[Tweeters] re Kauai birding and California Gnatcatcher

m.egger at comcast.net m.egger at comcast.net
Fri Aug 27 14:06:59 PDT 2010

First I wanted to agree about both the Kilauea N.W.R. and the Alakai Swamp are outstanding. Just wanted to mention that if you are not able to do the long hike, many of the native forest birds can be seen up on the ridge near the end of the road above Waimea Canyon (Kokee St. Pk.), the overlook spot mentioned in other's e-mails. Just birding around that area and about a half mile of the start of the trail down into the Alakai I was able to find most of the not- super-rare endemics: Iiwi, Amakihi , Akikiki , Anianiau , Kauai Elepaio, and a nice flock of Akekee were all found in this small area, without guide or exhausting hike. Of course, going farther in is great as well, but if you are limited in time, the Kokee area is a good bet for at least some of the fine native forest birds of Kauai. Be patient and study up on the bill shapes and call notes BEFORE you go. It can be tough to see the birds well as they move through the trees. You won't get much chance to study the birds sitting in one spot as you leaf through the field guide.

Secondly, I couldn't let Richard Carlson's statement from the message below go unanswered: "While we've spent enourmous efforts to "save" barely ID'able sub-species -- Mt. Graham squirrels, Cal Gnatcatcher etc., we've let an entire Hawiian avifauna collapse". While I agree that the Hawaiin endemic are wonderful & need more conservation efforts to same them, I completely disagree with the implication that the Mt. Graham Squirrel and the California Gnatcatcher are "barely ID'able sub-species" apparently not worthy of conservation efforts. First, the California Gnatcatcher is a full and well-marked species, not a subspecies (and it's a very cool little bird!), easily distinguished from the other gnatcatchers when one knows what to look for. Moreover, it is easily conserved, IF we choose to save what's left of its habitat. Sadly, the situation with the Hawaiian forest endemics is more complex & they face a whole set of serious threats to their existence: habitat destruction, disease, introduced predators, loss of native food plants, climate change, etc. Anyway, my point is that both the Hawaiian endemics AND the endangered species on the mainland of North America deserve out strongest efforts to protect their habitats and help them survive.


From: tweeters-bounces at mailman2.u.washington.edu [ mailto:tweeters-bounces at mailman2.u.washington.edu ] On Behalf Of rccarl at pacbell.net
Sent: Thursday, August 26, 2010 8:07 AM
To: tweeters at u.washington.edu ; Karen
Subject: Re: Fwd: [Tweeters] Kauai birding advice?-

Don't forget the great flock of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters that come into their nests near the Lighthouse just before dusk.

If you are lucky enough to see a native Hawaiian land bird, don't forget that they're disappearing.  While we've spent enourmous efforts to "save" barely ID'able sub-species -- Mt. Graham squirrels, Cal Gnatcatcher etc., we've let an entire Hawiian avifauna collapse.  When I first visited Hawaii in 1970, Iiwi & Apapane were common, now you'll be lucky to see one.

Richard Carlson
Full-time Birder, Biker and Rotarian
Part-time Economist
Tucson, AZ, Lake Tahoe, CA, & Kirkland, WA
rccarl at pacbell.net
Tucson 520-760-4935
Tahoe 530-581-0624
Kirkland 425-828-3819
Cell 650-280-2965

--- On Thu, 8/26/10, Karen < puget_sound_girl at yahoo.com > wrote:

From: Karen < puget_sound_girl at yahoo.com >
Subject: Re: Fwd: [Tweeters] Kauai birding advice?-
To: tweeters at u.washington.edu
Date: Thursday, August 26, 2010, 9:11 AM

I am enjoying the responses re: Kauai birding as I will be there for 10 days in November.   I'd love to hear about any recommendations.

Thanks for your help!


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