Road Trip III – Phoenix

We dropped the car off at a Mini Cooper dealer and got a 2019 Mini Cooper as a loaner. We were expecting it to take a couple of hours so we found a wonderful bookstore to hang out at. They called about lunch time and said it would be done mid to late afternoon. So we headed off for an adventure. We went to a butterfly garden and aquarium in Scottsdale AZ.

Butterfly Garden

Mark went off with the hosts and got lunch while Meg went to the butterfly garden. This is what Mark missed…. Butterflies, beetles, reptiles, oh my!

Butterflies

Beetles

Reptiles

Aquarium

We connected with Meg and went to the Aquarium after lunch.

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Aquarium Entrance

Turtles

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Sturgeon

Sunfish and Bass

 

 

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Gator

 

 

 

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Paddlefish
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Ray
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Otters
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Lobstah

After the visit to the aquarium, we picked up the car and returned to AJ and Margarett’s house. We went out for a Mexican dinner. The next day we went to  Botanical garden in the morning and drove to Prescott in the evening to spend the night in James and Kate’s house.

Desert Botanical Garden

There is a wonderful Dessert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. It is full of native plants and a joy to visit.

Cactii

Birds in Garden

More Birds

I am forced to admit I spent more time looking for birds, lizards and rodents than looking at the plants. The plants provided excellent habitat.

Prescott AZ

The next stop in our cross country adventure was Prescott AZ where we spent one night. The bird channel was good there.

Boids

Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary

On out way out of Prescott we stopped at Heritage Park Lake and the Zoological Sanctuary.

Lake in Heritage Park

Zoological Sanctuary

All of the animals at the zoo are rescues. It was interesting to watch the zoo keepers feed the animals

Next Stop: Meteor Crater and Petrified Forest National Park

Mark and Meg

ROAD TRIP

  1. Road Trip 1 – The Beginning
  2. Road Trip 2 – Sequoia NP, Death Valley and Hoover Dam
  3. Road Trip 3 – Phoenix
  4. Road Trip 4 – Meteor Crater and Petrified Forest National Park
  5. Road Trip 5 –  Grand Canyon
  6. Road Trip 6 – Canyon de Chelly
  7. Road Trip 7 – Great Salt Lake – Antelope Island
  8. Road Trip 8 – Dinosaur National Monument
  9. Road Trip 9 – Rocky Mountain National Park
  10. Road Trip 10 – Wilson’s Creek Battlefield

 

Road Trip II – Sequoia NP, Death Valley and Hoover Dam

We packed up the car and started our great adventure. We left Alameda CA early in the morning and headed to Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park. The car was pretty full.

The adventure begins

Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park

We bought a National Park pass when we entered the national park. First stop was to see General Grant, the largest Sequoia in the park.

Tall Trees

Hidey Hole

Fire Damage

The tree rings show signs of fire about every thirteen years. The big trees seem to survive.

Tree Tunnel

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General Grant Tree

General Sherman (Tallest Sequoia)

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General Sherman

Death Valley

We spent the night in Porterville CA and headed to our next stop, Las Vegas via Death Valley.

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Descent into Death Valley

Death Valley National Park is larger than the state of Connecticut. It is the driest place on Earth. The prevailing winds come from the West and there are three mountain ranges between Death Valley and the Pacific Ocean. As a result they get less than six inches of rain a year.

There were significant winds through the valley when we traversed it resulting in a sand storm.

Sand

The first stop was the Devil’s golf course. You can see how it got that name….

Devil’s Golf Course

Then we went to badwater basin.

Bad Water Basin

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Lowest Point

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Mark approved

We drove on the Artist’s Drive loop on the way back from badwater basin.

Artist’s Palette

Our last stop in Death Valley was Zabriskie Point.

Zabriskie Point

Hoover Dam

We left Death Valley headed to Las Vegas. We stayed at the Palace Hotel and Casino. The good news was we doubled our money, the bad news was we only bet a dollar. It took longer to get to Vegas than we expected so we got a nice meal and crashed. The next stop after Vegas was the Hoover Dam. This was impressive.

Overlook of Lake Mead

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Hoover Dam

Downstream Face of Hoover Dam

Upstream Face of Hoover Dam

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Interstate Highway Bridge

Mark at the Hoover Dam

From Hoover Dam we drove to Glendale AZ to visit Meg’s cousin.  On the drive there, the check engine light came on. We drove to our destination without a problem. The following morning we took the car to Orielly’s Auto Parts to get the engine fault code read. It turned out to be a dealer code U019D, which meant we had to take the car into a dealer to get it fixed. Fortunately a dealer in Scottsdale was able to fix it that day.

We had a standing joke that we would become the green boots mile marker in Death Valley when the car died and we were buried in a sand storm. We were amused until it very nearly transpired. It turns out all we needed were a new radiator, a new engine sensor and two software updates. HaHa, it is funny now.

Mark and Meg

ROAD TRIP

  1. Road Trip 1 – The Begining
  2. Road Trip 2 – Seqoia NP, Death Valley and Hoover Dam
  3. Road Trip 3 – Phoenix
  4. Road Trip 4 – Meteor Crater and Petrified Forest National Park
  5. Road Trip 5 –  Grand Canyon
  6. Road Trip 6 – Canyon de Chelly
  7. Road Trip 7 – Great Salt Lake – Antelope Island
  8. Road Trip 8 – Dinosaur National Monument
  9. Road Trip 9 – Rocky Mountain National Park
  10. Road Trip 10 – Wilson’s Creek Battlefield

 

Road Trip 1 – The Begining

Meg is moving from Kailua Hawaii to New Hampshire. She had her car shipped from Oahu to Oakland California, where we met to pick it up and drive it across the country.

Meg’s Car – Mini Cooper S

We started our trip in Alameda CA staying with my sister Jayne and her husband Steve (and their cat Milo) for a couple of days. We plan to do some sight seeing on the way across the country stopping in Detroit on or about the 28th of May. We hope to stop in Cincinnati on our way to Detroit.

Oakland Museum of California

We spent half a day at the Oakland Museum of California. They had three floors with Natural Sciences, California History and California Art on each floor respectively.

J.B. Blunt Art Exhibit

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Firearm

I was still a little jet lagged and didn’t exercise my camera as these exhibits deserved.

California Academy of Science

Our second tourist stop was at the California Academy of Science in San Francisco. We spent the better part of a day enjoying their exhibits and aquarium.

Tyrannosaur Skeleton

Rain Forest Exhibit

Aquarium Pictures

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Anthro Picture

USS Hornet Museum

On day three, we visited the USS Hornet. It would have been easy to spend the day seeing all facets of this ship. We saw hanger  deck,  flight deck, primary flight control, Helm and Bridge. We ended the tour in the Combat Information Center. The world war two technology was interesting.

USS Hornet

Hanger Deck

Sick Bay

Flight Deck

Con

CIC

The Hornet visit was most enjoyable.

We have also been socializing on the trip.

Cheers

In two days we start our trek East. The goal is to see as much as can see. I hope to occasionally post progress updates, but the adventure begins.

 

Mark and Meg

ROAD TRIP

  1. Road Trip 1 – The Begining
  2. Road Trip 2 – Seqoia NP, Death Valley and Hoover Dam
  3. Road Trip 3 – Phoenix
  4. Road Trip 4 – Meteor Crater and Petrified Forest National Park
  5. Road Trip 5 –  Grand Canyon
  6. Road Trip 6 – Canyon de Chelly
  7. Road Trip 7 – Great Salt Lake – Antelope Island
  8. Road Trip 8 – Dinosaur National Monument
  9. Road Trip 9 – Rocky Mountain National Park
  10. Road Trip 10 – Wilson’s Creek Battlefield

 

 

 

Mid May 2018

We saw our first Oriole and put the Oriole and Hummingbird feeders out. They were in significant use by the end of the day. I have been busy taking pictures of them as they visit. Somehow I took four hundred and thirty-three pictures. I thought I would take a moment to share them with you. The Baltimore Orioles, Orchard Orioles, Catbirds, Grosbeaks and Humming Birds have all arrived.

Orchard Oriole Males

Baltimore Oriole Males

Sharing

The orioles will share with other species but fight if there are two or more of the same species. I guess their hormones are going crazy.

Female Orioles

Young Oriole (we think)

Catbird

Female Grosbeak (don’t have a male picture yet)

Ruby Throated Hummingbird

We also had the usual cast of characters around.

Bluejay

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Nuthatch

Mockingbird

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Chicodee
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Mourning Dove

Goldfinches

Female Cardinal

Male Cardinals

Bluebird

Cooper Hawk

Eagles

Ground Hogs

Deer

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Kayaks

So it would seem that Spring has finally arrived in NewMahket. There is a lot more of nuttin happening around here now that Spring has arrived. We have seen the fox with two more squirrels, so that means she has caught six that we have observed. As a result or squirrel problems are being somewhat reduced.

Just wanted to share a few pictures. All for now.

Mark and Wink

Moody Point Bird Walk 2018

Today was global big day for Cornell Ornithology Lab, so we kept detailed records to report our bird counts. Our guides were Andra Crawford and Lyn Rodger. We gathered at Trail Head One at 8:30 AM to start our bird watching.

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Bird Watching Crew
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Heading Out
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Osprey on Nest
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Gold Finch on Feeder

House Finches

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Crow
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Finches
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Mourning Dove

Bluebirds

Seagulls

Greater Yellow Legs

In this next picture you can compare and contrast the Lesser Yellow Legs (front) and the Greater Yellow Legs (rear). The Lesser is smaller and has a different head shape.

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Lesser Yellow Legs and Greater Yellow Legs

The air was full of bird song all along the walk.

Chipping Sparrow Serenading

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Robin
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Red Winged Blackbird
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Great Blue Heron – Picture only suitable for ID

Turkey Vulture

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Female Blue Bird

This mockingbird must be older as he had quite a repertoire to sing for us.

Mockingbird

I took 178 pictures during the bird walk. Some were useful to confirm our identification. There were many redundant pictures and quite a few were not very good. I did not get pictures of all the birds we counted as the birds didn’t always cooperate and wait for me to find and focus on them.

It was a very enjoyable bird walk. The weather was very comfortable. I would like to take the opportunity to thank our guides again.

Here is Lyn’s report:

MPCA Bird Walk 2018
Led by Andra Crawford and Lyn Rodger

15 (?) Moody Pointers enjoyed the walk

May 5 was Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Global Big Day, so we tried to include a count along with the species seen.

……………………………………………………………..Before              During                 Moeller’s          Total
feeders
Grackle                                                          10                         5                                                 15
Cardinal                                                          1                          2                            1                    4
Red Bellied Woodpecker                             1                                                                              1
Cooper’s Hawk                                              1                                                                              1
Osprey                                                                                         3                                                  3
Chipping Sparrow                                                                     3                                                  3
Goldfinch                                                                                     2                             1                  3
House Finch                                                                                3                                                  3
Mallard                                                           2                                                                               2
Canada Goose                                                4                                                                               4
Mourning Dove                                             1                           5                                                  6
Bluebird                                                                                       4                                                  4
Catbird                                                                                          2                              1                 3
Herring Gull                                                                                6                                                  6
Ring Bill Gull                                                                               1                                                  1
Dbl. Crested Cormorant                                                            6                                                  6
Yellow Legs, Greater                                                                  6                                                  6
Yellow Legs, Lesser                                                                    1                                                  1
Robin                                                               3                           2                                                  5
Chickadee                                                                                     1                                                 1
Great Blue Heron                                                                        1                                                 1
Turkey Vulture                                                                            1                                                 1
N. Mockingbird                                             1                             1                                                2
Amer. Crow                                                                                   1                                                1
Redwing Blackbird                                       2                             3                                                5
Baltimore Oriole                                                                                                         3                 3
Orchard Oriole                                                                                                            1                 1
Nuthatch                                                                                                                       1                 1

I walked the trail again around 2:30 (Andra joined me partway around) and saw
………………………………………………………………………………………….Afternoon                                   Total
Redwing blackbird                                                                          4                                           4
Green heron (by cattails)                                                                2                                           2
Grackle                                                                                               3                                           3
Mourning dove                                                                                 4                                           4
Yellow legs, Greater                                                                         3                                           3
Great blue heron (in pond)                                                            1                                           1
Tufted titmouse                                                                                3                                           3
Osprey                                                                                                2                                           2
Baltimore oriole                                                                               1                                           1
Bluebird                                                                                             1                                           1
Chickadee                                                                                          2                                           2
Canada Goose incl. 1 chick, Lubberland Creek                         3                                           3
House finch                                                                                       2                                           2
Robin                                                                                                  3                                           3
Tree Swallow                                                                                    3                                           3

Lyn’s Green Heron Pictures:

Green Herons

Pictures from the Moeller bird feeders:

Orchard Oriole, Baltimore Orioles, Nuthatch

Wink said she really enjoyed the walk and sharing the joy she gets from birding. Thanks to all participants.

Mark and Wink

 

 

Early May NEHiN 2018

It seems Spring has finally arrived. We are greening up nicely and the daffodils are welcoming the increased sunshine. As usual, Nuttin continues to happen in NewMahket. So take a moment and see for yourselves.

Love is in the Air – Courting Turkeys

Owl

Daffodil Medley for Meg

The ground hogs have been busy. We have a pair of them. I suspect we will export groundhogs to the neighbors. The neighbors are not fans.

Groundhogs

The fox was interested in groundhog control but in the tete-a-tete the fox relented.

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Fox and Groundhog standoff

So the fox settled for a squirrel.

Fox with Squirrel

The herons are back. We saw four on the point.

Herons

Mockingbird

Deer

We had a red squirrel at the feeder all day. The fox patiently stalked that squirrel from just outside our breakfast nook window.

Red Squirrel

Fox

Patient Fox

The Capture

Warning – the video is gruesome.

VIDEO Here

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Peek-a-boo  –  We really enjoyed watching her

Mark and Wink

remember – Nuttin Evah Happens in NewMahket.

 

 

Hawaiian Vacation – Fun

We were in Hawaii for seventeen days at the beginning of April 2018 and only had to use sunscreen twice. That mean we got to see the sun twice. The temperatures were in the eighties but so was the relative humidity.

It was an eat or get eaten sort of vacation….

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Om MY!

Bishop Museum on Ohau

Whimsy at the Allerton Gardens

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Ala Moana Mall – Tesla Dealership
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Ala Moana Mall Lego Store – Bob Ross Memorial

Food and Drink

This section is just for giggles. There is good food and booze to be had in Hawaii.

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Lunch

Fish and Chips

Another Lunch

Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-29,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-Y
Box Lunch

Yum! Hawaii has good food

I’ll drink to that

Waimea Botanical Garden – Ohau

Honolulu

These chicks are being raised in a quad at the University of Hawaii – Monoa. Meg has a series of shots showing the whole cycle. We were there just toward the end when they are about to go out on their own.

Meg Teasers

Mark and Meg have a competition where the object is to count the tines on the feathers in our bird pictures. These are pictures Meg took shortly after we left Hawaii.

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Got Tines?

Black Capped Night Heron

Fishing Competition (Hawaii Stilts and Juvenile Night Heron and Adult Night Heron)

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Baby Hawaiian Moorhen
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Red Billed Leiothrix

That is about all we did on our Hawaiian vacation.

ps – We did go deep sea fishing one day. There was a small craft advisory with ten foot swells. We spent ten hours out on the sea in a thirty-five foot boot. At the right speed and direction, even the captain felt a little green. I didn’t bother taking any pictures as I didn’t feel up to it. We never even got a bite. This trip was just before the devastating storm hit Kauai. So we have been deep sea fishing four times. This is the third time we didn’t catch any fish.

Kauai Bird Watching – South Shore

We spent a week in the spring of 2018 vacationing in Kauai Hawaii. The blog has been split into three parts. The first part is Kauai Bird Watching – North Shore.  For the South Shore, we went to the Waimea Canyon and both the McBryde and Allerton Gardens.

Waimea Canyon State Park

One of our goals was to photograph native Hawaiian birds. Because of mosquitoes and avian malaria, these birds tend to live above three thousand foot elevation where the mosquitoes don’t exist. The weather did not cooperate the day we had to visit the Waimea Canyon. It was socked in and raining periodically. We enjoyed the view but were limited to short dry trails.

Waimea Canyon

McBryde Garden

The McBryde Garden is part of the National Tropical Botanical Gardens as is the Allerton Garden. The two gardens have slightly different emphasis. The McBryde Garden is research, education and preservation oriented. Both share a parking lot and central gathering point. The gardens abut each other but the tours are separate. The McBryde tour is self guided and the Allerton is guided only.

Entryway

The McBryde garden has Hawaiian garden and native plants.

Structure

White Rumped Shama

Plover

Hawaiian Moorhen

Red Crested Cardinal

Female Northern Cardinal

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Myna
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Bird Watching Crew

It had rained really hard the day before we visited and washed out the foot bridge. This made our hike longer than it would have been if the bridge were intact.

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Waterfall

Anole and lizard

Flowers (it was a botanical garden)

Allerton Garden

The Allerton Garden is a more traditional garden with ‘rooms’ and sculptures and is maintained as envisioned by its designers. It has some fantastic scenery and has been used as the set for multiple movies including the original Jurassic Park. I will use some of the whimsical shots in my next blog.

Our Guide

Jurassic Park Movie Set

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Myna
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Butterfly
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Spider

Inhabitants

That was the extent of our bird watching on the South Shore. We enjoyed the gardens.

Mark, Wink and Meg

 

Bird Watching in Kauai – North Shore

We spent early April in Hawaii visiting Meg. The first day was on Oahu recovering from our flight to Hawaii from Boston and then flew to Kauai and got an airbnb on the East coast at Kapaa. There is only one main road on Kauai and we wanted to visit both the North and South shores for this visit, so Kapaa was centrally located. We went to the  Na Aina Kai Garden on a bird watching tour, the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge twice and the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge on the North Shore. We went to the Allerton and McBryde Gardens and Waimea Canyon on the South Shore. We also spent a little time on the beaches. I took thirteen hundred pictures during the two weeks we were in Hawaii and most of them on Kauai. Meg easily doubled the number of pictures I took. I guess I am a slacker. These pictures were taken by me unless otherwise noted. So I plan to share a few photos:

Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge

We enjoyed our first visit so much, we went back for a second visit. It was interesting, the visits were very different as it was a different time of day. Both visits were enjoyable.

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There was a walkway along the peninsula from the parking lot to the lighthouse. To the North was a shore full of nesting birds and to the South was an albatross nesting area.  There was a small island straight West from the lighthouse. The birds dig holes in the ground to nest and there were bird nests lining the walkway. You could see the parents in the nests.

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Lighthouse
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Walkway to Lighthouse

Nesting Shearwaters

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Red Tailed Tropic Bird

Nenes

Red Footed Booby’s Nesting

Red Footed Boobies

Frigate Birds

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White Tailed Tropic Bird (Meg)

The frigate birds were taking advantage of the boobies because they were bigger and too lazy to fish for themselves. They would buzz the boobies bringing food back for the chicks in the hope to take it away from them. This made for some aerial aerobatics.

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Juvenile Albatross

We didn’t see any baby albatross from the point but the juveniles were doing their ritual dancing. I shot some video of it. It is a bob and weave sort of dance.

We were fortunate as we got to see more than birds both days we were there.

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We didn’t see any turtles or monk seals bu we did see some mammals.

Whales (mother and calf)

We also saw some non native birds…

Northern Cardinal

Cattle Egret

Chickens

Anole

Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge

We enjoyed the wildlife refuge and got some good pictures. The next stop was the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge.

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Hanalei Overlook

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Artist
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Goose

Hawaiian Moorhen

Nutmeg Manikin (invasive)

Hawaiian Coot

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Nene

Black Capped Night Heron

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Plover in mating plumage