HAWAII: ENDEMICS and MORE
Dates to be determined - a road closure on Kaua'i is currently limiting access to some of the endemics
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 and 'Akeke'e on Kaua'i, have become difficult to see recently. 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.
Our scouting trip for this tour led to the highly successful "Birds Not Rats" campaign, which to-date has raised over $28,000 for the purchase of traps to help remove invasive rodents from the Alaka'i Swamp. We're currently supporting a campaign to protect the Oahu 'Elepaio. Please consider donating.
Day 1: Pick up at Lihue airport on Kaua'i and travel to our hotel for the next 3 nights in Waimea.
Day 2: Hike into the Alaka'i Swamp with local expert David Kuhn. We'll try for all of Kaua'i's endemic forest birds. Puaiohi and the increasingly-rare 'Akikiki and 'Akeke'e are the prizes.
Day 3: Drive to the north side of Kaua'i to visit Kilauea Point for seabirds and Hanalei for endemic wetland species National Wildlife Refuges. Expect to see numerous Red-tailed Tropicbirds and Red-footed Boobies, along with Laysan Albatross, Great Frigatebird, Koloa (Hawaiian Duck), and more.
Days 4-6: Fly to O'ahu in the morning of Day 4. Our targets during our stay will be O'ahu 'Amakihi, O'ahu 'Elepaio, Bristle-thighed Curlew, White Tern. Fly to Maui late on Day 6.
Days 7-8: We may have an opportunity to bird the Waikamoi Preserve, home to the rare Kiwikiu (Maui Parrotbill) and 'Akohekohe (Crested Honeycreeper). We can also bird Haleakala National Park for the other Hawaiian honeycreepers on the island.
Day 9: Fly to Kona on Hawai'i (the Big Island) and look for the Kona race of Hawai'i 'Elepaio before traveling to our hotel in Hilo. Later in the day, we'll head to Volcanoes National Park where we'll take a look at the volcanic activity at Halema'uma'u Crater.
Day 10: Bird Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge with local expert Jack Jeffrey. Hawaiian Creeper, 'Akepa, and 'Akiapola'au will be our main targets.
Day 11: 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: We'll make another try for any species that we may have missed on the Big Island.
Day 13: 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 13, 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 6 participants.
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 45 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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