Sunday, 5 June 2011

Walking On The Moon - The Police

The continuous and heavy overnight rain didn't bode at all well for a good day today, and as I headed for Waikiki beach at 06:00 in hope of a 'sea-bird' or two, there was still a steady downpour of drizzle. However, what was unknown to me at that time was that this ADVENTURE was about to turn into a WALK ON THE MOON (metaphorically speaking). Coincidentally, the Gull Count remained the same as yesterday- nil and other birds amounted to another zero, so with no time to loose I boarded the 52 bus for

an area just a few miles south of Turtle Bay where I was briefly yesterday.

This pretty little yellow bloom with its attendant tiny Grasshopper with long antennae soon caught my eye,

as did the first addition to the Trip List today. All of this had taken just 10 minutes, and was followed by a bollocking from the burly, Hawaiian Security Guard who had me climb back up the rocks where I had headed in pursuit of a closer shot of this

Common Gallinule which was a World Armchair Tick late last year when it was split from Common Moorhen. Who knows this may be another when it comes under closer scrutiny and becomes Hawaiian? I was sure to be polite to the Guard, who later became known to me as Waialua which also proved very useful.

This beautiful place really was a case of not knowing which way to look first, but this Huge Bee held my attention for quite some time

before spotting this cluster of Palm Fruits high in the canape

Next came this Hawaiian Temple site

the details for which are on this notice.

Stopping to chat to more members of staff, I simply couldn't

resist taking a closer shot of this Lovely Lady.

Most unusual I thought was this plant that was both Flowering and

Fruiting at the same time, and then all of a sudden this

Red-whiskered Bulbul landed directly in front of me, another addition even though 'introduced'.

2 other species that are also 'introduction' but will not enter the list were this smart Peacock

and one of dozens of Jungle Fowl that are to all intent and purpose, WILD!

A better shot of a male Red-crested Cardinal and

the first of a female were both welcome, but the best news was forthcoming when I stopped to talk to Charlotte a lovely lady of senior years and today the volunteer Car Park Attendant. She noted I was a bird watcher and immediately produced a brochure of all the birds at this site, including an Endemic of which she knew the location. Only problem was they were in the Words Department area inaccessible to the general public, but seeing Waialua approaching in his golf buggy I formed a cunning plan. Stopping him 'policeman like' with a huge grin on my face I made light of the rocks incident then went on to explain the enormity of the favour I was about to ask him. Not only did he grant me free pratique but invited me to clime aboard and drove me to the site!

There we found both male & female Hawaiian Duck

but goodness knows which is which. A little further on down the road

offered some potential, and it wasn't long before both

Northern Cardinal and

White-rumped Shama put in appearances, the later reveling it presence by its Nightingale like song.

The first Monarch Butterfly was also seen here while all this time

this US Coast Guard Cargo Ship was unloading.

On my way out I stopped to thank Charlotte for her kindness, who announced she had just remembered another site I may be interested in, but went on to say it would take an 8 mile bus ride, after which there would be a 5 mile walk along a made up road followed by 2 to 3 miles of rough terrain. She ventured that it would be unlikely that I would make it but suggested if I even try to take lots of water and sun-screen. With the quarry in prospect and her unintended 'red rag' I climbed aboard the bus for the first leg on which my 'transfer ticket' was now not valid but wavered it nonetheless. Quizzing her about my destination, she also concluded there was little chance of success on foot, but I had another card up my sleeve. As I left the bus she gave me yet another 'transfer ticket' to get me back to Honolulu and wished me good luck - aren't people kind!

Desperate times need desperate remedies as I stuck my thumb up to the first vehicle without success, which was the same for the following 23. The next was Robert MacDonald a budding Polo Player who was just off for a 'chukka' or two and could take me to with 2 mile of the imposing rough track which lay beyond. Having got into some mutually interesting conversation he changed his mind, deciding he would take me all the way to the track. Having only time to thank him for his kindness and luck with the game than I struck up a chat with a young man driving the biggest jeep I had ever seen.

This was Carlos (third from left) and some of the Crew of the USS Crommlin an anti Submarine Frigate stationed at Pearl Harbour with the lads just grabbing some R&R. "A lift up the hill sir? no problem", so I jumped in one of 2 such vehicles. The last time I drove in conditions like this was across the Mongolian Mountain Steppe, but this was to be just 3 miles which was surely uncomfortable enough for all concerned.

Just time for a photo call with The Old Man of the Sea!

This reserve forms the most north westerly point of O'ahu Island and in shape and size cannot be far in dimension from the Portland Bill area that stretches from the Eight Kings pub. The triangle that would be from the Portland Bird Observatory to the Coast Guard lookout including the Bill, is in this case protected by a high wire fence, a 2 way sliding door system to allow access and a huge amount of predator poison traps. In turn there are single strand fence to keep humans off the sensitive breeding areas, and the first bird we saw here was a Hawaiian Shearwater showing only briefly, time to time, as it caught the thermals at the cliff edge. Next came this

Hawaiian Monk Seal

a beauty of about 12 feet in length, and who knows how much it must have weighed?

On the distant rocks were a small party of (Hawaiian) Black Noddy not yet split from the nominate species as far as I know.

Then came the prize I could only have hoped for a Laysan Albatross, albeit a well developed juvenile. I bet at this point every 'birder' in the world would have said just what I was thinking, "I wish it was an adult"!

That unfortunately was not to be as likely the parent birds were well off-shore carrying out

their palagic search for food.

There was a second juvenile Albatross but this

Northern Mockingbird turned up at the same time distracting us. It seems this may well be contender for a 'split', but I have great difficulty keeping up with such things.

Next the lads spotter this Greater / Lesser Frigatebird and from past experience of both, I seem to remember these female / juvenile types usually have some orange colouration around the neck on the Lesser?

Some images of the very bumpy road, terrain and local 'rock jumpers'.

Another 'first' for me, Chewing Tobacco - Yuk!

'The Beast' takes a quick stop at the

Local Store for a cold drink at which point I rather thought the lads were going to drop me at the nearest bus stop and say our goodbye;s, but they had other ideas!

The welcoming sign to Hooters outside,

and the far more welcoming sign inside.

Kristyn & Chelsea just about ready to take our order.

Don't turn your back on 'TACKY'!

Despite the pose I never drink alcohol on these trips, always aware "when drinks in, wit is out".

A quick look around the place before

tucking in to a great meal - a treat for me from the crew of the mighty USS Crommlin.

Note:- it should also be said that once we arrived at the reserve the lads all seemed very keen to see the Albatross and accompanied me on what was a gruilling walk finding not only this bird but also the Frigatebird.

Trip List Total = 28 Lifers = 3

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