Thursday, May 17, 2007

Wedge-Tailed Shearwaters, Moku Nui (plus other wildlife)

Back in Brooklyn now. Big sigh. Tuesday was our last day there; we had enough time during the day to squeeze in one last paddle.

Lanikai public access. Nice, yeah? Every now & then I'll wax nostalgic over Hawaiian-style "PROW"s, Public Right of Ways - this is the perfect example. Just a little sandy lane between two homes. You carry your boats down & off you go. That's Moku Iki off in the background, one of the 2 islets that make up the Mokulua Islands, commonly known as "the Mokes". The other islet is Moku Nui. The former is reserved entirely as a wildlife preserve. Moku Nui has a small beach that you can land on, but is primarily a nesting ground for the Wedge-Tailed Shearwater. There was a lovely picture of one in Bob Twogood's shop (he runs Twogood Kayaks, my favorite kayak place in Hawaii) - TQ and I had both noticed it & thought it was using a wonderful telephoto lens.

Well, here's my version:

Wedge-tailed Shearwaters, nesting. Did I patiently stalk my quarry? Did I sit in a blind for 4 hours in the blazing sun? No. This nest burrow was about 2 feet off the very start of the trail to Shark's Cove, a lovely secluded little beach you can only get to on the quietest of days (we didn't make it).

Here are a few more, from the exact same spot. You'd look in a bush and there'd be a couple more. Somehow I've never been out here at nesting time. I'd say I don't know how we never came out here to see this but I actually know - the H3 highway just hadn't been built when I was a kid & getting to Kailua was a lot harder than it is now. We tended to go to Bellows, or Ft. DeRussy, and I guess the few trips I've made back since then haven't been at nesting season. This was my first time seeing thes.

TQ and I were absolutely astonished by the sheer fearlessness of both the shearwaters and the albatrosses we'd seen earlier in the trip. It's an amazing contrast with the skittishness of most of the waterfowl I see in Jamaica Bay. These birds are perfectly confident that their nesting ground is theirs, and people will respect the lines that have been put up to keep us on the path.

In fact, believe it or not...

this little representative of the standard non-domestic fauna of the average island household was infinitely more difficult to capture!

Tonight's final sample of Island fauna...

the Moku Nui beach is also a favored haul-out for the elusive & lovely Variegated Beach Cat.

In closing - by sheer coincidence, as I was trying to verify the nesting seabirds, I stumbled across an article in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin about an eco-tour run by, you guessed it, Twogood Kayaks. No, I'm NOT being paid for this! Just think he runs a really good shop, that's all!

And really in closing - here is some interesting seabird trivia I just learned.

Shearwaters are of the genus Puffinus.

Puffins are not.

Strange but true. Perhaps a puffin of the Peconic variety will be kind enough to expound. Me, I need to fight the jetlag & go to sleep!

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