Fabulous Hawaiian fauna (mostly birds)

Did you know that of all the states in the US, Hawaii has experienced the most species loss? That’s probably no surprise, given the exotic/endangered/rare flora and fauna that only lives there.

Today, I’d like to share some of my favorite animal pictures from my recent trip to Hawaii. They’re mostly of birds: some you’re accustomed to seeing in the continental US, and others you may not see anywhere else in the world.

If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii and want to see amazing birds, check out the Hawaii Audubon Society website for tips on where to visit for the best bird views on each island. On Maui, the majority of our bird sightings happened at the Keālia Pond National Wildlife Refuge, and its Keālia Coastal Boardwalk. On Kauai, the lighthouse at Kilauea is a must-see area for an amazing array of birds. Even in cases where I haven’t identified the bird, I will identify which island.

The not-so-humble rooster is ubiquitous on roadsides (and pretty much every else) in Kauai.

While you might be tempted to think the rooster is the official bird of Kauai given the fact that roosters are everywhere there, the state bird is the endangered Nene goose: Continue reading

Glittering eyes and the magic of this world

When I was in my twenties, my mom took me with her to Hawaii. Before that trip, I had never heard of the green flash at sunset, not even in my college meteorology class. Then again, my professor was most interested in avalanches, and so maybe the green flash didn’t figure into his lecture notes.

I didn’t see the green flash on that trip with my mother—though we watched many sunsets hoping to see it—and I tucked the idea of the green flash into one of the corners of my mind. From time to time in the intervening years I would wonder: Is the green flash a real thing? Is it a myth? I didn’t know.

Fast forward to the beginning of this month, when my husband and I stood on a mountainside in Kauai looking west.

When we first got out of the car, we realized we had a bit of time before the sun would “hit” the ocean. Should we wait? Continue reading