HAWAII: ENDEMICS and MORE
April 29-May 10, 2018
Hawai'i is the finest example of adaptive radiation in the world. While the Galapagos are better known for this evoluntionary process, Hawai'i actually had the greatest number of species that evolved from just a few pioneering species.
For example, over 50 species of Hawaiian honeycreepers descended from a single finch ancestor. Despite having widely different habits, the nectar-sipping I'iwi, the grosbeak-billed Palila, and the woodpecker-like 'Akiapola'au, with its improbable mismatched bill (see how it uses the bottom part to chisel into wood while using the top as a hook to pull out larva in the video below) are all related. Unfortunately, many of these species have been lost to extinction, but some remain, though many of those still with us are endangered.
On this tour, we will focus on seeing as many of Hawai'i's remaining endemics as possible. We'll attempt to see them all, though a few, notably 'Akikiki, 'Akeke'e, and Puaiohi on Kaua'i, are difficult to see and require a very strenuous hike. We'll also search for other native species such as Red-tailed and White-tailed Tropicbirds, Red-footed Booby, Bristle-thighed Curlew, and more. Along the way, we'll see many of the introduced species that now call Hawai'i home.
Please note that several hikes may be difficult. Alternative plans may be made for those wishing to avoid these hikes, though opportunities for seeing some species may be reduced or eliminated. The following itinerary may be changed slightly to take advantage of unforeseen opportunities.
Day 1 (Apr 29): Pick up at Kahului airport on Maui and travel to our hotel for the next 2 nights.
Day 2 (Apr 30): We'll bird Hosmer Grove in Haleakala National Park, specifically targetting Maui 'Alauahio. 'I'iwi, 'Apapane, and Hawai'i 'Amakihi should be easy to see. If time allows, we'll bird in the lowlands and then take an afternoon break before heading back up Haleakala to watch the sunset and listen for -- and possibly see -- Hawaiian Petrels.
Day 3 (May 1): After some morning birding, we'll depart for Kaua'i.
Days 4 (May 2): Hike into the Alaka'i Swamp with local expert David Kuhn. We'll try for all of Kaua'i's endemic forest birds. The hike for Puaiohi and the increasingly-rare 'Akikiki and 'Akeke'e is extremely difficult; it's uncertain if we'll try it. For those unable to do that hike, we'll bird a more accessible area for the other endemics. 'Akeke'e is possible at this location too.
Days 5 (May 3): Drive to the north side of Kaua'i to visit Kilauea Point for seabirds and Hanalei for endemic wetland species National Wildlife Refuges, but before we get there, we'll stop at a spot to look for Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush. Expect to see numerous Red-tailed Tropicbirds and Red-footed Boobies, along with Laysan Albatross, Great Frigatebird, Koloa (Hawaiian Duck), Wedge-tailed Shearwater, and more.
Days 6 (May 4): Fly to O'ahu. We'll look for Bristle-thighed Curlews on the northeast side of O'ahu. We'll then bird the Waikiki area for White Tern and introduced species.
Days 7 (May 5): We'll look for O'ahu's two endemics: O'ahu 'Amakihi and O'ahu 'Elepaio. If time permits, we'll try for the globally-rare, though introduced, Mariana Swiftlet.
Days 8 (May 6): In the morning, we'll make a non-birding stop at Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial before flying to Hilo on the Big Island.
Day 9 (May 7): We'll head to Volcanoes National Park where, besides birds, we'll take a look at the volcanic activity at Halema'uma'u Crater and the vast lava fields on the drive down to the coast. On the sea cliffs, the Hawaiian form of Black Noddy will be a target.
Day 10 (May 8): Bird Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge with local expert Jack Jeffrey. Hawaiian Creeper, 'Akepa, and 'Akiapola'au will be our main targets.
Day 11 (May 9): We'll visit the west side of Mauna Kea to look for the rare Palila and the subspecies of Hawai'i 'Elepaio that occupies the dry forests here.
Day 12 (May 10): Depart Hilo for home.
TOUR FEE: To be determined, it will likely be around $5400. Since the tour fee includes flights between islands during the tour, actual price will be determined at time of registration based on flight costs. The tour fee also includes lodging for twelve nights, all meals from supper on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 12, ground transportation during the tour, and guide services. It does not include airfare to Lihue before the tour start and from Hilo after the tour ends, phone calls, laundry, room service charges, alcoholic beverages, or any items of a personal nature.
LEADER: John Puschock, owner of Zugunruhe Birding Tours, and local experts on certain days will be your guide.
GROUP SIZE: This trip is limited 4 participants with one guide, 6 participants with two guides.
PHYSICAL CONSIDERATIONS/WEATHER: Weather may vary from hot and humid at sea level to cool and rainy at higher eleveations. There will be several hikes on steep, rocky, and muddy trails. Drives may be up to two hours long. Please contact us (email link below) to discuss hiking conditions in more detail if you have questions.
REGISTRATION and DEPOSIT: A deposit of $1750 and a signed registration and release form will reserve your spot on this tour. Please e-mail for more information on the registration procedure and forms (contact info below). The balance of the fee is due by 60 days prior to the tour.
CANCELLATION POLICY: All fees received except the cost of airfare during the tour will be refunded with more than 90 days notice of cancellation. All fees except the deposit will be refunded with 45-90 days notice of cancellation. No refund is possible with less than 45 days notifice of cancellation.
TRIP and MEDICAL INSURANCE: We strongly recommend that you purchase trip insurance to protect yourself in case you need to cancel, luggage is lost, stolen, or damaged, a medical emergency occurs, or other unforeseen circumstances. Note that many insurance policies require that you purchase it at the time you make the initial deposit for the tour and terms and coverage differ among policies.
For more information and registration forms, please e-mail us.
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