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10/17/09 - Pu'u Pili and Pu'u Huluhulu

Posted Tuesday 20th October 2009 at 03:14 by bkrownd
Saturday was Kohala Watershed Partnership volunteer day at Pu'u Pili, beating back the Himalayan ginger infestation. Pu'u Pili is a forested pu'u within Kahua Ranch not far from the summit of Kohala that is being turned into a native forest preserve, and will eventually be cleared of pigs and as many weeds as possible. What was a rainy morning that became a sunny afternoon. I headed in the opposite direction of the mass of volunteers and worked in a streambed. There were large cyrtrandra platyphylla growing from the walls of the ravine, and numerous clermontia. There was a large kamakahala shrub (labordia hirtella). Unfortunately the ginger masses were so large I didn't make it more than 100 feet up the stream. Native succineid snails like to live in the ginger thickets, and I had to pick them out and toss them to safety before cutting the ginger.

After a few hours of attacking the ginger we headed up a trail climbing the pu'u. We didn't get anywhere near the top. Along the way I saw my first ever wild patch of 'ohe (joinvillea ascendens). I didn't spot any other particularly rare plants.

The whole day on Pu'u Pili I heard far fewer birds than I expected. Down at the work site the most numerous were 'amakihi, which came and went. Japanese white-eye were scarce and 'apapane only made one appearance. There were a couple of 'elepaio and a red-billed leiothrix in the area. The side of the pu'u wasn't any more birdy. Lots of kolea in the surrounding pastures.

On the way back I stopped at Pu'u Huluhulu on the Saddle to check what native plants have been outplanted recently. There were a few new species to get photos of, and many of the older plants are still doing well. Somebody had been out to water many of them within the last day. There was a modest bird population. I could never catch sight of any of the ground birds. There were even numbers of 'amakihi and 'apapane, and slightly lower numbers of northern cardinal, Japanese white-eye and house finch. As the sun set numerous flocks of kolea flew overhead across the Saddle from their daytime areas in the pastures on Mauna Kea to their nighttime roosting areas on the lava fields of Mauna Loa.
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