Yavapai College PAC - oxymorons

Home | Classifieds | Place an Ad | Public Notices | Subscriber Services | 928 Media Lab | Real Estate Search | Galleries | Obits | Yellow Pages | TV Listings | Contact Us
The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : features : features July 22, 2014

2/27/2013 10:00:00 PM
Column: Hawaii is a paradise - especially for birders
Courtesy photoEric Moore visits Goat Island on the north shore of Oahu.
Courtesy photo
Eric Moore visits Goat Island on the north shore of Oahu.
Eric Moore
Courier Columnist

Aloha from beautiful Maui! By the time you read this I will already be back in Prescott, but I wrote this column while in Hawaii earlier this week. My wife Gayla and I spent a few days in Oahu before flying to Maui for a few days. As you might imagine, the focus of my time and energy has been on finding new birds for my life list. I have had some really wonderful experiences.

One highlight this past week was seeing - for the first time in my life - an albatross and a noddy. Open seas and ocean-going birds are referred to as pelagic species. I searched for other pelagic species, as well, including petrels and shearwaters, but was unsuccessful. It turns out a lot of these birds have not returned from where they spend their winters. Silly birds, why would they ever leave Hawaii?

It is almost embarrassing to admit that I have very few pelagic birds on my life list - but hey, I have lived in Arizona almost my whole life, so I have a good excuse! When I was preparing for the trip, my sister, who lives at Turtle Bay on the island of Oahu, told me to bring flip-flops. When I told her I didn't own any, she asked, "What do you wear to the beach?" I just laughed and laughed and responded, "We don't have any beaches in Arizona!"

Some of the new birds I saw are species that migrate between Alaska and Hawaii each year. No small feat when you consider that once these birds leave land in Alaska, they fly non-stop until they reach Hawaii as there is no place for these birds to stop and rest as they migrate.

One of my most treasured experiences on the island of Oahu was meeting a man named Phil Bruner. He is the director of the Natural History Department for the Brigham Young University Hawaii campus. Phil has a PhD from Louisiana State University in Zoology and he specializes in birds. Needless to say, I was very happy that I could meet Phil and go birding with him on the north shore of Oahu, between the town of Kahuku and Turtle Bay.

I was hoping to see a very rare bird species - the bristle-thighed curlew. I had looked for it on my own earlier in the week, unsuccessfully, but Phil was able to take me right to the spot where they winter - in the James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is currently closed to public access, but we birded from the perimeter of the refuge, looking in.

Bristle-thighed curlews are very rare, as there are only about 2,500 left in the world! Approximately 70 of these birds winter each year in and around the refuge where they fatten up in preparation for their return flight to Alaska where they breed and rear young.

While searching for the curlew we found another rare bird - so rare, in fact, that it is not even listed in the Hawaii Audubon Society's book "Hawaii's Birds." We found a great-crested tern, which was another new bird for my life list. Needless to say, I was very happy.

Seeing several Laysan albatross in a nesting colony at Ke'ene Point Natural Area was a real highlight for me. These large birds are masters of the wind. With long thin wings, they fly over the Pacific Ocean for months at a time without coming to land - at all.

I'll share more next week about birding in Hawaii.

Eric M. Moore is the owner of Jay's Bird Barn. Email questions to eric@jaysbirdbarn.com.

Related Stories:
• The Rufous are coming!
• New birds on the beautiful island of Maui
• Some surprises in this year's Great Backyard Bird Count
• Column: Happy Valentine's Day to all lovebirds
• Birding at Fain Park is exhilarating

    Recently Commented     Most Viewed
Plane crash near Sedona may have caused fire (1 comment)
One pilot, one parachute and a chance meeting that changed a life (3 comments)
One giant leap: 1st moon walk was 45 years ago today (20 comments)
Steeple height variance a tall order: Prescott Board of Adjustment denies bid for 67-foot spire (40 comments)
Editorial: City inconsistent on rule-bending (12 comments)

Article Comment Submission Form
Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. The email and phone info you provide will not be visible to the public. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comments are limited to 1300 characters or less. In order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit your comment entries to five(5) per day.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

HSE - We want to hear from you
HSE - Circulation Costco Memebership offer
HSE- Rants&Raves
Find more about Weather in Prescott, AZ
Click for weather forecast

Quick Links
 •  Submit site feedback or questions

 •  Submit your milestone notice

 •  Submit your letter to the editor

 •  Submit a news tip or story idea

 •  Place a classified ad online now

Find It Features Blogs Milestones Extras Other Publications Links
Classifieds | Subscriber Services | Real Estate Search | Galleries | Find Prescott Jobs | e-News | RSS | Site Map | Contact Us
Yavapai College - Fall semester

© Copyright 2014 Western News&Info, Inc.® The Daily Courier is the information source for Prescott area communities in Northern Arizona. Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Prescott Newspapers, Inc. Prescott Newspapers Online is a service of Prescott Newspapers Inc. By using the Site, dcourier.com ®, you agree to abide and be bound by the Site's terms of use and Privacy Policy, which prohibit commercial use of any information on the Site. Click here to submit your questions, comments or suggestions. Prescott Newspapers Online is a proud publication of Western News&Info, Inc.® All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2014 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved