Rob writes: As we continued our descent of about 700 feet to the boardwalk at Waikamoi Preserve, I was still trying to wrap my head around what we had just encountered. To see a Kiwikiu (Maui Parrotbill) and to get photo was far beyond all of my expectations for the day. Chuck was excited that we had seen the parrotbill and was also relieved that we had found the rarest bird in the area - the pressure of finding birds for me was gone. I laughed and told him that I was just happy to have been able to bird the property!
On the way down to the boardwalk, Chuck filled me in on what was going on on the property. The Nature Conservancy has been working hard to improve that habitat on this preserve. One of the major improvements they have made is a fence that keeps out most of the introduced mammals. Feral pigs were one of the biggest threats to the preserve because they can clear large amounts of undergrowth in a very short time period. Once the fence was built, a team of hunters was hired to come in and eliminate all of the pigs that were in the fenced area. The plan worked perfectly, and on a recent survey by the Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project, they found no evidence of any pigs on the preserve!
Just before we arrived at the boardwalk, Chuck suggested that we stop and wait for a few minutes to see if an 'Akohekohe (Crested Honeycreeper) would come in to a tree that was in bloom. After only about 3 minutes, two 'Akohekohe flew in and started foraging in the flowers. They flew off rather quickly but we decided to wait a few minutes to see if they would return. It didn't take long, and this time they stuck around long enough for me to get a couple of photos!
|My first shot of 'Akohekohe. The lighting was very tough so it is not a great shot, but it's still a very awesome bird!|
|A slightly better shot of the 'Akohekohe. It is still blurry, but the lighting was much better.|
|One more 'Akohekohe shot.|
After I finish up my posts on my adventures in Hawaii, I will be writing a post about the conservation efforts that are going on in Hawaii and what you can do to help!