I would highly recommend this tour to anyone that is interested in seeing Hawaii’s native birds on these beautiful islands. One of my favorites was the endangered Akiapolaau, referred to as Aki by our guides, which we saw in a restricted area by permit on the island of Hawaii. The Hawaiian name means “hammerhead,” because the Aki uses the shorter, lower half of it’s mandible to drill into tree trunks like a woodpecker for sap or insects, while the extended, curved upper half operates like a hook to extract the food. During our day spent exploring the restricted area for Hawaii’s endemic birds, three non-endemic (two males and one female) Kalij Pheasants walked across the path right in front of me. I also loved the fantastic coastal views where we observed Red-tailed, White-tailed, and Red-billed Tropicbirds, Red-Footed and Brown Boobies, and Great Frigatebirds, as well as spouting and breaching Humpback whales. I also enjoyed the opportunity to see Laysan Albatross nesting and walking around an upscale neighborhood, and Bristle-thighed Curlews perched in the cemetery from the golf course.
Our guides, Jacob and Mandy, were a great team! This was my second tour with Jacob and I was very impressed with his knowledge of the endemic birds of Hawaii. He is very personable and his birding skills are excellent. Mandy is also very personable and an excellent birder. She shared her extensive knowledge of Hawaii, the endemic birds, their habitat and the dangers they are facing.