Friday, March 19, 2010

Birds in Hawaii

Note that I didn't say Birds OF Hawaii.

You almost never see a bird that wasn't introduced in fairly recent times by humans. Sitting on our lanai, we were constantly entertained by the cheerful songs of mynah birds (India 1865) and northern cardinals (USA 1929) in the coconut palms. saffron finches (South America 1960s) and zebra doves (Asia 1922) explored the lawns. wandering tattlers (migratory) patrolled the roads, wild turkeys (USA 1815) the pastures.

Only when we climbed the slopes of Mauna Kea and penetrated the native forests of Metrosideros and Acacia could we find birds that were present before people came. There I was my usual bumbling, incompetent birdwatcher, among the last to see the elusive quarry. (if I saw it at all before it fled).  One day of birdwatching is enough for me. Fortunately, the forest itself was absolutely fascinating. The tall New Zealand Christmas trees (Metrosideros) with their red flowers, and the even taller Acacia, just coming into flower, provided a wonderful habitat for tree ferns, raspberries that had no thorns, and mints that didn't smell or taste of mint, not to speak of the lichens I have already mentioned in the last blog.

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