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Old Friday 11th June 2010, 22:59   #1
bkrownd
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Mauna Kea

For anyone thinking of visiting Hawai'i you may be interested to know that leeward Mauna Kea has been closed for the entire summer due to this winter's extreme El Nino drought. The bureaucracy has banned all entry on the leeward side of the mountain, explicitly including "hiking" and "birdwatching" individually or commercial, so there is no chance to see palila or anything else up there until autumn or later.

It will be interesting to see what happens with the palila count in January.
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Old Monday 23rd August 2010, 22:00   #2
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Currently a big fire on the lower slopes of Mauna Kea, so I'm doubting the mountain will open before rainy season really gets going.
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Old Thursday 26th August 2010, 19:55   #3
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Fire is mostly out. Unfortunately it was near the only 'akoko forest I know of, which I hope hasn't burned up.
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Old Monday 30th August 2010, 05:03   #4
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I hope they catch the people that started it.
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Old Thursday 21st October 2010, 21:26   #5
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The closure of leeward Mauna Kea has been extended through the end of the year. (will make it difficult to practice for the palila surveys...)
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Old Tuesday 4th January 2011, 01:26   #6
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After 3 months of rains most mamane trees around Halepohaku are flowering and budding out wonderfully, the surviving 'aheahea are nice and green again, and some grasses are greening. The dead shrubs and small plants are going to have to come back from seed. However, the closure of Mauna Kea Forest Reserve and Ka'ohe GMA has been extended yet again, through the end of February.
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Old Tuesday 25th January 2011, 21:15   #7
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The closure of Mauna Kea has been ended.
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Old Tuesday 25th January 2011, 21:24   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkrownd View Post
The closure of Mauna Kea has been ended.
Good news. Let's hope the Palila has not suffered unduly.

cheers,
alan
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Old Thursday 24th March 2011, 07:01   #9
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How does one get access to that side of Mauna Kea?
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Old Thursday 24th March 2011, 23:03   #10
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Road "R-1". At about the 44 mile mark on Saddle Road, across from the girl scout camp, there's a big yellow gate and sign that says "Kilohana Hunter Check Station". The road is 4WD because of loose steep sections where 2WD tears up the road. I drive a couple hundred meters in, park at the first large clump of conifers, and walk up through the network of roads.
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Old Friday 25th March 2011, 03:50   #11
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Road "R-1". At about the 44 mile mark on Saddle Road, across from the girl scout camp, there's a big yellow gate and sign that says "Kilohana Hunter Check Station". The road is 4WD because of loose steep sections where 2WD tears up the road. I drive a couple hundred meters in, park at the first large clump of conifers, and walk up through the network of roads.
Thanks for the info. I've driven past that checkstation many times in the past. About how far do you need to walk in to start seeing Palila?
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Old Friday 25th March 2011, 14:23   #12
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The lowest I have found them is at the junction of R-1 and R-15 (the side road to Ahumoa). The area where I usually start hearing them is near the halfway point up R-1 to Pu'u La'au Cabin, starting near a tall sandalwood that's easy to miss. (just above FB-4 and the first concrete gulch crossing, I think) Anywhere along R-1 from that halfway point up to the sandalwood exclosure below the cabin is good. At the junction of R-1 and R-13 I usually turn southeast and follow R-13 along the fenceline across the top of Ka'ohe GMA - the first half of R-13 is good. The forest reserve above the fenceline is also good, but it gets to be a long walk to go up into there. They go up to treeline, but aren't really any easier to find up high than they are along R-1 and R-13.

It's difficult to find them without knowing what they sound like and finding them by ear. Once you hear one you can start to look for it. I did the triangle loop of R-1/R-13/R-14/R-15 a couple weeks ago, over about 9 hours, and heard around 10 palila. Lots of 'elepaio along R-1. Fewer aliens than previous years, which we also noticed during the survey - think the drought drove many of them away - but still the same assortment of aliens.

There are fun plants here and there. The big sandalwood. Feathery bidens menziesii shrubs and native grasses in the lower scrub. 'akoko trees halfway up. Na'ena'e shrubs near treeline, which are hard to find. Stenogyne microphylla in the trees.
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Old Wednesday 30th March 2011, 08:55   #13
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Thanks! Hopefully I'll be able to get up there in June or July.
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