dmcvay at peak.org
Tue Jan 10 16:35:59 PST 2012
We recently returned from “The Garden Island” of Kauai staying in the Princeville area. On one of our bird walks through a local neighborhood of homes with lush vegetation, we encountered another birder who said he was an Albatross Caretaker. He asked if we wanted to see a pair of mating Laysan Albatross and of course we eagerly accepted. The birds were in a vacant lot about 50’ away between two homes and indeed they were performing typical Albatross mating behavior, bill dueling and cooing to each other.
Later we visited the nearby Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This sanctuary is located at the Kilauea Lighthouse. Many mating pairs of Albatross were also observed at that location.
According to the Albatross Caretaker the birds commonly nest in populated areas on the north shore of Kauai. The caretaker makes rounds through these areas trying to make sure that the birds are not overly disturbed since they commonly nest on the many golf courses and under the lush vegetation of the adjacent homes. Many of the birds have been banded and usually return to the same nesting area for many years. They seem to coexist with the local human population with no problems except for humans getting too close and with dogs.
This area also has many nesting pairs of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters. We were able to see a fledgling up close at the NWR and some at the entrances of their nesting burrows.
Red-footed Boobies were very abundant, soaring and roosting on the cliffs and in the vegetation around the NWR. White-tailed Tropic Birds were also seen.
We also kayaked on the Hanalei River in the Hanalei NWR and saw many Black-crowned Night Herons, breeding Nenes, Hawaiian Coots, Koloas, Common Moorhens, Black-necked Stilts, and of course hundreds of alien species everywhere.
The golf courses and lawns have foraging Pacific Golden Plovers on all parts of the island.
Don and Sandi McVay
dmcvay at peak.org
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