[Tweeters] Re: Synopsis of Big Island Birding

John Puschock g_g_allin at hotmail.com
Mon Oct 17 13:20:23 PDT 2016

While I can also highly recommend Jack Jeffery on the Big Island (he took me and my tour group out for a day this past spring), it is possible to get all of the endemics without a guide, though it wouldn't be as easy. All of Hakalau Forest NWR's endemics can be seen on the Pu?u ?O?o Trail off of Saddle Road, though numbers of 'Akiapola'au, Hawaii Creeper, and 'Akepa are lower, and you'll have to hike a fair distance, especially for 'Akepa. I listed those three in order of likelihood of being seen on the trail. The latter two are much easier on the refuge. Vehicles are sometimes broken into at the trailhead too, so if you go, don't leave anything in the vehicle. In fact, it wouldn't hurt to leave your vehicle unlocked and maybe even roll a window down.

You can also visit Palila habitat without a guide, though regulations require that you have a 4x4 vehicle. (I rent from Harper's, for what it's worth.) In fact, a trail was just opened a few months ago for Palila viewing: http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/restoremaunakea/palila-forest-discovery-trail/

Even if you get all the endemics at these two locations, a visit to Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park is still a must-see.

If you're planning on visiting multiple islands, save the Big Island for last. 'Ohi'a, the major tree species of the native forests, are currently under threat due to Rapid 'Ohi'a Death, a new fungal disease. It's currently only on the Big Island, so anything you can do to keep it from spreading is appreciated.

(I apologize if any of this was covered in previous emails. I read some when they were first sent but not all.)

John Puschock

Matthews Beach, Seattle

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