Where I've been/What I've seen
This past week I visited the Hawaiian islands of Maui and Lana'i, two islands in a chain which tourists view as exotic and beautiful. Now, most of these tourists don't realize the cost of this "exoticism" within the islands is, extensive habitat loss, avian malaria, and predation from introduced species (i.e. cats) to the island chain. Hawaii for these reasons, is known as the "bird extinction capital of the world", with 71 species going extinct, and another 24 vanishing since James Cook's "discovery" of the islands. This trip, I tried to focus a bit more on appreciating the native Hawaiian birds which still exist, for they still remain some of the most threatened in the world.
The next morning, I walked over to this “bird-sanctuary” and discovered it to be a Wedge-tailed Shearwater breeding ground. I immediately checked eBird to see if they had been seen there recently, and sure enough, just six days prior there had been eighty or so seen. After a day filled with snorkeling (more to come on that later), I came back just before sunset to try to see them coming back. Unfortunately, it was time for dinner just before when they would usually arrive, so I had to head out just before. It took much convincing of my parents to let me go back there in the dark, but the effort did not go to waste. At least forty of the shearwaters were there by the time I got back there, some sitting only feet away, and others curiously waddling up to me. For how skittish shearwaters like these can be on the ocean, they were indifferent to me right near their burrows. The next day was the main birding day of the trip, so I went back up to the room a little early and slept.