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Maui in December

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I'll be in Maui, Hawaii for almost 2 weeks in December. Since online resources regarding birding on the island are limited, I'm hoping a few people here have birded the island before.

A few questions:

1. Is there access to the Kealia and Kanaha Ponds themselves (not the boardwalk / viewing platform)? Is access restricted? 

2. What's the best way to get access to Waikamoi Preserve? I won't be there on the day of their monthly tour, unfortunately. Is there any chance of getting access outside of that day? I've seen a good number of eBird checklists submitted outside of their monthly tour date.

3. What's the best way to get offshore in hopes of pelagics? Whale watching? Ferry to Lanai? 




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Lance Tanino would be a great person to contact about birding on Maui. Here's his website: https://www.hawaiibirdingguide.com/

Also check out the Hawaii Birdwatching group on Facebook. 


1. I believe you can walk the trails at Keialia and Kanaha Ponds, but it's been a while since I was there.

2. Access to Waikamoi preserve is tricky. You're best bet would be to email them and ask about the access situation. If you can't get into Waikamoi, you should check out Hosmer's Grove. It's right next to Waikamoi, and while it doesn't provide access into the intact native forest, you can usually see the Maui Creeper, Apapane, I'iwi and Amakihi there, as well as some of the exotic species. 

3. Kauai is the best island to see seabirds on, and it's not too expensive to fly between the islands. I'd definitely consider it if you want to get good looks at them, as several species breed at Kilauea Point on Kauai. There aren't any companies that run regularly scheduled pelagic trips, but you can sometimes go out on fishing boats and see birds. Again, Lance Tanino would be the one to contact about that, he might be able to arrange something for you. 

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TNC would need to enlist a "docent" to take you into upper Waikamoi Preserve.   (note they will not take you there if you've been to Hawaii Island previously)  Try to find a way to contact the Maui office directly. 

Wilderness access is much more difficult on Maui than on the other islands.  Above "Hosmer Grove" the subalpine scrub forest crossed by "Supply Trail" and "Halemau'u Trail" in the national park is the best native habitat you will be able to visit there. There's a small campground at "Hosmer Grove". 

One of the more interesting experiences is sitting on the rim of the crater at night above the vegetation, listening to the seabirds coming in to spend the night in the crater.  Occasionally they will pass close, sometimes crashing into nearby bushes, or perhaps even crashing into yourself.  That's seasonal, though - I'm not sure if they are going up there at all in December. 



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