Hawaii: Fall 2021

Fall 2021: 1 Aug–30 Nov

Alex Wang

Jennifer Rothe

Recommended citation:

Wang, A. and J. Rothe. 2021. Fall 2021: Hawaii. <https://wp.me/p8iY2g-d8t> North American Birds.

In the Hawaiian Islands, fall tends to be the most diverse birding season, often delivering the greatest number of surprises in the form of migratory shorebirds, waterfowl, and seabirds. Despite some rather odd weather, this fall did not disappoint. Highlights included multiple Bar-tailed Godwits and a Red-necked Stint. Compared to other years, this autumn was relatively hot and dry. November is normally one of our rainiest months but this year it brought a drought throughout much of the state. The one notable exception to the overall dry trend was Hurricane Linda, which threatened the islands in late August. While it was downgraded to a tropical storm, it still caused heavy precipitation and flooding in Maui and Oʻahu Cos. 

While international travel to the islands remained repressed, the number of domestic arrivals resembled pre-pandemic levels, with many visiting mainland birders. The frequency of fall pelagic birding trips resumed to pre-pandemic numbers, even if the number of participants per trip was still limited.

Sub-regional Compilers

Jennifer Rothe (Kauaʻi Co), Alex Wang (Hawaiʻi Co)

Geese through Ducks

The resident Snow Goose of Kauaʻi continued through the entire fall quarter and was observed by many at the Princeville Makai Golf Club. A further flock of 10 was reported on Kauaʻi on 23 Oct (Gregory Harris). Two young Brant were observed on Hawaiʻi Island at the Kealakehe Wastewater Treatment Plant on 14 Sep (Reginald David), followed by a solo bird on 2327 Sep (Reginald David, Aaron Beerman, Stan Beerman, Gloria Beerman, Mandy Talpas). Presumably the same individual was seen at the adjacent ʻAimakapā Pond on 28 Oct (Aaron Beerman, Stan Beerman, Gloria Beerman). On Kauaʻi, a single Cackling Goose was seen 527 Aug at Kīlauea Point NWR (Nicole Koeltzow, Leon Tkacenko, Amy Green). Four individuals were later observed together at the same location on 17 Nov (Cody Lane, David Hanna). One Cackling Goose was photographed at Maui’s Keālia Pond NWR 15–21 Oct (Karen Varga, John Barton, Andrew Armstrong, Susanna Garcia, Wendy Swee). A number of the Aleutian subspecies of Cackling Geese trickled into the Hilo area of Hawaiʻi Island this fall. The first one was observed on a US Forest Service lawn by a staff member on 26 Oct. It disappeared at the same time that three showed up at nearby Wailoa State Park on 8–24 Nov (m. ob.). Three turned into five just before December (Jean Campbell). On the other side of the island, Hawaiʻi’s resident cackler continued at Kealakehe WTP through the quarter, unbeknownst to its conspecifics on the Hilo side. Lastly, one Cackling Goose showed up on Oʻahu at the Hoakalei Golf Course from 2529 Oct (Richard May, Sheryl Kistler).

Twelve (presumed escapee) Black Swans were observed at ʻOahu’s Ko Olina Golf Course 11 Aug13 Nov, two of which were recently fledged young (Brent Bomkamp). Two Blue-winged Teal were reported at Oʻahu’s Kaʻelepulu Wetland on 13 Sep (Mandy Talpas, Lois Ricci, Linda Valdez, Diane Hutton, Jean Siesener). A female Blue-winged Teal was observed by many at Kealakehe WTP on Hawaiʻi Island 25 Sep13 Nov, and the same/another bird was seen 13 Oct at ʻOpaeʻula Pond ten miles north (Phil Chaon, James Hoagland, Brigitte Brantley). One Eurasian Wigeon was observed at Kawaiʻele State Waterbird Sanctuary on Kauaʻi 31 Oct–7 Nov (Amanda Spears, Bow Tyler, Kurt Ongman, m. ob.). A drake and hen frequented Pearl Harbor NWR on Oʻahu 23 Oct27 Nov (Michael Young, Kurt Pohlman, Richard May, Caleb Hancock).

A pure Mallard was seen on Kauaʻi 11 Sep at the Waita Reservoir (Kurt Ongman, Amanda Spears, Melissa Simon). This is notable, as Kauaʻi is the only island that remains dominated by pure koloa maoli, the native duck, as opposed to Mallard or Mallard x koloa hybrids. Greater Scaup was observed on two islands this fall: on Maui, one bird was photographed at Kepaniwai Heritage Gardens 25 Nov (Nevine Jacob) and another was observed 2429 Nov at Keālia Pond NWR (Linda Vaughn, Michael Simmons). On Hawaiʻi Island, one Greater Scaup was photographed at Puʻuhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park on 29 Oct (Sherman Wing), at least one immature male frequented Kealakehe WTP 1–25 Nov (Reginald David, Jessica Jones), and an immature male was also observed at Mauna Lani Golf on 11 Nov (Amanda Spears, Kurt Ongman). Two female Buffleheads were observed on Midway Atoll 10–22 Nov (Jonathan Plissner). Two Pied-billed Grebes, both on Hawaiʻi Island, continued throughout this quarter at their respective locations at Wailoa SP (9 Oct–26 Nov, m. ob.) and Hōkūliʻa Shoreline Park (4 Aug–27 Nov, m. ob.). Mourning Dove is well-established on several Hawaiian Islands, but the individual flushed near Poʻipu on 1 Oct was notable for Kauaʻi (Reginald David). A lone Sora was heard whinnying at Kahuku Aqua Ponds on Oʻahu 25 Oct, an observation which comprised the state’s sixth record of the species (Eric Vanderwerf). 

Plovers through Godwits

A number of Black-bellied Plovers were seen across the archipelago. One individual was observed on Midway Atoll 16 Sep26 Nov (Jonathan Plissner). In the main Hawaiian Islands, an early Black-bellied Plover was seen 14 Aug at the Marine Corps Base of Kāneʻohe, northern Oʻahu (Adam Rollins). It was then observed by many in the adjacent, more publicly accessible Nuʻupia Ponds 16 Aug–26 Nov (Lainie Berry, Paige Mino, Kellen Apuna). A Black-bellied Plover also showed up at the southern end of the island at the Honouliuli Unit of Pearl Harbor NWR on 2 Oct (Kurt Pohlman). Another was seen at Keālia NWR of Maui on 29 Nov (Alex Wang, Suzanne Conlon). Finally, a Black-bellied Plover was reported 511 Sep from Keahole Point on Hawaiʻi Island, a site which has hosted an individual the last two years (John Mittermeier).

Similarly, migrant Semipalmated Plover also put forth a remarkably good showing this fall. The first of the season was observed at Nuʻupia Ponds, Oʻahu, 15–22 Aug (Kellen Apuna, Adam Rollins). Another Oʻahu bird was reported at James Campbell NWR on 27 Aug (Eric Vanderwerf). Possibly the same individual later appeared at the Kahuku Farms section of the refuge 1927 Oct (Shannon Stauffer, m. ob.). An individual on Kauaʻi was observed twice at Waita Reservoir, on 6 and 11 Sep (Kurt Ongman, Melissa Simon, Amanda Spears), and one was later found near Kawaiʻele SWS on 17 Sep (Jason Gregg). On Hawaiʻi Island, a Semipalmated Plover was observed off and on at Kealakehe WTP 25 Aug–26 Sep (Aaron Beerman, Stan Beerman, Gloria Beerman, Reginald David, Mandy Talpas, Allan Robbins). The adjacent ʻAimakapā Pond may have been frequented by this same individual 29 Aug26 Sep (Peter Rigsbee, Devon Graham, Lawrence McCloskey, Ron Pozzi, Alex Wang). At Keālia NWR on Maui, a single Semipalmated Plover was observed 16 Sep–29 Oct (Lonny Garris, Richard Jeffers, Eliot Carter). This first bird was periodically joined by up to two others throughout the end of Nov (Brodie Cass Talbott, Reginald David, Lance Benner, Michael Simmons, Alex Wang, Suzanne Conlon, Linda Vaughn). Even Midway Atoll had its own Semipalmated Plover visitor 14 Sep28 Nov (Jonathan Plissner).

While Bristle-thighed Curlew is regular on the north shore of Oʻahu and the Kona Coast of Hawaiʻi Island, it is not common elsewhere in the state. One individual flew past Polihale State Park on Kauaʻi 29 Aug (Justin Hite), followed by a sighting of two birds low over Salt Pond Beach Park 7 Sep (Kim Shoback, Jason Gregg). On Molokaʻi, a group of five curlews was photographed at Kaunakakai Elementary School on 22 Oct (Reginald David), and at least two birds hung around the same general area 30 Oct–23 Nov (Jean Eaton). Also on Molokaʻi, a banded Whimbrel has been seen off and on since at least 2016; it was also encountered again this fall at Kaunakakai Elementary School on 22 Oct (Reginald David) and Duke Maliu Regional Park on 30 Oct (Jean Eaton). A Whimbrel was also sighted on Oʻahu 12 Aug but it is unknown whether this bird was the banded individual (Eric Vanderwerf). This year the migrant godwit of choice was the Bar-tailed Godwit. A juvenile appeared on Midway Atoll and was observed from 3 Sep2 Nov (Jonathan Plissner). Presumably a different individual appeared on Hawaiʻi Island at ʻOpaeʻula Pond 6 Oct–19 Nov, found by Lance Tanino but observed by many. 

Calidris Sandpipers

A Red Knot was photographed at Maui’s Keālia NWR on 17 Sep (Eliot Carter, Richard Jeffers). In contrast with fall 2020, the fall of 2021 season was a good one for Sharp-tailed Sandpiper. Kauaʻi yielded several reports, each of a lone bird: at Kawaiʻele State Waterbird Sanctuary on 25 Oct (Baran Sonmez), along a Wailua beach 4 Nov (Walt Nadolny), and at Hanalei NWR 46 Nov (Kurt Ongman, Fanter Lane). A Sharp-tailed Sandpiper was photographed at Pearl Harbor NWR on Oʻahu 2325 Oct (Richard May, Kevin Schwartz, Michael Young), followed by a report of a single bird at Kahuku Golf Course on 11 Nov (James Loy, Gerald Poltorak). Maui’s Keālia NWR also hosted a single Sharp-tailed Sandpiper 29 Oct–3 Nov (Eliot Carter, Reginald David). The first Sharp-tailed Sandpiper on Hawaiʻi Island was observed at Kealakehe WTP 22 Sep–2 Nov (Lance Tanino, m. ob.), followed by a juvenile bird at the Hilo soccer fields 28-29 Oct (Sherman Wing, Alex Wang, Bret Mossman, Ann Tanimoto, Sam Preer, Elizabeth Lough, Gret Dicey), and a third at ʻOpaeʻula Pond 16–19 Nov (Chris Brown, Cheshta Buckley).

Red-necked Stint, a much rarer visitor to the island, was a ghost bird this fall along the Kona Coast of Hawaiʻi Island, successfully eluding most birders who searched for it. First seen and photographed near Keāhole Point on 22 Sep (Lance Tanino), it was photographed again at a different location, Kealakehe WTP, on 5 Oct and never found again (Reginald David). Dunlin was seen this fall on Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, and Hawaiʻi. The fall season’s first Dunlin was discovered 15 Oct on Kauaʻi at Salt Pond Beach Park and remained until 21 Oct (Melissa Simon, m. ob.). A Dunlin was photographed on Oʻahu near Punaluʻu that same day (Arthur Mercado), later followed by sightings at the Waiawa Unit of Pearl Harbor NWR 23 Oct–23 Nov (Michael Young, Kurt Pohlman). One adult showed up on the Hilo side of Hawaiʻi Island 28–29 Oct at the Hilo soccer fields until their mud patches dried up (Thane Pratt, Alex Wang, Bret Mossman, Ann Tanimoto, Sam Preer, Elizabeth Lough, Sherman Wing). Additionally, a juvenile was present at Kealekehe WTP on the Kona side from 1–27 Nov (Reginald David, m. ob.). 

Least Sandpiper appeared on three islands. On Kauaʻi, a Least Sandpiper was briefly observed at Kawaiʻele SWS on 2 Oct (Jennifer Rothe, Stephen Rossiter) and possibly the same bird spent time at Salt Pond BP 10 Oct10 Nov (Kurt Ongman, Cody Lane, m. ob.). A Least Sandpiper also appeared 3 Oct at Kealakehe WTP, Hawaiʻi Island (Reginald David, Ron Pozzi, Katherine Gregory, Christine Kozlosky, Mandy Talpas, Alison Huff, Teri Martine, Vince Howard, John Whigham, Forrest Rowland). Keālia NWR on Maui was also visited by a Least Sandpiper 29 Oct29 Nov (Eliot Carter, Brodie Cass Talbott, Kevin Schwartz, Alex Wang, Suzanne Conlon). 

The first Pectoral Sandpiper of the season was found 29 Aug at the Rainbow House Shave Ice pond on the north shore of Oʻahu (Michael Young, Kurt Pohlman). This and a second bird were observed in the vicinity of the Kahuku Aqua Ponds from 4 Sep–24 Oct (Caleb Hancock, Michael Young, m. ob.). Possibly the same bird was observed on 9 Oct in the restricted access portion of James Campbell NWR (Eric Vanderwerf). Up to two Pectoral Sandpipers were observed elsewhere on the island, at the Waiawa and Honouliuli units of Pearl Harbor NWR 21 Sep30 Oct (Kurt Pohlman, Michael Young, Richard May, Mario Farr, Kevin Schwartz, John Barton, Sherman Wing). On Maui at Keālia NWR, up to three Pectoral Sandpipers were observed at once 3 Sep3 Nov (Richard May, Beko Binder, Richard Jeffers, Eliot Carter, Steven Seltman, Reginald David, m. ob.). A Pectoral Sandpiper was discovered on 30 Sep at Hanalei NWR on Kauaʻi and observed infrequently until 6 Nov (Mandy Talpas, Wren Howard, Katherine Gregory, Teri Martine, Vince Howard, Alison Huff, John Whigham, Ed Maioriello, Christine Kozlosky, Forest Rowland, Kurt Ongman, Melissa Simon, Amanda Spears, Fanter Lane). One bird was also observed at Kawaiʻele SWS on the other side of the island on 9 Oct (Jennifer Rothe, Stephen Rossiter). Not to be outdone, Hawaiʻi Island also played long-term host to up to two Pectoral Sandpipers at two separate sites: ʻOpaeʻula Pond 613 Oct (Lance Tanino, Alex Wang, Phil Chaon, James Hoagland, Brigitte Brantley) and 2 Oct27 Nov at Kealakehe WTP (Cheshta Buckley, Reginald David, Ron Pozzi, Lance Tanino, Sherman Wing, Thane Pratt, Peter Rigsbee, m. ob.).

A Semipalmated Sandpiper was observed at Keālia NWR, Maui 22 Aug3 Sep (Suzanne Conlon, Alex Wang, Lainie Berry, Zach Pezzillo, Richard May, Beko Binder). Kauaʻi’s second recorded Western Sandpiper turned up at Salt Pond BP and spent the majority of its time in close proximity to the Least Sandpiper at that location 9–21 Oct (Jennifer Rothe, Stephen Rossiter, Kurt Ongman, Amanda Spears, Cody Lane, Phil Chaon, James Hoagland, Melissa Simon, Robby Kohley, Bobby Brittingham, Benjamin Vizzachero, Mandy Talpas, Dan Orr, David Orr).

Dowitchers through Yellowlegs

Up to two Long-billed Dowitchers were present at Kawaiʻele SWS 29 Sep22 Nov (Paul Bielefeldt, Jennifer Rothe, Stephen Rossiter, Kurt Ongman, Cody Lane, Amanda Spears, m. ob.), while up to four individuals were observed at Hanalei NWR 410 Nov (Kurt Ongman, Cody Lane, Kevin Schwartz). Oʻahu also had at least four Long-billed Dowitchers, as up to four were observed simultaneously at both the Honouliuli (Michael Young, Kurt Pohlman, Richard May, Mario Farr, John Barton, Lainie Berry, Paige Mino) and Waiawa (Michael Young) units of Pearl Harbor NWR 30 Sep30 Nov. One dowitcher was also reported on the north shore, at the Kahuku Aqua Ponds on 13 Nov (Erin Sharkey). On Maui, up to three Long-billed Dowitchers were observed together at Keālia NWR 9 Sep28 Nov (Eliot Carter, Lonny Garris, Scott Watson, Alex Wang, Suzanne Conlon, Kevin Schwartz, Greg Gray, Brodie Talbott, Reginald David, Miles Brengle, Terry Doyle, Michael Simmons). On Hawaiʻi Island, a single Long-billed Dowitcher was reported from Kealakehe WTP 24 Sep22 Nov (Reginald David, Mandy Talpas, Sally Vavrek) and from nearby Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park on 18 Oct (Linda Ferguson). Up to two Long-billed Dowitchers were observed both at ʻOpaeʻula Pond 6 Oct28 Nov (Lance Tanino, Ron Pozzi, Sherman Wing, Alex Wang, Phil Chaon, James Hoagland, Brigitte Brantley, Chris Brown, Cheshta Buckley, Bret Mossman, Thane Pratt) and at Hōkūliʻa Shoreline Park 24 Oct11 Nov (John Lynch, Rebecca Dewhirst, John Lynch, Lance Tanino, Kurt Ongman, Amanda Spears, Alex Wang). 

Wilson’s Snipe was encountered several times on Oʻahu this fall: one on 14 Sep at Kahuku Aqua Ponds (Mandy Talpas, Diane Hutton, Jean Siesener), one on 3 Oct at the Honouliuli Unit of Pearl Harbor NWR (Michael Young), and one on 15 Nov at Hamakua Marsh (Margaret Jensen). Keālia NWR on Maui also had one Wilson’s Snipe on 28 Nov (Alex Wang), and a single bird was observed on Midway Atoll on 1 and 10 Nov (Jonathan Plissner). A single Spotted Sandpiper was observed at the Kahuku Aqua Ponds, Oʻahu 5–7 Oct (Michael Young). On Hawaiʻi Island, one was briefly seen at ʻAimakapā Pond on 5 Sep (John Mittermeier) and then further north along the Kona Coast at Puako Beach Dr. from 10 Nov through the end of the fall (Margaret Sloan, Reginald David, Sherman Wing, Bryan Guarente). 

A Gray-tailed Tattler was consistently documented on Midway Atoll from 9 Aug through the end of the quarter (Jonathan Plissner). A tattler was photographed on 27 Aug at ʻAimakapā Pond on Hawaiʻi Island. While its appearance closely resembled that of Wandering Tattler, the expected species, its vocalizations reportedly instead matched those of Gray-tailed Tattler (Reginald David, Mandy Talpas). Lesser Yellowlegs was reported at Kahuku Aqua Ponds, Oʻahu 3 Sep through the end of Nov (Eric Vanderwerf, Robby Kohley, Michael Young, Richard May, Alan Ketcham, Caleb Hancock, Grant Price, Mario Farr, Sherman Wing, Bridget Spencer, Kurt Pohlman, Lainie Berry). On Hawaiʻi Island, a Lesser Yellowlegs was reported 13–21 Oct at Kealakehe WTP (Reginald David, Cody Lane, Brian Gibbons, Brenan Mulrooney, Patricia Langenhahn, Doug Hendricks, Susan Cole, Pam Campbell, Marsha Hand, Sharon Kirkpatrick, Rory Cameron, Sherman Wing, Dan Jehl, Ross T, Jayson D) and from 19–28 Nov at ʻOpaeʻula Pond (Cheshta Buckly, Thane Pratt, Bret Mossman). 

Skuas through Terns

A rare South Polar Skua was reported at a seawatch from Kēōkea Beach Park at the northern tip of Hawaiʻi Island on 17 Oct (Kevin Schwartz). A Pomarine Jaeger was seen from sea offshore of Maui on 27 Sep (Rebecca Waterman) and during a Kona pelagic west of Hawaiʻi Island 14 Nov (Reginald David, Mandy Talpas, Chris Brown, m. ob.). A juvenile Ring-billed Gull was seen at Keālia NWR, Maui from 26 Oct until 3 Nov (Ron Clark, Brodie Cass Talbot, Reginald David). A similar bird showed up at ʻAimakapā Pond on Hawaiʻi Island two days after the Maui bird’s apparent departure, and it remained there through the end of the fall (Nathan Ranc, m. ob.). The state’s first Glaucous-winged Gull of the season was seen at the Marine Track Beach of Kauaʻi on 11 Oct (Benjamin Vizzachero), followed by one bird at Kaʻena Point on Oʻahu on 26 Nov (Eric Vanderwerf) and 30 Nov (Bertrand Dumont). A Glaucous-winged Gull was also noted on Midway Atoll on 27 Nov (Jonathan Plissner).

Highly unusual for Kauaʻi County, a White Tern was photographed offshore of Polihale State Park on 9 Aug (Robin Baird, Colin Cornworth, Shannon Vasquez, Brijonnay Madrigal, Kimberly Wood, Marc Travers). A Gray-backed Tern was seen during a seawatch at the Makapuʻu Lighthouse, Oʻahu on 5 Oct (Gil Ewing), and another was seen near Hawaiʻi Island during a pelagic off the Kona Coast 6 Nov (Mandy Talpas, Reginald David, Alex Wang, Margaret Sloan, Charlie Bostwick, Chris Brown, Kelly Jaenecke). 

In the southeastern Hawaiian Islands, Least Terns are regularly observed on Hawaiʻi Island, but a few were seen outside of that range this fall. Kauaʻi Co’s first Least Tern was discovered at the Waimea River mouth on 8 Sep and was documented there until 18 Oct (Kurt Ongman, Jennifer Rothe, Bobby Brittingham, Stephen Rossiter, Jason Gregg, Amanda Spears, Melissa Simon, Justin Hite, Andre Raine, Joelle Buffa Clyde Morris, Jordan Roderick, Benjamin Vizzachero). On Oʻahu, up to two Least Terns were seen at the Honouliuli Unit of Pearl Harbor NWR 30 Sep1 Nov (Kurt Pohlman, Richard May, Michael Young). Two Least Terns were also seen on the north shore at Kahuku Aqua Ponds on 24 Oct (Caleb Hancock). On Midway Atoll, both Least Terns and Little Terns were observed 1 Aug–27 Sep and continued to breed there as in previous seasons (Jonathan Plissner).

 The celebrity Inca Tern continued at the Ka Iwi Fishing Shrine area on the southeast coast of Oʻahu and was witnessed there by many until 30 Oct. Then it was photographed landing on a fishing vessel on 4 Nov off of Lānaʻi (Shell Eisenberg) before revisiting South Point, Hawaiʻi Island 1115 Nov (Kurt Ongman, Amanda Spears, Kirk Doerger, Mikki Doerger, Judith Ellyson, Larry DeAtley Ellyson, Brian DeAtley Ellyson, Chris Brown). It was photographed again on Oʻahu 26 Nov (Caleb Hancock). 

Albatross through Shearwaters

Interestingly, three Laysan Albatross were observed on Molokini Islet, Maui on 9 Aug (Abigail Grassick). A Black-footed Albatross, rare for Hawaiʻi Co, was observed on a pelagic on 13 Nov (Lance Tanino, David Newton, Bob Arrigoni, Bettina Arrigoni, Walt Nadolny, Ellen Schwenne, Mikki Doerger, Kirk Doerger). Excitingly, for the first time in contemporary times, Black-footed Albatross were observed to be breeding on Oʻahu at Kaʻena Point (Lindsay Young). At least two Kermadec Petrels continued on the north shore of Kauaʻi between Kīlauea Point NWR and Kahili Beach and were last observed on 1 Sep (Cody Lane, Jason Gregg, Charlie Bostwick, Tatum Norris, Mandy Talpas, m. ob.). Likewise, the Kermadec on Midway Atoll also continued from summer and was sporadically encountered 26 Aug2 Oct (Jonathan Plissner).

A single Mottled Petrel was reported from a Keokea BP seawatch on Hawaiʻi Island on 18 Sep (Lance Tanino), and the species was encountered offshore twice during a 16 Oct pelagic off the Kona Coast of Hawaiʻi Island (Lance Tanino, Brigitte Brantley, James Hoagland, Kevin Schwartz, Phil Chaon, Scott Watson). Another Kona pelagic also experienced a double-header, with possibly two separate birds being spotted on 6 Nov (Alex Wang, Mandy Talpas, Reginald David, Thane Pratt, Chris Brown, Kelly Jaenecke, Margaret Sloan, Bret Mossman and Charlie Bostwick). 

Kona-based pelagics also turned up a nice showing of Juan Fernandez Petrel this fall. Single birds were encountered on 25 Aug (Mandy Talpas, Reginald David, Barbara Bickel, Joyce Meyer, m. ob.), 6 Sep (Mandy Talpas, Carol Carson-Ray, Betty Bengtson, Dixie Sommers, Andrew McCormick, Mark Miller, Terry Mannell, Paula Theobald, David Theobald, Gavin Bieber), 30 Oct (Alex Wang, Mandy Talpas, Reginald David, Peter Rigsbee, Ron Pozzi, Sherman Wing, Thane Pratt, Maggie Boswell, Asta Tobiassen, Cara Borre, Deanna Mac Phail, Gallus Quigley, Terence Degan, Garrett Lau, Edith Israel, Gail Yanowitch and Dean LaTray), and 6 Nov (Alex Wang, Mandy Talpas, Reginald David, Thane Pratt, Chris Brown, Kelly Jaenecke, Margaret Sloan, Charlie Bostwick). A 5 Oct pelagic to the same area also turned up two Juan Fernandez Petrels (Mandy Talpas, Reginald David, Wren Howard, Katherine Gregory, Teri Martine, Vince Howard, Alison Huff, John Whigham, Ed Maioriello, Christine Kozlosky and Forest Rowland). One bird was also reported on an 18 Sep seawatch at Keokea BP at the northern tip of the island (Lance Tanino). Only one White-necked Petrel was documented in the Hawaii Region this fall, and surprisingly that report came not from the Hawaiʻi Island waters (where they are most expected in fall) but rather from Kauaʻi. This surprising bird was photographed from a HoloHolo tour boat while crossing the Kaulakahi Channel on 2 Nov (Terence Degan).

Strong numbers of Black-winged Petrel migrated past the Kona Coast of Hawaiʻi and were encountered on at least seven different pelagic trips this fall (Alex Wang, Lance Tanino, Mandy Talpas, Reginald David, m. ob.). Over half of the Kona pelagics featured multiple birds, and one on 16 Oct experienced seven encounters with the species (Lance Tanino, James Hoagland, Brigitte Brantley, Kevin Schwartz, Phil Chaon, Scott Watson, m. ob.). A Black-winged Petrel was also reported during an 18 Sep seawatch at Keokea BP on the northern tip of the island, along with a Cook’s Petrel and two Buller’s Shearwaters (Lance Tanino). One Buller’s Shearwater was reported from the same location eight days later (Lance Tanino). A pelagic tour out of Kona on 4 Aug also reported a Buller’s Shearwater as well as a Christmas Shearwater (Mandy Talpas, Reginald David, Charlie Bostwick, Nicole Koeltzow, Tatum Norris). Newell’s Shearwaters primarily breed on Kauaʻi and are somewhat frequently encountered offshore there, but sightings elsewhere are notable. On 30 Sep, a Newell’s Shearwater was observed during a seawatch at Lānaʻi Lookout on Oʻahu (Mandy Talpas, m. ob.). Single birds were also encountered during two Kona pelagics west of Hawaiʻi Island, on 6 Sep (Mandy Talpas, m. ob.) and 6 Nov (Alex Wang, Mandy Talpas, Reginald David, Thane Pratt, Bret Mossman, Chris Brown, Margaret Sloan, Kelly Jaeneck, Charlie Bostwick). 

Sulids through Passerines

Masked Booby breeds in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands but is infrequently encountered in the Southeastern Hawaiian islands, despite being known to breed on several offshore islets. A lone Masked Booby was encountered south of Kauaʻi in the vicinity of Waimea on three occasions this fall: on 14 Sep (Amanda Spears), 23 Nov (Amanda Spears), and 24 Nov (Chris Hiatt). An individual was also observed near Molokini Islet west of Maui on 17 Aug (Aarushi Pant). The once-conspecific Nazca Booby has only ever been recorded in the Hawaii Region a handful of times, but possibly two separate birds were documented this fall in the Northwesterns. One individual was photographed on Midway Atoll on 31 Aug and 25 Sep and noted to interact aggressively with an adult Masked Booby at least once (Jonathan Plissner); another was consistently documented on Pearl and Hermes Reef 6 Aug22 Sep (Paige Mino). 

The Great Egret continued at Hanalei NWR on Kauaʻi and was well-documented towering over the ubiquitous Cattle Egrets throughout the fall season (m. ob.). A White-faced Ibis was also seen 30 Sep through the end of the fall period at Hanalei NWR (m. ob.), though this species has been observed somewhat regularly at this location since May 2018.

An Osprey frequented Nuʻupia Ponds on Oʻahu 718 Oct (Lesley Davidson, Chad Wilhite, Olivia Wang, Alexander Christensen, Kellen Apuna) and was also photographed flying above nearby Hoʻomaluhia Botanical Garden on 10 Oct (Mario Farr). Elsewhere on Oʻahu, a “Peale’s” Peregrine Falcon resurfaced at Waikiki on 30 Sep27 Nov (Michael Walther, Caleb Hancock). Given the matching subspecies and similar behavior, it is almost certainly the same individual that maintained a record-breaking residence in the Hawaiian Islands over the winter of 2020-21 (Michael Walther). 

Blue-crowned Parakeets appear to be maintaining their small foothold around the Turtle Bay area on the north shore of Oʻahu. Observed flock sizes this quarter ranged between nine and 22 individuals (Michael Young, Richard May, Peter Donaldson, Sherman Wing). Two Salmon-crested Cockatoos were observed on 30 Nov at the Lyon Arboretum, a location where the species has apparently persisted in single digits for at least ten years (Heather Mileham). 

On 28 Nov, a Red-vented Bulbul was detected near Spreckelsville, Maui (Chris Warren). This species is ubiquitous across Oʻahu but is not yet known to be established on any of the neighboring islands. Conversely, another introduced bird, the Chinese Hwamei is well-established on Hawaiʻi, Maui, and Kauaʻi but is becoming less frequently encountered on Oʻahu. The hwamei was detected at only two locations this fall: at Koko Crater Botanical Garden in the lowlands (Kellen Apuna, Gil Ewing, Mario Farr, Keith Bailey, Beko Binder, Irvin Pitts, Rae Yamashiro) and on the montane Manana Trail (Kellen Apuna). White-rumped Shama, also introduced, is well-established on several of the main Hawaiian Islands but it is incipient on Maui. Encounters of between one and three shamas occurred throughout the fall and were clustered on the western lobe of the island, with hotspots around the Kapalua area (Craig Christensen, Josh Blackmon, Kaitlyn Young), Waiheʻe Ridge Trail and coastal dunes (Steven Seltman, Dave Bowman, Alison Stokes), ʻĪao Valley (Dave Bowman, Alison Stokes, Lynda Elkin, Devin Peyton), and Kahili Golf Course (Wendy Swee, Gene Muller, Will Schenck). A Yellow-billed Cardinal was reported at Waiheʻe Coastal Sand Dunes (Maui) in the company of two Red-crested Cardinals on 6 Sep (John Sobkowicz). The former species is not known to occur outside of Hawaiʻi Island. Finally, the introduced Yellow-faced Grassquit persists on Oʻahu along the Poamoho Trail: there were three separate encounters of single birds on 30 Sep (Eric VanderWerf).

Report processed by Andrew Keaveney, 8 Apr 2022.

Photos–Hawaii: Fall 2021

A migrant Bar-tailed Godwit stopped over on Midway Atoll from 3 Sep–2 Nov 2021 before presumably continuing its journey south. Photo © Jonathan Plissner.

Unlike last year, a decent number of Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, like the one photographed here in Hilo on 28 Oct 2021, were observed in Hawaiʻi Co, Hawaii this fall. Photo © Alex Wang.

An elusive rarity in Hawaii, this Red-necked Stint was viewed by just a few lucky enough to find it this fall. This individual was seen on 22 Sep near Keahole Point and 3–4 Oct 2021 at Kealakehe Wastewater Treatment Plant on Hawaiʻi Island. Photo © Lance Tanino.

A Spotted Sandpiper stopped at Kahuku Aqua Ponds 5–7 Oct 2021 on the north shore of O’ahu, Hawaii. Photo © Michael Young.

Rare for Kauaʻi Co, a White Tern was photographed during a cetacean survey by Cascadia Research Collective during their Hawaii fieldwork, 9 Aug 2021. Photo © Kimberly Wood.

This White-necked Petrel photographed in the channel between the islands of Kauaʻi and Niʻihau on 2 Nov 2021 was the only individual of this species observed in Hawaiian waters this fall. Photo © Terence Degan.

An orange-billed Nazca Booby stood out from its yellow-billed Masked Booby cousins on Eastern Island, Midway Atoll on 25 Sep 2021. Photo © Jonathan Plissner.

While firmly established on several of the other Hawaiian islands, the introduced Chinese Hwamei is losing its foothold on the island of Oʻahu. The bird photographed at Koko Crater Botanical Garden on 7 Oct 2021 is one of only two encounters on the island this fall. Photo © Kellen Apuna.