Behold, The Mighty Albatross!
Posted Mon, December 13, 2010 - 8:30 PM
photography, birds, wildlife, hawaii
The Laysan albatross, that is (Phoebastria immutabilis), also known as not-so-mighty "gooney bird" thanks to its short legs and consequent ungainly look on land. They are surely masters of the air, however.
A bird sweeping low over the dunes; both sexes incubate the egg, so it's not clear whether this one is male or female.
On Saturday I hiked to Ka‘ena Point, the westernmost tip on the island of O‘ahu. A few hundred acres at the very tip have been made into a fenced nature reserve that preserves a coastal dune ecosystem frequented by plover, shearwaters, green sea turtles (honu) and Hawaiian monk seals (‘ilio-holo-i-ka-uaua).
I spent a quiet hour and a half there, but only saw a couple dozen pairs of this relatively common albatross, and none of the other species (late afternoon into sunset might have been a better time.) But it was still a great opportunity.
Albatrosses make very simple nests, often just a scraped-up mound of earth, and lay a single egg.
I did also see a well camouflaged golden plover:
And what seems to be a cardinal:
And climb into a small, round cave a couple hundred yards outside the entrance to the reserve: