Sunday, 22 November 2009

Hawaiian Geese


Me, Fred and Ron visited the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge. It is found in the beautiful Hanalei Valley. The refuge was created to protect five endangered water birds that rely on the Hanalei Valley for nesting and feeding habitat: the koloa (Hawaiian duck), the ‘alae ke‘oke‘o (Hawaiian coot), the ‘alae‘ula (Hawaiian moorhen), the ae‘o (Hawaiian stilt), and the nēnē (Hawaiian goose).

I have seen nēnē in the UK. The Wildfowl and Wetland Trusts have a captive breeding programme which include nēnē and they have reintroduced some of these back to the Hawaiian Islands. They are very friendly geese. The nēnē is the Hawaiian state bird.

Nene (Hawaiian Geese) in a UK sanctuary

Ron did a book signing at Kiluaea.They sell Ron's book called WINTER IS FOR WHALES at the refuge gift shop because it talks story about all kinds of things that change through the seasons. Things like how nēnē nest in winter! Fred and I took the opportunity to talk to some of the visitors and tourists. They were happy to find out about Fred's stories and they were surprised to find out that I was visiting from the England.

The refuge is a flatish river valley above sea level and surrounded by steep, wooded hillsides, up to 1,000 feet high. The water from the Hanalei River is diverted into an east and west supply ditch. where it then flows northwest and provides water for huge fields 140 acres of taro.

I was sitting by the edge of a taro field when Fred went over to see some birds. Fred sat down and a nēnē came right up to him to talk.

(c) Ron Hirshi: Project Soar. Fred with a friendly nene

The nene was a bit wary of me, as there are no bears on the Hawaiian Islands. afraid of Ed, not Fred. Nene like the little white berries of Naupaka plant, berries that are abundant in winter all around the edges of the island. Snorklers use the leaves of this plant to wipe on the inside of the mask, making it stay non-foggy. Very use plant.

Aloha, Ed

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