Hawaii: Winter 2020–2021

Winter 2020–2021: 1 Dec–28 Feb

Alex Wang
[email protected]

Jennifer Rothe
[email protected]

Recommended citation:

Wang, A. and J. Rothe. 2021. Winter 2020–2021: Hawaii. <https://wp.me/p8iY2g-azQ> North American Birds.

Winter 2020-2021 was a relatively mild one in Hawai’i, with few and short-lasting winter storms. A high ocean swell is characteristic of winter in Hawaiʻi, and this is why there are not typically any pelagic trips at this time of year. However, calm seas in the early part of 2021 allowed for three pelagics out of Kona in back-to-back weekends. These yielded sightings of both Black-footed Albatross and Laysan albatrosses, as well as high numbers of Christmas Shearwater, Blue-gray Noddy, and Gray-backed Tern. The Christmas Bird Count season resulted in a perceptible uptick of birding effort in the islands, and several rarities were discovered as a result. While visitation to the islands remained well below that of typical years, the easing of COVID-19 restrictions allowed much greater birding coverage than the entirety of the previous year. Number of migrant waterfowl and wintering gulls continues a trend of increasing each winter. A high count of at least 12 Laughing Gulls on Hawaiʻi Island was exceptional—all the more so since their arrival to the state was relatively late, being absent from the fall quarter. Other notable sightings included the second state record of Baikal Teal and sixth state record of Great Egret.

Contributors (sub-regional editors in boldface)

Kellen Apuna, Jefferson Ashby, Robin Baird (RB), Lainie Berry, James Boyd Friday, Bobby Brittingham (BoB), David Brock, Bill Brynteson (BBr), Chesta Buckley, Sammie Buechner, Ross Bullington (RBu), Alika Campbell (ACa), Jean Campbell, Elliot Carter, Kepano Carvalho (KCa), Alexander Christensen (ACh), Maria Costantini, Katie Cox (KCo), Bev Davenport, Reginald David (RD), Rebecca Dewhirst (RDe), Pete Donaldson, Mike Elfassy, Lisa Fitzner, Steven Freed, Christian Hagelocher (ChH), Caleb Hancock (CaH), Julie Harris, Naomi Himley, Justin Hite (JHi), Steve Hodges, Peggy Horton, Ann Inouye, Kimberly Jeffries, Eric Kershner, Leslie Knaphus, Cody Lane, Robby Kohley, Keith Lane, Jordan Lerma (JLe), Lora Leschner, John Lynch (JLy), Richard May, Daniel McGregor, Merry Miller, Alex Moore, Heather Moravec, Bret Mossman, Kristen Nalani, John Nelson, Nicole Olmstead, Walter Oshiro, Jim Pea (JPe), Zach Pezzillo, Jonathan Plissner (JP), Kurt Pohlman, Ron Pozzi, Thane Pratt, Sam Preer, Alex Renner, Peter Rigsbee, Jennifer Rothe (Kauaʻi Co), Kevin Ryan, Rachel Santulli, Stephan Schoech, Ellen Schwenne, Darren Shirley, Kim Shoback, Jon Sneddon, Mandy Talpas, Ann Tanimoto-Johnson, Lance Tanino, Katie Temple, Sharon Tolby, Bow Tyler, Kim Uyehara, Michael Walther, Joe Walston (JWa), Alex Wang (Hawaiʻi Co), Olivia Wang, Caleb Warren (CaW),  Kaylauna Warren, Alenka Weinhold (AWe), Lukas Weinhold, Chad Wilhite, Sherman Wing, Jules Wyman (JWy), Bruce Webb, Bryn Webber (BryW), Eric VanderWerf, Ben Vizzachero, Michael Young.

Geese

The apparent long-term resident Kauaʻi Snow Goose continued to be observed throughout the winter period at Princeville Makai Golf Course and was often attended by several Hawaiian Geese (Nēnē) (CL, JR, KS, BT, m. ob.). On Oʻahu, the four sub-adult Snow Geese which appeared at the Royal Kunia Country Club in November employed the area as their wintering grounds through the end of February (m. ob.). A single bird was reported at Ko Olina Golf Club 411 Feb (BD). Snow Geese were also reported twice from within James Campbell NWR: three on 10 Dec, continuing from fall (EV), and one near the Punamano Unit on 4 Jan (RM). On Maui, a lone adult Snow Goose was photographed on 19 Dec in a grassy field adjacent to the highway 3km northwest of Keālia Pond (BW). A single Snow Goose frequented Kanahā Pond in Kahului 28 Jan–17 Feb (CH, DMc, JPe, ZP). Two birds, one adult and one subadult, were reported at Keālia Pond NWR 29 Jan and 12 Feb (DMc, KR). On Hawaiʻi Island, reports of lone Snow Geese originated from three locations. The immature bird first reported in November at Whittington Beach Park continued at that location until 15 Jan (m. ob.). On the windward side, an immature Snow Goose was reported at Shipman Beach on 2 Dec (SW), followed by a bird of unspecified age on 25 Dec (AW, LB). On the leeward side, an adult was spotted at Hōkūliʻa Shoreline Park on 27 Feb (AW).

At least eight Greater White-fronted Geese were observed in the Hawaiian Islands this winter. The majority of these occurred on Midway as a single group of five at the water catchment area 6 Dec–17 Feb (JP, EK). The other three birds were continuing individuals scattered across three of the main Hawaiian Islands. The Oʻahu bird maintained a faithful presence at the Honouliuli Unit of Pearl Harbor NWR through the end of February (m. ob.), while Maui’s Kanahā Pond individual was reported only twice. On both occasions it was in the company of a Snow Goose. The Hawaiʻi Island individual has been a year-round resident at Wailoa River SP since fall 2017. Brant were observed at two locations on the island. The first was encountered at Shipman Beach on 2 Dec (SW) and disappeared around the same time that other geese in the vicinity were killed by off-leash dogs. On 12 Jan, a Brant showed up at Kaloko-Honokōhau NHP and was still present as of 23 Feb (CaW, KW, m. ob.). The two points are approximately 100km apart, and it is unknown whether these sightings are of the same individual.

On Kauaʻi, a banded Cackling Goose was observed at Kīlauea Point NWR at sunset during the Kapaʻa CBC (BV, KU, JR, BT, KS). A lone, banded bird has periodically been reported roosting with Hawaiian Geese at the lighthouse since 2008. At Hulēʻia NWR, an unbanded Cackling Goose was observed during surveys on 27 Dec and 21 Jan (CL, JR). Cackling Geese showed up at two of Oʻahu’s National Wildlife Refuges: one was at Pearl Harbor on 17 Feb (MY), and a probable second individual frequented James Campbell’s Punamano Unit and surrounding golf courses 23 Dec27 Feb (ST, PH, RM, m. ob.). On Hawaiʻi, the resident Cackling Goose continued at Kealakehe WTP. Finally, two Canada Geese overwintered at Wailoa River SP (SW, m. ob.), giving Hawaiʻi Island the enviable distinction of having hosted five migratory goose species in a single season.

Ducks

A male Baikal Tealthe second state record and the first in the Northwestern Hawaiian islandswas discovered on Midway Atoll at the water catchment on 11 Feb and was still present at the close of the winter season (JP). It was also observed at Radar Hill in the company of a female Garganey 12 Feb (EV, RK). The wary Garganey was also photographed alone at the seep on 15 Feb (JP). Fifteen-hundred miles (2400km) east, a second Garganey appeared at Kealakehe WTP on Hawaiʻi Island from 22 Jan to 3 Feb (RD, BBr, JS, PR, m. ob.).

Blue-winged Teal were reported on Oʻahu at the Honouliuli Unit of Pearl Harbor NWR, first as a single bird on 16 Dec (KA) and later as a male-female pair on 21 Feb (KP, MT, RM, MY). A lone bird was also photographed on several occasions at the Waiawa Unit between 3 Jan and 28 Feb (MY, RM). On Hawaiʻi Island, single Blue-winged Teal were reported at Opaeʻula Pond on 19 Dec (LT) and Kealakehe WTP on 8–9 Jan (RD, BM). A drake Cinnamon Teal made a brief appearance at Keālia Pond NWR on Maui 5–7 Feb (JPe, DMc, EC).

Northern Shovelers were reported in strong numbers throughout the period, with high counts of nine at Hanalei NWR on Kauaʻi (19 Dec, JR, BT, KS), 35 at James Campbell NWR on Oʻahu (10 Dec, EV), 146 at Keālia NWR on Maui (5 Feb, JPe), 99 at Kealakehe WTP on Hawaiʻi (22 Jan, RD), and four on Midway (10–11 Feb, EV, RK). Eurasian Wigeon were reported from Midway Atoll and Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, and Hawaiʻi Islands. Both Eurasian and American wigeon, along with Northern Pintail, were present in expected to slightly-above-average numbers this year.

High counts of Green-winged Teal were 11 at Hanalei NWR on Kauaʻi 21 Jan (CL, JR), four at Pearl Harbor NWR on Oʻahu 11–18 Dec (KP, KA), and 11 on 2 Dec at Kealakehe WTP on Hawaiʻi (RD). Ring-necked Ducks were also present in the islands throughout the winter. High counts for Hawaiʻi Island were 12 at Kealakehe WTP (8 Jan, RD) and 13 at Kaloko–Honokōhau NHP (19 Feb, JWa). On Oʻahu, up to 15 were observed at Pearl Harbor NWR (26 Jan, RM, MY). A Ring-necked Duck, the first winter record on Kauaʻi since 2017, was documented at Hulēʻia NWR on 21 Jan (CL, JR).

A female Greater Scaup continuing from fall at Salt Pond BP on Kauaʻi departed 1 Dec and was not seen again on island (JR). An adult female was at Lokoea Pond on Oʻahu 13 Jan–10 Feb (KP, RM, RK, EV, AM, MY). On Hawaiʻi Island, Whittington BP also hosted a female 12 Dec–19 Jan (AW, SB, LT, m. ob.). Two suspected Greater Scaup were reported alongside Lessers at Wailoa River SP on 27 Jan (JWy). Two to three birds were at Kealakehe WTP 2 Dec–3 Feb (RD, PR, SF, BBr), and up to six—a high number in any year—were observed simultaneously at Kaloko-Honokōhau NHP from 6–26 Feb (LT, RP, RDe, JLy, SP, SW, MM). A lone female Greater Scaup was also on Midway 9–10 Dec (EK, JP).

On Kauaʻi, the two autumn Buffleheads at Salt Ponds BP were documented daily until 11 Dec, when water levels in the ponds were no longer conducive to diving. A single bird was encountered one final time on 3 Jan (JR). One Bufflehead was detected at Hanalei NWR during the waterbird survey 21 Jan (KU). Later that day, three Buffleheads were observed diving together at Hulēʻia NWR (CL, JR). It is unknown whether the Salt Ponds birds dispersed to one of these locations, but at a minimum there were four Buffleheads on Kauaʻi this winter. On Maui, two Buffleheads were reported among a raft of scaup at Keālia Pond NWR 23 Dec (JA).

Prior to this winter, there were fewer than 30 records reported in the state since 1966. There were at least five Hooded Mergansers overwintering in the Hawaiian Islands this year. The male and female birds recorded on surveys at Hanalei NWR 19 Dec and 21 Jan were the first reported on Kauaʻi since 1993 (CL, JR, KS, KU, BT). A juvenile male was discovered on Oʻahu 30 Dec at Heʻeia SP (KN, m. ob.). It remained throughout the winter period and was photographed transitioning into adult male alternate plumage (MY). An additional two brown-plumaged Hooded Mergansers were photographed at Pololu Stream on Hawaiʻi Island from 31 Dec–14 Jan (JF, m. ob.).

The female Red-breasted Merganser, first reported in fall, continued on Hawaiʻi Island until 6 Feb (m. ob.). Initially reported at Kealakehe Wastewater Treatment Plant, the bird relocated to ʻAimakapā Pond on 7 Dec and was not observed at the former location again (RD).

Grebes through Rails

A basic-plumaged adult Pied-billed Grebe was reported from a stock pond near Kīlauea, Kauaʻi on 7 Jan (RD). On Hawaiʻi Island, both autumn Pied-billed Grebes continued throughout the winter period at their respective locations: one at Wailoa River SP and one at the Hōkūliʻa Shoreline Park (m. ob.). A third individual was reported at Punaluʻu Ponds 4 Jan (SW). The fall season’s fourth state record Sora at Kukio Beach on Hawaiʻi Island continued through the winter period (LT, m. ob.).

The 2 Jan Hilo Christmas Bird Count turned up a putative American Coot at Haʻena (TP). American Coots appear similar to Hawaiian Coots, and the two were considered conspecific until the latter was elevated to full species status in 1993. While the bird’s face shield morphology and molt schedule point towards American rather than Hawaiian Coot, its identity is not yet conclusive. A genetic sample was taken from this bird, and if confirmed, it would represent the first American Coot recorded in the Hawaiian Islands. The bird was still present 20 Jan and well-photographed (AW, BM, NH).

Shorebirds

Two Black-bellied Plovers wintered on Oʻahu: one at Nuʻupia Pond 1 Jan20 Feb (KA, AM, RM, MT) and one at the Malaekahana Bike Path in Lāʻie 621 Feb (CaH, MY, LB, KA, RM, KP). One Black-bellied Plover continued at Keahole Point on Hawaiʻi Island through the winter quarter (m. ob.), and one continued on Midway until 11 Jan (JP) on Eastern Island. A Semipalmated Plover was reported at Puʻuhonoua O Hōnaunau NHP on Hawaiʻi Island 7 Dec–24 Feb (ME, KC, AR, m. ob.). On Midway, a Ruff was reported consistently at the water catchment area every few days until 3 Jan (EK, JP). A single Sharp-tailed Sandpiper was in a mixed shorebird flock 27 Dec at James Campbell NWR on Oʻahu (AM). It was the only individual of its species reported in the state this winter.

Hunakai, or Sanderlings, are regular winterers in Hawaiʻi but a high count of 64 seen together at Keālia NWR on Maui was exceptional 12 Feb (KR). Two Dunlin were photographed together on the north shore of Oʻahu; they ranged from the Rainbow House Shave Ice to the Kahuku Aquaponds of James Campbell NWR 12 Dec20 Jan (KP, MY, AM, RM, CaH). Another Dunlin was discovered 4 Dec at ʻAimakapā Pond, Hawaiʻi Island and wintered into spring (AT, m. ob.). Pectoral Sandpipers had a strong showing this winter. Often the Sharp-tailed and Pectoral sandpipers carry on migrating further south, and only a few stay in Hawaiʻi through the winter. But this year there was a Sharp-tailed Sandpiper on Hawaiʻi Island 26 Dec (AW, LB) at the Hualālai resort, and numerous individuals wintered on Oʻahu. At Pouhala Marsh, Oʻahu, one bird was seen 2 Jan (RM), and two birds were found on 25 Feb (EV). One to two birds were seen at Honouliuli Unit of Pearl Harbor NWR 9 Dec20 Feb (KP, KA). One Pectoral Sandpiper wintered at a third site on Oʻahu at James Campbell NWR 19 Dec25 Jan (m. ob.).

On Hawaiʻi Island, as many as five Long-billed Dowitchers were seen at one time at Opaeʻula Pond 19 Dec9 Feb (LT, AW, RP, SH). One was seen repeatedly 7 Dec15 Jan at various locations along the coast of Kaloko–Honokōhau NHP, mostly at ʻAimakapā Pond (LT, JH, CB, BBr, SF). Another was seen at Kukio Beach 823 Jan (ES, LT, AW). On Maui, two Long-billed Dowitchers were seen at Kanahā Pond 6 Dec (JN), and two were at Keālia Pond NWR 17 Feb (ChH). On Oʻahu, two Long-billed Dowitchers were seen at James Campbell NWR 4 Dec27 Feb (m. ob), and one to three individuals were observed at Pearl Harbor NWR 23 Jan17 Feb (AM, KP, MT, MY). There was also a pair consistently observed on Sand Island, Midway 5 Dec13 Feb (EK, JP, EV, RK). Two Wilson’s Snipe were flushed from the ABC units of Hanalei NWR on Kauaʻi during the Kapaʻa CBC on 19 Dec (JR, BT, KS). On Oʻahu, a single snipe was observed 22 Dec at the Honouliuli Unit of Pearl Harbor NWR (KA). A Red Phalarope was observed at sea off the west coast of Oʻahu, about a kilometer off Maʻili, 27 Dec (KJ). A three-day wonder Spotted Sandpiper was seen at Heʻeia SP, Oʻahu 1113 Jan (RM, PD, KP, MY, LB, NO), though it may have been the same individual that was at nearby Nuʻupia Ponds the previous quarter. Lastly for shorebirds, a Gray-tailed Tattler was observed at the water catchment on Midway Atoll 8 Dec28 Feb (EK, JP, EV, RK).

Gulls through Seabirds

On a 6 Feb pelagic out of Kona, Hawaiʻi, a cooperative adult light-morph Pomarine Jaeger approached the boat and even joined a raft of Wedge-tailed and Christmas shearwaters (LT, m. ob.).

Laughing Gull is one of the more common larid winter visitors to the Hawaiian Island chain, and this season was no exception. High counts included seven on Oʻahu and twelve on Hawaiʻi Island (KP, RP, m. ob.). On Hawaiʻi Island, most Laughing Gulls were observed at ʻAimakapā Pond and the surrounding coastline, including the Honōkahau Marina and Kealakehe WTP. Three juveniles were reported on Maui (ZP, RBu), and a single first-cycle bird was observed on several occasions on westside Kauaʻi (JR). Ring-billed Gulls were reported on Maui and Hawaiʻi this winter. The Maui individual was observed twice, on 23 Dec and 26 Jan, at Kealia Pond NWR (JA, LF, LL). The Hawaiʻi individual was a first-cycle bird and continued at Kealakehe WTP until 2 Feb (RD, SP, m. ob.). Possibly a second individual was frequently documented a short distance north at Kaloko-Honokōhau NHP 4 Dec–6 Feb (PR, AT, m. ob.).

At least two first-cycle Glaucous-winged Gulls were present on Kauaʻi during the winter. Two individuals were observed near Nawiliwili Harbor 27 Jan (JR), and there were sporadic reports 24 Dec to 5 Feb of single birds ranging around the island from Pacific Missile Range Facility to Hanalei NWR (BoB, BV, CL, JHi, JR, KT, KS, RS). Up to two Glaucous-winged Gulls were also reported on Oʻahu 22 Dec–7 Feb (DB, PH, EV, LB, KC, AM, MY, MC). One bird sailed past a cliff face at mile 35.5 of the Honoapiʻilani Highway, Maui on 10 Feb (KR). On Hawaiʻi Island there were half a dozen reports of a single Glaucous-winged Gull on the Kona side 1 Dec3 Feb (MM, BiB, AH, ES, RD, SH, RDe, AW, RP, SW, NH, SP, BM).

Least Tern was just barely detected this quarter, which is typical, as they depart early to the north and east to breed. The last of the season was seen at the Kealakehe WTP 4 Dec. A Blue-gray Noddy was seen at sea about 10 miles south of Lānaʻi 9 Dec (JL). While this is a breeding species in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, it is extremely rare in the main Hawaiian Islands; the exception is Lehua Islet off of Niʻihau. Blue-gray Noddies have only been reported off Kona, Hawaiʻi Island once, and there were a couple of observations off of Kauaʻi in 2014 and 2016, but otherwise they are notably absent from the Southeastern Hawaiian Islands. This represents the first Maui County record.

White Terns breed in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and on Oʻahu but are infrequently encountered outside of these areas. However, sightings seem to be increasing off Kona, Hawaiʻi Island. Each of three Hawaiʻi Island pelagics (on 23 Jan, 31 Jan, and 6 Feb) turned up one or two White Terns west of Kona (AW, LT, MT, m. ob.). Cascadia Research Collective, a cetacean research organization, observed up to eight White Terns on seven different days south of Lānaʻi while doing field work in December. The same organization also observed one to two Gray-backed Terns on 3, 6, 11, and 13 Dec (RB, JLe). These sightings were the second through fifth records of this species in Maui County.

On Oʻahu, the locally renowned Caspian Tern returned to winter for another year in the same location: Nuʻupia Ponds. This presumed same single individual has been wintering at this location at least since it was first observed in 2002! Also on Oʻahu, a Common Tern was seen at the Honouliuli Unit of Pearl Harbor NWR 2428 Feb (KP, m. ob). Another returnee was the Red-billed Tropicbird on Oʻahu. Since 2018, there has been one associating with the Red-tailed Tropicbird colony near Lānaʻi Lookout. This winter it was seen again by many from 29 Dec+.

While Laysan Albatross breeds on Oʻahu and most of the islands to the northwest, they are still quite rare to the southeast. This winter there were three sightings of note: one from a seawatch on Maui 18 Feb (KR) and two sightingsbut possibly of the same birdseen 40 minutes apart on a pelagic out of Kona, Hawaiʻi Island 18 Feb (LT, m.ob). Black-footed Albatross is less common in the main Hawaiian Islands than Laysan Albatross and typically only breeds as far southeast as Lehua Islet. On nearby Kauaʻi, a flyby Black-footed Albatross was seen on 14 Feb (BryW) from Kīlauea Point NWR and from a seawatch at Ahukini 27 Dec (JR). On Oʻahu, there has been a banded Black-footed Albatross at Kaʻena Point for a number of years, and this winter it returned 3 Dec (KA). Excitingly, it was joined by a second Black-footed Albatross on 13 Feb, and the pair engaged in courtship dancing through Valentine’s Day. Three were seen on 20 Feb, providing the highest count for Kaʻena Point since 2006. On Hawaiʻi Island, Black-footed Albatross was spotted on three sequential pelagics out of Kona: one or two birds were seen on 23 Jan (AW, m.ob), one on 6 Feb (LT, m. ob.), and two on 18 Feb (MT, m. ob.). Lastly, one was seen from a seawatch out of Southpoint, Hawaiʻi 11 Jan (SF). The continuing Short-tailed Albatross pair which has nested on Midway every year since 2019 rang in the new year by hatching another chick on 1 Jan (JP).

A Leach’s Storm-Petrel was photographed on a pelagic off Kona, Hawaiʻi Island 23 Jan (AW, m. ob.). As many as three Band-rumped Storm-Petrels were encountered on that same pelagic (AW, m. ob.). Two individuals were also noted on each of two pelagic trips occurring 31 Jan (MT, m. ob.) and 6 Feb (LT, m. ob.). Band-rumped Storm-Petrels breed in the Hawaiian Islands but are seldom reported in winter.

A light-morph Kermadec Petrel was encountered north of Niʻihau on 15 Dec (JR). While the presence of multiple Kermadecs in the vicinity of Kīlauea Point NWR has been well-documented since at least the early 1990s, this sighting represents the first time this species has been reported within 100km of Kauaʻi between October and February. A Juan Fernández Petrel was spotted 9 Dec off of Lānaʻi (JLe). Lone Juan Fernández Petrels were also encountered and photographed twice—approximately one hour apart—on the 31 Jan pelagic out of Kona, Hawaiʻi Island (MT, m. ob.). Out-of-season Hawaiian Petrels were reported west of Kona 6 Feb (LT, m. ob.) and 18 Feb (MT). Cascadia Research Collective also encountered them over several days during fieldwork around Lānaʻi in December (RB).

Kona pelagics also turned up two additional Pterodroma species: a White-necked Petrel on 6 Feb (LT) and Black-winged Petrel on 31 Jan (MT, m. ob.). Both are regular, if sparse, migrants past the Hawaiian Islands, but records outside of spring and fall migration are less frequent. Christmas Shearwater also had a strong showing off of Hawaiʻi Island this season. Two birds were reported west of Kona 6 Feb (LT, m. ob.), eight were noted 31 Jan (MT, m. ob.), and a whopping nine were encountered 23 Jan (AW, m. ob.). This 23 Jan pelagic also encountered a Newell’s Shearwater (AW, RP, SW, SP, BM, NH). While this species is endemic to the Hawaiian Islands, in winter most birds are attending far-flung foraging areas. The species is rarely encountered in Hawaiian waters between December and February.

Masked Boobies breed in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands and were reported from Midway 1 Dec–11 Feb (EK, JP). Their numbers are much more limited in the main Hawaiian Islands, but there is a modest breeding colony on Moku Manu Islet off of Oʻahu. Birds were observed several times around Oʻahu this winter: up to six from the vicinity of Makapuʻu Point 19 Jan–28 Feb (RM, MY, LK), one at Sandy’s Beach 20 Feb (MT), and up to six from Kaʻena Point NAR 17 Dec–26 Feb (CaH, CWi, OW). A lone Masked Booby was observed from Maui’s Papakea on 15 Dec (BW), and four individuals were reported on 6 Feb from Hulopoe Bay on Lānaʻi (DS). Cascadia Research Collective also encountered several birds in the waters around the island in December (RB, JLe). Lastly, two Masked Boobies were reported west of Kona, Hawaiʻi Island on 16 Feb (HM).

Hawaii’s sixth state record of Great Egret was found at Keawawa Wetland on Oʻahu on 23 Jan (SS, m. ob.). Despite having a consistently drooping right wing, the bird appeared to be fully flighted and was also observed 1.2 miles away at Paiko Lagoon Wildlife Sanctuary on 25 Jan (WO). It was last seen in the Hawaiʻi Kai area on 26 Jan (KP) before being refound at the Honouliuli Unit of Pearl Harbor NWR 24–28 Feb with an apparently healed wing (KP, m. ob.).

A White-faced Ibis continued at Hanalei NWR on Kauaʻi. It was scoped from the Hanalei overlook on 3 Dec and 9 Jan (JR) and observed within the ABC management units during a survey on 21 Jan (CL, JR). Likewise, three White-faced Ibis on Oʻahu continued at the Honouliuli unit of Pearl Harbor NWR until 9 Dec (KP, m. ob.). Likely the same three individuals showed up a month later on 7 Jan at Nagatani Watercress Farms (KP) and were reported regularly there and at the nearby Waiawa Unit of Pearl Harbor NWR through 23 Feb (KP, MT, MY). On Hawaiʻi Island, two White-faced Ibis continued at Hōkūliʻa Shoreline Park through the end of the winter period and were occasionally joined by a third individual (LT, m. ob.).

Raptors through passerines

An Osprey was photographed at Liliʻuokalani Gardens on Hawaiʻi Island 23 Dec (AWe, LW) and was spotted flushing Cattle Egrets at nearby Lokowaka Pond 29 Jan (SP). A female Northern Harrier continued on Midway, providing multiple sightings across Sand Island from 6 Dec through 15 Feb (EK, JP). A brown-plumaged Northern Harrier was also spotted twice at Hanalei NWR on the north shore of Kauaʻi: once during the Christmas Bird Count on 19 Dec (JR, BT, KS) and again on 29 Dec (BoB). A male Belted Kingfisher was briefly observed 8 Feb on Oʻahu at Ohai Point (SH), only about 5km away from Spencer BP, where one overwintered in 2019–2020. A probable escapee, a Red Bishop turned up at Lāʻie Point on Oʻahu 25 Dec (KL).

On Kauaʻi, the 19 Dec CBC also turned up a Peregrine Falcon hunting above Crater Hill in the Kīlauea Point NWR complex (BV, KU, JR, BT, KS). Presumably the same individual was spotted two miles to the south on 25 Dec (AI). On Oʻahu, a juvenile bird continued from the fall period and was frequently observed interacting with White Terns in the vicinity of Waikiki (MW, m. ob.). A flyover individual spooked waterfowl at Pearl Harbor NWR on 17 Jan (ACh), and the same day two birds were observed near Nuʻupia Ponds. At least one was a juvenile anatum (KA, MY, RM). On Maui, a juvenile Peregrine was chasing Common Mynas at Kanahā Pond Wildlife Sanctuary on 17 Jan (ZP). In the Northwesterns, a continuing Peregrine Falcon overwintered on Midway and was observed hunting and being mobbed by White Terns 16 Dec–26 Feb (EK, JP).

On Hawaiʻi Island, an incipient population of Chestnut Munia continues to spread in Pepeʻekeo (SW). While common on Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, and Maui Islands, this introduced species currently is absent from Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Kahoʻolawe, and, until recently, Hawaiʻi Island. A “new” Great-tailed Grackle was in Honolulu, Oʻahu 6 Feb (ACa, JC, MY, m. ob.). There had been a one-footed individual seen off-and-on from 2011 through 2020,but it was last seen in July of 2020. This winter’s bird retains a full complement of appendages.

Report processed by Andrew Keaveney, 26 May 2021.

Photos–Hawaii: Winter 2020–2021

Click image to view fullscreen with caption.