Oahu Part 5- Marathon Birding
The alarm went off at 3:30am the morning of Tomas’s marathon. The earliest of birds. I dropped him off near the start line, found a parking spot by the finish line and weighed my options in the dark. Waikiki parking and driving is too complicated to move the car. So I decided to stay and bird in Kapiolani Park, close to the beginning/end of the Honolulu Marathon.
This gave me over 7 hours to bird the 300 acre beachfront greenspace. As soon as the sun rose it was on!
The first birds came to me first.
Clearly no one feeds these Red-crested Cardinals.
Why feed the wildlife when they can feed themselves?
Some birds were foraging on more natural foods, many flocked to the large fruiting Indian Banyan trees in the park.
Including Yellow-fronted Canaries.
And Party Parrots!
I’d been trying to catch up with this raucous bunch of Rose-ringed Parakeets for a while, and I finally had the chance to mingle with them.
From the Banyan trees, they flew to the Palm trees. These birds became established in the 70s after escaping captivity. They are tropical, loud, and colorful, but they are native to India and cause problems for Hawaiian crops and native birds.
After playing peekaboo with the parakeets I noticed some other birds in the trees.
Then they hopped to the ground. So I did too.
And there was no shortage of Pacific Golden-Plovers on the lawns.
Or as I’d call them: Pacific Golden-Worm-Killers! Dangly-dirt-eaters beware.
There was no escape.
Then a fight broke out between the Common Mynas. It was brutal and I may have stepped in to break it up.
Just play nice guys.
In contrast, a pair of Zebra Doves were all about the love. They made me melt.
They cooed, cuddled, and alternated preening each other. I don’t think I’ve seen anything more romantic.
It was about this time Tomas was nearing the finish line, so I gave the doves some privacy and left to cheer him on.
But my birding marathon wasn’t quite over yet. Near the finish line, large terns fluttered and flew overhead high up in the trees. Yes! — White Terns!
Once called Fairy Terns (a name I think I prefer), these birds are indigenous, established and thought to have arrived on the island unassisted by man. Of the Hawaiian Islands, they are only found on Oahu and this population is listed as “threatened.”
One of the most intriguing things about this species is they don’t make a nest, instead they lay a single egg directly on a ledge or tree branch. And some northwest birds lay their eggs on the ground. I was in awe of their clean white lines. So pretty!
And perfect timing. I met Tomas at the finish line just in time.