volcanoes—past and present—Hawaii has no equal.

Our hotels on Oahu and Kauai are on the oceanfront, as is one of our two hotels on the Big Island. The tour concentrates on locations and native habitats off the beaten track, exploring the full range of unique and varied tropical forests and coastal regions of both islands, while still enjoying Hawaii’s fine amenities and cuisine. VENT’s Hawaii tours truly leave the standard Hawaii tourist scene far behind.

In traversing three islands—Oahu, Kauai, and Hawaii—we will encounter an amazing assortment of endemic plant and bird species. Each of these islands harbors birds that are endemic to that island. We will search out a large proportion of these native land birds (many are endangered), from the Hawaiian Hawk and Nene to the Iiwi, Palila, Omao, Akepa, three Elepaio and Amakihi species, and the rare Akiapolaau, to name a few. We have arranged special entry for the group into some of the best remaining tracts of native tropical forest in the islands, where we can enjoy these extraordinary birds at leisure.

Wonderful views of seabirds throughout the tour are a constant reminder that you are situated in the midst of the tropical Pacific. Sprite-like White Terns reside near our hotel on Oahu. Gleaming White-tailed Tropicbirds fly effortlessly across Kauai’s splendid Waimea Canyon and circle the rim of the Big Island’s Halemaumau Crater. At Kilauea Point on Kauai, Red-footed Boobies and Great Frigatebirds glide overhead. A distinctive form of the Black Noddy nests along the black lava cliffs on the Big Island.

The Spring and Fall Hawaii tours coincide with somewhat different seabird nesting schedules on the island of Kauai, so there are a few differences regarding which species are typically seen. During the Fall tour, Wedge-tailed Shearwaters are visible, sitting at nest burrows at Kilauea Point. The dates of the Spring tour coincide with the presence of Laysan Albatross and Red-tailed Tropicbird nesting at the same site (the latter species is seen on some but not all Fall Hawaii tours).  The native land birds seen on the two tours are essentially the same, although the rare Akiapolaau is seen more reliably on the Fall tour.

Migrant shorebirds include an abundance of Pacific Golden-Plovers, as well as Wandering Tattlers. The much sought after Bristle-thighed Curlew is a good bet on Oahu. We’ll find such endemic, endangered species as Koloa (Hawaiian Duck) and Hawaiian Coot, as well as the endemic forms of moorhen and stilt at several wetland sanctuaries. A broad assortment of introduced bird species adds variety to the bird life on these remote tropical islands, and we will search for a good sample of these, although as a lower priority than native species.

The equal of any birding wonders in the islands is the memorable experience of exploring the recent volcanic landscapes of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island (Hawaii). Although one can’t predict its likelihood for a given visit, some tours have had the great fortune of seeing an active lava flow in the park, an unforgettable vision in fiery orange, day or night.

Hawaii’s remote, tropical allure remains, and is redefined through these seasonal tours of the islands’ natural riches. The warm temperatures, comfortable lodging, and excellent cuisine only complement its singular wildlife and volcanic marvels.

Very good accommodations and cuisine; mostly easy walking with several moderately strenuous hikes; primarily warm conditions, some showers possible.

The American Bird Conservancy, with support from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, has recently produced Endangered Hawai’i. With beautiful footage of stunning birds and their habitats, this new film, narrated by actor Richard Chamberlain, explores the ongoing bird conservation issues in Hawai’i. Watch the film (or purchase your own copy) on the ABC website: http://www.abcbirds.org/abcprograms/oceansandislands/hawaii/endangered_hawaii.html