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7/30/09 - Upper Waiakea Forest Reserve, South of Kaumana Trail

Posted Friday 31st July 2009 at 18:43 by bkrownd
I continued exploring the windward Saddle forests South of Kaumana Trail. The weather was pleasantly cooler Thursday and more cloudy, and it rained a bit around sunset.

I got an earlier start, but still not early enough. It's taking a long time to search this area. 3-4 hours of my day is lost just trudging to and from the location. It's about an hour from the car to bird survey transect 25, along Kaumana Trail and Opuhe Trail, and then at least another half hour along transect 25 through the bog forest up to the upper forest level that I'm exploring now. All constantly up and down terrain and over and under deadfall - it's quite a workout. I've covered most of the very lower end of the upper forest, so it will begin to take even longer to get to the new areas. Next trip it will probably take me 2 hours to get to the new exploring area, and 2 hours to return.

It's still fairly quiet out there. Very few birds in the lava fields and kipukas along Kaumana Trail. Activity in the forests was similar to previous days. Up until about noon there were occasional small 'apapane groups in the forest, but they disappeared in the afternoon. I ran into 2+ pigs for the first time in a few weeks along opuhe trail. There was nothing at all unusual in the bird counts - same species and numbers as previous days.

I continue to find more 'anini and opuhe trees in the new search area, and particularly numerous small 'anini. Thursday I finally found a fairly large 'anini tree, 30 foot tall and 5 inch trunk diameter, that may be a seed source for the colony. There were a number of seedlings or root suckers under it. One of the opuhe I saw had a few little orange fruits. I didn't find any other rare plants. There is a particularly dense area that I have hope for, but I've only started to look into it, and it may take days to cover it well.

I reached the southern edge of the forest at one point and crossed the narrow lava field to a tiny fragment of tall canopy forest on the other side. Nothing interesting there aside from some stenogyne sessilis. Unfortunately the rest of the forest on that side is extremely hairy scrub with no obvious potential for rare plants, and unless I can find an established hunter trail through it the scrub belt is wide enough that I don't think I can cross it to the next belt of tall canopy forest. That forest will have to be accessed from Powerline Road, and is a long walk across the lava fields that I can only do in the very best weather.
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