Hawaii: Summer 2022

Summer 2022: 1 Jun–31 Jul

Alex Wang

Jennifer Rothe

Recommended citation:

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

Summer in the Hawaii Region tends to be a relatively uneventful season for birding. Overwintering ducks and shorebirds have typically long since departed the region for their breeding grounds, though the occasional individual opts to remain in the islands rather than brave the perils of another trans-Pacific journey. Outside of typical migration windows, large oceanic storm systems represent the best chance to deliver rarities to the islands; however, the early part of hurricane season was mercifully quiet. In general, there was not much turbulent weather to speak of, outside of an ongoing dry spell that left many reservoirs low.


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

Geese through ducks

Kauaiʻs long-term resident Snow Goose continued this summer at its usual haunt, Princeville Makai Golf Course (m. ob). Likewise, Hawaiʻi Island’s own extended-stay Cackling Goose, present since at least Feb 2011, continued at the Kealakehe Wastewater Treatment Plant (m. ob.). Black Swan continued to be reported in the vicinity of the Ko Olina Golf Club on Oʻahu, where a small population of introduced birds roamed freely and bred again in 2022. A maximum of six individuals were noted on 23 Jun (Greg Jacks).

Northern Shoveler, typically absent from the Hawaii region before the close of the spring quarter, remained until 4 Jun at Kealakehe WTP on Hawaiʻi Island (Alan Knue, Charles Enlow) and until 18 Jun at Maui’s Keālia NWR (Harrison Allen-Sutter). Similarly, a female Northern Pintail lingered on Midway Atoll until 6 Jun (Bob Toleno, Jonathan Plissner). Hawaiʻi Island’s adult male Lesser Scaup continued at Wailoa River SP through at least 30 Jul (Alan Knue, Charles Enlow, Alex Wiebe, David Wilcove, Christian Reynolds, Sherman Wing, Gret Dicey, Dan Coleman, Decie Coleman, Kellen Apuna). While this species is an annual winter visitor to the Hawaiian Islands, there were previously only four known occurrences of over-summering individuals (Pyle & Pyle 2017).

Grebes through Swiftlets

Pied-billed Grebe has frequented this same location (at Wailoa River SP, Hawaiʻi Island) almost continuously since 2015, and one individual continued to be documented there throughout the summer (Alan Knue, Charles Enlow, Christian Reynolds, Sherman Wing, Reginald David, Keith Barrington, Alex Wiebe, David Wilcove, Gret Dicey, Dan Coleman, Decie Coleman, Steven Freed, Kellen Apuna).

Mourning Dove is well-established on most of the main Hawaiian Islands but difficult to find on Kauaʻi, where one individual was reported from Līhuʻe Airport on 4 Jul (Zane Pickus). On Hawaiʻi Island, the 43 individuals congregated at a recently sown rye field at Hale Kauwehi Solar on 8 Jul represented an unusually high tally for the species (Reginald David).

Mariana Swiftlet, endemic to the Mariana Islands but introduced to Oʻahu in the 1960s, persisted in low numbers on the island. Three swiftlets were observed on Aiea Ridge on 3 Jun (Michael Young) and one was seen briefly in the same area on 15 Jun (Kellen Apuna).


Black-bellied Plover occurs as an annual winter visitor to the Hawaiian Islands, but oversummering individuals are rare. Oʻahu sported not one, but two individuals at Nuʻupia Ponds WMA 2–23 Jun (Kurt Pohlman, Kellen Apuna, Peter Donaldson, Richard May).

Even more uncharacteristic for the summer season, Semipalmated Plover was well-documented at Maui’s Keālia NWR 22 Jun–30 Jul (Jeff Lovinger, Marcie Colledge, Nicholas Schleissmann, Jory Teltser, Greg Jacks, Alex Wang, Zach Pezzillo, Art Wang, Bob Swanson).

Bristle-thighed Curlew primarily visits the southeastern Hawaiian Islands in winter; however, there were a handful of summer reports in the region. One curlew flew past Kuʻualiʻi Fishpond on Hawaiʻi Island 27 Jun (Michael Gerity). On Oʻahu, two were counted at Halekou Pond at Marine Corps Base Hawaii on 27 Jul (Kurt Pohlman). Even Kauaʻi, which typically sports a dearth of curlews relative to the other Main Hawaiian Islands, had one bird vocalizing over Kīlauea Point NWR on 9 Jul (Adrian Burke). There was a second report of eight birds—originally called Whimbrels—flying past Mahaʻulepu Heritage Trail on 1 Jul (David Thomas). While no conclusive identification was reached, if they were indeed the more-expected Bristle-thighed Curlew, this observation may have represented a high count for Kauaʻi. A verified high count of five birds was reached twice, on 30 Sep 1996 and 2 Oct 1997 (Pyle & Pyle 2017).

Pyle & Pyle (2017) offered no substantiated historical records of oversummering Lesser Yellowlegs anywhere in the Hawaii Region, rendering this year’s two birds all the more exceptional. One individual was reported from Kahuku Aqua Ponds on Oʻahu 23 Jul (Richard May). Midway Atoll’s Lesser Yellowlegs, first observed at the brackish seep on 20 April, continued on the island throughout the entire summer period (Jonathan Plissner, Percy Ulsamer, Bob Toleno, Forest Starr, Kim Starr).

Gulls and Terns

Laughing Gull is most common in the winter, but a smattering of summer records exist. Still, the five individuals reported on 9 Jun from the Kailua-Kona harbor on Hawaiʻi Island represented an unusually high count for the season (Kenna Sue Trickey).

Kauaʻi Co experienced a heightened number of Sooty Tern sightings relative to previous summer seasons. Whether this was reflective of a natural phenomenon or due to increased observer effort was unclear. Sooty Tern was reported in the Kaulakahi Channel between Kauaʻi and Niʻihau on three occasions: two and five birds on different eBird lists on 12 Jun (Adrian Burke), one bird on 5 Jul (Ezra Staengl, Galen Staengl, Theo Staengl), and one bird on 8 Jul (Scott Olmstead). Shore-based reports included single birds from Kīlauea Point on 16 Jun (Ross Todd) and 16 Jul (Hannah Landwerlen, Alex Wiebe), between one and six individuals from Princeville seawatches 1217 Jun (Aaron Stutz), two birds from Makahuena Point (Adrian Burke), and a handful of encounters from Port Allen airfield (Adrian Burke, Nicholas Schleissmann), which included a high count of 15 individuals on 4 Jul (Adrian Burke).

The Least Tern of the Americas is an annual breeder on Midway Atoll. But the Eurasian Little Tern is very similar, mostly differing in having a white as opposed to gray rump, and has been occasionally seen on Midway. While first observed incubating on Midway in 2017, a Little Tern was seen courting a Least Tern this summer with a large fish on 22 Jul (Percy Ulsamer) and 23 Jul (Jonathan Plissner).

Petrels and Shearwaters

A dark morph Kermadec Petrel was spotted on Midway Atoll on 10 Jul (Jonathan Plissner, Chris Forster, Keegan Rankin, Percy Ulsamer, Bob Toleno). Two evenings later, the bird was seen circling the NAF hangar before landing and ground-calling for over 15 minutes (Jonathan Plissner). It was still being reported at the close of the season. This summer marked the third year in a row on Midway that Kermadec Petrel engaged in circling and vocalization behaviors, both hallmarks of prospecting. Interestingly, the phenology of the Midway birds loosely matches with those of Kauaʻi, where Kermadec Petrel was first observed at Kīlauea Point NWR in late Jun to early Sep 1998 (Pyle & Pyle 2017). Between one and four individuals have returned annually to Kauaʻi’s north shore since 2011, and while ground activity has been observed, breeding has never been confirmed. Lone Kermadecs were observed at Kīlauea Point NWR 9 Jul (Adrian Burke), 16 Jul (Alex Wiebe, Hannah Landwerlen), and 22 Jul (Adrian Burke). At nearby Kahili Beach, two individuals were noted on 16 Jul (Alex Wiebe, Hannah Landwerlen) and 19 Jul (Jonathan Eckerson, Phoebe Honscheid, Brendan Wang, Hannah Landwerlen), while a lone bird made a single pass on 30 Jul (Jennifer Rothe, Stephen Rossiter). Kermadec Petrel was also reported at the other end of the main island chain: at sea 100km south of South Point, Hawaiʻi Island on 9 Jul (Joshua Stone).

Buller’s Shearwater was encountered five different times on a single Hawaiʻi Island pelagic on 4 Jun, all within 20km of the Kona Coast (Lance Tanino, Stanley Maggard). One bird was reported 20 km southwest of Oʻahu on 10 Jun (Joshua Stone) and at least one individual flew by during a seawatch at Makapuʻu Point on 18 Jun (Kellen Apuna). On Kauaʻi, a Port Allen seawatch also picked up a single Buller’s Shearwater on 3 Jun (Adrian Burke), as did a boat tour west of the island on 12 Jun (Adrian Burke). A single late Sooty Shearwater was detected during a 4 Jun seawatch at Port Allen, Kauaʻi (Adrian Burke).

Christmas Shearwater was reported from two separate seawatches: one bird passed by Hawaiʻi Island’s Keahole Point on 24 Jun (Lance Tanino) and two streamed by Makahuena Point on Kauaʻi on 4 Jul (Mike Curry). The majority of the world’s Newell’s Shearwater population breeds on Kauaʻi and sightings are reasonably common in waters surrounding that island. The species is less frequent elsewhere in the islands, but a pelagic off of Hawaiʻi Island’s Kona Coast on 4 Jun encountered Newell’s Shearwater three separate times (Lance Tanino, Stacey Maggard).

Ibis through Shamas

White-faced Ibis is an annual winter visitor to the Hawaiian Islands, but summer records are infrequent. On Kauaʻi, a White-faced Ibis was photographed flying over Kawaiʻele State Waterbird Sanctuary on 7 Jun (Robb Brumfield). This encounter would be notable even in the expected winter season, as ibises in Kauaʻi Co are essentially restricted to Hanalei NWR on the north shore. On Oʻahu, an impressive eight ibises were reported from Pearl Harbor NWR on 9 and 14 Jun (Kurt Pohlman). That number dropped to one ibis on 26 and 27 Jun (Kurt Pohlman, Evie Chauncey); however, a high count of nine was attained on 10 Jul at the Hawaii Prince Golf Club (Wade Naguwa). On Hawaiʻi Island, three individuals continued from spring at Kealakehe WTP throughout the summer period (Reginald David, Alan Knue, Charles Enlow, Nancy Brooks, John Lynch, Donna Foley, Lance Tanino, Jennifer Morrow).

On 21 Jul, a Peregrine Falcon was spotted at the Kalia Tower Hilton on Oʻahu, though in contrast to the long-staying “Peale’s” peregrine of 2021, this bird could not be identified to subspecies (Michael Walther).

Four Salmon-crested Cockatoos were reported on 20 Jun from Hauʻula Loop Trail on Oʻahu’s north shore (Caleb Hancock). First noted on the island in 1972, individuals of this long-lived species persisted in low numbers in Mānoa and Makiki Valleys, where ready hybridization with White Cockatoo complicates identification. Due to the relatively low degree of vagility demonstrated by this species, Salmon-crested Cockatoos encountered near Hauʻula most likely originated from a private aviary in the vicinity rather than the Lyon Arboretum population (VanderWerf and Kalodimos 2021).

Rosy-faced Lovebird was first noted in the Hawaiian Islands in the vicinity of Kihei, Maui in 2005 and Waikoloa, Hawaiʻi Island in 2015. The species spread rapidly on the former, and breeding was quickly documented on the latter (VanderWerf and Kaladimos 2021). While Rosy-faced Lovebird has yet to become established on Oʻahu, sporadic encounters with one or two birds could indicate the presence of an incipient population. This summer, a lone Rosy-faced Lovebird was reported twice from the vicinity of Waikīkī: on 6 Jun (Angela Vasquez) and 22 Jun (John Keane).

White-rumped Shama, first confirmed on Maui in 2015, continued to be detected on the western lobe of the island throughout the summer period. Distribution of the birds largely replicated that of previous season: shamas were encountered at ʻIao Valley (Edgar Molina, Shae Turner), Waiheʻe Ridge Trail (Phillip Stosberg, Matthew Hartman, Scott Guzewich), Honolua Bay (Nicholas Schleissmann, Jory Teltser), and at the Kapalua Walking Trails (Pauline Fiene, Harrison Allen-Sutter, Phillip Stosberg, Jessica Robb).

Honeycreepers and Introduced Finches

ʻAkikiki, Kauaʻi’s most critically endangered honeycreeper, was reported a handful of times from a publicly accessible trail in the Alakaʻi Wilderness Preserve. An unbanded individual was encountered on 6 Jun (Robb Brumfield), two birds on 10 Jun (Adrian Burke), and two adults and a juvenile on 11 Jun (Adrian Burke). Two unbanded adults were reported on 29 Jun (Adrian Burke, Nicholas Schleissmann). One unbanded bird was seen 6 Jul (Scott Olmstead, Jonathan Eckerson) and three individuals were reported 17 Jul (Alex Wiebe).

On Hawaiʻi Island, between one and four Palila were reported at the Palila Discovery Trail just about every week during the summer (Alan Knue, Charles Enlow, Jon Knight, Bayou Stokes, Olivia Lee, Isaac Phillips, Matt Bango, Ryan Downey, Conlan Downey, Lee Gregory, David Wilcove, Maria Morelli, Keith Barrington). This represented a marked uptick in the frequency of Palila observations compared to the quiet summers of 2021 and 2020; however, tourism was still experiencing a pandemic-induced lull in those years. The birding effort of 2022 more closely mirrored that of 2018 and 2019, but with notably fewer Palila as their population continued to dwindle.

Saffron Finch was introduced to Oʻahu and Hawaiʻi Island in the mid-1960s and is considered well-established on those islands (Pyle & Pyle 2017). Kauaʻi’s Saffron Finches began as likely escapees in Waimea and though Pyle & Pyle (2017) did not consider them yet established, in recent years they are regularly detected in low numbers, especially on the west side of the island. On Maui, despite a pair observed nesting at Pukalani in 1997-1998, sightings remained infrequent, likely thanks to early removal efforts (Pyle & Pyle 2017). Frequency of eBird reports on Maui experienced a noticeable uptick over the last several years. Maui sightings this summer included two birds in Kihei on 28 Jun (Nicholas Schleissmann, Jory Teltser) and two separate sightings of lone birds on 7 Jul: one in Lahaina (Shawn Miller) and one at Ulupalakua Scenic Overlook (Megan O’Brien).

VanderWerf, E. A. and N. P. Kalodimos. 2021. Status of naturalized parrots in the Hawaiian Islands. Pp. 211-226 in Naturalized Parrots of the World: Distribution, Ecology, and Impacts of the World’s Most Colorful Colonizers (S. Pruett-Jones, Ed.). Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey.

Report processed by Eric DeFonso, 15 Feb 2023.

Photos–Hawaii: Summer 2022

Though a common winter migrant, the Lesser Scaup at Wailoa River SP on Hawaiʻi Island was only the fifth member of its species known to have spent the summer in Hawaii. 12 Jul 2022. Photo © Christian Reynolds.

On Hawaiʻi Island, a Pied-billed Grebe has called Hilo’s Wailoa River SP home for at least seven years. 12 Jul 2022. Photo © Christian Reynolds.

The vast majority of Black-bellied Plover records in the Hawaii Region pertain to lone overwintering birds. This Black-bellied Plover, photographed on 23 Jul 2022, was one of two individuals that spent their entire summer at Nuʻupia Ponds NWR on Oʻahu. Photo © Peter Donaldson.

First detected on 20 Apr, Midway Atoll’s Lesser Yellowlegs extended its stay throughout the entirety of summer 2022. Photographed here on 27 Jun, this may constitute the first substantiated summer record of this species in the Hawaiian Islands. Photo © Jonathan Plissner.

More commonly observed in the region during winter, summer 2022 saw reports of White-faced Ibis on three of the main Hawaiian Islands, including this individual photographed at Kealakehe Wastewater Treatment Plant on Hawaiʻi Island on 22 Jun. Photo © Reginald David.

The two Rosy-faced Lovebird reports from Waikīkī in summer 2022 may indicate an incipient population on Oʻahu. The non-native psittacid, photographed here at Waikōloa Village on Hawaiʻi Island 1 Jul, is already considered established there and on Maui. Photo © Michael Gerrity.

First detected on Maui in 2015, the introduced White-rumped Shama maintained its strong foothold on the Hawaiian Island’s western lobe in summer 2022. This male was photographed at ʻIao Valley 18 Jun. Photo © Edgar Molina.