Oops! In my preceding post about our adventure on the mountain yesterday, I completely forgot to write about our birding fun!
pueo, an Hawai'ian owl, just like in the photo at right (which is not mine, dang it!). A few seconds later, it hopped up about three feet onto a lava outcropping – and then stayed there until we'd had our fill of watching him, perhaps 15 minutes later! While we watched he made some odd movements. One of them was very cute: it would tip it's head on the side, first one side and then the other. The other was just weird: it held its head level, but moved it in a circular pattern, as if tracing out the numbers on a clock face. We have no idea why it did that!
We've seen pueos on many of our trips to Hawai'i; they're fairly common here. In fact, we had three other pueo sightings early in the day just yesterday. But none of those sightings were anything at all like the one yesterday – they were all brief sightings of the pueo in flight, usually hunting, and usually at a considerable remove. This pueo was between 20' and 40' from the truck (we moved the truck to get a closer view after we'd watched for a while). With the binoculars, our view was so good we could count the barbs on his feathers!
In addition to that fantastic pueo experience, we also spotted an oma'o, a common amakihi, an io (the Hawai'ian hawk), several species of plovers that we haven't identified, and a lark. All of those are quite common birds except the io, which is uncommon – we've only seen one once before, many years ago.