Hawaii: Winter 2021-2022

Winter 2021–2022: 1 Dec–28 Feb

Alex Wang

Jennifer Rothe

Recommended citation: 

Wang, A. and J. Rothe. 2022. Winter 2021–2022: Hawaii. <https://wp.me/p8iY2g-dyG> North American Birds.

The winter of 2021–2022 was abnormally dry across the Hawaiian Islands. Migrant bird numbers may have been affected both through the paucity of freshwater resources available to them as well as the lack of storms driving them to land in the first place. This unseasonal dryness seemed particularly pronounced on Oʻahu, where wetlands such as Pouhala Marsh were bone-dry most of the winter, providing little habitat for shorebirds. Hilo, on the wet side of Hawaiʻi Island, had an atypically low mere six inches of rain for the month of February. Both Maui Co and Honolulu Co enacted water rationing ordinances by the end of the winter. While Kauaʻi, the rainiest Hawaiian Island, did not install special water conservation measures, many of the island’s usual shorebird haunts like Salt Pond Beach Park were dry for much of the winter.

Despite COVID case numbers surging over the holidays, tourism approximated pre-pandemic levels. In contrast to the last two winters, there was no shortage of birding effort across the state, including numerous winter pelagics.


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

Geese through Ducks

Kauaʻi’s celebrity Snow Goose, present in the area since 2018, unsurprisingly continued its residency at the Princeville Makai Golf Course (m. ob.). However, the Līhuʻe Christmas Bird Count turned up a second Snow Goose at the Mahaʻulepu Trail Golf Course on 26 Dec which was never reported again (Ben Vizzachero). That same day, two Snow Geese were reported from James Campbell NWR on Oʻahu, and the area continued to yield reports of 2-3 individuals through the end of the winter quarter (Eric Vanderwerf, Richard May, Peter Donaldson, Paul Rodriguez, T. Norris, Caleb Hancock, m. ob.). A single Snow Goose was reported from western Maui at Kapalua Village Trails on 13 Dec (Spencer Klinefelter). Hawaiʻi Island had one or two different birds, with one individual seen at the Kealakehe WTP (Lance Tanino) on 8 Dec, followed by an individual farther north at Waikoloa Golf Course from 13 Dec–7 Jan (Peter Rigsbee, Matthew Thompson, Reginald David).

In the Northwesterns, a Brant (ssp. nigricans) was observed several times on Midway Atoll’s Spit Island 23 Dec–9 Feb (Breck Tyler, Jonathan Plissner). Within the main Hawaiian Islands, a Brant was photographed swimming on an inlet at Kahili Beach, Kauaʻi on 12 Dec (Alex Wild) and never refound. Another was seen at Nuʻupia Ponds, Marine Corps Base, Oʻahu and documented regularly from 20 Dec through the quarter’s end (Mario Farr, m. ob.).

Two of Kauaʻi’s four north shore Cackling Geese from autumn continued at Princeville Makai Golf Course 2 Jan–19 Feb (Stephen Rice, m. ob.). Oʻahu’s north shore featured its own lone Cackling Goose, observed along the highway near Turtle Bay on 8 Jan (Richard May, Peter Donaldson) and in James Campbell NWR 22 Jan–12 Feb (Richard May, Peter Donaldson, Caleb Hancock, Sherman Wing, Susan Clare, Michon Morita, Colin Morita, Jo Jo Doyle, Peggy Horton, Tim Waters, Cindy Cunningham, Gene Cunningham). Single Cackling Geese were also reported from Ewa Beach on 25 Feb (Michael Young) and Maui’s King Kamehameha Golf Course on 11 Feb (Dina Davis). On Hawaiʻi Island, the Cackling Goose that arrived at Kealakehe Wastewater Treatment Plant in spring of 2012 continued throughout the winter season (m. ob.). Farther north along the Kona Coast, the single Cackling Goose that frequented the fairways in Waikōloa 13 Dec–28 Dec (Peter Rigsbee, Reginald David) morphed into a party of seven 30 Jan–6 Feb (EM Ganin, Thane Pratt, Alex Wang). Meanwhile, on the windward side, Hilo had its own group of up to five Cackling Geese at Reed’s Bay Beach Park from 226 Dec (Andy Weber, Bertrand Dumont, Martin Renner) and 12–31 Dec at Wailoa River SP (Merryl Edelstein, Sherman Wing, Matthew Thompson).

On Oʻahu, four to five Black Swans continued from 3–22 Dec at Ko Olina Golf Course, where these presumed escapees bred in 2021 (Todd Mitchell, Randy Wood). Nearby Pearl Harbor NWR was visited by a lone Blue-winged Teal on 2 Dec (Michael Young), and a drake was reported from Maui’s Kealia Pond NWR on 4 Feb (Richard May). On Hawaiʻi Island, a hen Blue-winged Teal apparently hopped between Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park and the adjacent Kealakehe Wastewater Treatment Plant 31 Dec–10 Feb (Lance Tanino, Mario Farr, Tiffany Joel, Reginald David, Allan Robbins, Alex Wang, Sherman Wing, Candace Larson, Mary Coolidge, Geoffrey Williamson, Myron Gerhard, Ron Pozzi). A male Gadwall was discovered at Kealakehe WTP on 14 Dec and remained through the end of the winter (Lance Tanino, m. ob.). 

While Mallard is well-established and freely hybridizes with Hawaiian Duck in most of the state, it is still uncommon in Kauaʻi Co, the native duck’s last genetic stronghold. The presence of a male Mallard photographed at Hanalei NWR on 19 Feb thus represented cause for concern (Mandy Talpas, Vicki Sandage, Craig Provost, Stanton Hunter, Allen Codding, Gavin Bieber). A single Green-winged Teal spent time on Midway Atoll 3 Dec–22 Feb (Jonathan Plissner, Breck Tyler, Eric VanderWerf, Robby Kohley). On Kauaʻi, pairs of Green-winged Teal were observed during waterbird surveys at Hanalei and Hulēʻia NWRs, on 18 and 26 Dec, respectively (Jennifer Rothe, Stephen Rossiter), followed by a group of 11 at Hanalei NWR on 19 Jan (Jennifer Rothe, Stephen Rossiter) and three at Kawaiʻele State Waterbird Sanctuary on 21 Feb (Erin Stockschlaeder, Robert Mocko). Lone birds were reported three times from Honolulu Co: from Kaneohe Klipper Golf Course 19 Dec (Peter Donaldson, Dain Christensen, Alexander Christensen), the following day at Hoʻomaluhia Botanical Gardens (Adam Rollins), and 26 Dec at James Campbell NWR (Eric VanderWerf). Up to seven individuals were observed at Pearl Harbor NWR and maintained a relatively constant presence throughout the winter season (Kellen Apuna, Ted Nichols, Kurt Pohlman, Richard May, Ben Hoffmann, Jo Jo Doyle). Lone Green-winged Teal were also observed on 13 Dec on Maui’s Kapalua Village Trails (Spencer Klinefelter) and 18–27 Feb at Kaloko-Honokōhau NHP on Hawaiʻi Island (Greg Butcher, Linda Fuller, Gavin Bieber, Mandy Talpas, Reginald David). 

One to five Ring-necked Ducks were observed around James Campbell NWR 8–15 Jan on Oʻahu (Richard May, Peter Donaldson, Paul Rodriguez, Caleb Hancock). One bird was at Keālia Pond NWR on Maui on 20 Feb (Linda Fuller, Greg Butcher) and at Haʻena/ Shipman’s Beach on Hawaiʻi Island 2–19 Jan (Thane Pratt, Matthew Thompson, Alex Wang). Kealakehe WTP on the Kona side maintained Ring-necked Duck presence for the entirety of 2021, and this trend continued into the new year (m. ob.). Greater Scaup occurred at several locations in Hawaiʻi Co: a single bird at Kealakehe WTP 1–4 Dec (Reginald David, Ken Oeser), Haʻena Beach 2–19 Jan (Thane Pratt, Matthew Thompson, Alex Wang), and Lokowaka Pond 21 Jan (Sherman Wing). Up to two Greater Scaup were observed in the vicinity of Mauna Lani Resort 6 Dec–1 Jan (Brandy Johnson, Reginald David, Peter Rigsbee, Evan Thomas). A lone Greater Scaup resided at Pearl Harbor NWR on Oʻahu throughout the entirety of the winter season (Michael Young, Kurt Pohlman, Kellen Apuna, Jo Jo Doyle).

A Bufflehead was photographed at Kaloko-Honokōhau NHP 26 Feb (Vicki Sandage). Two Buffleheads appeared on Midway Atoll 3 Dec (Breck Tyler), and a single bird remained there until 26 Jan (Breck Tyler, Jonathan Plissner, Robby Kohley, Eric VanderWerf, Ariana Duarte Canizales). A female Common Merganser was photographed on Midway Atoll on 4 and 5 Dec (Jonathan Plissner), which represented a first record for the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. While this species has previously been documented on three of the Southeastern Hawaiian IslandsMaui, Kauaʻi, and Oʻahubetween 1986 and 1998, the general consensus was that these encounters likely represented the meanderings of a single long-staying individual (Pyle 2017). If true, the Midway bird may be only the second member of its species known to have ever reached this remote island chain.

Grebes through Shorebirds

Wailoa River SP on Hawaiʻi Island has been a reliable place to find Pied-billed Grebe almost continuously since 2015, and this winter was no exception (Andrew Hood, Sherman Wing, Merryl Edelstein, Reginald David, Matthew Thompson, Sam Preer, Lance Tanino, Gret Dicey). A presumed second individual was documented at Haʻena Beacha new location for Hawaiʻi Cofrom 2–19 Jan (Thane Pratt, Matthew Thompson, Alex Wang). Mariana Swiftlet was observed singly on several occasions at Lower ʻAiea Loop Trail on Oʻahu between 19 Jan and 27 Feb (Jo Jo Doyle, Steve Hodges, Gavin Bieber, Mandy Talpas).

A presumed returning Black-bellied Plover occurred for the fifth straight winter at Keahole Point on Hawaiʻi Island (m. ob.) and possibly the same individual was seen as a one-day wonder at nearby Kealakehe WTP on 8 Jan (Alex Wang). In Maui Co, a Black-bellied Plover was seen at the Koa Lagoon in Kihei 21–22 Dec (Peter Roberts, Ezra Cohen), and two were observed at Kanahā Pond 16–20 Feb (Justin Streit, Michael Young, Kurt Pohlman, Jo Jo Doyle Greg Butcher, Linda Fuller). Semipalmated Plover occurred sporadically on both Hawaiʻi Island and Maui this winter. Individuals were irregularly seen along the former’s Kona Coastat ʻAimakapā Pond on 5 Dec (Brandy Johnson), ʻOpaeʻula Pond on 6 Feb (Alex Wang, Thane Pratt), and Keahole Point on 16 Feb (Lance Tanino)though there was some debate as to whether all encounters were of the same bird. On Maui, up to three individuals continued at Keālia NWR from the fall quarter and were regularly seen until 24 Jan (m. ob.), and another 1–2 individuals occurred at Kanahā Pond 24 Dec–21 Jan (Malcolm Gold, Danielle Salomon, Martin Stoner, Chris Leuchtenburg, Neil Pankey, Susan Westervelt).

About average for Hawaiʻi Island, a high count of 12 Bristle-thighed Curlews were seen at the Mauna Lani Golf Course on 23 Feb (Peter Rigsbee), as well as a high count of 40 individuals at James Campbell NWR on Oʻahu 8 Jan (Caleb Hancock). On 20 Jan, a Whimbrel vocalized from Koheo Wetland, in the same area of Molokaʻi where a banded individual has periodically been reported since 2016 (Jean Eaton).

A single Sharp-tailed Sandpiper resided on Midway Atoll beginning 3 Dec and was last observed 4 Jan accompanied by a second individual (Breck Tyler, Jonathan Plissner). On Hawaiʻi Island, a juvenile Dunlin continued from fall at Kealakehe WTP until 6 Dec (Reginald David). A Dunlin later turned up slightly north, at Kaloko-Honokōhau NHP, on 13 Feb (Steve Hodges). Dunlin was also reported from Kauaʻi’s Kawaiʻele SWS on 10 Feb (Kevin Goscinak, Emily Feicht) and Oʻahu’s Pearl Harbor NWR on 28 Feb (Kurt Pohlman, Jo Jo Doyle). On Maui, a Least Sandpiper continued from fall at Keālia NWR and persisted through the end of the winter season (m. ob.). Hawaiʻi Island’s fall Pectoral Sandpiper continued at Kealakekua WTP through the first week of December (Reginald David, Brandy Johnson, Ken Oeser, Kim Nelson, Will Wright). At least one Pectoral Sandpiper was later reported just north at Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park on 22 Jan (Charlie Davis), followed by a Valentine’s Day Oʻahu bird in the marsh adjacent to Manu Mele St. (Margaret Jensen).

Two Wilson’s Snipes were observed on 6 and 8 Jan at James Campbell NWR (Richard May, Peter Donaldson, Caleb Hancock, Paul Rodriguez, T Norris). The last winter sighting at the refuge was of a single bird on 30 Jan (Richard May). Elsewhere on Oʻahu, single snipes were reported from Hickam Air Force Base on 20 Dec (Rook Sky-Light) and from the vicinity of Aalapapa Dr. in Kailua on 17 Feb (Lulu Lebowitz).

Spotted Sandpiper was reported only on Hawaiʻi Island this winter. The Puako Beach Dr. bird, present since autumn, continued until 6 Jan (Peter Rigsbee, Merry Miller, Sherman Wing), while further south along the Kona Coast, an individual was spotted at Kealakehe WTP on 5 Dec (Kim Nelson, Will Wright) and 14 Jan (Reginald David). Lokowaka Pond on the windward side also sported its own Spotted Sandpiper from 9 Jan to 24 Feb (Alex Wang, Thane Pratt, Sherman Wing, Penny Rose).

The Midway Atoll Gray-tailed Tattlerdocumented more or less continuously since its arrival on 9 Augwas last seen 17 Jan (Jonathan Plissner, Breck Tyler, Eric VanderWerf, Robby Kohley). The Lesser Yellowlegs which frequented Kahuku Point, Oʻahu’s northernmost extension, in autumn ended up overwintering in the area. The bird was encountered at James Campbell NWR on 12 Dec (Kurt Pohlman and Michael Young, respectively) and at Turtle Bay Resort on 25 Jan (Jeff Hambleton). It was last photographed in the NWR’s Kiʻi Unit on 5 Feb (Sherman Wing, Susan Clare, Michon Morita, Colin Morita, m. ob.). A Lesser Yellowlegs was also reported on Maui, first at Kanaha Pond Wildlife Sanctuary on Christmas Eve (Malcolm Gold), then at Keālia Pond NWR 11 Jan (Susan Westervelt), and at Kanaha Pond again four days later (Susan Westervelt).

Jaegers through Sulids

A 22 Jan pelagic off the Kona Coast of Hawaiʻi Island had a two-jaeger day, encountering both a Pomarine Jaeger as well as a Parasitic Jaeger wreaking havoc on a Brown Noddy flock (Lance Tanino, Bev Davenport, Christopher Lindsey, Matthew Grube, Michael Woodruff, Roger Woodruff, Todd Finlayson). 

On 28 Feb, a Black-legged Kittiwake was photographed resting at the cargo pier on Midway Atoll (Keegan Rankin, Jonathan Plissner). While approximately three dozen records of this species exist from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, two thirds of those featured mortality events rather than live birds (Pyle 2017). Ring-billed Gull continued at both locations where it had been reported in fall. Interestingly, despite the near-daily frequency of gull sightings at Kaloko-Honokōhau NHP on Hawaiʻi Island, this bird was never reported on the same day as the Maui Keālia Pond NWR individual (m. ob.). Furthermore, every apparent switch in location included at least one intervening day where it was reported nowhere, supporting the possibility that the Maui and Hawaiʻi birds could be one and the same.

Broadly speaking, winter reports of Glaucous-winged Gull continued from the locations where they had occurred in fall. The juvenile Midway bird was seen again on 4 Jan (Breck Tyler), while Oʻahu’s individual was documented at Mokulēʻia until 12 Dec (Merryl Edelstein, Richard May, Michael Young). Beginning 4 Dec the bird shifted northeast, apparently spending most of its time in the vicinity of Kahuku Point through at least 8 Jan (Caleb Hancock, Josh Cooper, Paul Rodriguez, T Norris, Richard May, Ted Nichols II, Tim Waters, Kurt Pohlman, Michael Young).

White Terns occupy their breeding areas in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and on Oʻahu year-round; however, they are uncommonly observed elsewhere. Two pelagics operating out of Hawaiʻi’s Kona Coast encountered them on the open ocean this quarter: nine individual terns were tallied on 22 Jan (Lance Tanino, Michael Woodruff, Bev Davenport, Roger Woodruff, Christopher Lindsey, Matthew Grube, Todd Finlayson), and one tern was seen on 8 Feb (Mandy Talpas, Jacob Roalef, Ron Pozzi, Reginald David, Sue Lewis, Edward Lewis, Michael Grainger, Kay Hawklee).


A Caspian Tern was spotted on 2 Jan at Nuʻupia Ponds on Oʻahu, the same location which has hosted an almost-annual overwintering bird since 2002 (Alexander Christensen, m. ob.). After relocating to Oʻahu from Hawaiʻi Island in November, the ABA’s first Inca Tern continued to hang around the Ka Iwi Fishing Shrine on Oʻahu (m. ob.). After nearly a year living in the state and bouncing between Hawaiʻi Island and Oʻahu, it was last seen at Ka Iwi Fishing Shrine 8 Jan (EricVanderWerf, Ariana Duarte Canizales). The Red-billed Tropicbird, which has made an annual showing at sites adjacent to Koko Crater, continued this winter. It was alternately observed at the Ka Iwi Fishing Shrine (Walter Oshiro, Michael Young, Richard May, Peter Donaldson, Peter Zika, Kathryn Hart, Ben Hoffmann) and Lānaʻi Lookout 14 Jan–28 Feb (m. ob.).

A Laysan Albatross was reported flying past Napili Shores Resort on Maui’s western lobe on 26 Feb (David Bredehoft). While Laysan Albatross is locally and seasonally common in the vicinity of breeding sites further northwest, the species is infrequently observed in Maui or Hawaiʻi Co. Black-footed Albatross exhibit a distribution similar to Laysans and are rarely seen in waters south of Oʻahu. Hawaiʻi Co notably had two reports of the species this winter: one bird flying five miles west of Kalaoa on 22 Jan (Noah Hunt, Lauren Smith), and two adults photographed sitting on the water nine miles northeast of Hilo on 5 Feb (Joshua Pang-Ching). Furthermore, a pair of Black-footed Albatross attempted breeding at Kaʻena Point on Oʻahu and, while their nest was unsuccessful this year, they delighted many birders with their spirited courtship dances.

Leach’s Storm-Petrel is superficially similar to the more expected Band-rumped Storm-Petrel, which breeds in the islands. While the former does sporadically occur in Hawaiian waters, particularly in winter, confirmed sightings are notable based purely on the ID challenge. Individual birds were photographed on two separate Kona pelagics off of Hawaiʻi Island: one west of Kailua-Kona on 4 Dec (Lance Tanino, Andrew Hood, Steve Hodges, Ken Oeser, Bertrand Dumont) and one west of Keokea on 22 Jan (Lance Tanino, Christopher Lindsey, Michael Woodruff, Roger Woodruff, Bev Davenport, Matthew Grube, Todd Finlayson). Outside of the breeding season, Band-rumped Storm-Petrel tends to be more or less absent from the islands; however, there was a rather bizarre report from Kauaʻi of a bird being blown ashore by strong winds on 3 Dec, flying by a runner close-range before heading into a stand of palms at Black Pot Beach (Connor Johnson).

Juan Fernández Petrel was observed twice this winter, both off the Kona Coast of Hawaiʻi Island during 4 Dec (Lance Tanino, Andrew Hood, Bertrand Dumont, Ken Oeser) and 8 Feb pelagics (Mandy Talpas, Jacob Roalef, Ron Pozzi, Reginald David, Sue Lewis, Edward Lewis, Michael Grainger, Kay Hawklee). Winter records of Black-winged Petrel in the Southeastern Hawaiian Islands are sparse; most occurrences fall between Apr and Oct (Pyle 2017). This winter, a single bird was encountered on 14 Dec on a pelagic out of Kona, Hawaiʻi Island (Mandy Talpas, Trudy Young).

While highly unusual in the main Hawaiian Islands, three Short-tailed Shearwaters were reported on a 4 Dec pelagic off Kona, Hawaiʻi Island (Lance Tanino, Andrew Hood, Bertrand Dumo). Christmas Shearwaters breed on several offshore islets but observation frequencies typically peak in spring and fall and reach their nadir in winter. Individuals were encountered on three separate pelagics out of Kona, Hawaiʻi this winter season: a single bird on 4 Dec (Lance Tanino, Andrew Hood, Steve Hodges, Ken Oeser, Bertrand Dumont), three separate individualstwo of which were photographedon 22 Jan (Lance Tanino, Michael Woodruff, Bev Davenport, Roger Woodruff, Christopher Lindsey, Matthew Grube, Todd Finlayson), and one individual on 24 Feb (Mandy Talpas, Gavin Bieber, Allen Codding, Vicki Sandaage, Stanton Hunter, Reginald David, Craig Provost). This is the second consecutive winter of Christmas Shearwaters being seen in Hawaiʻi Co waters, a phenomenon which previously was nearly unheard of.

Masked Booby is uncommonly encountered in Kauaʻi waters despite the presence of a relatively close breeding colony on Kaʻula Island. One bird flew directly over a tour boat and was observed  plunge-diving near the northern tip of Polihale Beach SP on 29 Jan (Amanda Spears). Similarly notable for Hawaiʻi Co, an adult flew past Keāhole Point on 4 Feb (Lance Tanino, Kathy Klein) and a juvenile was reported at sea northeast of Hilo the following day (Joshua Pang-Ching). 

Egrets through Raptors

The Great Egret at Hanalei NWR on Kauaʻi extended its stay throughout the winter (m. ob.). Since its arrival on the island in Jun 2021, it was reported to have strayed from the refuge only once, with a possible sighting at Kawaiʻele SWS on 23 Jan, during which an inconclusive photo was taken (Leslie Bagwell, Bob Bagwell). During the Kapaʻa Christmas Bird Count on 18 Dec, the Great Egret was observed foraging within a few meters of a White-faced Ibis, making for a rather atypical species assemblage (Jennifer Rothe, Stephen Rossiter)! The nearly identical Glossy Ibis has never been documented in the Hawaiian Islands, and many ibis are judged to be White-faced by default when not seen well; however, the Hanalei bird’s red eye and pinkish lores were seen well during the 19 Jan State Waterbird Survey (Jennifer Rothe, Stephen Rossiter). The bird was last reported the following day (Mel Goff, Jeanne Goff). Astoundingly, on Oʻahu, up to seven ibises were observed at Pearl Harbor NWR, and at least one of these was present throughout the winter (Michael Young, Kellen Apuna, Mario Farr, Ted Nichols II, Kurt Pohlman, Ben Hoffmann, Richard May, Colin Morita, Micah Helton, Jo Jo Doyle). Further south, one bird was photographed at Huakalei Golf Course on 10 Jan (Michael Young). On Hawaiʻi Island, lone ibises were reported from Kaloko-Honokōhau NHP 8–15 Dec (Angie Anderson, Bob Bowers, Robert Keiffer, Peter Rigsbee, Alex Wang, Emma Stierhoff, David Smith) and as a flyover at the nearby boat harbor on 14 Dec (Mandy Talpas, Trudy Young, Stefanie Arthur, Lois Richardson). The species was also reliably seen throughout the winter at the adjacent Kealakehe WTP (m. ob.). Single birds were noted elsewhere on island at Kamehameha Schools on 14 Dec and 4 Jan (Noah Gomes), Opaeʻula Pond on 6 Feb (Thane Pratt, Alex Wang), and Puna Chicks Farm 13–15 Feb (Nina Rach).

On Maui, an Osprey was observed circling just offshore of Kanahā Beach Park on 18 Jan (Zach Pezzillo) and reported again on 2 Feb along the shoreline several miles east (Patience Chamberlin). Also on Maui, a hen/juvenile Northern Harrier was observed flying over classic open grassland habitat in the lower elevations of Nuʻu, Haleakalā National Park on 10 Jan (Christopher Warren). A female Belted Kingfisher was photographed at Puʻukoholā Heiau National Historic Site, near the northern tip of Hawaiʻi Island, on 28 Dec (Lizzie Solger) and regularly documented in the area until 26 Feb (Bill Brynteson, Dan Bilderback, Peter Rigsbee, Lance Tanino, Merry Miller, Rebecca Dewhirst, John Lynch, Alex Wang, Reginald David, Thane Pratt, Penny Rose, Mandy Talpas, Sherman Wing, Cheshta Buckley, Ellen Schwenne, Max Schwenne).

This winter was a fruitful one for Peregrine Falcon, with sightings reported from three islands. As in winter 2020–21, Oʻahu in particular enjoyed a plethora of encounters. The famed Waikiki “Peale’s” Peregrine Falcon continued its reign of the Honolulu skies and its activities were well documented throughout the winter period (Michael Walter, Kurt Pohlman, Landon Roberts).

Sightings elsewhere on the island occurred on 21 Dec (Carolyn Allen) and 23 Jan (Alexander Christensen) at Nuʻupia Ponds WMA and on 15 Feb at the Lualualei Naval Reservation. On Hawaiʻi Island, this large falcon species was photographed once, above the Polulu Trail on 28 Dec (Geoffrey Williamson). Meanwhile, Kauaʻi’s peregrine selected the island’s only landfill as its venue of choice for Christmas Eve dinner, casting a hopeful (if overly ambitious) eye on not only a flock of Rock Pigeons, but also a Black-crowned Night-Heron, which it briefly pursued (Bow Tyler). 

Parakeets through Passerines

The small population of Blue-crowned Parakeet established at Turtle Bay on Oʻahu appeared stable this winter, with up to 18 individuals sighted between 9 Jan and 19 Feb (Michael Young, Richard May, Christopher Nieratko, Peter Zika, Jeff Hableton, Jo Jo Doyle, Eric Vanderwerf). On 20 Jan, a single bird was reported flying over Waikiki, joining a handful of prior reports from southern Oʻahu. Elsewhere on the island, five White Cockatoos were reported 10 Feb flying over Heʻeia SP, far away from their usual haunt at Lyon Arboretum (Bill Bauer). 

On 17 Jan, the vocalizations of eight psittacids flying over Manana Trail stood out from the regular Red-crowned Parrots transiting to their roost (Kellen Apuna). The mystery birds were later confirmed through photographs as Lilac-crowned Parrots (Kellen Apuna). Subsequent sightings of between two and eight birds occurred every few days 11–27 Feb (Kellen Apuna, Nick Kalodimos), including a copulation event which was documented on 13 Feb (Nick Kalodimos). Given the birds’ association with and similarity to the long-established Red-crowned Parrots, it is possible an incipient escaped population could have been overlooked in the area for some time.

The introduced Chinese Hwamei, widespread on Oʻahu through much of the 20th century, experienced apparent declines on the island thereafter (Pyle 2017). This winter saw only two observations, both of single singing birds on the Manana Trail: one on 2 Feb (Kellen Apuna) and one at the Kuliʻouʻou Valley trailhead on 16 Feb (Eric VanderWerf). White-rumped Shama, naturalized on multiple islands but first confirmed on Maui in 2015, continued its march across the western lobe of the island. Shamas were encountered this winter at Kapalua Village Trail (Linda Vaughn), Honolua Bay (Stacy Mccline, Stan Plante, Martin Stoner), Poelua Bay (Elizabeth Walker), Waiheʻe Ridge Trail (Martin Stoner, Beth Pearson, Cathy Jain, Gerd Schӧn), and Iao Valley (Maggie Peretto, Yom Eom). A Yellow-faced Grassquit was heard singing 19 Dec along Telephone Rd to Puʻu ʻŌhiʻa Trail (Eric VanderWerf).

Palila, endemic to Hawaiʻi Island, has long exhibited a downward population trend. Anecdotally, within the past year, the birds became noticeably more difficult to find even by experienced resident birders. In Jan 2022, Genz et al. published a new report, “Palila abundance estimates and trends,” which estimated the 2021 population to range between 452−940 birds with a point estimate of just 678 individuals. The report further states that over the last 23 years of monitoring, the Palila population declined by 89%.

Genz, A. S., K. W. Brinck, C. K. Asing, L. Berry, R. J. Camp, and P. C. Banko. 2022. 2019–2021 Palila abundance estimates and trends. Hawai‘i Cooperative Studies Unit Technical Report HCSU-101. University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, Hawaii, USA. 20 pp.

Report processed by Andrew Keaveney, 2 Jul 2022.

Photos–Hawaii: Winter 2021-2022

Photographed here on 5 Dec 2021, the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands’ first Common Merganser was documented on Midway Atoll for only two days. This bird may be only the second member of its species to be confirmed in the Hawaii Region. Photo © Jonathan Plissner.

A Parasitic Jaeger was photographed during a pelagic off of Kona, Hawaiʻi Island on 22 Jan 2022. Photo © Matthew Grube.

A Black-legged Kittiwake was photographed resting on a pier on Midway Atoll 28 Feb 2022. Records of this species in the Hawaii Region typically involve mortality events. Photo © Keegan Rankin.

After continuously delighting birders in Hawaiʻi since its arrival in March of 2021, the ABA’s first Inca Tern may have finally departed our shores. Photographed here on 16 Dec 2021, it was last seen 8 Jan. Photo © Violet Wu.

Black-footed Albatross attempted to breed at Kaʻena Point on Oʻahu, Hawaii for the first time in recent memory. 30 Jan 2022. Photo © Laura Crago.

Lilac-crowned Parrots were discovered amidst flocks of Red-crowned Parrots flying over Manana Trail on Oʻahu, Hawaii. This encounter represented a previously undocumented introduction of this species to the state. 11 Feb 2022. Photo © Kellen Apuna.

To the discouragement of many, Palila were increasingly difficult to encounter. A new Jan 2022 report estimated their population declined by 89% over the last 23 years on Mauna Kea, Hawaiʻi. 26 Jan 2022. Photo © Christopher Lindsey.