Spring Hawaii Feb 21—Mar 02, 2018

Posted by Erik Bruhnke


Erik Bruhnke

Erik Bruhnke has loved birds since he was a child looking at chickadees. In 2008 he graduated from Northland College in Wisconsin with a Natural Resources degree. Erik taug...

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Our Spring Hawaii tour pursues a vibrant birding adventure throughout three Hawaiian Islands. During a full week of birding we explored glistening blue waters, vast grasslands, ancient forests, cliffs and canyons, outstandingly birdy residential areas, and even an active volcano. Every day was filled with some unique birds, a variety of them being island-specific endemics.


Iiwi— Photo: Erik Bruhnke


On our first day we headed out to the nearby Kapiolani Park just before daybreak in search of White Terns. Within moments we had amazing views of these tree-nesting terns of all-white plumage. Spotted Doves and Zebra Doves scurried across the mowed grasses while Rose-ringed Parakeets and Red-vented Bulbuls kept watch higher in the trees.  A hearty breakfast, complemented by locally-grown pineapple and Kona coffee, fueled our day ahead. Following our breakfast we headed to Wiliwilinui Trail. Intact native habitat offered great views of the endemic Oahu Amakihi, as well as the charismatic White-rumped Shama. A midday drive to the northern tier of Oahu took our breath away as we traveled through immense canyons of green and vast turquoise shorelines.  After a lunch of locally-caught shrimp, we enjoyed the presence of several Bristle-thighed Curlews. While savoring these birds, we had not one but two Laysan Albatross glide low over our heads. It was an experience like no other!

Early the next morning we flew to the stunning island of Kauai. After this brief flight, we headed to Kilauea Point where seabirds left us in awe. Entire hillsides of nesting Red-footed Boobies wowed us. Red-tailed Tropicbirds sheared by at eye level while Laysan Albatross took their sweet time soaring both near and far. Several Great Frigatebirds were seen, showing off their incredible deeply-forked tails and two-toned plumages. With a little persistence we located several White-tailed Tropicbirds. All of this exciting birding commotion was followed with a hearty lunch topped with from-scratch POG (passionfruit juice, orange juice, guava juice). Afterwards we visited Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge, where we found many Nene, also known as the Hawaiian Goose. This goose species is the state bird of Hawaii. Alongside the wetlands were Hawaiian Black-necked Stilts, Hawaiian Coots, Hawaiian Ducks, and a little farther from the water, flurries of Common Waxbills.

Read Erik’s full report in his Field Report.