Sightings reported during 2004 are shown here in the tables, and after each month there is a review for that month highlighting the rarest species, most unusual sightings, photographs of birds seen or items of special interest. Many thanks to all those birders who found and observed birds during the year and shared their sightings with the birding community. The last column contains observers initials, their full names are listed at the foot of this page.

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Birds highlighted in RED denote official rarities. Species in BLUE are endemic species. Species in GREEN are introduced species. Plain BLACK text are regular migrant species or regular indigenous breeding species in Hawai'i. Species in light BLUE are non-avian species seen at sea. Italics in the species column denotes escaped species not currently established, elsewhere refers to scientific name. M = Male, F = Female. STP = Sewage Treatment Plant. NWR = National Wildlife Refuge.


First few days LEACH'S STORM PETREL  Sea Life Park, O'ahu Sadly both birds which were in care from 2003 died in the first few days of January 2004.  per RP 
1st at least LESSER FRIGATEBIRD ??? Midway Atoll. Several possible juvenile birds still present. No access currently to Midway. MO, et al.
???? Possible HAWK or FALCON species 1 North Shore, Kaua'i. "All-dark" Hawk or Falcon reported on North Shore for last couple of months. per RD
1st BONIN PETREL +++ Midway Atoll. Christmas Bird Count - Midway Atoll (Sand Island only). Full Count: Click Here. MO
1st GREEN-WINGED TEAL 4 Midway Atoll. Full Count: Click Here. MO
3rd GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL 1 Nu'upia Ponds, Kane'ohe, O'ahu.   TC
3rd CASPIAN TERN 2 Nu'upia Ponds, Kane'ohe, O'ahu. Two birds again present. TC
4th GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL 1 Kaene Point, O'ahu. On rocks. LC
4th FLUTTERING SHEARWATER 1 Wake Atoll First regional record of this Australasian species. DB
5th BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS 1 Kilauea Point NWR, Kaua'i. Flying just offshore. per BZ
5th BUFFLEHEAD 1 Kealia Pond NWR, Maui.   MN
5th BRANT 2 Kealia Pond NWR, Maui.   MN
5th CASPIAN TERN 2 Nu'upia Ponds, Kane'ohe, O'ahu. Also a Laughing Gull there. KP
6th GULL sp. 3 Kealia Pond NWR, Maui. Probably the Laughing Gulls present in the area this winter. Also "some" scaup and Wigeon. MN
6th BRANT 2 Hanalei NWR, Kaua'i. Still present. BZ
6th LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER 7 Hanalei NWR, Kaua'i. Still present. BZ
7th Probable HAWK species Lyon Arboretum, O'ahu Described as a "large dark Hawk" with fingered primaries.  LH 
7th  BLACK SWAN  1 Kahalu'u, Kaneohe Bay, O'ahu Escape present since January 1st. DS 
7th RED KNOT 1 Kealia Pond NWR, Maui. Bird landed in the parking lot! Click Here for photograph. DM
7th SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER 4+ Kealia Pond NWR, Maui. Also 1 Snipe sp. observed in flight. Click Here for more on the Dowitchers. DM
8th GREEN-WINGED TEAL 2 Sand Island, Midway. Sand Island Sector 39, near FWS office. JK
8th NENE 2 Lahaina pali Trail, Maui. Seen at about 1000 ft elevation at Opunaha Gulch. Neither of the Nene looked banded. JN
8th LAUGHING GULL 1 Kukae Opae Ditch, Kaua'i. Shrimp farm overflow canal near Kawaiele Sanctuary. This bird was being harassed by a flock of Cattle Egrets. JD
8th NORTHERN PINTAIL 4 Mana Reservoir, Kaua'i. Two males, two females. JD
8th LAUGHING GULL 1 Kailua Bay, Kona, Hawai'i. By the heiau at the King Kam Hotel at Kailua Bay, Kona. HFT
9th CANADA GOOSE 1 James Campbell NWR, O'ahu. Also 2 Bufflehead, 19 Northern Pintail, 3 Northern Shoveler, 1 Green-winged Teal and 4 Lesser Scaup. KP
9th BRISTLE-THIGHED CURLEW 5 James Campbell NWR, O'ahu. Also 1 Pueo. KP
9th LAUGHING GULL 1 James Campbell NWR, O'ahu.   KP
10th GAMBEL'S QUAIL 1 Big Island Country Club, Hawai'i. A single bird near the shed by the 17th hole. CP
10th BRISTLE-THIGHED CURLEW 10 James Campbell NWR, O'ahu. Also 3 Wandering Tattler, 4 Sanderling, 33 Ruddy Turnstone and 30+ Pacific Golden Plover. MO
10th WILSON'S SNIPE 1 James Campbell NWR, O'ahu. Also 32 Northern Pintail, 28 Northern Shoveler and 6 Lesser Scaup. MO
10th GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL 1 James Campbell NWR, O'ahu. First-winter plumage. Also 1 male Red Avadavat. MO
10th LAUGHING GULL 4 James Campbell NWR, O'ahu. All first winter plumage. Also
40+ Hawaiian Stilts, 50+ Hawaiian Coots, 8 Hawaiian Moorhen and 50+ Koloa x Mallard hybrid.
11th NENE 2 Waiakea Pond, Hilo, Hawai'i. Unbanded birds. DL, RD, NK
11th GAMBEL'S QUAIL 1+ Saddle Road, Hawai'i. At least one male bird in a large flock of California Quail just west of Waiki'i Ranch on the Saddle Road. RD
13th GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL 4 James Campbell NWR, O'ahu. Lots of disturbance: a couple of dogs splashing around near the refuge fence, Army helicopters and a number of gulls. As a result, it was hard to get a good count of the migrant ducks, which are easily spooked. PD
13th GREEN-WINGED TEAL 10 James Campbell NWR, O'ahu. Also 1 American Wigeon, 3 Northern Shoveler, 29 Northern Pintail, 3 Lesser Scaup and 1 Rosy-billed Pochard. PD
13th LAUGHING GULL 4 James Campbell NWR, O'ahu. Also 11 Cattle Egret, 18 Black-crowned Night-Heron and 1 Short-eared Owl. PD
13th BRISTLE-THIGHED CURLEW 11 James Campbell NWR, O'ahu. Also 71 Pacific Golden-Plover, 43 Hawaiian Stilt, 22 Ruddy Turnstone, 2 Wandering Tattler and 1 Sanderling. PD
13th CANADA GOOSE 1 James Campbell NWR, O'ahu. Also 5 Hawaiian Moorhen, 135 Hawaiian Coot, 44 Mallard x Koloa hybrid. PD
17th CANADA GOOSE 1 James Campbell NWR, O'ahu. Also 42 Northern Pintail, 11 Northern Shoveler, 4 Green- winged Teal and 1 probable female Eurasian Wigeon. RM, RP, MO
17th GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL 2 James Campbell NWR, O'ahu. Also 4 Laughing Gulls. RM, RP, MO
17th LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER 9 James Campbell NWR, O'ahu. Also 5 Wandering Tattler, 40+ Sanderling and numerous Ruddy Turnstone. RM, RP, MO
17th BRISTLE-THIGHED CURLEW 9 James Campbell NWR, O'ahu.   RM, RP, MO
19th GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL 2 Eastern Island, Midway. Two immatures at Eastern Island, Sector 1, SW end of Island. JK
21st WHITE-FACED IBIS 11 Hanalei NWR, Kaua'i. Eleven birds seen in Waioli and Hanalei area. BZ
21st BRANT 2 Hanalei NWR, Kaua'i. Also 3 Lesser Scaup, 4 Mallard and 32 Northern Pintail. BZ
21st LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER 6 Hanalei NWR, Kaua'i. Also 274 Koloa, 37 Hawaiian Coot, 31 Hawaiian Moorhen and 42 Hawaiian Stilt. BZ
21st CASPIAN TERN 3 Kane'ohe Marine Corps Base, O'ahu. Also 2 Eurasian Wigeon and 1 Semipalmated Plover. EV
21st BUFFLEHEAD 2 Honouliuli NWR, O'ahu. Also 4 Green-winged Teal, 8 Eurasian Wigeon and 4 American Wigeon. PD, JP, LeT
21st LEAST or LITTLE TERN 1 Pouhala Marsh, O'ahu. 1st summer plumage. PD, JP, LeT
21st LESSER YELLOWLEGS 1 Waiawa NWR, O'ahu. Also 2 Green-winged Teal. PD, JP, LeT
24th GAMBEL'S QUAIL 1 Saddle Road, Hawai'i. Male in a flock of California Quail on the Pu'u La'au road. RD
24th CASPIAN TERN 2 James Campbell NWR, O'ahu. Also 5 Laughing Gulls. PD
24th BRISTLE-THIGHED CURLEW 6 James Campbell NWR, O'ahu. Also 6 Long-billed Dowitcher. PD
24th GREEN-WINGED TEAL 11 James Campbell NWR, O'ahu. Also 25 Northern Pintail and 5 Northern Shoveler. PD
24th EURASIAN WIGEON 2-4 Kealia Pond NWR, Maui. Two drakes and two probable females. LT, GN
24th BONAPARTE'S GULL 1 Kealia Pond NWR, Maui. Adult bird. Also 1 first-winter Laughing Gull there. LT, GN
24th MITRED CONURE 65 Huelo, Maui.   CP
24th MARIANA SWIFTLET 1 Aiea Loop Trail, O'ahu. All observations of this species should be reported.  BR
25th MOURNING DOVE 1 Kealia Pond NWR, Maui. Seen perched, flying and calling along road into refuge. Also 9+ Chestnut Manikins near entrance to refuge. CP
27th LAUGHING GULL 1 Kanaha Pond, Maui. First-winter bird. Up to 2 recently at both Kealia Pond NWR and Kanaha Pond on Maui, possibly the same birds commuting between sites. LT, CP
This Month RED-CHEEKED CORDON-BLEU ?? Near Puu Waa Waa Ranch, Hawai'i. At the 22 mile marker pullout just south of the Puu Waa Waa ranch gate, Hawai'i. RP
30th BRISTLE-THIGHED CURLEW 1 Kiholo Bay, Hawai'i. In front of Earl Baken's residence. Also on 31st and probably for last 8 months. GD
31st DOWITCHER 14 Kealia Pond NWR, Maui. South Kihei Road side of Kealia NWR. At least one was a Short-billed. CP, RPa
31st RUFF 1 Kealia Pond NWR, Maui. Also 2 Sanderling and 4 Ruddy Turnstone. CP, RPa
31st BONAPARTE'S GULL 1 Kanaha Pond, Maui.   RPa
31st SEMIPALMATED PLOVER 1 James Campbell NWR, O'ahu. Also 2 Dunlin and 5 Long-billed Dowitchers. PD, MO, RP
31st CANADA GOOSE 1 James Campbell NWR, O'ahu. Also 25 Northern Shoveler, 15 Northern Pintail and 4 Lesser Scaup. PD, MO, RP
31st BRISTLE-THIGHED CURLEW 10 James Campbell NWR, O'ahu. No sign of any Gulls or Terns today. PD, MO, RP
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Leach's Petrel in care at Sea Life Park, O'ahu, December 2003.

Two birds were in care at the Park at the end of 2003, although unfortunately both birds died in the first few days of 2004.

Photograph © Peter Donaldson

Leach's Petrels specimens at Sea Life Park, O'ahu, January 2004.

Photograph © Mike May

Peter Donaldson writes: "These photos were taken of the dead birds by Mike May before Dick May turned them over to Bishop Museum. These photos clearly show that both birds are Leach's. It is interesting that in these photos both birds show clear dark lines down the middle of the rump since an earlier photo I took of one of the birds did not show this feature. I guess if the rump feathers have not been preened, the dark line is not evident. Thanks to Mike and Dick for the photos and for turning the birds over to Bishop Museum."

The Midway Atoll Christmas Bird Count took place on January 1st 2004 and the following species were observed and counted (Sand Island only): Laysan Albatross: 267,653; Black footed Albatross:11,460; Bonin Petrel: 2,949; White tailed Tropicbird: 2; Red tailed Tropicbird: 6; Great Frigatebird: 5; Red footed Booby: 23; Brown Booby: 2; Cattle Egret: 18; Green winged Teal: 4; Bufflehead: 1; Mallard:1; Pacific Golden Plover: 497; Wandering Tattler: 8; Bristle thighed Curlew: 108; Ruddy Turnstone: 467; Sanderling: 2; Long billed Dowitcher: 2; Brown Noddy: 6; Black Noddy: 436; White Tern: 1,235; Common Myna: 290; Canary: 1,404; Gull unidentified: 1 Possible Glaucous-winged Gull seen previously on Spit Island (Mike Ord et al.).

Possible juvenile Lesser Frigatebird on Midway, January 1st 2004.

Photograph © Mike Ord

Dave Boyle found a dead Shearwater species on Wake Atoll on January 1st and the specimen was sent to Storrs Olsen at the Smithsonian Institute, who commented as follows: "Prepare to be astonished. I got the Wake specimen you sent a couple of days ago and took a look at it this morning. Definitely too large for P. lherminieri. The very slender mandible with very long closely appressed anterior dentary portions is very diagnostic and rules out and of the P. puffinus group or P. nativitatis (which also differs in bill color---black vs. brownish in the Wake bird). We have only one old skin of P. gavia and none of P. huttoni but the Wake bird is a ringer for Puffinus gavia. According to the literature, distinguishing between gavia and huttoni seems to be in the realm of the occult. We have skeletons ascribed to both P. huttoni (3) and P. gavia (1) but I have zero confidence that all are correctly identified and without a large series of correctly identified skeletons I would have no way of knowing whether any skeletal differences I might see were really specifically diagnostic. P. gavia would be the more likely in that it is more numerous and has strayed farther (to New Caledonia and New Hebrides) than P. huttoni. Either way your bird was way the hell off base." The species referred to here as Puffinus gavia is also called the Fluttering Shearwater from the Australian seas, breeding in New Zealand; likewise for P. hutttoni, or Hutton's shearwater. This is a new regional record.

Two Hawk or Falcon species were reported during the beginning of 2004. A large all-dark Hawk was reported from Lyon Arboretum, O'ahu on January 7th (Liz Huppman) and an all-dark Falcon or Hawk was reported from Kaua'i's North Shore during November and December 2003. No other details are available at this time. It could be that the Kaua'i record refers to a dark juvenile Peregrine, a scarce winter migrant to the Hawaiian Islands, however the O'ahu record was noted as being large and had fingered primaries.

Glaucous-winged Gull at Kaena Point, O'ahu on January 4th 2004.

Photograph © Lindsay Cooper

Red Knot at Kealia Pond NWR, Maui on January 7th 2004.

Photograph © Dave Martyn

Satoko Lincoln reported the following: "January 10, 2004. 5:45 PM. Diamond Head coast: A group of over 60 Red-footed Boobies were swarming just west of the buoy off Diamond Head Lighthouse. One after another they flew clockwise, up-and-down over the patch of water, forming an animated Ferris wheel. Most skimmed the water, some plunged. Others soared and skimmed on their own. A Brown Booby hunted on its own closer to shore. R-F Boobies made this dramatic, high-energy return after not having been seen for months. Two Browns have been seen regularly at the buoy since late December."

Forest and Kim Starr sent the following account from Kaho'olawe (closed to the general public): "Spent the last two days (Jan 19-20) on Kahoolawe, mostly at base camp and in the summit crater of Lua Makika. Some observations: Skylarks - Quite vocal right now. Multiple singing at Lua Makika. Kolea - One in Lua Makika. Mockingbirds - A few at Lua Makika and at base camp. Gambel's Quail - Conspicuously absent. Pueo - None. A dozen or so Humpback Whales seen in channel between Maui and Kahoolawe, and four seen close to shore at Honokanaia. No dolphins, seals, or turtles seen. Moderate south winds. Fair weather. Big northwest swell. Most sand gone from west facing beaches near camp. North shore muddy red. Island is green. Lua Kealialalo is partially filled with water."

Brenda Zaun reported the following from Kaua'i's North Shore: "While surveying waterbirds for the state biannual waterbird survey today (Wed, Jan 21, 2004), 11 White-faced (?) Ibis were spotted in the Waioli Taro Fields (private property) behind the Hanalei Elementary School in Hanalei, Kauai, HI. They were feeding in a flooded harvested taro field. They flew as I approached, circled a number of times, then headed east. The person conducting the Hanalei NWR survey, counted 10 Ibis about one hour later. Also counted at Hanalei NWR were: Koloa - 274, Coot - 37, Moorhen - 31, Stilt - 42, Brant - 2, Lesser Scaup - 3, Long-billed Dowitcher - 6, Mallard 4, Northern Pintail - 32."

Eleven presumed White-faced Ibis at Waioli, near Hanalei, Kaua'i, Hawai'i, January 21st 2004.

The Hawaiian Islands biggest-ever Ibis flock.

Photograph © Brenda Zaun

Eleven presumed
White-faced Ibis at Waioli, near Hanalei, Kaua'i, Hawai'i, January 21st 2004.

The Hawaiian Islands biggest-ever Ibis flock.

Photograph © Brenda Zaun

Peter Donaldson reported: "John Polhemus, Leilani Takano and I covered some of the Pearl Harbor wetlands on the state waterfowl count Wednesday, Jan 21 2004. The weather started out cloudy but dry, but rain started after noon. Water levels were pretty high after recent rain, even at the Waiawa unit of Pearl Harbor N.W.R. where water levels had been low for a long time since the old well there dried up. We found a good variety of birds, but it was discouraging to see feeding stations for feral cats and squatters along the bike path close to Pearl Harbor N.W.R. Waiawa 1/20/04 (on a brief scouting trip): 1 Dowitcher. Honouliuli 1/21/04: 2 Bufflehead, 4 Green-winged Teal, 4 American Wigeon, 8 Eurasian Wigeon, 40 Northern Pintail, 25 Hawaiian Coot nests and several broods of recently hatched chicks. Pouhala Marsh 1/21/04: 1 Least/Little Tern. This bird is changing into 1st summer plumage. It now has a completely black cap; 1 Hawaiian Moorhen. Waiawa 1/21/04: 1 Northern Shoveler, 3 Northern Pintail, 2 Green-winged Teal,1 Lesser Yellowlegs and 6 Hawaiian Coot, these were the first coots I've seen at Waiawa in a long time." Peter also reported earl Stilt nesting: "...on the state waterfowl countWednesday, Jan 21 2004, we found several pairs of Hawaiian Stilts that seemed aggressively territorial. At Waiawa, during a rain shower, it appeared that two stilts might be incubating. This was reported to Mike Silbernagle, biologist for the Oahu Refuge system. Today Mike had a chance to go check at Waiawa and found 4 stilt nests. Most stilt nesting occurs in the spring and summer with a peak in May. This early nesting is quite remarkable." Brenda Zaun at the Kaua'i Refuge Complex reported that at least one stilt nest (with 4 eggs) is present at Huleia NWR, Kaua'i and that on 31st December 2003 two stilts were observed mating at Hanalei NWR. Stilt nesting has also been observed rarely during the "winter" months at Hanalei NWR, Kaua'i during the late 1990s (Christian Melgar), Ed.

Lance Tanino led a Sierra Club outing of 17 people to Kealia NWR with Glynnis Nakai on January 24th. "The weather was clear skies and no winds. The water level in the ponds were very high. Some of the interesting birds seen were:
Eurasian Wigeon - Two males in spectacular plumage and looked like at least a couple females with them. Bonaparte's Gull - One adult was seen off in the distance surface feeding in Big Pond with a juvenile Laughing Gull. Some other species seen at Kealia NWR recently that were not seen today include: Long-billed Dowitchers, Brants, and Green-winged Teals."

Rob Pacheco of Hawaii Forest and Trail reported that "Since early November 2003 Red-Ceeked Cordon-Bleu have been very accommodating for viewing at the 22 mile marker pullout just south of the Puu Waa Waa ranch gate (Hawai'i). Birds make a nice circuit landing in the llama and alahee near the rock debris piles before crossing the highway. Have seen and heard them early morning, midday, and late afternoon." This species is one of the more elusive of Hawai'i's introduced species, especially in the recent dry period, and a reliable site is well-overdue. Ed.

Bill Rathman reported that he saw a Mariana Swiftlet on 24th January on the Aiea Loop Trail, O'ahu about one-third to one half way up to the head of the loop. This was lower on the trail than his previous sightings in 1998 and 2002 which were near the head of the loop. He saw it against the sky and then lost it when it dipped down against vegetation. Mariana Swiftlets have not been seen at their traditional nesting/roosting tunnel in the North Halawa Valley (no public access) in 2002 or 2003, and may have moved to a new site. Thus, all reports of swiftlet sightings would be greatly appreciated (per Bob Pyle).

David Kuhn's January 31 2004 pelagic trip on the Blue Dolphin II's Port Allen-Na Pali-Lehua-Port Allen trip. "Winds Northerly 10-15 and moderate N swell, partly cloudy. Mystery bird this trip (uncanny how there is almost always one) was a ca. shearwater-size bird flying straight along the S side of Lehua, a few feet off the ground; dark above, pale cream-colored under-sides, deep and pointed wings, did not see face; first impression after thinking "shearwater" was Peregrine Falcon, but no birds were getting up in front of it, didn't see it again (but see February trip report).SEABIRDS SEEN: Laysan Albatross 2 at sea, 1 over Lehua; Black-footed Albatross 1 over NW tip of Lehua; White-tailed T'bird 3 at sea; Red-tailed T'bird 5 at Lehua, 2 at sea; Red-footed Booby ~100; Brown Booby ~100; Great Frigatebird 2 at sea, 1 over Lehua; Black Noddy 2 at sea; none observed in the usual roosts on Lehua and Na Pali. Other birds: Mystery bird 1 on Lehua, see above; Cattle Egrets 3 on Lehua. Other creatures: Spinner Dolphin, many in the big pod off Barking Sands, and at Lehua Bottlenose Dolphin pod midway SW leg."

David Boyle also sent the following trip report from October 2003 - January 2004: " ITINERARY: 29th October 2003 - arrived at Honolulu about midnight, day spent around Honolulu visiting Hickham Airforce Base and Kapi‘olani Park 30th October - left for Wake Island in the early morning 9th January 2004 - arrived back from Wake Island at Hickham Airforce Base in the late evening 10th January - day sorting stuff out around Honolulu 11th January - flew to Lihu‘e in the early afternoon. Picked up car and drove up to Koke‘e, arriving mid- afternoon. Birded for a couple of hours around Kalalau Lookout and along the (closed) road towards Pu‘u o Kila Lookout. Birdable until about 18:00. Night at Koke‘e Lodge. 12th January - up at 05:30, but didn’t start getting light until 7ish. Birded around Kalalau Lookout first thing and then the Nature Trail (behind Koke‘e Lodge) waiting for the museum to open. Dropped key off at the Lodge as soon as it opened and then drove down Camp 10 Road to the start of the Alaka‘i Swamp Trail. Rest of the day spent doing a big circuit up the Alaka‘i Swamp Trail on to the Pihea Ridge Trail, down to the stream, back up again and then down the Kawaikoi Stream Trail and back along the road. Night spent in the car at Camp 10. 13th January - Set off at 07:00 along the Mohihi- Wai‘ale‘ale Trail, getting just short of 4 miles before returning. Walked the Berry Flats Trail in the late afternoon/evening. Night at Camp Sloggett.14th January - I had planned to walk the Alaka‘i Swamp/Pihea Ridge Trails again this morning but a massive storm put paid to that idea. Trees were crashing down all over the place and there was torrential rain so I headed back down to the coast and slowly worked my way back to Lihu‘e, stopping off for a bit of birding at Hanapepe Salt Pans, Mauka Reservoir and Kaua‘i Lagoons Golf Course, then a brief seawatch from Ninini Point before returning to Honolulu in the late evening. 15th January - Left Honolulu for Heathrow at 08:00. SPECIES LIST: White-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon lepturus, one over Berry Flats Trail on 13th Jan. Brown Booby Sula leucogaster, one off Waimea and two off Ninini Point on 14th Jan. Great Frigatebird Fregata minor, two off Waimea and 60 off Ninini Point on 14th Jan. Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis, very common in the lowlands on both Islands. Nene Nesochen sandvicensis, two pairs of adults and a single adult with two small goslings on Kauai Lagoons Golf Course, Lihu‘e on 14th Jan. Koloa Anas wyvilliana, 20 on a roadside pond just west of Waimea and 5 on a roadside pond on the way to Ninini Point on 14th Jan. Erckel’s Francolin Francolinus erckelii, a few seen and lots heard in the Koke’e/Alaka‘i Swamp area. Red Junglefowl Gallus gallus, lots of domestic chickens around Koke’e and maybe a few more ‘wild’ ones along Camp 10 Road. Hawaiian Moorhen Gallinago chloropus sandvicensis, six on Kauai Lagoons Golf Course, Lihu‘e on 14th Jan. Hawaiian Coot Fulica alai, 60 Kauai Lagoons Golf Course, Lihu‘e an 14th Jan. Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva, common from the lowlands to the tops of the hills in any open patch on both Islands. Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus knudseni, two on a roadside pond just west of Waimea on 12th Jan. Wandering Tattler Heteroscelus incanus, five at Hanapepe Salt Pans on 14th Jan. White Tern Gygis alba, one at Kapi‘olani Park, O‘ahu, on 29th Oct. Kaua‘i ‘Elepaio Chasiempis sandwichensis sclateri, three on the Nature Trail and about 40 along Alaka‘i Swamp/Pihea Ridge/Kawaikoi Stream Trails on the 12th and about 25 along the Mohihi-Wai‘ale‘ale Trail and 15 along the Berry Flats Trail on the 13th January. Puaiohi Myadestes palmeri, one about 100m before the 2.5 mile marker on the Mohihi-Wai‘ale‘ale Trail on 13th January. ‘I‘iwi Vestiaria coccinea, four along the Alaka‘i Swamp/Pihea Ridge/Kawaikoi Stream Trails on the 12th and 6 on the Mohihi-Wai‘ale‘ale Trail and 4 on the Berry Flats Trail on the 13th January. ‘Apapane Himatione sanguinea, about 50 around Kalalau Lookout on the 11th; 20 around Kalalau Lookout, 5 on the Nature Trail and about 250 along the Alaka‘i Swamp/Pihea Ridge/ Kawaikoi Stream Trails on the 12th and about 150 on the Mohihi-Wai‘ale‘ale Trail and 40 on the Berry Flats Trail on the 13th January. ‘Akeke‘e Loxops caeruleirostris, three along the Kawaikoi Stream Trail on the 12th; and 10 on the Mohihi-Wai‘ale‘ale Trail and 2 on the Berry Flats Trail on the 13th January. ‘Anianiau Hemignathus munroi, one near Kalalau Lookout on the 11th; about 50 along Alaka‘i Swamp/Pihea Ridge/Kawaikoi Stream Trails on the 12th; and about 30 on the Mohihi- Wai‘ale‘ale Trail and 5 on the Berry flats Trail on the 13th January. Kaua‘i ‘Amakihi Hemignathus kauaiensis, 10 around Kalalau Lookout on the 11th; 6 around Kalalau Lookout, 6 on the Nature Trail and about 35 on the Alaka‘i Swamp/Pihea Ridge/ Kawaikoi Stream Trails on the 12th; and 25 on the Mohihi-Wai‘ale‘ale Trail and 10 on the Berry Flats Trail on the 13th January. Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis, fairly common on both islands. Red-crested Cardinal Paroaria capitata, fairly common on both islands. Red-whiskered Bulbul Pycnonotus jocosus, common around Honolulu. Red-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus cafer, common around Honolulu. Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis, common on both islands. Rock Dove Columba livia, common around Honolulu. Zebra Dove Geopelia stiata, common on both islands. Common Myna Acridotheres tristis, common on both islands. Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos, a few along the track to Ninini Point. White-rumped Shama Copsychus malabaricus, fairly common in the Koke‘e area. Hwamei Garrulax canorus, fairly common in the Koke‘e area. House Finch Carpodacus mexicanus, common on both islands. House Sparrow Passer domesticus, very common on both islands, especially on Lihu‘e Airfield. Yellow-fronted Canary Serinus mozambicus, a few in Kapi‘olani Park. Japanese White-eye Zosterops japonicus, common on Kaua‘i. Western Meadow-Lark Sturnella neglecta, fairly common in the Kaua’i lowlands. Java Sparrow Padda oryzivora, very common on both islands, especially on Lihu‘e Airfield. Chestnut Mannikin Lonchura malacca, couple on the track to Ninini Point. Nutmeg Mannikin Lonchura punctulata, common in the Kaua‘i lowlands. OTHER SPECIES: Humpback Whale One from the plane window as it came in to land at Lihu‘e on the 11th and two off Ninini Point on the 14th January. Dolphin sp. Two off Ninini Point on the 14th January. Pacific Green Turtle Two off Ninini Point on the 14th January. Feral Cat. Singles seen in the evening around Koke‘e on the 11th and13th and fresh scat found in a couple of places about 2.5 miles along the Mohihi-Wai‘ale‘ale Trail on the 13th January, including one containing an ‘I’iwi leg."

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1st  SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER  15  Kealia Pond NWR, Maui Possibly all 15 birds reported to be this species. No Sign of Ruff seen on January 31st at this site.  RP 
1st HAWAIIAN STILT 2 Kealia Pond NWR, Maui Also 1 Ruddy Turnstone, 1 Wandering Tattler, 3 Black- crowned Night Heron and 1 Hawaiian Coot. RPa
2nd GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL 1 James Campbell NWR, O'ahu. First-winter. Also 2 first-winter Laughing Gulls and one Canada Goose. KS
4th BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS 1 Kilauea Point NWR, Kaua'i. Circled several times over Mokolea Point then headed west toward Kilauea Point. BZ
5th EURASIAN WIGEON 4 Kealia Pond NWR, Maui Two pairs. Also 4 Ring-Necked Ducks (2 pairs), 9 Lesser Scaup, 5 Mallards and 2 Mallard hybrid. CP
5th LAUGHING GULL 4 Kealia Pond NWR, Maui First-winters. CP
5th SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER 2 Kealia Pond NWR, Maui Also 1 Long-billed Dowitcher, 1 Pectoral Sandpiper and 43 Sanderling. CP
5th ORANGE-CHEEKED WAXBILL 1 Kealia Pond NWR, Maui Also a flock of 30-40 House Sparrows, Nutmeg Mannikin, Chestnut Munias flying about and feediing in tall seeding grasses near the entrance to the refuge and 1 Pueo. CP
6th PEREGRINE FALCON 1 Lehua Islet, Ni'ihau. Also 3 Black-footed Albatross. Full trip list: Click Here. DK
7th GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL 1 James Campbell NWR, O'ahu. First-winter again, also 2 first-winter Laughing Gulls. PD
7th CANADA GOOSE 1 James Campbell NWR, O'ahu. Probably Richardson's Canada Goose. Also 25 Northern Shoveler, 36 Northern Pintail,12 Green-winged Teal (all males observed well were American GWTE). PD
7th LESSER SCAUP 4 James Campbell NWR, O'ahu. Also 6 Hawaiian Moorhen, 113 Hawaiian Coot, 46 Hawaiian Stilt (many pairs vocal and territorial but no nests found), 130 Pacific Golden Plover and 29 Black-crowned Night-Heron. PD
7th BRISTLE-THIGHED CURLEW 4 James Campbell NWR, O'ahu. Also 7 Wandering Tattler, 35 Ruddy Turnstone, 5 Sanderling, 4 Long-billed Dowitcher and 2 Red Avadavat. PD
7th DUNLIN 1 James Campbell NWR, O'ahu.   PD
8th KILLDEER 1 Between Waimea and Kekaha, Kaua'i. Present this evening on a roadside flood on the mauka side of the highway. DK
10th WHITE-FACED IBIS 10 Hanalei NWR, Kaua'i. Seen well up the valley. Full trip report: Click Here. DL
11th BRANT 1 Kawaiele Sanctuary, Kaua'i.   JD
12th BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS 1 Kilauea Point NWR, Kaua'i. Flying over Mokolea and Kilauea Points. BZ
12th KILLDEER 1 Between Waimea and Kekaha, Kaua'i. On roadside flood still. DK
12th BRISTLE-THIGHED CURLEW 1 Kiholo Bay, Hawai'i.   DL
12th LAUGHING GULL 3 Kona STP, Kona, Hawai'i. Also 2 female Lesser Scaup and c.24 Northern Shoveler. DL
12th WILSON'S SNIPE 1 James Campbell NWR, O'ahu. Also several Long-billed Dowitchers. SL, KP
14th BONAPARTE'S GULL 1 Kealia Pond NWR, Maui. Adult bird. Also 4 Laughing Gulls, ~180 Northern Shoveler, ~ 50 Northern Pintail and ~30 smaller duck sp. LT
14th BRANT 2 Kealia Pond NWR, Maui. Three Hawaiian Stilt at Makena Beach Wetland, Maui. LT
15th 'AKOHEKOHE 1 Waikamoi Preserve, Maui. Immature observed foraging along koa branch near 1st curve from upper end of boardwalk. RPat
Last Week MAUI PARROTBILL ? Waikamoi Preserve, Maui. Also adult an dimmature 'Akohekohe observed last week. NCH per RPat
16th SHEARWATER Sp. 1 Sea Life Park, O'ahu. Probably either Christmas or Short-tailed/Sooty, but id. not yet confirmed. per RP
16th EURASIAN WIGEON 1 Kealia Pond NWR, Maui. Drake on island at eastern end. Also 1 Laughing Gull there and a pair of Mallard. RPat
17th GULL sp. 1 Kilauea Point, Kaua'i. For full description: Click Here. BZ
19th BUTEO sp. 1 Waimea Canyon, Kaua'i. Unidentified buteo species reported but Pueo not eliminated. Click Here for details. per DL
20th GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL 1 North Shore, Kaua'i. First-winter on beach near Wainiha. GJ
21st LAUGHING GULL 4 Kealia Pond NWR, Maui. First-winters. Also Brant there. RPat
24th PEREGRINE FALCON 1 Downtown Kailua-Kona, Hawai'i. Seen from the waterfront restaurant at the Ohana Keauhou Beach Hotel, then flew North. MSe
26th GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL 1 Waihina Bay First-winter. Also seen on 28th. SH
26th EURASIAN WIGEON 2 Hanalei NWR, Kaua'i. Two drakes. Also 3 Greater Scaup and 2 Bufflehead. SH
28th BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS 3 Kaena Point, O'ahu. One flying over Laysan Albatross colony and water, and two others offshore. KP
End of Feb. GOLDEN PHEASANT 1 Waikamoi Preserve, Maui. Escaped male still present. SH
End of Feb. LAYSAN ALBATROSS ?? Kaena Point, O'ahu. Apparently half the Laysan Albatross chicks present in the colony have died in the last couple of weeks from exposure. LC
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On January 31st Chuck Probst and Rob Pacheco visited Kealia Pond NWR, Maui and observed a flock of fourteen Dowitchers, which after studying one or two of them, decided that they were all Short-billed Dowitchers, a rare but regular visitor to the Islands (much less common than Long-billed Dowitcher, especially during the winter months). Only one was heard to call and give the distinctive Short-billed Dowitcher call, and so the others were not conclusively identified. On February 1st Rob returned to Kealia and saw fifteen birds in the flock, but was still not absolutely sure of the identification of all individuals in the flock. On February 5th Chuck returned to Kealia and saw two Short-billed Dowitchers and one Long-billed Dowitcher, he comments: "Two of the Dowitchers were standing side-by-side at one point and the bill contrasts were simply amazing. I know bill length is not considered reliable differentiation except in the extreme, and these two were extreme. The LB Dowitcher's bill was at least 1/3 longer than the SB. The face of the LB was diffusely pale while the SB had a distinct white supercilium. The neck of the LB was gray, the SB streaked gray. The flanks of the SB had marked vertical striping or barring. In addition, the taill of the SB had white bands thicker than the dark bands, giving the tail at much lighter appearance. Fortunately, the LB flew off first giving a 'keek' and then a ki-ki-ki call. The SB (2) flew off with a much different tu-tu-tu call. I'm guessing that the 14 birds we saw the other day were probably a mixed flock, but am hoping to see the flock together to go over each bird."

Short-billed Dowitcher at Kealia Pond NWR, Maui on January 7th 2004, one of several observed at this site.

Photograph © Dave Martyn

Although a scarce visitor to the Hawaiian Islands there are at least 88 reports of Short-billed Dowitchers up until the end of 2003 (some are reports of the same occurrence): December - February: 13 records; March - May: 10 records; June - July: 0 records; August - November: 65 records. Among the winter records:

1971 - Two birds were seen on Sand Island, Midway on 3rd December (Charles Kaigler).

1986 - Six birds were seen on 28th December (Steve Berendzen) and 31st December (Kamal Islam) at Hanalei Ponds, Kaua'i.

1987 - Six birds remained in Taro lo'i at Hanalei, Kaua'i on January 2nd (Kamal Islam). At Waipio, O'ahu counts between 9th October and 5th November consisted of 3,9,8 and 5 birds.

1992 - Two birds were recorded at Laysan Island from 7th February until 10th April (Kay Kepler).

David Kuhn reported the following from his latest Kaua'i pelagic: "February 6 2004 on the Blue Dolphin II's Port Allen-Na Pali-Lehua-Port Allen trip, winds Northeasterly 10-15 and moderate N swell, partly cloudy. A definite ID of Peregrine Falcon on Lehua, probably my mystery bird of last week (Jan 31); I won't hazard a guess as to subspecies. SEABIRDS SEEN: Laysan Albatross 10; 7 at sea, 3 over Lehua; Black-footed Albatross 3; 1 over NW tip of Lehua, 1 midway SW leg, 1 midway E leg; White-tailed T'bird 2; 1 at sea, 1 over Lehua; Red-tailed T'bird 5; 4 at Lehua, 1 at sea; Red-footed Booby ~100; Brown Booby ~50; Great Frigatebird 6; 1 at sea, 5 over Lehua; Black Noddy 2 at sea; flock of 50 at Lehua roost; Brown Noddy 1 midway SW leg; Grey-backed Tern 2 midway SW leg; Grey above, white below, deeply forked tail. Other birds: Peregrine Falcon 1 on Lehua; Cattle Egrets 3 on Lehua. Other creatures: Spinner Dolphin, many in the big pod off Barking Sands, and at Lehua; Bottlenose Dolphin pod of 20 just off Barking Sands; Manta Ray 4 near Lehua.

Killdeer on roadside flood between Waimea and Kekaha, Kaua'i on 12th February 2004.

Photograph © David Kuhn

On 12th February Dan Lindsay sent the following report from Hawai'i: "I found the Bristle-Thighed Curlew at Kiholo Bay today. It's a very confiding bird; if it had gotten any closer, it could have nibbled my shoelaces. Lots of people around, but the Curlew did not seem at all concerned by them. There were at least 19 Honu (Turtles) around also, most of them hauled out. I also visited the sewage treatment ponds, where the highlight was three 1st-winter Laughing Gulls. Complete results: Kiholo Bay / Wainanali¹i Pool: 1 Bristle-Thighed Curlew. Kaloko Fishpond: Hawaiian Stilt, Kolea, Wandering Tattler, Saffron Finch. Kona STP: Laughing Gull (3 1st-winter birds), Ruddy Turnstone (some reaching breeding plumage), Sanderling, Kolea, Hawaiian Stilt, Black-Crowned Night Heron, Hawaiian Coot, Lesser Scaup (2 females), African Silverbill, Spotted Dove, Zebra Dove, Myna, Nutmeg Mannikin, Wandering Tattler, Northern Shoveler (about 2 dozen, the males in summer dress)."

Visiting birder Robert Patton visited the Islands between 11th and 21st February and reported the following highlights from his trip: " Uncommon species observed included: - gull sp. (laughing?) 15 Feb.04, 5:30 p.m. soaring along shoreline bluffs & highway SW of Maalaea Bay near Papawai Point. Eurasian Wigeon 16 Feb. 04, 10:30-11:30 a.m. adult male on island in east central Kealia Pond with Stilt, Coot, Mallard, Shoveler, Pintail, & Laughing Gull. Laughing Gull 16 Feb. 04, 1st winter in flight & landing on surface of water in NW pond, then later on island in east central Kealia Pond. Laughing Gulls 21 Feb. 04, 11:00-11:45 a.m. four 1st winter birds on island and in flight over eastern Kealia Pond. Brant 21 Feb. 04, foraging among Coots in west central Kealia Pond. Pueo 12 Feb. 04, flushed from trees overlooking canyon on Waikamoi bird loop trail; another just outside Haleakala N.P. entrance 15 Feb. 04. 'Akohekohe 15 Feb. 04, immature foraging along koa branch near 1st curve from upper end of boardwalk on Waikamoi boardwalk trail; 'Amakihi, Alauahio, & 'Apapane also in area, adult & immature I'iwi at lower end of boardwalk (all 4 of these more common species were seen in Hosmer Grove & on the bird loop trail on 12 Feb). Regrettably, we had no sightings of Maui Parrotbills. Both park naturalists that led the Waikamoi hikes on the 12th & 15th reported Maui parrotbills along the boardwalk during the previous week, as well as adult and immature akohekohe. Three times on the boardwalk hike we heard human-like whistle calls that sounded like those of parrotbills on the "Voices of Hawaii's Birds" tape (that I'd reviewed the night before), but there was the possibility of other species' similar calls. Freshly stripped bark & moss on branches of a large koa tree likely indicated recent presence as well. Oh well, all the more reason to return in the future. I don't know how noteworthy it is, but with their endangered status & the ephemeral appearance of the location, I thought I should mention that Stilts & Coot were observed in a small pond (puddle) on the ocean side of the highway at Olowalu and in a settling basin on the inland side of the highway in Lahaina. Regrettably no seabirds were seen on a boat trip from Maalaea Harbor to Molokini & offshore of Makena. Also birding at Kealia Pond NWR was limited to along Kihei Rd. since the gate to the office was closed both the 16th & 21st. Species list for the trip: White-tailed Tropicbird, Great Frigatebird, Cattle Egret, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Fulvous Whistling-duck (Kaanapali Hyatt but no bands nor clipped wings), Brant, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Eurasian Wigeon, Black Francolin, Grey Francolin, Chukar, Ring-necked Pheasant, Hawaiian Coot, Kolea (Pacific Golden-plover), Hawaiian Black-necked Stilt, Wandering Tattler, Laughing Gull, Black Noddy, Rock Dove, Spotted Dove, Zebra Dove, Pueo (Short-eared Owl), Eurasian Skylark, Hwamei (Melodious Laughing-thrush), Common Myna, Japanese White-eye, Northern Cardinal, Red-crested Cardinal (outside Makena), House Finch, Maui 'Amakihi, Alauahio (Maui Creeper), I'iwi, 'Akohokohe (Crested Honeycreeper), 'Apapane, House Sparrow, Nutmeg Mannikin and Java Sparrow (Lahaina & Kaanapali)."

Wilson's Snipe at James Campbell NWR, O'ahu on February 12th 2004.

Photograph © by Satoko Lincoln

Brenda Zaun, Kaua'i National Wildlife Refuge Complex biologist, sent the following report: "On Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2004, a large gull was seen flying around Kilauea Point NWR. Species is uncertain, but believed to be either Western or Slaty-backed. Bird was seen only in flight. It did not land. Back and wings appeared light gray when seen from one angle and dark gray (but not black) when seen again. Legs and feet were pink, bill yellow with red spot, eyes yellow, head, neck, and tail white (no streaks on head). Outer primaries dark gray or black with some white spotting on tips. Underside of primaries light gray. White edges on the wings."

Kim and Forest Starr sent a report from Kaho'olawe (no public access): "Our Kahoolawe sightings from this past President's Day holiday. BIRDS (Feb. 16th) 2 Kolea near ephemeral pond in Lua Kealialalo, which still has water. 12 Kolea near Kaukaukapapa. Northern Cardinal in kiawe tree (Keanakeiki). Red-crested Cardinal (Lua Kealialalo & Base camp). 2 Mynah observed by someone else in group near coast (Base camp). 6 Gambel's Quails (Keanakeiki). Mockingbird (Kealaikahiki). Got a glimpse at a duck like bird. Jamie Bruch who works for KIRC said he saw what he thought was a female Koloa (Hawaiian duck) near the same spot (Keanakeiki). Feb. 17th Two dozen Sparrows in hau tree and nesting in speaker on telephone pole (Base camp). Red crested cardinal flying around base camp. Multiple Eurasian Skylarks singing all day at in the summit crater (Lua Makika). 15 House Finches which flew into a lone kiawe tree (Lua Makika). OTHER: Cat prints present in mud at Lua Kealialalo and along shore of ocean at base camp. A few dolphins seen flying out of the water in afternoon of 16th at Honokanaia. Over a dozen whales in multiple pods between Maui & Kahoolawe. NEW INSECT RECORDS: Danaus plexippus (Monarch butterfly)*, Ischnura ramburii (Rambur's forktail), Orthemis ferruginea (Purple Asian skimmer), Omiodes sp. (Native leaf-tier moth). PLANTS: Island still green. Native cotton (Gossypium) doing well near Kealikahiki. Native Panicum grasses (P. torridum, P. faurei) common on west end of pond at Lua Kealialalo right now. Surf mellow (beach is back at base camp beaches). Wind light to moderate. No rain." [* recorded previously but not fully documented.]

Dan Lindsay reported the following highlights from his latest Elderhostel trip: " On 19 February, several people in my Elderhostel group on Kaua'i saw a large Buteo in Waimea Canyon. Nobody could get any field marks, but I remember the possible Rough-Leg seen some time ago on the north shore. Perhaps this is the same bird. Today (25 Feb) a mainland visitor and I saw a Yellow-Billed Cardinal at Loko Waka Pond in Hilo, an unusual place for this mostly dry-side bird. Highlights from17-23 Feb, trip to Kaua'i & Hawai'i: 18 Feb 04: Hanalei NWR: Koloa Maoli, Hawaiian Coot, Common Moorhen, Hawaiian Stilt, Greater Scaup, Nene and White-Faced Ibis (presumed until further evidence is found) Ten birds
seen together well up the valley. Kilauea Pt. NWR: Laysan Albatross, Red-Tailed Tropicbird, White-Tailed Tropicbird, Red-Footed Booby, Brown Booby (Almost dead calm! No Frigatebirds as a result of the freakish weather.) 19 Feb 04, Hanapepe Overlook: Rose-Ringed Parakeet and Rock Dove. Koke'e St. Pk.: Red Junglefowl, 'Apapane, Kaua'i 'Amakihi, 'Anianiau, Kaua'i 'Elepaio, Pueo, Erckel's Francolin. Kawai'ele: Common Moorhen, Hawaiian Coot, Hawaiian Stilt, Koloa Maoli, Wandering Tattler, Ruddy Turnstone, Great Frigatebird, Black Francolin. Waiakea Ponds, Hilo: Mallard, Lesser Scaup, Canada Goose (Lesser & Common), Greater White-Fronted Goose. Loko Waka Pond: Northern Pintail. 21 Feb 04, Volcano NP: 'Apapane, Black Noddy, Kalij Pheasant. 22 Feb 04, Keanakolu Rd.: Skylark, Chukar, Erckel's Francollin, Turkey. Hakalau NWR: 'Apapane, I'iwi, Volcano 'Elepaio (not counted separately from Kaua'i Elepaio), 'Akepa, Hawai'i 'Amakihi, 'Io, Oma'o, Hawai'i Creeper (heard), Red-Billed Leiothrix (heard). Keanakolu Rd.: California Quail. 23 Feb 04, Kipuka 21: 'Apapane, 'Amakihi, 'Oma'o (heard), 'I'iwi, Volcano 'Elepaio. Pu'u La'au: Palila, African Silverbill, Gambel's Quail, Red-Billed Leiothrix (heard), Melodious Laughing-Thrush. Hapuna Beach: Yellow-Billed Cardinal, Gray Francolin. Group total 72."

First-winter Glaucous-winged Gull on a beach near Wainiha, Kaua'i on February 20th 2004.

Photograph © Gretchen Johnson

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1st GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL 2 Eastern Island, Midway. Two immatures still on Eastern Island, Sector 1, SW end of Island. Also 12 Cattle Egrets seen regularly on Sand Island. No evidence of breeding and race not yet determined. JK
2nd TUFTED PUFFIN 1 Sand Island, Midway. Immature found freshly dead on Sand Island, Sector 17, North Beach. JK
3rd NORTHERN FULMAR  Kilauea Point NWR, Kaua'i Found at Larson's Beach about 3 miles east of Kilauea Point. The bird was upside down, but alive. However, it died within an hour, probably from a broken neck. BZ
3rd  BRANT  Hanalei NWR, Kaua'i Also 45 Northern Pintail, 2 Bufflehead, 3 Scaup, 8 Northern Shovelers. BZ 
3rd  LAUGHING GULL  Kealia Pond NWR, Maui First-winters on beach near outlet. Also 2 Sooty Tern from nearby Lahaina Whale Trip. SH 
3rd BONAPARTE'S GULL 1 Kealia Pond NWR, Maui First-winter. On beach near outlet. SH
3rd BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER 1 Kealia Pond NWR, Maui On beach near outlet. SH
6th GREATER SCAUP 1 Near Hakalau NWR, Hawai'i. Drake. Also 1 drake Lesser Scaup on a pond between the Pua 'Akala tract and Hakalau Tract along Keanakolu Road. MM
9th BUFFLEHEAD 2 Honouliuli NWR, O'ahu. Also 4 Wigeon sp.,13 Northern Pintail, 10 Mallard x Koloa Hybrid and 1 Gray Francolin heard. PD
9th HAWAIIAN COOT 150 Honouliuli NWR, O'ahu. Including 2 orange-headed chicks and several broods of gray 1/2 size juveniles. At least 3 birds on or building nests. PD
9th HAWAIIAN STILT 54 Honouliuli NWR, O'ahu. Also 20 Pacific Golden-Plover, 1 Wandering Tattler,16 Ruddy Turnstone and 1 Sanderling. PD
9th BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER 1 Pouhala Marsh, O'ahu. Bird with black speckling on belly. Also 200+ Pacific Golden Plover, 54 Hawaiian Stilt, 3 Wandering Tattler, 3 Ruddy Turnstone 3 Sanderling and 2 Black-crowned Night-Heron. PD
9th GREEN-WINGED TEAL 4 Waiawa NWR, O'ahu. Also 6 Northern Shoveler, 2 Northern Pintail and 20 Mallard X Koloa Hybrid including 5 downy ducklings. PD
9th HAWAIIAN MOORHEN 1 Waiawa NWR, O'ahu. First at this location in a long time. Also 10 Hawaiian Coot (inc.1 on a nest), 30 Hawaiian Stilt (inc. four 2-3 week old chicks) PD
9th DOWITCHER sp. 1 Waiawa NWR, O'ahu. Bird with exceptionally short bill. Possible Short-billed Dowitcher - but not heard to call. PD
9th LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER 4 Waiawa NWR, O'ahu. Also 3 Wandering Tattler, c.200 Ruddy Turnstone and 3 Sanderling. PD
9th WHITE-FACED IBIS 9 Hanalei NWR, Kaua'i. Birds appear to be changing to 1st summer plumage. BZ
9th BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS 2 Pelagic off Kaua'i. Full trip list: Click Here. DK et al.
c10th WHITE-FACED IBIS 9+ Pila'a, Kaua'i. Flying over the road just south of Pila'a, Kaua'i. RD
10th GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL 1 James Campbell NWR, O'ahu. Also 1 Laughing Gull there. Also on O'ahu at the Halona Blowhole groups of 5-6 Red- tailed Tropicbirds swirling over the cliffs close by, squawking loudly. PD
12th HAWAIIAN HAWK ('Io) 1 Pu'u La'au, Hawai'i. Pale-phase bird landed in a tree 10 feet above observers. GD
13th GREEN-WINGED TEAL 1 Near Hakalau NWR, Hawai'i. In one of the stockponds on the way to Hakalau. GD
14th GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL 1 Laie Point, O'ahu. First-year bird. Also 195 Ruddy Turnstones at Kualoa. EV, KS
14th RED-TAILED TROPICBIRD 1 Manana Island, O'ahu. Also 1000s of Sooty Terns and 1 Monk Seal on the beach. EV, KS
14th HAWAIIAN STILT 22 Kuilima STP, O'ahu. Also 85 Hawaiian Coots and 3 Mallard x Koloa hybrids. EV, KS
16th STORM-PETREL sp. 3 Pelagic from Kaua'i. Full trip list: Click Here. DK et al.
16th PEREGRINE FALCON 1 Lehua Rock, Ni'ihau. Full trip list: Click Here. DK et al.
16th WHITE-FACED IBIS 6 Hanalei, Kaua'i. In the vicinity of the Hanalei Dolphin Restaurant at 5.30pm. MV
16th LEAST TERN 1 Waipio Soccer Fields, O'ahu. Roosting with Plovers. Also huge flocks of Chestnut Mannikin (some numbering in the100s), Common Waxbills- large flocks present, 1 Red Avadavat, 56 Pacific Golden Plover, 1 Eurasian Skylark and 4 Saffron Finch. MM
18th O'AHU 'ELEPAIO 1 Aiea Trail, O'ahu. A young bird about a 1/2 mile into the Loop trail. Also 27 O'ahu Amakihi - good views of birds foraging in lantana and low canopy ohia, 1 'Apapane singing from ohia at ridge trail junction and 6 Red -billed Leiothrix. MM
17th POMARINE JAEGERS 3+ Kakaako Waterfront Park, O'ahu. Several Pomarine Jaegers seen offshore, nearby thousands of Sooty Terns swirling around Manana Island, but they hadn't started nesting yet; also10-12 Red-tailed Tropicbirds circling over the island. PD
17th LAUGHING GULL 1 Kealia Pond NWR, Maui. Near the mudflats off N. Kihei Road, also 1 unidentified Gull sp. seen near Refuge HQ. MM
17th NORTHERN SHOVELER 5 Kanaha Pond, Maui. Two drakes and three females. Also lots of Stilts, Coots, and Black-crowned Night-Herons. MM
17th BLACK FRANCOLIN 1 Hansen Settling Ponds, Maui. Also 25+ Chestnut Mannikin
and 10 Hawaiian Stilt.
17th COMMON WAXBILL   Kukui'ula Small Boat Harbor, Kaua'i. Near Kukui'ula Small Boat Harbor in parking lot of Captain Andy's Boat trip. The area to the east was a wet, flooded grassy area and birds were foraging at the NW end of the lot at the beginning of the wet area. MV
17th AFRICAN SILVERBILL 1 Poipu Beach, Kaua'i. In a parking lot at the end of Hoowwii Road. MV
19th LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER 7 Kealia Pond NWR, Maui. Seen near the parking area by the outlet on North Kihei Road. MN
19th LESSER YELLOWLEGS 1 Kealia Pond NWR, Maui.   MN
19th BUFFLEHEAD 1 Kealia Pond NWR, Maui. Observed near the refuge HQ.
Also 2 Lesser Scaup there.
19th GREAT EGRET 1 Princeville Golf Course, Kaua'i. Reported downhill overlooking the Golf Course pond from the "Bougainvillea Building". MV
20th GREAT EGRET 1 Princeville Golf Course, Kaua'i. Reported still present. MV
21st AFRICAN SILVERBILL 2 Oki Diner, Lihue, Kaua'i. Mixed with house sparrows in grass by junk yard. MV
23rd BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON 42 Kanaha Beach, Maui. After heavy rains on 22nd that burst the canal/stream at
Kanaha Beach.
FSt, KSt
23rd PEREGRINE FALCON 1 MISC HQ on Piiholo Road, Maui. A single adult (gray body) flew by eucalyptus trees at 12:10pm. LT
24th  NORTHERN PINTAIL  Waiawa NWR, O'ahu Also 23 Mallard X Koloa Hybrid 23 (inc. broods of 6 and 5 Downy ducklings and 2 larger
ducklings), 21 Hawaiian Coot (at least one chick, and 3 nests).
24th RUFF 1 Waiawa NWR, O'ahu Also 44 Hawaiian Stilt (inc. 5 chicks, 1 already fledged and 4 nearly fledged,1 nest with 3 eggs & 2 pairs copulating); 2 Wandering Tattler, 65 Ruddy Turnstone, 8 Sanderling and 3 Pacific Golden-Plover. PD
24th GREEN-WINGED or EURASIAN TEAL 1 Waiawa NWR, O'ahu The bird appeared to have no vertical white bar on the breast and no horizontal white stripe either. PD
24th BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER  Pouhala Marsh, O'ahu In mostly basic plumage with
black speckling on belly.
24th DOWITCHER sp. 4 Pouhala Marsh, O'ahu Birds starting to molt into breeding plumage, but not enough to be of much help in identifying them. Some gave diagnostic Long-billed calls, though PD
24th AMERICAN WIGEON 4 Pouhala Marsh, O'ahu One drake. Also 40 Hawaiian Stilt, 3 Wandering Tattler, 1 Ruddy Turnstone, 175 Pacifc Golden Plovers and 1 Mallard x Koloa Hybrid tending nest with 11 eggs. PD
24th LEAST or LITTLE TERN 1 Pouhala Marsh, O'ahu Complete black cap. Yellow bill
with black tip.
25th EURASIAN WIGEON 2 Hanalei NWR, Kaua'i. On DU Pond, opposite FWS office. MV
2 Honouliuli NWR, O'ahu. Also 1 drake Mallard (with bright green head and white neck-ring), 5 Mallard x Koloa hybrid, 1 Northern Pintail, 33 Hawaiian Stilt and 152 Hawaiian Coot (at least 18 birds on nests, a number of broods of large grayish chicks plus a few broods of young downy chicks. PD
25th PACIFIC GOLDEN-PLOVER 21 Honouliuli NWR, O'ahu. Also 2 Wandering Tattler, 7 Ruddy Turnstone, 21 Sanderling and 1 Gray Francolin. PD
26th SOOTY TERN ?? Makawao, Maui. Heard calling overhead at night. FSt, KSt
27th KILLDEER 1 Between Waimea and Kekaha, Kaua'i. On roadside flood on mauka side of road half a mile west of Waimea. DK
27th BUFFLEHEAD 2 Hanalei NWR, Kaua'i. Nearby no sign of Great Egret reported at Princeville on 19th/20th March.  RD
27th LESSER YELLOWLEGS 2 Hanapepe Saltpond, Kaua'i.   RD
31st LESSER YELLOWLEGS 2 Hanapepe Saltpond, Kaua'i. Also c.24 Red Avadavats at Kukui'ula Small Boat Harbor near Captain Andy's Boat Hire, but no sign of any Common Waxbills (reported earlier this month). JD
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Arleone Dibben-Young on Moloka'i sent the following: "3/2/04. While collecting kahelelani on the beach in front of my house just before sunset I heard honking about a half mile away. At first I thought perhaps it was the Canada geese I had seen a while back, but when they flew just a few feet above the water and just about over my head I realized they were two Nene. I don't believe nene have been seen in the Kawela area since Betsy Gagne reported hearing some at Kakahaia NWR in the early '80s."

Northern Fulmar specimen at Kilauea Point NWR, Kaua'i, March 2004. The bird was found a few miles along the coast, alive but upside-down in the ocean. The bird later died at the wildlife refuge at Kilauea Point.

Photograph © Brenda Zaun

Interestingly this individual was a pale-morph individual, rather than the usually recorded "Blue morph". A large influx of "Blue Fulmars" occurred around the same time along the west coast of continental North America and in the North Sea in Europe. Presumably the same phenomenon was responsible for birds moving south on both sides of the planet. On 29th February 2004 154 "Blue" Fulmars passed Flamborough Head, Humberside, UK with 46 past there the previous day (Brett Richards). This is the highest ever count at Flamborough Head (an old August day record of 631 is no longer considered acceptable). Also on 29th February there were many reports of Fulmars in inland counties in the UK. Single birds were reported inland from Rutland Water, Grafham Water, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Wiltshire and Devon, and five were found dead on the coast on Blakeney Point, Norfolk on the same day (with many also washed up dead there mid-month). At the same time elsewhere in NW Europe a large number of birds were seen in Northern France and Belgium. More than 200 birds were picked up dead on beaches in France and Belgium and a few thousand were present offshore trying to feed around fishing vessels but in an apparently weak condition. It is hoped that analysis pf corpses will help to understand the phenomenon which occurred (Benoît Paepegaey, Association "Le Clipon"). In North America at the end of February and beginning of March several birds were washed up including in California at Salinas River St. Beach near the Molera Road on March 4th (Fulmar as well as a Laysan Albatross a Common Murre and a Ruddy Duck). Les Chibana from California also commented on this event: "I don't know if Hawaii birders have been aware of the high numbers of Northern Fulmar that have been wintering off the central CA coast (maybe elsewhere, too) this winter. There was period where dozens were being found dead or dying on the beaches. If it's still happening. I haven't heard any recent reports, although large offshore flocks have been reported through the winter. One comment I heard, apparently from a biologist regarding the deaths, was that there was a lack of sufficient food resource to support as many fulmar as have been in the area. Interestingly, this apparent paucity hasn't resulted in similar massive deaths in other species, that I've heard about. I counted fulmar on the pelagic portion of the last Monterey Peninsula CBC and tallied 67 Northern Fulmar, 6 of which were light morphs. So, perhaps the Kauai fulmar, and previous rare records, are related to whatever event is causing what we've been experiencing in offshore California waters." Les goes on to comment " I was out on a pelagic trip in the Monterey Bay area last Sunday (March 14th) and Northern Fulmar were still present in large numbers. I didn't keep a tally, but my impression was that we saw over a hundred in various color morphs. This is a lot compared to a typical year in the area. I asked Don Roberson, who was also on-board, about the large numbers of fulmar and the associated die-offs. He said it was from a successful breeding season followed by insufficient food resources." It certainly seems that this may be a global event rather than just an isolated Pacific or Atlantic one, Ed.

Northern Fulmar specimen at Kilauea Point NWR, Kaua'i, March 2004. The bird was found a few miles along the coast, alive but upside-down in the ocean. The bird later died at the wildlife refuge at Kilauea Point.

Photograph © Brenda Zaun

At least nine presumed White-faced Ibis were still present at Hanalei NWR, Kaua'i on March 11th (Brenda Zaun) and after little change in plumage over the last few months finally seem to be showing a few chnages. The eye colour of the bird pictured below has changed from a ruddy-brown colour to a reddish colour, indicative of it being a White-faced Ibis, rather than Glossy Ibis. Other features which are starting to appear which would indicate White-faced are the pale pink skin at the bill-base and in front of the eye. The areas at the upper and lower border of the lores are paler pink than the centre and will presumably turn white as the bird develops adult-like plumage. The head-streaking also seems to have have decreased between December 2003 and March 2004. Some of the body feathers have also turned a deeper and richer colour, especially on the breast (visible in the lower photograph).

First-winter White-faced Ibis at Hanalei NWR, Kaua'i, March 11th 2004 .

Photograph © by Brenda Zaun

Note the change in eye colour and facial feathering and skin since December 2003.

First-winter White-faced Ibis at Hanalei NWR, Kaua'i, March 11th 2004 .

Photograph © by Brenda Zaun

Note the change in eye colour and facial skin since December 2003. Also the deepening colouration of the breast feathers.

White-faced Ibis at Hanalei NWR, Kaua'i, December 2003


White-faced Ibis at Hanalei NWR, Kaua'i, March 2004


Note the dark-brown eye, brownish fore-face and profuse head streaking.   The eyes have become much redder and the facial area has become more pink, with very pale pink upper and lower borders, which will presumably turn to white in time. The head streaking has also become more sparse.

Of Pacific interest an Ashy Minivet (Pericrocotus divaricatus) was sighted and photographed on Guam, in the Northern Marianas. This is the first record of the species there. Two races occur of this species in SE Asia, and although the nearer form tegimae would have to travel less distance to arrive on Guam (this form is resident in the Ryukyu Islands and a short flight from Guam), it is more likely that the more distant migratory form divaricatus, would be the one to occur. Primary difference between the two species is the extent of black on the head and the back, tegimae has an almost black cap except for a little white at the base of the bill up to the eye (lore) whereas divaricatus has a very noiticeable white forehead, and tegimae is also darker in the back than divaricatus.

Ashy Minivet Pericrocotus divaricatus/tegimae on Guam, Marianas, February/March 2004.

Photograph © by Curt Kessler

David Kuhn's latest Kaua'i pelagic chalked-up the following: "Tuesday March 9th 2004, on the Blue Dolphin II Lehua trip: swell NW 6-8 feet , wind NE 20-25, partly cloudy. 17 birders on board with Alvaro Jaramillo and George Armistead's tour group. We got turned back by the rough seas, went out to 1200 feet depth on the way back south. SEABIRDS SEEN:
Laysan Albatross: 6, most off Barking Sands colony site. Black-footed Albatross: 2, one mile off Barking Sands, followed boat a short way. Wedge-tailed Shearwater: 2; White-tailed Tropicbird: 3, sitting on water; Red-footed Booby: ~20; Brown Booby: ~30; Great Frigatebird: 1; Sooty Tern: 4; Black Noddy: 3. Other creatures: Spinner Dolphin: pod off Waimea; Bottlenose Dolphin: ~ 10-15, pod off Olokele."

David Kuhn's March 9th trip was quickly followed by another on March 16th: "Tuesday March 16, on the Blue Dolphin II from Port Allen NW up Na Pali to Kalalau, SW out to Lehua and E back; low swell, winds 15-20 N, building to 20-25 afternoon, partly cloudy. Couldn't get anything on the three Stormies, as they flew in the opposite direction from the boat, right into the sun. Sooty/Short-taileds Shearwaters: though the wing linings looked more gray than silvery on these birds, I don't feel confident calling a Sooty unless I see silver, without a good look at bill length. SEABIRDS SEEN: (I don't attempt to count the birds on Lehua, but will note all species seen): Laysan Albatross: 12; 3 near Lehua, 5 off Barking Sands,4 SW leg; Black-footed Albatross: 1, 1 mile of Na Pali; Sooty/Short-tailed Shearwater: 6; 3 SW leg, 3 E leg; Wedge-tailed Shearwater: ~60; Christmas Shearwater: 4; 2 SW leg near Lehua, 2 E leg; Storm-petrel sp. 3 in flock E leg; White-tailed Tropicbird 1 Na Pali, 1 E leg; Red-tailed Tropicbird 3 over Lehua; Red-footed Booby ~30 at sea, many on Lehua; Brown Booby ~50 at sea, ~40 on/near Lehua; Great Frigatebird 2 at sea; Sooty Tern 3 E leg; Black Noddy ~15 at sea; Brown Noddy 3 in flock SW leg, 2 E leg. Other species: Peregrine Falcon 1 over Lehua; Cattle Egret over Lehua. Other creatures: Spinner Dolphin large pod off Barking Sands."

Dan Lindsay sends his latest Elderhostel report: "Here are the results from the latest Elderhostel group, which birds two days on Kaua'i and three on Hawai'i.(* = heard but not seen). 17 Mar 04, Kapa'a etc.: Western Meadowlark, Zebra Dove, Spotted Dove. Hanalei NWR: Koloa Maoli, Cattle Egret, Hawaiian Coot, Pacific Golden Plover, Common Moorhen, Hawaiian Stilt, Common Myna, Black-Crowned Night Heron, Japanese White-Eye, Nutmeg Mannikin, Chestnut Mannikin, Red-Crested Cardinal, Greater Scaup, Japanese Bush Warbler, White-Faced Ibis, Nene, House Sparrow, Shoveler, White-Rumped Shama, Northern Cardinal. Kilauea Pt. NWR: Laysan Albatross, Red-Tailed Tropicbird, White-Tailed Tropicbird, Red-Footed Booby, Brown Booby, Great Frigatebird, Wedge-Tailed Shearwater. Huleia NWR: Melodious Laughing-Thrush, Common Pheasant, House Finch. 18 Mar 04, Hanapepe Overlook: Rock Dove. Koke'e St. Pk.: Pueo, Mockingbird, Erckel's Francolin, Red Junglefowl, 'Apapane, Kaua'i Elepaio, 'Anianiau, Kauai 'Amakihi. Shrimp Farm outfall: Wandering Tattler, Sanderling. Salt Ponds St. Pk.: Ruddy Turnstone, Hawaiian Stilt, Sanderling, Wandering Tattler. 19 Mar 04, Waiakea Ponds, Hilo: Mallard, Lesser Scaup, Java Sparrow, Canada Goose (Lesser). Loko Waka Pond: Pintail, Yellow-Billed Cardinal. 20 Mar 04, Volcano NP: 'Apapane, 'Io, Black Noddy, Kalij Pheasant, Hawai'i 'Amakihi, Oma'o*. 21 Mar 04, Keanakolu Rd.: Skylark, Chukar, Erckel's Francolin, Turkey, Common Pheasant. Hakalau NWR: 'Apapane, I'iwi, Volcano Elepaio (not counted separately from Kaua'i Elepaio), 'Akepa, 'Io, Oma'o, Hawai¹i Creeper, Red-Billed Leiothrix*. 22 Mar 04, Pu'u La'au: California Quail, Palila, Red-Billed Leiothrix, African Silverbill. Big Island Country Club: African Silverbill, Saffron Finch, Black-Rumped Waxbill, Yellow-Fronted Canary, Red Avadavat, Java Sparrow, Nutmeg Mannikin, Black Francolin*, Gambels x California Quail (I think), Gray Francolin. West Saddle Road: Gambel's Quail. Group total was 73, the highest ever for an Elderhostel group. The assumed hybrid California x Gambel's Quail was a male, with a roundish dark-brown spot on his belly surrounded by the scaly feathering of the California. The back was a bit paler than most Californias, the sides showed a little chestnut, and the crown was a bit brighter than most Californias but duller than the Gambel's we saw later. He had a mate (California) and eleven chicks."

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4th SHORT-TAILED ALBATROSS 1 Eastern Island, Midway. Last day the adult was recorded. JK
4th LESSER YELLOWLEGS  2 Hanapepe Saltpond, Kaua'i. Still present today.  JD 
7th  LAUGHING GULL   1 Hilo Bayfront, Hawai'i. Moulting into second-winter plumage and picking at tossed bits from fisherman. PH
7th SOOTY TERN 1-2 Pukalani, Maui. At least 1-2 heard at 10:36pm high above Pukalani in Upcountry, Maui. LT
9th  FRANKLIN'S GULL  Hilo Bay, Hawai'i. Summer-plumaged bird cruising back and forth between the Singing Bridge over the Wailuku and Coconut Island on the other end of the bay. DL 
11th FRANKLIN'S GULL 1 Hilo Bay, Hawai'i. Still present. Also Brown Noddy feeding in Bay yesterday. DL
11th CASPIAN TERN 2 James Campbell NWR, O'ahu. Also 7 Bristle-thighed Curlews from graveyard nearby. AL, NB, AB, PHa
12th BULBUL sp. 2 Onekahakaha Park, Hilo, Hawai'i. Invasive species seldom seen on the Big Island and presumably transported across from O'ahu. WP
13th WHITE-FACED IBIS 11 Hanalei NWR, Kaua'i, Hawai'i. Also 3 Blue-winged Teal there. BZ
13th MITRED CONURE 20+ Maui. Feeding in a Strawberry Guava. LT
14th GULL sp. 1 Hilo Bay, Hawai'i. Juvenile, probably Laughing Gull. Also seen yesterday perching on the red entrance marker to the Wailoa River and flying out from there over Coconut Island. DL
14th FRANKLIN'S GULL 1 Hilo Bay, Hawai'i.   DL
14th GRAY FRANCOLIN 2 Near Ka Uka Blvd., O'ahu.   RM
14th RED-CROWNED AMAZON 4 Flying over the H-2 freeway, O'ahu. Probably Red-crowned Amazon (seen distantly) headed north- westerly, toward Mililani. RM
14th PUAIOHI 1 Upper Mohihi River area, Kaua'i. One unringed “wild” bird. AL, NB, AB, PHa
14th 'AKIKIKI 2 Mohihi Trail, Kaua'i. One pair (inc courtship feeding) about 2.5lm along Mohihi Trail. AL, NB, AB, PHa
15th HAWAIIAN PETREL 10+ Nawiliwili Lighthouse, Kaua'i. In evening and a count of 6 off here on evening of 16th. Also 4 on pelagic 15km east of Nawiliwili on 16th (am). AL, NB, AB, PHa
15th NEWELL'S SHEARWATER 15+ Nawiliwili Lighthouse, Kaua'i. In evening and 1 on pelagic 15km east of Nawiliwili on 16th (am) and another 10 on seawatch from Nawiliwili Lighthouse on 16th (pm) AL, NB, AB, PHa
15th MOTTLED PETREL 1 Nawiliwili Lighthouse, Kaua'i. One on seawatch from Nawiliwili Lighthouse on 15th April (pm); 2 on pelagic 15km east of Nawailili on 16th (am) AL, NB, AB, PHa
15th LONG-TAILED SKUA 1 Nawiliwili Lighthouse, Kaua'i. An adult seen on seawatch from Nawiliwili Lighthouse on 15th April (pm). AL, NB, AB, PHa
15th RUDDY SHELDUCK 1 Near Nawiliwili Lighthouse, Kaua'i. On pool by track to Nawiliwili on 15th April. Collection bird from nearby Kaua'i Lagoons Golf Course. AL, NB, AB, PHa
15th FRANKLIN'S GULL 0 Hilo Bay, Hawai'i. No sign today of adult bird. DL
17th CANADA GOOSE 1 Kaanapali Golf Course, Maui.   BS
18th FRANKLIN'S GULL 1 Hilo Bay, Hawai'i. Summer adult still present. RD
18th BUFFLEHEAD 1 Kealia Pond NWR, Maui. Female bird on Kealia Pond on 18-19th April. Also 6 Long- billed Dowitcher present. AL, NB, AB, PHa
18th PEREGRINE FALCON 1 Kealia Pond NWR, Maui. Observed chasing Hawaiin Stilts. Also one summer- plumaged Black-bellied Plover present and 1 1st summer Laughing Gull. AL, NB, AB, PHa
19th 'AKOHEKOHE 3 Waikamoi Preserve, Maui. Two juveniles on boardwalk and 1 adult trap lining Rubus hawaiensis & Ohia from platform in Waikomoi. AL, NB, AB, PHa
19th LEAST TERN 1 Pouhala Marsh, O'ahu. Also c.130 Pacific Golden Plovers and 50+ Common Waxbills. JP
20th NEWELL'S SHEARWATER 1+ Kilauea Point NWR, Kaua'i. Returned on or before today. BZ
21st WHITE-FACED IBIS 11 Hanalei NWR, Kaua'i. All eleven birds seen again today. BZ
22nd 'AKIAPOLA'AU 1 Pu'u O'o Trail, Hawai'i. One male about 1.5km along Pu’u O’o trail. AL, NB, AB, PHa
22nd LAUGHING GULL 1 Hilo Bay, Hawai'i. Same bird as seen here on 14th. No sign of Franklin's Gull. DL
23rd NEWELL'S SHEARWATER 1 Mount Hualalai, Hawai'i. At 4:12 this morning calling as it flew over at approximately 400-feet above sea level, on Mount Hualalai. RD
24th PACIFIC GOLDEN PLOVER c.20 Honouliuli NWR, O'ahu. All took off around 5:30pm and watched flying northward till they disappeared from sight, presumably they were departing on migration to breeding grounds in Alaska or Siberia and are likely to be airborne for the next 48 hours or more. PD
24th RUDDY TURNSTONE 14 Honouliuli NWR, O'ahu. Also 23 Hawaiian Coot nests and several broods of chicks. There were at least 2 Hawaiian Stilts incubating. PD
25th FRANKLIN'S GULL 1 Hilo Bay, Hawai'i. Adult-summer still present in area. AL, NB, AB, PHa
28th HAWAIIAN PETREL 20 Wailua River Mouth, Kaua'i. In a half hour ~20 Hawaiian Petrels. DK, BQ
30th COMMON TERN 1 Pelagic from Kaua'i to Lehua Rock. Also Laughing Gull and good selection of seabirds. Click Here for full trip list. DK et al.
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Summer-plumaged Lesser Yellowlegs at Hanapepe Saltponds, Kaua'i, April 4th 2004.

Photograph © Jim Denny

John Klavitter on Midway sent the following Short-tailed Albatross information for 2003-2004: "Eastern Island: Sound system was functioning from November to present with all decoys (freshly painted) in place begining in October. The plot was checked once a week, each Tuesday. The sound system had to be re-set each Tuesday, because the CD player (new in 2003) displayed an error. Verbesina was cleared from the plot and kept clear for the season. We had one adult present (1 aluminium band, 130-01319? - read by albatross counters, no plastic band seen) from late October (10/28) to early April (4/3). The adult was present ~ every other visit and always attending an immature plumaged decoy. Several times it was observed dancing and preening the decoy when the sound system was restarted ( see attached photo). It also vocalized in response to the sound system. A small shallow nest cup was dug next to the decoy - it is not known whether the Short-tail constructed it or another albatross. Sand Island: No Short-tails were observed."

Adult Short-tailed Albatross displaying to decoys on Eastern Island, Midway, February 2004.

This adult was last seen on April 3rd 2004. Photograph © USFWS

Forest and Kim Starr sent the following report: "Spent two days on Kahoolawe last week. We were apparently the last volunteer trip to be there during the Navy cleanup. March 29: Dozen Skylarks singing at summit - all day; 8 Gambel's Quails running along ground at summit - 4:15 pm; House Sparrows nesting in buildings at basecamp - 5:00 pm; 1 mouse seen at summit - lunch; 1 cat seen near LZ quail - 4:30 pm; 2 whales seen at Honokanaia - 6:00 pm. March 30: 7 House Finches at summit - 8:00 am; 9 Gambel's Quails on north trail to Hakioawa - 9:30 am; 2 Kolea along north trail to Hakioawa - 9:45 am; 1 Skylark along north trail to Hakioawa - 10:30 am. New plants: Dyssodia tenuiloba - Near base camp. Hedyotis corymbosa - Summit, near water tank. Lactuca seriola - N trail to Hakioawa and Rd. to Puu Moaulaiki. Senecio madagascariensis - N trail to Hakioawa. New insects: Oechalia pacifica - Native predatory bug occasional on Tamarisk and haole koa at summit; Omiodes demaratalis - Native moth abundant in akiaki grass at Hakioawa. Many more... Notes Island is still green. Biomass is at a maximum. ps. Yesterday (April 8) was the last work day of clean up and Navy presence on Kahoolawe. It didn't seem to get much (any) press, but nonetheless was a very significant day. For those interested in how far we have come in the past 30 yrs., check out: http://ilind.net/gallery_old/kahoolawe1976/index.htm
pps. Images we have taken on Kahoolawe over the past year can be seen at the link below:
http://images.google.com/images?q=600max+kahoolawe&filter=0 We boated past Molokini yesterday (April 8th) en route to and from Kahoolawe on the Hakilo. In the morning (8 am) we spotted a few dozen shearwaters flying real low on the water heading west from Molokini. On the way back (2:30 pm) we saw one more. There appeared to be active burrows on the back side of Molokini, with lots of white poop streaks running down the dark cinder."

Hawaii tops nation in extinctions, report says
A federal agency is accused of failing to protect species on the list

By Ron Staton
Associated Press, April 2004

Nearly half of the 114 species that have become extinct in the first 20 years of the federal Endangered Species Act were in Hawaii, according to a new report by an advocacy group. The report by the Center for Biological Diversity says the federal government's failure to protect species "has been spectacular," and accuses the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of knowingly delaying listings "to avoid political controversy even when it knew the likely result would be the extinction of the species." A statement from the Fish and Wildlife Service said the agency "denies the inflammatory claim" and challenged the accuracy of the report. It said recovery of species is a very long process. At the time the act was passed in 1973, some species were in such bad shape the agency could not recover them, according to the agency. The service said funding has been limited because of litigation over critical habitat, and noted that fish and wildlife habitat has been declining for decades because of urbanization. The report released Wednesday said "the number (of extinct species) is shocking and indicates a grave failure in federal management of the nation's most powerful environmental law."
A co-author of the report said that with so many unique species, Hawaii faces the worst problem in the country. The 52 species lost from the islands include the large Kauai thrush, which once was the most common bird on the island; the Molokai thrush, which was endemic to Molokai; and 11 species of Oahu tree snails. Only 19 percent of the extinctions involved species on the endangered list, showing that the 1973 law is working -- at least for species that make the list, said Kieran Suckling, the center's executive director and a co-author of the report. "But species known to be endangered were stuck in bureaucratic delay and went extinct before they had a chance to be listed," Suckling said. "That should never have happened." Nearly all the species could have been saved if the Endangered Species Act had been properly managed, fully funded and "shielded from political pressure," he said. Hawaii is unique not only for the number of species on the list, but because state law requires that every species placed on the list is automatically added to a state list, said Michael Buck, administrator of the Forestry and Wildlife Division of the state Department of Land & Natural Resources, which works with the Fish and Wildlife Service. He acknowledged, however, that "just getting something on the list does not save endangered species." The No. 1 issue for Hawaii, Buck said, is "coming up with resources and public support." California was the next-highest state in the report with 11 extinctions. Guam had eight, while Alabama and Texas each had seven.
Fifteen of Hawaii's extinct species were terrestrial snails, 13 each were flowering plants and insects, eight were birds and three were moths. Birds accounted for all but two of the extinctions on the U.S. territory of Guam, where the bird population already had been devastated by the brown tree snake and other predators. The four-angled pelea, a flowering plant endemic to Kauai, is an example of a species being lost by inaction, Suckling said. The Fish and Wildlife Service became aware it was endangered in 1975 when the Smithsonian petitioned to have it listed, he said. The following year, the agency said it would propose adding it to the list, but when nothing happened, the Smithsonian re-petitioned in 1978, he said. In 1980 the Fish and Wildlife Service agreed the plant was endangered but put it on the candidate list, Suckling said. In 1994 the agency listed it as endangered, but it had become extinct in 1991, he said.
"The extinction crisis in Hawaii is worse than anywhere else," Suckling said. "We believe the Fish and Wildlife Service should have no higher job than preventing species from going extinct."Buck said extinctions have been occurring since Western sailors first discovered the islands in 1778. The extinction rate probably has increased in the past 10 years, Suckling said. "There is no reason to believe it went down," he said. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, the 52 extinct species from the Hawaiian Islands since 1973 include: 15 types of terrestrial snails, 13 types of flowering plants, 8 types of birds, 13 types of insects and3 types of moths. The centre's report on extinct species can be found at: www.biologicaldiversity.org/swcbd/Programs/policy/esa/eesa.html.

"Climate Change" piece on the Jim Lehrer News Hour on April 21st at link and below.

As Americans mark another Earth Day, the NewsHour's Science Unit examines how relatively small climate changes due to global warming can affect small animals and plants in rainforests. TOM BEARDEN: A small compound of wooden buildings in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is the modest headquarters for an ambitious global warming research project. On this day, scientists gathered under the eaves, temporarily avoiding the rain, as they prepared for another day in their living laboratory. This is the laboratory: A dense tropical rainforest on the slopes of Mauna Loa Volcano. They're looking for the effects of rising temperatures due to global warming. Many scientific studies on the subject derive from computer models. But here in Hawaii , it's a hands-on approach -- one locale and one species at a time. Scientists from numerous disciplines and agencies, including the U.S. Geological Survey, are working together, trying to understand the complete dynamics of Hawaii 's multiple ecosystems, from lava fields to rainforests. Small changes in the climate here can immediately affect plants and animals, even wipe them out entirely. Because of that sensitivity, one goal of the so-called bio-complexity project is to see whether the Hawaiian ecosystem can serve as an early warning system for climate change elsewhere and how it may impact plants and animals. After an hour of bumping over old lava-bed roads, the team lugged their gear into the forest and began setting up nets. They're studying native birds, which are highly vulnerable to an avian strain of malaria, which arrived with birds imported as pets. The mosquitoes that are spreading it came from 19th century sailing ships. Microbiologist Carter Atkinson studies how the malaria spreads. Investigating diseases: CARTER ATKINSON: We're investigating the ecology of avian diseases here in Hawaiian forest birds across a large landscape, looking at different areas -- Why it's transmitted at different rates, at different elevations -- what are some of the factors that are contributing to enhancing transmission. TOM BEARDEN: After 20 minutes, interns Christy Wyckoff and Ben Fogel recovered an I'iwi, a species of native Hawaiian honeycreeper. Back at a temporary work station under a tarp, the skilled hands of chief technician Caleb Spiegel kept the bird subdued while he checked its weight and took measurements of beak, length and tail. He looked under the feathers for body fat and added leg bands for identification. And he took a blood sample to monitor whether the disease was present at this altitude. Avian malaria is almost 100 percent fatal, but the birds have a safety zone of sorts. The malaria protozoa carried in the mosquitoes can't survive in cool temperatures. And at this elevation in the rainforest it's cool enough to be disease-free. But that zone may shrink, even disappear, because of global warming. The data gathered, Spiegel gave the bird a drink of sugar water and released it back into the forest. Patrick Hart is a researcher with the U.S. Geological Survey. He says temperatures have already risen in Hawaii's forests, shrinking the safe zone and leading to a decrease in population. PATRICK HART: Most places you go in Hawaii , you won't hear the numbers of species that we're hearing right now. And that's all because we're out of the disease zone. If we went downhill another thousand feet in elevation, we wouldn't be hearing acepas, we wouldn't be hearing creepers, we wouldn't be hearing akeapola (sic). TOM BEARDEN: And just 1,000 feet down you have what amounts to a partial desert? PATRICK HART: For birds, yeah. Yeah, exactly. We'd be in a forest that looks like this, and you might not even hear a Hawaiian bird in a minute or more, not one call. TOM BEARDEN: Silent forest. PATRICK HART: Silent forest, yeah. Temperature change:TOM BEARDEN: Do you any idea how much change in temperature can cause a threat to the birds? PATRICK HART: Really just a couple of degrees, I would think. If the mosquitoes are able to come up the mountain just another 1,000 feet than they do now, they could be transmitting a lot more disease and could wipe out a whole community of Hawaiian birds with just a couple degree increase, we think. TOM BEARDEN: Atkinson co- authored a study projecting what would happen if the Hawaiian temperature rose by two degrees. Under that scenario, the healthy birds were confined to a narrow disease-free zone between 5,000 and 6,500 feet. When the temperature rose, the disease-free zone shrank on the island of Hawaii. On the island of Kauai , it shrank even more dramatically. Dennis LaPointe was another co- author of the study. He's a research ecologist studying the mosquitoes who carry the disease to the birds. DENNIS LA POINTE: What we're looking or focusing on now is disease over the broad landscape. And we're hoping that, you know, through doing this work, we will be able to develop control strategies that will ultimately reduce disease or even eradicate disease in some areas. TOM BEARDEN: But global warming may affect Hawaii's forests in more ways than just raw temperature. Changing the climate may also change the way clouds form and how moisture reaches the soil. Thomas Giambelluca, a climatologist at the University of Hawaii working with the project, is trying to understand the subtleties of the rainforest climate. He set up an 80-foot tower with moisture sensors on top. Below that, on the forest floor, an elaborate series of catchments measures rainfall that reaches the ground. THOMAS GIAMBELLUCA: We use this system, which has a number of troughs radiating out in the up-slope direction. That directs the water down to a central funnel here. And beneath the funnel is a tipping bucket. There's a data logger here that records the number of tips, actually records the time of each tip, and that can remain in the field without anyone attending it for quite a long time. TOM BEARDEN: The sensors above the tree tops also measure moisture from clouds and fog. THOMAS GIAMBELLUCA: Rainfall's not the only input of water that we get. When fog envelopes these trees, which very often happens here, the droplets of water in the cloud directly impact the vegetation, drip down to the soil and supply water just the same way that rainfall does. And some of the vegetation here also has aerial roots that can absorb that water directly without it getting down to the soil. So if there's a change in the elevation or the thickness, the range of that cloud, that could impact this forest and other areas in Hawaii. The Hawaiian damselfly: TOM BEARDEN: Research ecologist David Foote is studying one of the first species that might be affected by a change in moisture -- the Hawaiian damselfly. He's catching damselflies in artificial pools and numbering their wings with a marking pen. Damselflies are also valuable because, as Foote demonstrated in the lab, the larvae eat mosquito larvae. In the forest, damselfly larvae tend to live in water droplets that collect at the base of native lily plants. DAVID FOOTE: Here we are -- right on the tip of my thumb. So, this is a much younger stage in the development. They molt through several skins as they grow larger. And I can put them side by side here on the tip of my finger, maybe on two fingers, and you can see them crawling around. We predict that this species, because it requires such a specialized aquatic habitat that it will be very sensitive to small changes in moisture level. TOM BEARDEN: So that little pocket of moisture at the base of those leaves might not be there? DAVID FOOTE: That's right. And as these forests get desiccated by drought events, we think that species like this that are highly specialized to very specific little aquatic niches are going to be the ones that are lost first. TOM BEARDEN: The scientists on the project will also examine the role that non-climate factors have on species, like human land use -- clearing forests to graze cattle and expanding towns and resorts. The Hawaiian study does not limit itself to looking at present-day conditions. Research assistant Shelley Crausbay is studying paleoecology, the history of Hawaii 's past climate. She recreates that history by studying core samples from a Hawaiian lake bed -- because there is little oxygen at the bottom of the lake bed, grains of pollen, pieces of moss, and even entire insects have been perfectly preserved. Some are as old as 12,000 years. SHELLEY CRAUSBAY: Most scientists have come to a consensus that climate change has been initiated, and what paleoecology can offer now is -- How will ecosystems respond to climate change? How have they responded in the past? How sensitive have they been? What kind of climatic change does it take to initiate a change in vegetation and how intense, in what direction, and what duration? TOM BEARDEN: The long-term goal of the whole project is to tie together the pieces from past and present, to model the entire system across the whole Hawaiian landscape.

O'ahu resident Joe Bush sent the following unusual report: "Attached is a picture of a dead bird that flew into my truck riding on the H-3 freeway on O'ahu near the Kapaa quarry yesterday. The bird hit the rear window inside my truck and died."

Dead Red-billed Leiothrix which flew inside a truck on an O'ahu freeway, April 2004.

Photograph © Joe Bush

David Kuhn's late April pelagic trip was as follows: "I went out on the Blue Dolphin Lehua trip (Port Allen-Na Pali-Lehua- Port Allen) on April 30 with 8 birders from England and Belgian Paul Coopmans, a Birdquest tour group. We had light winds and low swell going up the coast to Kalalau, then tail wind to Lehua and the usual strong trades upwind to Port Allen. As with most trips on this route, the most exciting birding was on the outbound leg to Lehua. Two new birds for this route are Common Tern and Laughing Gull. BIRDS SEEN: Laysan Albatross 5, 1 on/over Lehua and 4 at sea; Wedge-tailed Shearwater ~200; Newell's Shearwater 5, 4 W bound, 1 E bound; Sooty Shearwater 4 outbound; Christmas Shearwater 1; Bulwer's Petrel 3; Hawaiian Petrel 1 outbound; White-tailed T'bird 1 over Lehua; Red-tailed T'bird ~ 10 on/over Lehua; some courtship-flying; Red-footed Booby ~300, mostly on Lehua and a scant few at sea; Brown Booby ~6 at sea, ~20 on/near Lehua; Great Frigatebird ~10, 5 on/over Lehua, 5 at sea; Black Noddy ~100, most in small flocks at sea; Brown Noddy 1 mid-channel; Common Tern 2 sightings of maybe the same bird, 2 miles E of Lehua; Sooty Tern 1 mid-channel; Laughing Gull 1 imm. seen at Lehua flying around the boat, then (probably) the same bird following the boat for a while E of Lehua. Other birds: Ruddy Turnstone 1 on Lehua. Other creatures: Monk Seal 2 on/near Lehua; Spinner Dolphin many, near Lehua as well as off Barking Sands and the Pali; Bottle-nosed Dolphin 1 pod off Waimea; Humpback Whale 1 blow seen on the return leg; Green Sea Turtle 3."

Brenda Zaun, biologist at Hanalei NWR, Kaua'i reported the latest on the Hanalei White-faced Ibis flock: "The plumage of the ibises here at Hanalei appears to be indicative of breeding plumage; head, neck and back chestnut, wings a bright irridescent array of green and purple. Most have lost the white speckling on the head and neck, however, some are clearly a little behind in plumage changes than others. The more advanced birds appear to be developing some white feathering around the facial skin. The last day that I saw 11 was on April 21, however, it is not unusual to see less - in fact, it is a rarity to see all 11 together."

First-summer White-faced Ibis at Hanalei NWR, Kaua'i, April 27th 2004 .

Photograph © by Brenda Zaun

Note the continuing changes into adult-like plumage.

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5th WHITE-FACED IBIS  Hanalei NWR, Kaua'i Four birds together. BZ 
12th MOURNING DOVE 2+ Pukalani, Maui. Just donwind of the soccar fields. Also heard on 13th. CA
13th FRANKLIN'S GULL 1 Waiakea Pond, Hilo, Hawai'i. First-summer bird sitting on the side of the pond near where the inflow is by Kilauea Avenue. EV
13th MOURNING DOVE 2 Puu o Kali, Maui. Between Kihei and Keoke, inside the native plant enclosure. FSt, KSt
14th YELLOW-BILLED CARDINAL 20+ Whittington Beach Park nr. Naalehu, Hawai'i. At least 20 birds including several juveniles. EV
14th BLUE-GREY NODDY 1 Kaua'i - Ni'ihau pelagic. Full trip list Click Here. DK
16th YELLOW-BILLED CARDINAL   Waipio Valley, Hawai'i. In Waipio Valley and at the overlook into the valley. EV
25th BRISTLE-THIGHED CURLEW 1 Near Kapiolani Bvd., Honolulu, O'ahu. Manoa Stream near the intersection of Kapiolani Boulevard and South King Street (near Foodland Super Market in Market City), Honolulu. PL
25th BULWER'S PETREL 3 Kaua'i - Lehua pelagic. Full Trip List Click Here. DK, BZ
30th SEMIPALMATED PLOVER 1 Ohiapilo, Moloka'i. Adult in breeding plumage. ADY
31st RED-CRESTED CARDINAL 2 Makawao, Maui. "Art Medeiros mentioned to us last week that Red-crested Cardinals were now visiting his feeder in Makawao. Up to that point, we hadn't known of any upcountry sightings, they were known only from the low(er) lands on Maui. Today we saw a couple in downtown Makawao." FSt, KSt
31st O'AHU 'ELEPAIO 1 Aiea Loop Trail, O'ahu. One adult Elepaio, which was calling regularly, on the Eastern ridgeline on the trail, below where the power lines cross, and well below the old B-24
crash site. Also O'ahu 'Amakihi numbers were good, with a number of birds singing. Only two 'Apapane, and very few flowering Ohia or Eucalypts to draw them.
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Forest and Kim Starr visited Kaho'olawe again this month and sent the following report: "We were on Kahoolawe again last week. It seemed like we were able to hear a lot more birds this past trip, presumably because the clean-up is pau (finished) and the constant din of helicopters, machinery, and people is absent. The island is still greenish but quickly crisping. May 10, 2004: 1 Frigate - Flying around Honokanaia Bay; 1 Dove (not able to determine type) - Honokanaia; 1 Gambel's Quail - Along K1 (main road), on rock pile used to observe "sailor's hat" explosion; 2 Gambel's Quail - In small gulch at main Honokanaia beach; 2 House Sparrows - Landed and hung out in ironwood on rim of Lua Makika; Lots of sparrows - All around Honokanaia, nests conspicuous on buildings and structures; 4 House Finches - In ironwood on rim of Lua Makika; 1 Mockingbird - Mimicking skylark at Lua Makika; 1 Mockingbird - Singing tirelessly on telephone pole at Honokanaia; 4 Mockingbirds - Flying near Lua Kealialalo; 4 Skylarks - On K1. May 11, 2004: 1 Male Northern Cardinal - Singing on utility wire at Honokanaia; 1 Gambel's Quail - Lua Makika; 2 Gambel's Quails - Lower K1; 2 Gambel's Quails - Puu Kamama; 1 Mockingbird - In kiawe at Honokanaia; 3 Mockingbirds - Puu Moiwi; 4 House Finches - Puu Moiwi; 7 House Finches - Moaulanui; 2 Skylarks - Flushed from grass near Puu Moiwi. OTHER NOTES: The mice explosion is beginning, saw a couple dozen, still only one visible at a time. No owls seen. No dolphins, seals, turtles, or whales seen. NEW PLANT RECORDS: Great time to collect plants, lots of fertile material still out. Wedelia trilobata (wedelia) - At LZ1, probably came in on clean-up workers. Portulaca oleraceae (pig weed) - At summit, another recent arrival in a heavily trafficked site. Chloris barbata (finger grass) - At Honokanaia, likely on island for a while but overlooked. Senecio madagascariensis (fireweed) - At summit, a range extension for this rapidly spreading plant. NEW INSECT RECORDS: Lots of insects still around. Aphis nerii (oleander aphid) - Common on Asclepius physocarpus (balloon plants) at summit. Teleonemia scrupulosa (Lantana lace bug) - Biocontrol, common on lantana leaves at summit. Braconid wasp - Larval parasite of Omioides blackburnii (native coconut leaf roller), in larva on coconut at Honokanaia. Seems the biocontrols have caught up with the moth, ending this winter's episode. The same thing is occurring on Maui right now. Lots more yet to be identified critters."

Forest and Kim Starr also spent a couple of days doing coastal restoration at Puhilele Point in Kipahulu, Maui. "It was sunny, with light wind. Our sightings (May 18, 2004): White Tailed Tropic Birds - 2 seen cruising mountain cliffs between Kahikunui and Kaupo and 2 seen cruising sea cliffs between Kaupo and Kipahulu. Flock varying from 2-8 circling around Kukui Bay and calling all day. Frigates - 2 seen intermittently soaring along Kipahulu coast, at one point there was 3, 2 seen squabbling (not sure over what) right above Oheo campground at sunset. Black Noddies - There appears to be a colony of a dozen or so at Puhilele Pt. in a cave below an overhung section of rock. They were sunning themselves on nearby sea stacks and making a raucous sound all day long. Akekeke (Ruddy Turnstone) - 2 hanging out in the native plant exclosure and other areas of low growing vegetation at Puhilele Pt. Mannikin-like birds, probably nutmeg Flock of 50+ twittering, flying around, and resting on rocks at Puhilele Pt. Hwamei - 1 sitting on fence on side of road, Kipahulu. Cattle Egrets - 2 cruising coast towards Kipahulu in morning, Nuu. Dozen plus cruising coast towards Kaupo at sunset, Oheo campground. Northern Cardinal - 1 bold male flying from campsite to campsite panhandling for food, Oheo campground. Black Francolin - Dozen plus flushing from road side when we drove by, road from Kaupo to Ulupalakua. OTHERS: 1 turtle seen at Puhilele Pt. Family of cats panhandling for food at Oheo campground. Omiodes blackburnii (native moth) damage conspicuous on this year's coconut leaves."

David Kuhn's latest pelagic report: "The Blue Dolphin Lehua trip (Port Allen-Na Pali-Lehua-Port Allen) on May 14 was cut short three mi. E of Lehua by a downpour that moved in with a 15-18 knot SW wind, after a forecast for variable light Kona wind. We had made it up the coast to Kalalau with following seas, then up-wind to within 3 miles of Lehua when we hit a wall of rain as Lehua and Ni'ihau disappeared. The captain turned back at that point, to out-run the showers back to Kauai. Just as we emerged from the shower we encountered the first big feeding flock I've seen in two or three years on this route (I saw none (!) last year), too far off to the south to pursue. Off the near edge of this flock (~50 meters) I saw a bird like one I had seen earlier that day from a greater distance. It was clearly a tern, from the way its longish pointed wings formed a deep "V", flying lightly and erratically just off the water, and actually touching the water with its feet now and then; it was as small as a Little/Least Tern, light grey above, dingy grey-white below. I have been looking for Blue-grey Noddy for some years and that is what first came to mind, then I recalled reading that it is generally sedentary, not known to wander far from its home island (the nearest known former breeding island is Kaula, 60 miles away). Could this mean it breeds on Lehua or Ni'ihau? I saw another a few minutes later. BIRDS SEEN: Laysan Albatross 1 off Polihale; Wedge-tailed Shearwater ~400; Newell's Shearwater 6, 4 W bound, 2 E bound; Christmas Shearwater 1; Sooty Shearwater 4 outbound; Bulwer's Petrel 3; Hawaiian Petrel 1 outbound; White-tailed Tropicbird 3 over Na Pali; Red-tailed Tropicbird 1 on water mid-channel; Red-footed Booby ~100; Brown Booby ~40; Great Frigatebird ~10, 5 on/over Lehua, 5 at sea; Black Noddy ~100, most in small flocks at sea, on Kalalau beach; Sooty Tern 9 in three groups of 3; Blue-grey Noddy 3 solitary, 5-8 miles E of Lehua. Other creatures: Monk Seal 1 on Milolili Beach; Spinner Dolphin many, near Lehua as well as off Barking Sands and the Pali; Rough-toothed Dolphin 1 pod off Waimea. At 17 species this trip falls two species short of that day on the Susan Lee, out to Lehua on 12 April '96, when we logged 19 species. On 16 April '00 we saw 18 seabird species."

David Kuhn's last pelagic of the month took place as follows: "The Blue Dolphin Lehua trip (Port Allen-Na Pali-Lehua-Port Allen) May 25 included Brenda Zaun and 4 visiting birders. We had fairly strong ENE winds and low swell, comfortable going until the return leg during which all had to keep to their seats, which doesn't often happen. No Albatrosses seen, indicating the adults have probably abandoned their fat chicks by now. BIRDS SEEN: Wedge-tailed Shearwater ~200; Newell's Shearwater 2, 1 W bound, 1 E bound; Christmas Shearwater 1; Bulwer's Petrel 3; Hawaiian Petrel 3 W-bound; White-tailed Tropicbird 3; 1 over Lehua; 2 over Na Pali; Red-tailed Tropicbird ~ 10 on/over Lehua; some courtship-flying; several nests observed from anchored boat, one with chick; Red-footed Booby ~300, mostly on Lehua and a scant few at sea; Brown Booby ~6 at sea, ~50 on/near Lehua; Brenda was excited to see nestlings from the boat, as we anchored close to Lehua. Great Frigatebird ~10, 5 on/over Lehua, 5 at sea; Black Noddy ~100, most in small flocks at sea. Other creatures: Monk Seal 3, 1 on/near Lehua, 3 on Kauai beaches; Spinner Dolphin many, near Lehua as well as off Barking Sands and the Pali; Rough-toothed Dolphin 1 small pod W-bound; Humpback Whale 3, all just off Lehua's horns--one cow/calf, one solitary adult; Rabbit 1 on Lehua spotted by Brenda , the first I've seen from the boat."

Once-endangered 'amakihi bird thrives in state's lowland forests

By Timothy Hurley
Honolulu Advertiser Staff Writer
Posted on: Saturday, May 8, 2004

Once thought to be incapable of surviving in Hawai'i's lowland forests, the 'amakihi forest bird is not only living there once again but actually thriving in some low-elevation areas, scientists have discovered. A team of researchers at the Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center has found the small, yellow-green honeycreeper living and breeding in low-elevation forests of the Big Island in densities two to three times those found at disease-free high elevations, despite high rates of malaria infection. In addition, the data show an increase in range and abundance of 'amakihi at low elevations in the past decade. The discovery is remarkable because most native Hawaiian forest bird populations were decimated after the accidental introduction of mosquito-transmitted avian malaria and pox in the last century. Many native birds simply vanished from lowland forests, where the climate is favorable for mosquitoes and disease transmission, while some became extinct. In recent years, however, there have been an increasing number of sightings of 'amakihi in the lowland forests of the Big Island and Moloka'i, and even in suburban areas of O'ahu, including 'Aina Haina, Manoa, and Nu'uanu. Now, scientists have documented the low-elevation comeback, proving that the bird with the sewing-machine trill isn't just visiting lowland regions but living and breeding there. Blood samples taken from the lowland 'amakihi indicate that many of the birds got malaria, survived and became immune. Patrick Hart, a University of Hawai'i and U.S. Geological Survey researcher, said the data suggests the 'amakihi is evolving resistance to the introduced diseases, with their chances of survival boosted by the abundance of food and breeding conditions found at lower elevations. Scientists working in the sea-level forest in Puna visited the same bird survey locations where no 'amakihi were seen 10 years ago, Hart said. But surveys last year and last month found 'amakihi at 40 percent of the 91 forest survey spots. Hart has lived in the 'ohi'a forest of Hawaiian Paradise Park on the coast of Puna for seven years. For the first five years, he did not hear the 'amakihi. "Now I hear and see them all over the place," he said.

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1st WHALE SHARK 1 Kaua'i - Lehua Pelagic. Young male. Full Trip List Click Here. DK
3rd IBIS Sp. 1 Kealia Pond NWR, Maui. Presumably one of the White-faced Ibis previously seen on Kaua'i during the winter. MN
3rd GREY-BACKED TERN 1 O'ahu Pelagic. Full Trip List Click Here. PD, MW, et al.
4th LESSER YELLOWLEGS 1 Honouliuli NWR, O'ahu. In breeding plumage. Also 4 Cattle Egret, 2 Gray Francolin, 173 Hawaiian Coot (at least 5 broods of gray chicks, at least 5 broods of young orange-headed chicks, at least 10 nests). PD
4th LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER 1 Honouliuli NWR, O'ahu. Also 27 Hawaiian Stilt (1 brood of 3 newly fledged HAST, 3 broods of very small downy chicks and at least 4 nests) and 1 Wandering Tattler. PD
4th HAWAIIAN STILT 71 Waiawa NWR, O'ahu. Hawaiian Stilt: 6 subadult HAST (probably from the winter nesting) and 2 nearly fledged HAST chicks. Also 12 Black-crowned Night-Heron, 11 Mallard X Hawaiian Duck Hybrid, 1 Hawaiian Moorhen, 14 Hawaiian Coot and 1 Wandering Tattler. PD
6th LEAST or LITTLE TERN 1 Waipio Soccer Complex, O'ahu. One small tern, either a Least or Little (or hybrid) was in the middle of the plover flock. Also 12 Cattle Egret, 3 Hawaiian Stilt, 3 Mallard/Hawaiian Duck Hybrid, 400 Common Waxbill and 40 Chestnut Munia. PD
6th PACIFIC GOLDEN PLOVER 133 Waipio Soccer Complex, O'ahu. Around the time of a spring tide which may have accounted for a very high count of Pacific Golden Plovers on the fields -- the mud flats around Pearl Harbor were probably all under water. A few of the plovers were in nearly complete breeding plumage, many were in partial breeding plumage and most were in non- breeding plumage. At least a few of the birds appeared to be sick or injured. Two or three could not walk normally. PD
16th SOOTY TERN 20k Manana Island, O'ahu. Full Trip List Click Here. MW, PD
18th FRANKLIN'S GULL 1 Honouliuli NWR, O'ahu. In breeding plumage. Also 1 Dowitcher sp. in non-breeding plumage and 4 Ruddy Turnstone. PD
18th LESSER YELLOWLEGS 1 Honouliuli NWR, O'ahu. One bird in breeding plumage. Also 9 Cattle Egret, 1 Black- crowned Night-Heron, 6 Mallard X Hawaiian Duck Hybrid, 150 Hawaiian Coot (many broods of chicks, most fairly large gray chicks but at least 3 broods of small chicks, still dark but no longer orange-headed), 35 Hawaiian Stilt (4 3-wk old chicks, 4 1-wk old chicks, 2 4-wk old chicks, 3 fledglings and 5 nests). PD
18th LEAST TERN 1 Pouhala Marsh, O'ahu. Also 18 Hawaiian Stilt, 7 Wandering Tattler and 2 Ruddy Turnstone. PD
18th HAWAIIAN STILT 44 Waiawa NWR, O'ahu. Including 5 fledglings, also 4 Black-crowned Night-Heron, 10 Mallard X Hawaiian Duck Hybrid and 22 Hawaiian Coot. PD
19th O'AHU 'ELEPAIO Aiea Trail, O'ahu. Pair seen near turnoff to ridge trail. Also 30 O'ahu 'Amakihi (inc. two very young fledglings with at least one adult and many birds singing) and 2 'Apapane (inc.1 Juv with partial red plumage and1 heard singing but not seen). PD, PHi
19th  RED-BILLED LEIOTHRIX  35 Aiea Trail, O'ahu Also 25 Red Junglefowl, 20 Red-whiskered Bulbul, 60 Red-vented Bulbul, 14 White- rumped Shama, 50 Common Waxbill, 2 Nutmeg Mannikin and 10 Chestnut Munia. PD, PHi
20th I'IWI 1 Waikamoi Flume Trail, Maui. Heard and seen well in a koa tree. Japanese Bush-warblers were singing songs and calling all day long and were much more abundant and active than other species today. 'Amakahi were rarely heard today. 'Apapane were heard calling and a few songs heard in the distance. Barely any ohia lehua blossoms were seen. LT
24th LITTLE TERN 4 Midway Atoll. Seen at Sand Island, Sector 50, catchment pond. Also ~ 8 Cattle Egrets seen regularly on Sand Island (same ones that have been here since fall 2002). No evidence of breeding and race not yet determined, although it is hoped to capture some this summer and assign to race. JK
26th BULWER'S PETREL 100 O'ahu Pelagic. For full Trip List Click Here. HS
26th SEMIPALMATED PLOVER 2 James Campbell NWR, O'ahu. Also 2 Bristle-thighed Curlews, 4 Pacific Golden Plovers, Ruddy Turnstones and 1 Wandering Tattler on the refuge and 16 Turnstones in the ditch northwest of the refuge. PD
26th HAWAIIAN STILT 77 James Campbell NWR, O'ahu. Including at least 8 broods of chicks, some already fledged. Also 20 Hawaiian Moorhen (at least 1 brood of chicks), 105 Hawaiian Coot (1 brood of small orange-headed chicks and a number of older, gray chicks), 14 Cattle Egret, 1 Black- crowned Night-Heron, 11 Mallard X Hawaiian Duck Hybrid (with 5 small ducklings). PD
28th  TRISTRAM'S STORM PETREL O'ahu Pelagic For full list Click Here HS, PD, HJ 
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David Kuhn's first pelagic of the month took place on June 1st and his report was as follows: "The Blue Dolphin Lehua trip (Port Allen-Na Pali-Lehua-Port Allen) on June 1 carried me and two visiting birders from Germany. We had light winds and low swell throughout, making for a pleasant voyage. The Kauai montane breeders are showing up--first Band-rumped of this season, good looks at Newell's and H. petrel. I'm puzzling over a couple of birds not well-enough seen to specify. One was a tern, the size of Sooty/Grey-backed, but pale gray above; dark bill; sharply defined black-and-white facial features with some white forehead. Somewhat forked tail, but I only got a broadside view so not sure how much. I see from Dr. Pyle's list that (dare I say it..?) Aleutian has not been reported here. Anyone got any other ideas? Another unknown was I think a pterodroma from fight pattern, pale sandy-grey above with paler secondaries. No white extending up the neck. And, an all-dark bird of storm-petrel jizz. I couldn't see any differential shading on upper wings. CRITTER OF THE DAY: A rare WHALE SHARK on the return leg, 4 mi S of Waimea. See http://www.oceanlight.com/html/whale_shark.html
for some photos on the internet. I never thought I'd get to see one of these--the largest shark. This was a young one, only ~5 m. When two of the crew got in the water, it submerged slowly out of sight. SEABIRDS SEEN: Wedge-tailed Shearwater ~200, with a couple good Dark-morph specimens; Newell's Shearwater 2 E-bound; Christmas Shearwater 2 W-bound; Short-tailed Shearwater 2 W-bound; Bulwer's Petrel 3 W-bound; Hawaiian Petrel 1 W-bound, 2 likely E-bound; Pterodroma sp. see above; Band-rumped Storm-petrel 1 E-bound; Storm petrel sp. (all dark--Tristram's?); White-tailed Tropicbird 2 mid-channel; Red-tailed Tropicbird ~ 20 on/over Lehua; a few at sea; Red-footed Booby ~300, mostly on Lehua and some at sea; Brown Booby ~30 at sea, ~50 on/near Lehua; Great Frigatebird ~30, 25 on/over Lehua, 5 at sea; Black Noddy ~100, most in small flocks at sea; Brown Noddy 1 W-bound; Sooty Tern 3 W-bound; Tern sp. 1 E-bound. Other birds: Cattle Egret two near Lehua. Other creatures: Monk Seal 1 near Lehua; Spinner Dolphin many, near Lehua as well as off Barking Sands and the Pali; Whale Shark 1 youngster (~5M); Green Sea Turtle 3."

Michael Walther of Oahu Nature Tours has been investigating the possibility of organizing regular pelagic trips out of Honolulu. Peter Donaldson joined Michael and several of his guides on June 3rd to test the waters. "We went out on the 'American Dream' - a large boat used for whale watches, dinner cruises, etc. We left Kewalo basin around 6 AM and headed out to the BO Fish Aggregation Device (buoy) 16 miles southwest of Honolulu. We were back at the dock by 10 AM. The winds were light at sunrise but increased to 10 to 15 Kt by the time we got back. As we were heading out but still rather close to shore, a couple of people reported seeing a Gray-backed Tern. I didn't see the bird, but they gave a convincing description. I spotted one Hawaiian Petrel, but I don't believe anynone else got a good look at that bird. We didn't see anything else very unusual. As usual, there were some birds congregating around the buoy, but we did not find any big feeding flocks. Hawaiian Petrel 1; Wedge-tailed Shearwater 150; Brown Booby 4 3 on buoys near the harbor and 1 offshore; Red-footed Booby 25; Great Frigatebird 1 (seen off in the distance); Gray-backed Tern 1; Sooty Tern 75; Brown Noddy 10 mostly near the buoy; White Tern 25."

Peter Donaldson sent the following report: "Wednesday morning, June 16, Michael Walther took advantage of a lull in the tradewinds and hired a boat to go out off Manana Island and was kind enough to take me along. We went out of Koko Marina at sunrise in an open 25' fishing boat. We went out around Koko Head, circled Manana Island a couple of times, headed offshore for a bit of trolling, then headed back into Koko Marina by 10:30 AM. With lighter than usual trades, the ocean was relatively calm, but by no means flat as we went around Koko Head. As might be expected, we saw 10s of thousands of birds, but nothing very unusual. We did see three Monk Seals on Manana Island including a mother seal with a pup. There was one person on the island who appeared to be picking opihi. Wedge-tailed Shearwater 20, Red-tailed Tropicbird 8 over Manana Island. Brown Booby 6 at sea, Red-footed Booby 25 at sea, Great Frigatebird 1 high over Manana Island, Sooty Tern 20,000 (very rough guess). Many recently fledged juveniles flying around. Many still at nest sites on Manana Island. Brown Noddy 10,000 (very rough guess). Many on island and many more over the water. Black Noddy 10 Many noddies not really seen well enough to identify, but we spotted some with contrasting pale tails. White Tern 6 at sea."

On Saturday, June 26, 2004, Hadoram Shirihai went out of Heeia Kea Pier on O'ahu on the ‘Sh-Bop’ with fisherman Kurt Mench. Among the notable observations from that trip: About a year ago, Hadoram saw tens of thousands of Wedge- tailed Shearwaters northeast of O'ahu. This year he saw only about 100 in the same general area. Hadoram observed about 20 Christmas Shearwaters, including about a dozen around the Fish Aggregation Device (FAD) buoy MM. Hadoram observed about 100 Bulwer’s Petrels, including 30-40 birds in one location. Most of the birds were about a third of the way out to buoy MM. Hadoram observed about 15 Hawaiian Petrels. 26 June 2004 – Kaneohe to buoy MM: Hawaiian Petrel 15, Bulwer’s Petrel 100, Wedge-tailed Shearwater 100, Christmas Shearwater 20, Newell’s Shearwater 2, Brown Booby 5, Red-footed Booby 10, Gray-backed Tern 1, Sooty Tern 25. On June 28, 2004, Hans Jornvall and Peter Donaldson went out with Hadoram Shirihai on the "Sh-Bop". They left Heeia Pier around 8:45AM and headed out to buoy MM. It was a bit windy and rough, with winds at 20-25 Knots and waves of 3-5 feet, and there were rain showers around, therefore it was rather wet heading out between the spray and the rain. The boat headed straight out to buoy MM where they stayed around the buoy from about noon till after 4 PM, and then headed back to Kaneohe. They saw the same species Hadoram had seen on June 26, plus a couple of other intriguing birds which, unfortunately did not allow close-up views. On June 28th the same observers did a pelagic from Kaneohe Bay to Buoy MM: Hawaiian Petrel 6, Six large gadfly petrels, dark above and light below, seen with typical high arcing flight, probably all Hawaiian Petrels, but most not seen well enough to rule out similar species such as Galapagos or Juan Fernandez Petrel. One bird seen well at relatively close range almost certainly a Hawaiian Petrel. Bulwer's Petrel 50 concentrated about 1/3 of the way out to the buoy both outbound and inbound. A few farther out, including one near buoy MM, and some closer in on inbound leg. Tubenose sp. 1 Small, all-dark tubenose, which Hadoram Shirihai and Hans Jornvall thought was some sort of small shearwater. Peter Donaldson thought the bird was somewhat stocky to be a shearwater, and might have been a smallish dark petrel of some kind. Hard to say what this bird might have been, especially if it was a shearwater. Wedge-tailed Shearwater 80, some in view most of the day, with around 50 around buoy MM. Some of the birds apparently attracted to the boat and some took anchovies used for chum. Christmas Shearwater, one bird around buoy MM for hours giving excellent views. Newell's Shearwater 1 seen well near buoy. The bird was apparently passing by and was not observed again. Tristram's Storm-Petrel 1 probable. Large, all-dark storm-petrel near buoy. Relatively short, blunt-tipped wings (compared to Bulwer's), and blunt-tipped tail. Brown Booby 8, one outbound fairly close to buoy, one around buoy and 6 near a coil of rope floating a little ways out of Kaneohe Bay. Red-footed Booby 7, two near buoy and 5 on way back in, most just offshore from Kaneohe Bay. Two seen circling above floating coil of rope a short distance outside the bay. Great Frigatebird 6, one outbound fairly close to buoy, one near buoy and the rest just outside of Kaneohe Bay, including two above floating coil of rope. Gray-backed Tern 4, one on way out, fairly close to buoy, one around buoy and two coming back near Moku Manu. Sooty Tern 50, rather sparse heading out and only a few near the buoy, but a few flocks on way back in. All adults. Brown Noddy 75, some in view most of the day and around 50 around buoy MM. Black Noddy 3 in Kaneohe Bay. White Tern 1 near buoy.

An extremely interesting report concerned a sighting of a possible Blue-footed Booby (Sula nebouxii) on Lisianski Island in the North West Chain on 12th June 2004 by Ryan Jenkinson: "11:05am; East side Lisianski Island (sector 11); Wind ~20 kts EE, 40% CC, 27-29 degrees C- pretty standard weather. Much of the east side of the island has a steep beach closely fronted by dense Tournefortia hedges. The seals haul up under the limbs to the veg. behind the Tourn.. So we check behind the wall of Tourn., accessing the back open back area via a few already worn breaks and trails. It was behind the Tourn.at the end of a trail where I came across the bird. I actually didn't even notice it when I first got back there- only after spotting no seals and turning back around did I see it. It was on the ground with its head tucked under its wing. Two things initially caught my eye- 1) it was a strange spot to see a booby- only boobies in area are red-foots, which are nested up in the Tourn., 2) it seemed small, maybe 18" tall? compared to other brown boobies, which I at first presumed it to be due to its dark brown plumage. It was then that I saw its feet. There was no mistaking the very obvious blue coloration of both. The most analogous blue color I can think of is that of the bill of a red-footed booby. I immediately started in to my backpack to get my camera. This spooked the bird, which raised its head. It was a uniform dark brown dorsally with an obvious brown-white color chest break, like that of a brown booby. At this point an albatross chick wandering down the trail walked right into the booby, which commenced thrashing and screeching and flying/hoping in 2m circles, banging against the veg and Tourn. It finally moved under the Tourn, and I tried to follow it, but it got through to the other side, and presumably flew away- Icouldn't find it again. We have not seen it since, so I have no photo of it."

Peter Donaldson commented on this sighting: "I wouldn't be shocked by a Blue-footed Booby turning up in the Hawaiian Islands, but the report from Lisianski is a bit odd. For one thing, the bird was reported to be small, smaller than a Brown Booby. I've never seen a Blue-footed Booby myself, but aren't they bigger than either Brown or Red-footed Boobies? The sharp demarcation between the dark brown and white on the breast also seems wrong for an adult Blue-footed Booby. A juvenile Blue-foot might have a dark brown head and white underparts, but don't the juveniles have dull gray feet?"

Hawai'i birder Reggie David agreed and said: "I agree with Pete that the report is a bit odd - especially the reported size. Blue-footed Bobbies are larger than Brown Boobies, and just a little bit smaller than Masked Boobies. On the subject of BFBO in Hawaii please see the post Gary Wiles forwarded to me earlier this month (see below**)."

Peter Pyle also commented, as follows: "I would concentrate on a first-year or second-year Masked Booby as an alternative to Blue-footed Booby for this bird. I can't say that I've seen a Masked Booby with feet the color of a Red-footed's bill, but I have seen them in various duller shades of gray and bluish, perhaps close enough. Nothing about the plumage as described would eliminate Masked. Brown Booby is also a possibility but the closest I've seen to blue feet in a Brown Booby is a young male on the Farallones (probably of the brewsteri subspecies of Baja that is accidental in Hawaii) that had icy greenish legs and feet, and it seems that truly blue feet would be less likely for this species. It's unfortunate that the bird got away before photographs could be taken as it certainly could have been a Blue-footed as well. The single record of brewsteri for the NW Hawaiian Islands indicates that Blue-footed might also get out there, and there are vagrant records of Blue-footed Booby in California as far north as Humboldt County."

**Subject: a hitch-hiking Blue-footed Booby. From: Denny Granstrand. Date: Tue, 01 Jun 2004 12:40:07 -0700. "I did a home inspection today for a couple who spent most of the last year living on their sailboat. They sailed from Mexico to Hawaii last fall. When I asked Howard about the birds they saw away from land, he said the strangest thing happened. When they were about 200 miles west of Mexico, a Blue-footed Booby landed on the railing at the bow of the boat. When it faced into the wind, it pooped on the deck, so they would scare it off. When it faced backward, it pooped off the front of the boat, so they let it stay. It soon learned to land facing backward. It stayed with them until they sighted land in Hawaii, a ride of about 2500 miles. The booby only left the boat to catch something to eat, mostly flying fish. This makes me wonder how the boobies that have been seen in the Pacific Northwest got here. Did they hitch-hike, too?"

Voyage raises challenge

Article in the Honolulu Advertiser June 13, 2004
By Jan TenBruggencate
Advertiser Science Writer

"MIDWAY ATOLL, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands — Hokule'a is voyaging back to the main Hawaiian Islands now, but the crew members on its historic 1,200-mile island-hop up the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands said the community created by that voyage endures. What also has endured is a sense that thinking as a community is what can help save a community. "I have a lot of questions right now. This voyage has changed me," said captain Nainoa Thompson. "It has raised the issue of our values and our vision back home." The voyaging canoe left Hanalei Bay on Kaua'i May 23, sailing to remote, poorly charted anchorages. The vessel stopped by uninhabited islands and others populated only by maintenance and scientific teams. Its crew members planted native plants and hauled away marine debris. They sailed by endangered sea turtles and Hawaiian monk seals, dived in waters with sharks and massive ulua, walked beaches occupied by giant nesting albatrosses and tiny fairy terns, whose appearance at sea Thompson said is an indication that land is nearby.
The Hokule'a's 12-member community, half of whom were not veteran sailors, struggled together in good sailing and in bad, and brought themselves and the canoe home safe, officially ending the expedition Wednesday. Reflecting on the voyage, marine biologist Randy Kosaki of Waimea on the Big Island said he was impressed by the reverence with which the crew approached land, bringing ho'okupu, or gifts, from their own islands. Led by cultural specialist Keoni Kuoha, they also offered chants and prayers to the islands. "The respect that we give this place, the ho'okupu — the main Hawaiian Islands are no less sacred, yet we rarely give them this respect," Kosaki said. Veteran Hokule'a sailor Tava Taupu, a native of the Marquesas Islands and now a resident of Kona, said he was struck by the abundance of sea birds that have disappeared on his native islands within his lifetime because of egg collecting and the effects of invasive alien species. Voyaging on the canoe reminded him that the environment can be protected if people think of it as crew members think of each other and of the canoe. "Just like on the canoe, we need to check on each other, take care of each other. It's like the canoe is yours, it is home for you. If you take care, it take you 1,000 miles, you go far, far. If not, you break apart," Taupu said. The spare resources on the individual islands in the northwestern chain that some call the Kupuna Islands, or elder islands, reminded some that in Hawai'i we could be much more conscious of our use of resources, said crew member Leimomi Dierks. "Living on these islands, living on the canoe, it's a challenge at first, but it's so doable," she said. "The vision is that you malama the land and take care of the wildlife. You learn to not waste resources, learn to conserve."

On Laysan, the killing of sea birds for their feathers, the taking of their eggs, the mining of guano and the introduction of alien species such as rabbits turned a green forested island into a sand desert. Today, wildlife crews are trying to restore it. It's tough work, and it's a lesson for us, said Kanako Uchino, a coral reef researcher from Japan. "We are showing the islands' precious wildlife and how fragile it is. Once you break the balance, it's really hard to bring it back, and it's so easy to break the balance," Uchino said. Escort boat crewman Palani Wright calls attention to a pile of washed-up ropes and nets on Laysan that Hokule'a's crew helped cut up and haul from a beach. Bins in the background contain more marine debris. Such debris can entangle seals, turtles and sea birds. Some suggest the Kupuna Islands should be restored and left alone, but that misses the point of one of the lessons of the Hokule'a voyage, according to Kawai Hoe, one of the captains of the escort vessel Kama Hele. The key is to learn how humans can be part of the environment without threatening its survival. "I dislike the idea that wildlife is separate from humans. We're part of the system. For myself, this is about bringing the families back together. These islands are parts of a family that had been lost to each other. Some people are saying that this voyage is a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Hopefully it's not that. Within the last 200 years, we have screwed things up. Now we have to learn to put them right," Hoe said. The Polynesian Voyaging Society, working with many partners, dispatched the canoe under the banner "Navigating Change," a concept whose basis is that if the community doesn't plan for the kind of future it wants, it will get the kind of future it doesn't want. As when an anchor is hauled on the canoe, if only one or two people try, the anchor doesn't come up. But if many people pull, each does less work and the anchor comes aboard. "What we're doing with 'Navigating Change' is to get people to do a little. If everybody just did a little thing, it would make a big difference. Like using biodegradable soap, because everything ultimately goes to the ocean, and all you have to do is change brands," said sailing master Bruce Blankenfeld. "The whole spirit of malama is that you always leave a place better than you found it." Thompson said the success of the voyage will be measured by whether people respond to the message. "There seems to be a sense that, yes, there are concerns for our future, but there is hope when we come together in community," he said. Advertiser science writer Jan TenBruggencate sailed aboard Hokue'a on its 1,200-mile voyage through the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, sending back dispatches by satellite phone."

Laysan Island and its wildlife make slow recovery from exploitation

Article in June 4, 2004 Honolulu Advertiser.
By Jan TenBruggencate
Advertiser Science Writer

LAYSAN ISLAND, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands — A beautiful, fragrant night-flowering plant, known in Hawaiian as mai'apilo, had a double bloom on Laysan Island on the night of the full moon Wednesday. It is one of the plants that are gradually being returned to the island after nearly a century of absence. Most of the worst weeds are under control, and the replanting of Laysan is one of the keys to the conservation effort here, said Stefan Kropidlowski, who heads the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service team on the island. "The majority of our work now is propagating plants," he said. The mai'apilo is one of them. The Laysan Island described by early voyagers was a verdant wonderland, with a coastal sandalwood forest, native palms and several species of native land birds along with a remarkable assemblage of sea birds. Most of that was lost, including all the sandalwood and many other plant species and most of the land birds, during the late 1800s and early 1900s, when humans came onshore to mine the island for guano, to kill sea birds for their feathers, to collect eggs, turtles and seals for their meat and on and on. Rabbits finished the process. After being brought to the island shortly after 1900 to provide a source of food and the potential of industry — a rabbit-canning business — they ate the island bare of greenery, munching seedlings as they sprouted. When the Bishop Museum's Tanager Expedition arrived for a month in 1923, only four species of plants remained of the two dozen originally known to have been present. One of the goals of the expedition was to eradicate the rabbits. The impact of a few decades of aggressive exploitation of Laysan for its natural resources is still felt today. A vast sandy flat on the north end of the island still has sand castings of sandalwood roots. It was once forest. Most of the original native species are still absent. Without a full complement of plants, the island is probably drier than it was, meaning the few freshwater seeps produce less water and for a shorter time. Fresh water is one of the main limiting factors for the Laysan duck or teal, a small bird that eats insects primarily, nests in the greenery and was once a common waterfowl on almost all the Hawaiian Islands. The ducks disappeared on each other island as egg-eating rats appeared. Now it is found in the wild only on Laysan. "There never were rats here, which is probably why they are still here," said Michelle Reynolds, conservation biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, doing duck research for the Fish and Wildlife Service. There are perhaps 400 ducks left on the island, and that's probably near the maximum number possible, given the resources available. The main one: fresh water. Adult ducks have salt glands that remove salt from their bodies so they can subsist on salty water, but chicks don't. They need fresh water. In 1993, a combination of a parasite and a drought reduced the number of ducks to about 100. It has taken more than a decade for their numbers to recover. Reynolds said that a critical conservation need is to re-establish the ducks on another island, so a new parasite, another drought or some other catastrophe doesn't render them extinct. "The risk here for a single population are very, very high," she said. Researchers hope to move them to Midway. Also going to Midway is a collection of the native Hawaiian sedge known as makaloa, which grows luxuriantly around the edges of Laysan's 100-acre salty lake. The plant was known for the fine Ni'ihau mats woven of its stalks. Hokule'a crew members helped Reynolds collect small makaloa plants, which the canoe would carry to Midway where a wildlife team would care for and plant them. Laysan is one of the several islands of the Northwestern chain that has Hawaiian monk seal recovery teams. Karen Holman, head of the three-woman Laysan team, said that one of their tasks is to be alert for seals entangled in marine debris. "A lot of the seals have entanglement scars around their necks," she said. A message for people back in more populated areas is not to forget where your waste goes, she said."

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Names and Initials of Observers submitting sightings during 2004.

AB = Ashley Banwell; NB = Neil Bostock; DB = Dave Boyle; TC = Tom Coles; LC = Lyndsay Cooper; RD = Reggie David; GD = Garry Dean; JD = Jim Denny; PD = Peter Donaldson; PHa = Peter Hayman; PH = Phil Henderson; PHi = Paul Hicks; SH = Steve Huggins; LH = Liz Huppman; AJ = Alvaro Jaramillo; GJ = Gretchen Johnson; HJ = Hans Jornvall; DK = David Kuhn; JK = John Klavitter; NK = Nick Komar; AL = Alan Lewis; PL = Piet Lincoln; SL = Satoko Lincoln; DL = Dan Lindsay; MM = Matt Madeiros; DM = Dave Martyn; RM = Richard May; GN = Glynnis Nakai; JN = Jupiter Nielsen; MN = Mike Nishimoto; MO =Mike Ord; RPa = Rob Pacheco; RPat = Robert Patton; WP = Will Pitt; KP = Kurt Pohlman; JP = John Polhemus; CP = Chuck Probst; RP = Robert Pyle; BQ = Birdquest Group; BR = Bill Rathman; MR = Mark Rauzon; DS = Dennis Shaw; MSe = Mike Sefton; HS = Hadoram Shirihai; MS = Mike Silbernagle; GS = Gordon Smith; BS = Bill Sparklin; FSt = Forest Starr; KSt = Kim Starr; KS = Keith Swindle; LeT = Leilani Takano; LT = Lance Tanino; EV = Eric Vanderwerf; MV = Matt Victoria; MW = Michael Walther; AW = Abby Watson; DW = Dave Watson; ADY = Arleone Dibben-Young; BZ = Brenda Zaun. HFT = Hawai'i Forest and Trail; NCH = Nature Conservancy Hawai'i; ONT = O'ahu Nature Tours; mo = many observers. Ed. = Editor.


Hawaii Birding Chatlist. 2004. Messages posted on the Hawaii Birding chatlist by various birders throughout the course of the year. Kaua'i, Hawai'i / Worthing, U.K.

Melgar, C.W. 2004. Sightings reports published on the Birding Hawaii website. Worthing, West Sussex, U.K.

Pyle, R. and Donaldson, P. 2004. Quarterly reports in North American Birds 58:1, 58:2, 58:3, 58:4 and 59:1. ABA.

Apologies for any errors or incorrect reports / sightings or bird sightings attributed to wrong observers. Any errors brought to the attention of Birding Hawaii will be rectified. All photographs appearing in the Reviews are of the actual birds seen unless otherwise credited/captioned. All records are unsubstantiated and so no responsibility is taken for incorrect or inaccurate reports.

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©Birding Hawaii 2004