Arrived Dec 29 in the late evening. Small airport at Lihue, and the striking thing is how open the airport is. Baggage claim area is open to the world. Ticket counters likewise. Arrived at the hotel in Kapa'a and the same again. I love the openness. The feeling that the whole place is outside. Inside places feel outside. And I really like outside!
Awoke to the sound of great chattering in the palm trees outside the window. Common myna birds. Lovely birds the size of a blue jay but with a lot of the look of a yellow billed magpie. VERY noisy.
Ate breakfast next to the pool where we could see the ocean, more myna birds, zebra doves, and pacific golden plovers.
Took a walk and heard some exquisite sounds but have not yet identified who that was. Sounded like part of the chorus from "New York, New York". Saw western meadowlarks but I do not think this call came from them. Saw our first red crested cardinals - WOW! gorgeous. First photos not acceptable, but will get many more chances to try.
Moved on to the condo in Princeville. Wonderful condo, awesome views (just watched the sun rise over the pacific from the balcony and it was spectacular).
Went driving around. First stop Kilauea, for fish tacos. Myna birds and red junglefowl everywhere. Constant sound of chatter and roosters crowing. Followed this with a trip by Kilauea Lighthouse Point. We had so little time there because they close early but so WOW!! and we will be back. Watched humpback whales blow and dive, saw lots of wonderful birds including the red footed booby, laysan albatross, frigate bird, white tailed tropic bird, and loads of nene geese with goslings.
A ranger gave us a marvelous tip for our next stop, along the taro swamps/fields. The light was a bit poor for shooting but saw some incredible creatures and we must go back with better light. Among the birds seen here were cattle egrets, Hawaiian ducks, stilts, coots, moorhens, more red crested cardinals, a japanese bush warbler, and a hwamei (amazing! really cool eye).
Taking a more wide angle view, the mountains, the ocean, the flowers, and the lush vegetation are simply astonishing everywhere you look. We finished the day with a short walk on the beach at Hanalei. A perfect day in paradise.
Pictures from day 1 are here: