Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Birds and pigs

It's always fun to go birdwatching in Maui, especially to find native birds, most of whom are rare or endangered. They become endangered by habitat loss (the result of turning the islands into resorts, planting non-native trees that mean native bugs have no homes), and competition from non-native birds.

For the first time, we got to the Kealia Pond wetland, and saw the rare Hawaiian Stilt, or Ae'o (as he is known in Hawaii). They're rare (only about 1,800 left), but not in Kealia Pond.
About 50 of them hiding from the wind
We went birding upcountry on our favourite trail and found (but could not photograph) some 'Apapane (a red and black nectar feeder that likes trees that are very rare) and 'Alauahio (a high speed green tennis ball of a bird), but did get shots of 'Amakihi.
Hangin' in a mamane tree 
The curved beak is a giveaway
We hike this trail every time we are on Maui, and every time, there is more damage from the feral pigs and goats up there at the 6,000' level. This time, for the first time ever, we saw the pigs, and not just once, but we had two different sightings.
Not very big, and in a hurry
We were surprised at how small they are, being no more than about 12" tall and 24" long.

It's been REALLY busy on the island. Here's one of the beaches we were on.
People as far as the eye can see
Jam packed with tourists. Don't you just hate paradise?

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