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Old Monday 17th August 2009, 09:03   #1
HawaiianOnline
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Places to see I'o and Pueo on the Big Island???

Does anyone have any recommendations as to the best places to see I'o and Pueo (Asio Flammeus Sandwichensis or Hawaiian Short Eared Owl) on the Big Island? I am looking for public access areas preferably (State or National Park lands, public hiking trails, etc), but if you can give me contact information for any agreeable landowners, I'd greatly appreciate that.
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Old Monday 17th August 2009, 21:46   #2
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They're widespread and mobile, so it can take some hunting. A year or so ago there was a pueo hanging around the ranch pastures at the lower end of Mauna Kea access road, but I have not seen it within the last year. It used to hang out on snags and fence posts. It may have moved more towards Pohakuloa or down Keanakolu Road. The South end of Keanakolu Road also often has 'io over the ranch pastures. Ka'ohe Game Management area and Mauna Kea Forest Reserve on the West slope of Mauna Kea has both birds near the main road R-1, but it can be quite a trek up from Saddle Road. Some of the regular places I find them I wouldn't send anybody to on their own. I'm only really familiar with the area above Hilo.
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Old Tuesday 18th August 2009, 05:45   #3
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Thank you for the info. One question, have you ever been up the Mauna Loa Strip? Just wondering how the conditions are up there.
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Old Tuesday 18th August 2009, 19:39   #4
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Thank you for the info. One question, have you ever been up the Mauna Loa Strip? Just wondering how the conditions are up there.
Infrequently. Do you mean the pavement condition, access, or the condition of the habitats and flora and fauna?

I have seen 'io up there as well, though the underbrush makes it difficult to chase them off of the road.
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Old Thursday 20th August 2009, 05:44   #5
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Infrequently. Do you mean the pavement condition, access, or the condition of the habitats and flora and fauna?

I have seen 'io up there as well, though the underbrush makes it difficult to chase them off of the road.
Mainly interested in the habitats, flora and fauna. Thanks again. I'm planning a family trip in October (hopefully). I'll have a couple to free days to tromp around, so I want to do a little bit of birding. I've always wanted to visit Hakalau, but I don't think I'll have the time on this trip...
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Old Thursday 20th August 2009, 06:07   #6
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Well, the 'strip' was ranched to death for decades, and now they've been working on reforestation for decades. Most of it is a bit of a mess still. Kipuka Puaulu and Kipuka Ki have several very rare trees, but they do nothing to let people know they're there. I'd say skip it, unless you're interested in the trees in kipuka puaulu. Unfortunately the towering ohias there died in the recent past.
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Old Friday 21st August 2009, 21:45   #7
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BTW, Kipuka Puaulu and Kipuka Ki are good last-resort options when windward areas are too wet. No rare birds but lots of common ones both native and alien. The tame pheasants will panhandle you. There is often an 'io in the area from Puaulu through Ki, though I have never seen it from the Kipuka Puaulu walking trails, but as I said the underbrush in the strip can be too thick to effectively follow them off the road. In 50-100 years this area might again come to resemble native forest. They're working hard on protecting the forests above Volcano and on reforestation in the Strip and neighboring Keauhou Ranch and Kulani Prison.

I should also warn you that Manuka NAR is notorious for angry clouds of mosquitoes. Most of the island's mosquito population must live there. Avoid.
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Old Saturday 22nd August 2009, 07:21   #8
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I should also warn you that Manuka NAR is notorious for angry clouds of mosquitoes. Most of the island's mosquito population must live there. Avoid.
Thanks for the tips and especially the warning. I hate mosquitos and having to use DEET because of them. They're not at all good for the birds either...
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Old Saturday 22nd August 2009, 08:21   #9
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Thanks for the tips and especially the warning. I hate mosquitos and having to use DEET because of them. They're not at all good for the birds either...
Most of high South Kona has few or no mosquitoes, but the Manuka NAR loop trail is an odd exception. They must be breeding in stock tanks or water catchments nearby. As long as the birds go elsewhere to roost it shouldn't be a problem. Apapane and amakihi live at amazingly low elevations there - at least down to 1500 feet where the highway is.

A bigger problem for birds at Manuka is a skin mite brought in on cage birds that is deforming the 'amakihi. Really worried it might hit the endangered birds - I should ask about that again.
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Old Saturday 16th January 2010, 00:18   #10
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A year or so ago there was a pueo hanging around the ranch pastures at the lower end of Mauna Kea access road, but I have not seen it within the last year. It used to hang out on snags and fence posts.
I have been seeing pueos along the lower Mauna Kea Access Road again recently, near the active ranch and old "sheep station", but never linger to get any firm idea of how frequent they are in that area now.
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Old Tuesday 16th February 2010, 04:05   #11
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I have been seeing pueos along the lower Mauna Kea Access Road again recently, near the active ranch and old "sheep station", but never linger to get any firm idea of how frequent they are in that area now.
Thanks for the heads up. Haven't had a chance to go to Hilo yet, too busy. I'll keep this in mind when I do get the chance, whenever that might be...
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Old Monday 14th June 2010, 06:08   #12
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BTW, Around what times of the day have you seen them? I am likely going in early August. Thanks.
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Old Monday 14th June 2010, 22:34   #13
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They aren't around there with any predictable regularity, and I haven't seen any in the pastures recently. I am not sure if pueo or 'io typically take a mid-afternoon nap, but they're probably equally visible (or audible) during the early and late daylight hours. I don't recall a pattern.

I only mention Mauna Kea access road and Keanakolu Road because they're so visible when they are around - otherwise it's a sad desolate pasture wasteland. They don't seem to get up to the elevation of the forest reserve too much. Turkeys have become increasingly visible in the pastures along the road over the last year. Sheep, as well - 100+ sheep visible from the road at times.
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Old Sunday 18th July 2010, 07:42   #14
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Well, I'll finally get up there next week. Going to try to hit the pastures on the Waimea side of the Saddle Road as well as my friends house up in Volcano. Heard that the wild turkey and sheep have become really common in that area.
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