One way to celebrate turning 40 is to run a marathon. That was Tomas’s bright idea of how he wanted to spend his birthday this December. Months ago he signed up for the Honolulu Marathon and trained diligently. I would be going along for the ride, no running this time for me. But birding? All new birds in Oahu?! Twist my arm.
Also, sunshine. Or so we thought, but we flew into Honolulu on a very soggy day.
Even still, minutes after exiting the plane I had binoculars and camera out ready. But why can’t I see anything? Everything is blurry! New birds were so close, but I couldn’t see them because the warm air and humidity had fogged up my optics. What if there’s a rare bird there that I won’t ever see again!
Eventually, the fog cleared a little, and these were the first birds to greet us.
Airport birds! None of them rare, but exciting in the moment nonetheless. And two lifers right off the plane is a good start. Tomas nudged me out of the airport to pick up the rental car and we drove downtown to get his running packet. The marathon was scheduled in two days so we had time to explore the island first. And once we learned there was a Kona Brewing Co on Oahu, we knew what our next destination would be.
And lucky for me Zebra Doves are also patrons of the brewery. Life bird while drinking beer indoors! (new list?) They ran around under the tables looking for scraps and hopped out onto the patio.
At this time I looked outside to the cloudy skies across Koko Marina and noticed something flying far in the distance.
I think I recognize that shape. Frigatebird!
Look closely, as this the best photo I could get of this female Great Frigatebird.
And as it turns out, this was also the only Great Frigatebird of the whole trip. I’ve seen a Magnificent Frigatebird flyover once in Florida, but this was my first Great. (differences between the two here). Lesson learned, to find new birds, find a brewery. The skies darkened further so we grudgingly called it a night and checked in to the Airbnb.
It was tough to sleep (because it was 80 degrees in the room) but also because I was pumped to explore more of Oahu’s birds. Much more to come.