Hawaii: Fall 2022

Fall 2022: 1 Aug–30 Nov

Alex Wang

Jennifer Rothe

Recommended citation:

Wang, A., and J. Rothe. 2023. Summer 2022: Hawaii. <https://wp.me/p8iY2g-fnS> North American Birds.

Autumn begins an exciting season for birders in the Hawaii Region. Long-distance migrants like Bristle-thighed Curlew and Pacific Golden-Plover begin returning from their nesting grounds on the North American continent, and handfuls of waterfowl settle in to overwinter in the islands. Invariably, these expected arrivals are accompanied by a mixed bag of wayward migrants, most often in the form of raptors, gulls, and especially shorebirds. The first-ever August observation of Peregrine Falcon occurred on Oʻahu this fall, and both Northern Harrier and Osprey spent time in the islands. Larid numbers were noticeably sparse this fall. However, Hawaiʻi Island’s Wood Sandpiper (second in the southeastern Hawaiian Islands) and Midway’s Baird’s Sandpiper (fifth in the Northwesterns) were two particularly exciting shorebird finds. Autumn also typically delivers a pulse in the diversity of seabirds transiting through Hawaiian waters, a fact which was measured by scattered seawatches as well as numerous pelagics out of Kona, Hawaiʻi Island (one of which turned up a Stejneger’s Petrel). Even the resident breeding seabirds were up to new things: the Newell’s Shearwater heard braying in the darkness on Midway Atoll was the first known example of its species exhibiting prospector-like behavior anywhere in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Weatherwise, the fall was relatively dry and quiet, with no major storm systems. The big news on the physical science front came not from the meteorological realm, however. Just before midnight on 27 Nov, Hawaiʻi’s largest volcano sprang to life. For the first time in 38 years, the summit of Mauna Loa was aglow with fountaining lava and orange rivers of molten rock: a veritable beacon in the night.


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

Geese through Ducks

Kauaʻi’s resident-since-2018 Snow Goose continued at Princeville Makai Golf Course throughout the season (m. ob.), while Hawaiʻi Island had its own Snow Goose–a juvenile–at Wailoa River SP in Hilo (Sam Preer, Christian Reynolds, Sherman Wing, m. ob.). A Greater White-fronted Goose was first discovered on Midway Atoll on 9 Oct and remained through the end of the fall season (Jonathan Plissner, Catie Mahon, Keegan Rankin, Margaret Jensen). On Kauaʻi, power lines pose a significant collision risk to native seabirds and waterbirds that transit daily through infrastructure airspace, and on 5 Nov, a deceased Brant with wire strike injuries was found on the Mānā plains, before it was ever seen by birders (Marc Travers). Apparently, this bird was one of two to make it to the island, as a live Brant was briefly observed from the Hanalei pier almost exactly one week later (Justin Hite, Kim Shoback).

Fall 2022 Cackling Goose distribution approximated a rollcall of the region’s National Wildlife Refuges. The species was reported at Kīlauea Point NWR on Kauaʻi 18–27 Aug (Andrew Lee, Angela Conry), at both of Oʻahu’s NWRs: Pearl Harbor (28–29 Nov; Kurt Pohlman, Michael Young) and James Campbell (3-4 birds; 5 Aug–26 Nov; Eric VanderWerf, Richard May, Peter Donaldson, m. ob.), and at Maui’s Keālia Pond NWR on 17 Nov (Addie O’Mally). Hawaiʻi Island’s Cackling Goose continued at Kealakehe Wastewater Treatment Pond, where it has resided for over a decade (m. ob.). Black Swan bred at Ko Olina Golf Club on Oʻahu in 2022 and was frequently reported in the vicinity during the fall season (m. ob.), with a high count of 13 individuals on 14 Nov (Coen Kliewer). One of the birds flew over the nearby Hawaiian Railway Society on 16 Nov (Coen Kliewer) and there were also two reports–on 19 Sep (Frank Konczak) and 6 Nov (Jon C)–at the Byodo-In Temple on Oʻahu’s north shore.

A female Gadwall flew into Hawaiʻi Island’s Kealakehe WTP with a flock of pintails on 14 Oct but was not seen there again (Reginald David). Oʻahu birders were luckier: one female, reported at the Honouliuli Unit of Pearl Harbor NWR 7–8 Nov (Kurt Pohlman, Mario Farr, Michael Young) was joined by two other females to become a trio of Gadwall 10–29 Nov (Kurt Pohlman, Michael Young, Zak Pohlen, Cal Gesmundo, Richard May, Mario Farr, Ben Hoffmann). The vast majority of Mallard reports in the Hawaiian Islands feature either domestic types or hybrids with Hawaiian Duck. However, an apparent wild drake Mallard was photographed at Oʻahu’s Pearl Harbor NWR on 1 Nov (Michael Young, Mario Farr). An individual was also reported that same day from James Campbell NWR (Eric VanderWerf) at the same location a drake had previously been noted on 25 Sep (Eric VanderWerf). A remarkably early female Northern Pintail arrived to Maui’s Keālia Pond NWR on 19 Aug, a fact which was both noticed and vehemently protested by the resident Hawaiian Stilts (Bill Brynteson).

Midway Atoll experienced an Aythya bonanza this fall, with three species present simultaneously. The first Tufted Duck was detected 6 Nov (Catie Mahon, Keegan Rankin) and by 13 Nov, both a female and immature male were present (Catie Mahon, Jonathan Plissner, Keegan Rankin). They persisted through the end of the fall season, as did the juvenile male Greater Scaup originally reported on 1 Nov (Catie Mahon, Jonathan Plissner). By 6 Nov, he was attended by three females (Catie Mahon, Jonathan Plissner, Margaret Jensen, Keegan Rankin). Both scaup species occur annually in the Hawaii Region, with Greater Scaup less common by far. However, two Greater Scaup were reported on 14 Nov at Kauaʻi’s Hanalei NWR (Travis Philo, Hob Osterlund), and lone birds were reported from Oʻahu’s James Campbell NWR on 26 Nov (Peter Donaldson, Richard May, Colin Morita, Nicole McCormick, Duane Otto, Margarita O, Cin-Ty Lee), from Piʻikea Ave ponds 23 Nov (Doug Cooper), and from Hawaiʻi Island’s Opaeʻula Ponds 28–29 Nov (Lance Tanino, Sherman Wing). The adult male Lesser Scaup at Hilo’s Waiakea Pond was notable in that it was one of only a handful of its species ever documented to over-summer in the Hawaii Region; thus, its continued presence as of 23 Aug was, by extension, unusual (Sherman Wing).

A nonbreeding-plumaged male Long-tailed Duck, in emaciated condition and and apparently unbothered by nearby swimmers, was discovered 29 Nov at Keahou Bay on Hawaiʻi Island (Bret Nainoa Mossman, Thane Pratt, Reginald David, Lance Tanino, Sherman Wing, John Lynch, Rebecca Dewhirst, Michael Carion). The bird was observed in active pursuit of fish but its efforts led to hooking and subsequent entanglement in fishing line. It was quickly captured and brought to the Hawaii Wildlife Center for rehabilitation; however, it proved to be beyond help and expired that same day. Per Pyle & Pyle (2017), this was only the third individual of its species to be observed in the southeastern Hawaiian Islands and the fourth ever recorded anywhere in the Hawaii Region. Two Buffleheads were regularly observed at the Honouliuli Unit of Pearl Harbor NWR on Oʻahu from 6–29 Nov (Michael Young, Kurt Pohlman, Mario Farr, Eric VanderWerf, Zak Pohlen, Cal Gesmundo, Richard May, Ben Hoffman, Kristi Streiffert). One Bufflehead was also observed on 26 Nov at James Campbell NWR on the opposite side of Oʻahu (Peter Donaldson, Richard May, Colin Morita, Nicole McCormick, Duane Otto, Margharita O, Cin-Ty Lee).

Quail through Plovers

Groups of between one and six Northern Bobwhite quail were reported several times on Kauaʻi’s Cane Rd 4 Aug–22 Sep (Adrian Burke). Pyle & Pyle (2017) treated this introduced species as not fully established on Kauaʻi, but whether supported by additional releases or not, a small population apparently persisted near Halenanahu Reservoir. Hilo’s long-term Pied-billed Grebe, present at Wailoa River SP since 2015, continued throughout the fall period (m. ob.). An individual was also reported five miles east, at Richardson Ocean Park, on 2 Aug (Nathan Woodland). Elsewhere on Hawaiʻi Island, Pied-billed Grebe made an appearance at Hōkūliʻa Shoreline Park 27 Aug–30 Oct (John Lynch, Susan Bonney, Rebecca Dewhirst) and Punaluʻu Ponds on 18 Nov (Sherman Wing).

Two pairs of Mourning Doves were reported on Kauaʻi: one set was feeding in the agricultural field across from Kawaiʻele SWS on 27 Sep (Stephen Rossiter) and the other was spotted flying over the coffee fields near Kalāheo on 23 Nov (Adrian Burke). On Midway Atoll, a juvenile Common Gallinule was noticed on 25 Nov (Catie Mahon) whose characteristics were judged to be a better match for North American populations of the species, as opposed to the expected “Hawaiian” subspecies (Catie Mahon, Jonathan Plissner, Peter Pyle). A partially leucistic Hawaiian Coot was observed at James Campbell NWR on Oʻahu on 25 Aug (Richard May, Peter Donaldson) and 19 Oct (Eric VanderWerf, Robby Kohley).

Oʻahu’s two Black-bellied Plovers continued from summer at Nuʻupia Ponds WMA, with at least one bird still present at the close of the fall season (Kurt Pohlman, Richard May, Peter Donaldson, Mario Farr, Kellen Apuna, Alexander Christensen). Lone black-bellieds were also observed on 1 Oct at James Campbell NWR (Eric VanderWerf), at Molokaʻi’s Koheo Wetland on 18 Nov (Paige Mino, Lainie Berry), and at Hawaiʻi Island’s Keahole Point 2 Aug23 Nov (Steve Freed, Lance Tanino, Mathurin Malby, Patricia Farr, Steve Semanchuk, Liz Skiles).

Semipalmated Plover was at Kauaʻi’s Kawaiʻele SWS 26 Sep–23 Oct (Lorin Wilkerson, Stephen Rossiter, David Hanna, Adrian Burke, Benjamin Vizzachero, Carolyn Doyle, Jennifer Rothe, Dilek Sahin, Mandy Talpas, Bill Boyle, Holger Teichman, Dina Perry, Adam Walleyn, Karen Thompson, Max Kesecker). On Maui, a single semipalmated was noted at La Perouse Bay on 22 Sep (Erik Enbody) and Kanahā Pond on 7 Oct (Nilesh K). Keālia Pond NWR had two individuals 9 Aug–11 Oct (m. ob.), with a high count of three on 13 Sep (Chris Forster). Kaloko-Honokōhau NHP on Hawaiʻi Island also hosted an individual 20 Aug–8 Sep (Randy Smith, Lance Tanino, Reginald David, Erin Whitaker, Beth Cottam, Angie Branch, Chris Wilson, Frannie Wilson).

Curlew through Sandpipers

Bristle-thighed Curlew has a patchy distribution in the Main Hawaiian Islands when it returns from its breeding grounds on the North American continent. Two of the more curlew-deprived islands had reports this fall: one flew past Maui’s Kanahā Beach on 11 Sep (Monte Tudor-Long) and a different bird rested briefly on the runway at Kauaʻi’s Port Allen Airfield 23 Sep (Bow Tyler, Jennifer Rothe). On Molokaʻi, a banded Whimbrel was photographed 18 Nov (Lainie Berry, Paige Mino) at Koheo Wetland, the same location where an American “Hudsonian” Whimbrel has returned each winter since 2007. A second unbanded Whimbrel showed up at James Campbell NWR on Oʻahu 20 Aug1 Oct (Eric VanderWerf). The bird, photographed 25 Aug in Pond A of the NWR’s Kiʻi Unit, sported more subdued head coloration and was presumed to belong to the Asian “Siberiansubspecies (Richard May, Peter Donaldson).

On Midway Atoll, a Ruff was detected at the water catchment area on 24 Aug and then joined by a second individual the following day. Both were reported regularly until 11 Sep (Jonathan Plissner, Bob Toleno, Percy Ulsamer, Keegan Rankin, Chris Forster, Catie Mahon, Margaret Jensen). In the Main Hawaiian Islands, a juvenile Ruff was found at Kauaʻi’s Pākalā Beach 30 Aug–6 Sep (Ben Vizzachero, Stephen Rossiter, Jennifer Rothe, Adrian Burke, David Hanna) before being re-sighted farther west, at Kawaiʻele State Waterbird Sanctuary 22–24 Nov (Adrian Burke, Michael Simmons). Ruff also made an appearance on Oʻahu, at Pearl Harbor NWR 15 Oct–11 Nov (Chris Brown, Richard May, Peter Donaldson, Mario Farr, Kurt Pohlman, Michael Young, Eric VanderWerf) and at Hawaiʻi Island’s Kealakehe WTP 27–28 Aug (Lee Gregory, Reginald David, Lance Tanino, Shashi Kumara, Peter Rigsbee) and 29 Nov (Reginald David, Sherman Wing).

On Midway Atoll, Dunlin was detected both on Spit Island (20 & 22 Oct, Jonathan Plissner) and Eastern Island (20 & 28 Oct, Catie Mahon). Dunlin also popped up in the Waiawa Unit of Oʻahu’s Pearl Harbor NWR on 2–19 Nov (Kurt Pohlman, Alexander Christensen, Michael Young). Baird’s Sandpiper was on Midway Atoll 13–30 Sep (Catie Mahon, Jonathan Plissner, Keegan Rankin, Margaret Jensen). There were only four prior records of this species in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, the most recent of which was in 2001 (Pyle & Pyle 2017).

Least Sandpiper was initially reported 20 Sep at Maui’s Keālia Pond NWR (Erik Enbody) and then 20–25 Oct (Chris Forster, Cassandra Bosma, Lance Tanino, Kevin Smith). Least Sandpiper also appeared on Hawaiʻi Island at Kealakehe WTP 3–4 Oct (Reginald David, Mandy Talpas, Steve Shields, Matthew Schaut, William Clark, Rachel Clark) and 13 Oct (Lance Tanino). On Oʻahu, Western Sandpiper was noted at the Kiʻi Unit of James Campbell NWR on two days: 8 Oct (Peter Donaldson, Richard May) and 15 Oct (Mandy Talpas, Richard May, Sheridan Parker, Eli Martin, Karen Ikeda).

Dowitchers through Yellowlegs

While dowitchers visit the Hawaiian Islands annually, the Short-billed Dowitcher photographed at James Campbell NWR on 20 Aug was notable in that it is by far the less common of the two Limnodromus species (Eric VanderWerf).

On Midway Atoll, staff flushed a Common Snipe from Eastern Island on 27 Sep (Catie Mahon) and 20 Oct (Margaret Jensen). Despite its name, this Eurasian species is far less common in the Hawaii Region than the closely related (and formerly conspecific) Wilson’s Snipe. The more expected North American snipe species was reported from the Kiʻi Unit of Oʻahu’s James Campbell NWR on 12 Nov (Peter Donaldson, Richard May, Joel McIntyre, JJ Furuno, Maya Furuno, Zoe Diermier) and was accompanied by a second individual on 26 Nov (Peter Donaldson, Richard May, Colin Morita, Nicole McCormick, Duane Otto, Margarita O, Cin-Ty Lee). Pearl Harbor NWR on Oʻahu’s south side also had a Wilson’s Snipe 8 Oct–13 Nov (Tim Waters, J Joseph, Chris Brown, Michael Young), as did Kauaʻi’s Hanalei NWR on 28 Oct and 17 Nov (Alex Henry).

This fall was an uncommonly good one for Spotted Sandpiper: one individual was found at ʻAimakapā Pond on the leeward side of Hawaiʻi Island on 20 Aug (Randy Smith) and 23 Aug (Lance Tanino), and on 12 Sep one flew past Haʻena Beach on the windward side (Kirk Swenson). Kauaʻi turned up its own Spotted Sandpiper at Kawaiʻele SWS during eBird’s Global Big Day on 8 Oct (Stephen Rossiter, Jennifer Rothe, Dilek Sahin), a bird which continued to be well-documented through the end of fall (Stephen Rossiter, Chris Brown, Mandy Talpas, David Hanna, Adrian Burke, Robby Kohley, Zak Pohlen, Cal Gesmundo, Michael Simmons, Nolan Campbell, Chris Dean, Richard May).

Two Gray-tailed Tattlers– including an individual banded at the same site in 2021–were photographed together at Midway Atoll’s water catchment on 12 Aug (Jonathan Plissner) and both birds continued through 27 Nov (Jonathan Plissner, Percy Ulsamer, Bob Toleno, Chris Forster, Catie Mahon, Keegan Rankin, Margaret Jensen). Lesser Yellowlegs was reported from Hawaiʻi Island’s ʻAimakapā Pond on 9 Aug (Richard Budden), Kanaha Pond (12 Sep, Eric VanderWerf) and Long’s mitigation ponds (13 Sep, Eric VanderWerf) on Maui, Kiʻi unit of James Campbell NWR on Oʻahu (25 Aug, Richard May & Peter Donaldson), and from a pond southeast of Waita Reservoir on Kauaʻi (6 Sep, Adrian Burke). A Greater Yellowlegs flushed from Oʻahu’s James Campbell NWR on 20 Aug, uttering its characteristic three-part call as it flew (Eric VanderWerf). A Tringa discovered on 12 Oct at Opaeʻula Pond on Hawaiʻi Island (Ron Pozzi) turned out to be a Wood Sandpiper, which was subsequently documented 2630 Nov (Thane Pratt, Alex Wang, Art Wang, Stephen Rossiter, Jennifer Rothe, Rebecca Dewhirst, John Lynch, Lance Tanino, Lee Gregory). This was only the second substantiated sighting in the southeastern Hawaiian Islands, with the other being on Kauaʻi in 2012 (Oscar Johnson, Pyle & Pyle 2017).

Skuas through Storm-petrels

There were two skua reports in the Kaulakahi Channel between Kauaʻi and Niʻihau: one flying with Wedge-tailed Shearwaters on 19 Aug (Paul Linton, Alexander Linton) and two on 20 Sep that were initially sitting on the water but flushed upon approach (Bobby Brittingham). All were presumed to be South Polar Skua. A 13 Oct pelagic out of Kona, Hawaiʻi turned up a Pomarine Jaeger (Mandy Talpas, Ron Pozzi, Bill Boyle, Adam Walleyn, Reginald David, Holger Teichmann).

While Glaucous-winged Gull is an annual visitor to the Main Hawaiian Islands, there was a rather odd dearth of reports this autumn, save for the one juvenile seen tucking into a deer carcass on the beach on Molokaʻi’s One Aliʻi Park on 29 Nov (Tim Ward). Midway’s juvenile Glaucous-winged Gull, present from 7–30 Nov, was also odd but for the opposite reason: the species only tends to show up every few years on the atoll (Catie Mahon).

Two Blue-gray Noddies were encountered during the course of cetacean research northwest of Kauaʻi on 23 Aug (Jordan Lerma). While this species breeds in the Northwesterns, it is rarely detected near the main Hawaiian Islands. White Tern has a similar distribution, with the notable exception of Honolulu’s urban colony. However, a White Tern flew at close range past the Pali Ke Kua condos in Princeville, Kauaʻi on 20 Sep (Lorin Wilkerson). Off Kauaʻi’s south shore, a Gray-backed Tern–another rare visitor from the Northwesterns–was reported during a boat trip 23 Aug (Kurt Gaskill). Midway’s Little Tern was reported sporadically 6 Aug–11 Sep (Jonathan Plissner, Bob Toleno, Paige Mino, Catie Mahon) and was seen carrying food for a chick at the south end of the runway on 26 Aug (Jonathan Plissner).

An out-of-season Laysan Albatross was encountered in Kaulakahi Channel between Kauaʻi and Niʻihau on 19 Aug (Paul Linton, Alexander Linton). Midway’s first Short-tailed Albatross sighting of the season occurred 16 Oct (Jonathan Plissner, Catie Mahon, Margaret Jensen), and by 24 Nov it had been joined by its mate (Wesley Jolley). The species, which breeds nearly exclusively on islands offshore of Japan, experienced precipitous population declines to the point of near-extinction in the mid 20th century (Carboneras et al. 2020), but the most recent Midway pair have successfully fledged three chicks since 2016. Leach’s Storm-Petrel was reported twice this fall: during a 18 Oct transit between Oʻahu and Kauaʻi (Stephanie Levins) and during a 24 Oct pelagic out of Kona, Hawaiʻi Island (Mandy Talpas, Ron Pozzi, Chris Brown, Cathy Wisel, Elizabeth Lyons, Marilyn Henry, Michael Henry, Rachel Cameron, Richard Thunen).

Petrels and Shearwaters

Following a summer with sporadic sightings of two Kermadec Petrels, all fall reports on Kauaʻi’s north shore pertained to only one bird. An individual was observed flying among frigatebirds and boobies above Kīlauea Point NWR on 12 Aug (Paul Linton, Alexander Linton) and vocalizing during acrobatic swoops on the evening of 19 Aug (Richard Jeffers). It made several passes over nearby Kahili Beach in the same hour (Tim Perkins). Midway Atoll’s Kermadec continued in the vicinity of the NAF hangar (7 Aug, Percy Ulsamer) and was last seen circling and calling on 30 Aug (Jonathan Plissner, Chris Forster). In the cases of the Kauaʻi and Midway birds, this phenology represents a departure from fall 2021, when sightings continued into earlySep and early-Oct, respectively.

Mottled Petrel breeds on islands south of New Zealand and transits through the North Pacific, with sporadic fall sightings in Hawaiian waters peaking between early-Oct and late-Nov. This fall’s reports–all off Hawaiʻi Island–coincided with that window: a Keokea BP seawatch reported three eastbound on 22 Oct (Lance Tanino) and one was photographed during a 24 Oct Kona pelagic (Mandy Talpas, Ron Pozzi, Richard Thunen, Rachel Cameron, Michael Henry, Marilyn Henry, Elizabeth Lyons, Cathay Wisel, Chris Brown).

Lone Juan-Fernández Petrels were observed on Kona pelagics on 31 Aug (Mandy Talpas, Reginald David, David McQuade, Tammy McQuade), 24 Sep (Alex Wang, Jacob Drucker, Lila Fried, Ron Pozzi, Bret Mossman, Sherman Wing), and 2 Oct (Mandy Talpas, Matthew Schaut, Craig Provost, Steve Shields). A 13 Oct trip had two encounters (Mandy Talpas, Ron Pozzi, Bill Boyle, Adam Walleyn, Reginald David, Dina Perry, Holger Teichmann). Keokea BP seawatches reported two on 13 Sep (Lance Tanino, Bob Toleno, Juli Chamberlin) and a total of five on 22 Oct (Lance Tanino).

A Hawaiian Petrel observed flying past Makapuʻu Point the evening of 7 Aug was notable in that this species is seldom seen from Oʻahu (Paul Radley), though regular on the outer islands. Black-winged Petrel, more commonly observed during Hawaiʻi Island pelagics, was also reported during a Kauaʻi seawatch from Makahūʻena Point on 4 Sep (Daniele Mitchell).] Cook’s Petrel was reported during two Keokea BP seawatches on the northern tip of Hawaiʻi Island: one bird on 13 Sep (Lance Tanino, Bob Toleno, Juli Chamberlin) and seven on 22 Oct (Lance Tanino). A 24 Sep pelagic encountered a Stejneger’s Petrel about 17 miles offshore from Kona, Hawaiʻi Island (Alex Wang, Bret Mossman, Jacon Drucker, Lila Fried, Ron Pozzi, Sherman Wing). While the migration routes appear to include eastern Hawaiian waters, the species is rarely encountered.

Buller’s Shearwater was photographed during the course of cetacean fieldwork off Kauaʻi 23 Aug (Jordan Lerma). On Hawaiʻi Island, a 13 Sep Keokea BP seawatch reported one eastbound bird (Lance Tanino, Bob Toleno, Juli Chamberlin) and another was photographed on a 13 Oct Kona pelagic (Mandy Talpas, Bill Boyle, Ron Pozzi, Adam Walleyn, Reginald David, Dina Perry, Holger Teichmann). An impressive flight of 7351 Sooty Shearwaters streamed past Laupahoehoe Point County Park on Hawaiʻi Island in a little over an hour on the morning of 25 Sep (Jacob Drucker). A single Christmas Shearwater was reported heading east during a 30 Sep Keokea BP seawatch on Hawaiʻi Island (Lance Tanino) and two were reported 200 yards beyond the breakers during a Kauaʻi Beach Resort seawatch on 18 Aug (Paul Linton, Alexander Linton). A pair was also reported the next day during a crossing of the Kaulakahi Channel west of Kauaʻi (Paul Linton, Alexander Linton).

Newell’s Shearwater breeds primarily on Kauaʻi but is occasionally encountered elsewhere in the Main Hawaiian Islands: this fall, one was photographed during a Kona pelagic off of Hawaiʻi Island on 24 Oct (Mandy Talpas, Chris Brown, Ron Pozzi, Richard Thunen, Elizabeth Lyons, Michael Henry, Marilyn Henry, Rachel Cameron, Cathay Wisel). Observations of the species in the Northwesterns had heretofore been limited to a handful of autumnal at-sea records: Pyle and Pyle (2017) cite four occurrences of single birds near Nihoa and two occurrences near Midway. However, beginning around 5 Sep, Midway residents sporadically heard the unfamiliar braying of a Newell’s Shearwater, and a recording was successfully obtained on 10 Sep (Jonathan Plissner). This prospector-like behavior of circling and calling appeared to be unprecedented in the remotest parts of the Hawaiian Islands.

Sulids through Raptors

An adult Masked Booby was sitting on the water just off from Salt Pond BP during a Blue Dolphin sunset tour on 4 Aug (Nathaniel Watkins, Brendan Wang). While the species breeds in the Northwesterns and several offshore islets, it is not commonly observed on Kauaʻi. On Midway Atoll’s Eastern Island, a Nazca Booby was detected at the western end of the runway on 30 Aug–precisely the same location and one year to the day where an individual arrived in 2021 (Percy Ulsamer). The bird continued to be well-documented through 28 Oct (Percy Ulsamer, Jonathan Plissner, Keegan Rankin, Catie Mahon, Margaret Jensen). A 3 Sep survey on Moku Manu Island north of Oʻahu tallied one male and five female “Brewster’s” Brown Boobies versus 108 of the more expected “Forster’s” (Eric VanderWerf, Robby Kohley). A 21 Oct visit to the saddle of Nihoa in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands reported three “Brewster’s” and five Brown Boobies of unspecified type (Stephanie Levins).

White-faced Ibis was reported on Kauaʻi at Hanalei NWR 22 Sep29 Oct (m. ob.). Up to eight ibis were at Oʻahu’s Pearl Harbor NWR 3 Aug31 Oct (m. ob.) and one was reported at Maui’s Keālia Pond NWR on 27 Sep (Katherine Glaser). Three individuals were observed on Hawaiʻi Island throughout the entirety of the fall season, apparently splitting their time between Kealakehe WTP, Honokohau Harbor, and Kaloko-Honokōhau NHP (m. ob.) on the Kona coast.

Fall 2022 was a stellar one for Osprey observations. A female was photographed circling above Keokea BP near the northern tip of Hawaiʻi Island on 16 Oct, drifting west (Stephen Davies). The bird was re-spotted at nearby Pololū Valley five days later (Ron Pozzi). On Maui, sightings were split between Kanahā Pond Wildlife Sanctuary and Keālia NWR, frequently perching on pilings. It was reported at the former on 2 Oct (Peyton Cook) and 7 Nov (Eric Shaphran, Marianne Gunn) at the latter on 5 Oct (Kathy Stewart), 23 Nov (Susan Isaacson, David Dahnke), and 28 Nov (Michael Simmons, Chris Forster). Molokaʻi’s Osprey flew over the highway near Hoʻolehua while carrying a fish on 26 Nov (Tim Ward). An apparent female was observed soaring above Oʻahu’s Laniakea Beach on 31 Oct (Brianne Byrd).

A Northern Harrier also spent time on the island, primarily at James Campbell NWR 19 Oct19 Nov (Eric VanderWerf, Robby Kohley, Marie Kessler, Steven Kessler, Zoe Diermier, Richard May, Peter Donaldson, Mario Farr, Colin Morita, Eric Forsberg, Tim Waters, Donna Nagiello, JJ Furuno, Maja Furuno, Chris Brown, Elizabeth Lyons, Marilyn Henry, Rachel Cameron, Mandy Talpas, Richard Thunen, Michael Henry, Cathay Wisel). There was on additional sighting elsewhere on island, at Kawainui Marsh, on 22 Nov (Betty Beckham). A female Belted Kingfisher bounced between ʻAimakapā Pond and Kaloko Fishpond within Hawaiʻi Island’s Kaloko-Honokōhau NHP 414 Nov (Diana Doyle, Reginald David, Tim Waters, John Lynch, Chris Webber).

After hosting the longest-known residency of a Peregrine Falcon over the winter of 2020-21, the Honolulu area had another notable sighting: the first-ever Aug observations of the species anywhere in the Hawaii Region (Pyle & Pyle 2017). The peregrine–possibly the same individual observed in July–was photographed perching on Kalia Tower Hilton the morning of 5 Aug and was subsequently documented there almost daily 14 Aug28 Oct (Michael Walther, Richard May, Peter Donaldson, Chris Brown, J. Marty Paige). Outside of Waikīkī, other Oʻahu peregrine sightings occurred above Hamakua Marsh 15 Oct (Curtis Takano) and at Waimea Bay on 15 Nov (Coen Kliewer). On Hawaiʻi Island at Volcanoes NP, a Peregrine Falcon flew out of the caldera and zoomed past Volcano House at eye-level on 11 Nov (Brad Vatrt, Rachel Piazza). On Midway, a probable Peregrine Falcon was first detected 20 Sep (Catie Mahon), followed by regular confirmed sightings 6 Oct26 Nov (Catie Mahon, Jonathan Plissner, Keegan Rankin).


Red-vented Bulbul, native to the Indian subcontinent, was introduced to Oʻahu in the 1960s (Pyle & Pyle 2017) but is not established on any of the other Hawaiian Islands. However, there were two reports of the species on Maui: one was noted flying across the road near Ahihi Cove on 22 Sep (Erik Enbody) and another was singing from a treetop at the Kahului DOFAW baseyard on 7 Oct (Zach Pezzillo). An Orange-cheeked Waxbill was photographed at Fort Derussy BP, Oʻahu on 5 Sep (Catie Mahon). While this species of waxbill (one of three which occur in the Hawaii Region) was introduced to Oʻahu at nearby Diamond Head in the 1960s, this population had dwindled by the 1990s (Pyle & Pyle 2017). The species was reported at a handful of locations on the island since that time, but relatively few of these were accompanied by substantiating evidence. Whether these reports pertained to remnants of the original introduced population or subsequent releases is debatable.

Kauaʻi’s most endangered native forest bird, the ʻAkikiki, was reported sporadically from the Mōhihi Waiʻalae Trail: one bird on 4 Sep (Mandy Talpas, David McQuade, Tammy McQuade), two birds on 30 Oct (Adrian Burke, Jeffrey Bailey), three and four birds on 9 and 10 Nov, respectively (Zak Pohlen, Cal Gesmundo), and one on 18 Nov (Casper (Philip) Leygraaf). On Hawaiʻi Island, Palila was difficult to come by in the first half of fall, with only one report each in Aug (23rd; Brooks Rownd) and Sep (11th; Lance Tanino, Adrian Burke). Sightings picked up in October, with several groups reporting individuals near the Palila Discovery Trail (m. ob.), while other expeditions had encounters above 9000 feet on 14 Nov (Casper (Philip) Leygraaf) and 28 Nov (Alex Wang, Art Wang, Stephen Rossiter, Jennifer Rothe, Robby Kohley, Erika Dittmar). In Maui’s Waikamoi Preserve, ʻĀkohekohe sightings were difficult to come by. However, vocalizations of one individual were heard on 13 Aug (Zach Pezzillo, Garret Lau, Joan Baker) and 12 Nov (Casper (Philip) Leygraaf), and two individuals were heard 26 Nov (Thomas Ford-Hutchinson, Beverly Chou). Waikamoi’s other critically endangered inhabitant, the Kiwikiu, was slightly more obliging. A pair were seen and a third heard on 13 Aug (Garrett Lau, Joan Baker), two were seen on 12 Nov (Casper (Philip) Leygraaf), and one was heard on 26 Aug (Beverly Chou, Thomas Ford-Hutchinson).

Red-crested Cardinal has long been established on most of the main Hawaiian Islands save for Hawaiʻi; however, the species appears to persist in low numbers. There were two reports in fall 2022: one bird at a Kohala subdivision on 8 Aug (Eric Decker) and one at Reed’s Bay BP in Hilo on 6 Sep (Jeremy Norris). As with previous seasons, Maui Saffron Finch sightings continued to be clustered around Kīhei and [coastline extending south] (23 Sep Jazmine Jensen, Zach Hampson; two at Waipuilani Park 10 Aug (Connor Wehner) and 27 Aug (John Mach), one just south of the park on 20 Aug (Justin Swift), two at Kalama Park on 11 Sep (Cara Christensen, Adrian Helmling-Cornell), two at Kamaole Park II on 8 Nov (Chris R), and one near Mokapu BP on 26 Sep (Chucky Klapow). Two separate reports at Maui Wine in Kula–of two birds on 25 Aug (Brandon Brogle) and one on 28 Sep (Chucky Klapow)–appeared to be a continuation of a breeding pair first reported there in Oct 2019 (Jessie Godfrey, Jason Riggio).

Small numbers of Tanimbar Corellas continue to be reported on the Hawaiʻi Island in the Kaloko Mauka area. Two were seen in the Honuaʻula Forest Reserve on 23 Oct (m.ob) and two on 31 Oct (Steve Semanchuk, Liz Skiles) on Hao street. Small numbers of Tanimbar Corella, White Cockatoo, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, and Salmon-crested Cockatoo were reported in the vicinity of Lyon Arboretum on Oʻahu (Alana Muse, E. Kim Murdoog, Nicole McCormick)


Carboneras, C., F. Jutglar, and G. M. Kirwan. 2020. Short-tailed Albatross (Phoebastria albatrus), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (J. del Hoyo, A. Elliott, J. Sargatal, D. A. Christie, and E. de Juana, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.shtalb.01

Pyle, R. L., and P. Pyle. 2017. The Birds of the Hawaiian Islands: Occurrence, History, Distribution, and Status. B. P. Bishop Museum, Honolulu, HI, U.S.A. Version 2 (1 January 2017). http://hbs.bishopmuseum.org/birds/rlp-monograph

Report processed by Jose Ramirez-Garofalo, 01 May 2023.

Photos–Hawaii: Fall 2022

A Long-tailed Duck discovered at Hawaiʻi Island’s Keahou Bay on 29 Nov 2022 was only the fourth ever recorded in the Hawaii Region. Photo © Thane Pratt.

An endangered subspecies of Common Gallinule breeds in the Hawaiian archipelago; however, a juvenile photographed on Midway Atoll on 27 Nov 2022 displayed characteristics more consistent with the “North American” subspecies. Photo © Catie Mahon.

This elegant Baird’s Sandpiper, photographed on Midway Atoll on 13 Sep 2022, was only the fifth ever documented in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Photo © Catie Mahon.

Western Sandpiper has shown up on Oʻahu a few times over the years, but rarely is one as obliging as this individual at James Campbell NWR on 8 Oct 2022. Photo © Peter Donaldson.

Short-billed Dowitcher is the less expected Limnodromus sp. in the Hawaii Region, but close observation revealed this individual at Oʻahu’s James Campbell NWR on 20 Aug 2022. Photo © Eric VanderWerf.

Though the migration route of Stejneger’s Petrel—seen here 17 mi west of Kona, Hawaiʻi—winds through Hawaiian waters, reports of the species are few and far between, 24 Sep 2022. Photo © Jacob Drucker.

This Northern Harrier spent much of the autumn cruising the open landscape at James Campbell NWR on Oʻahu, 19 Nov 2022. Photo © Mario Farr.

Fall 2022 brought the Hawaii Region its first-known August report of Peregrine Falcon. Subsequent sightings were concentrated around Honolulu, but this individual was photographed above Hamakua Marsh, Oʻahu. 15 Oct 2022. Photo © Curtis Takano.

A handful of observers were lucky enough to see Kiwikiu, one of Maui’s critically endangered honeycreepers, at Waikamoi Preserve. 13 Aug 2022. Photo © Garrett Lau.