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9/27/09 - Pu'u Maka'ala NAR, Army Road

Posted Tuesday 29th September 2009 at 01:07 by bkrownd
On a very rainy Sunday afternoon I went up to the mauka leg of Army Road in Pu'u Maka'ala NAR. With only a half-day to work with I figured I would continue my recent project of mapping the population of 'anini trees, and look for interesting plants in areas I haven't explored yet. The native wet forest is quite tangled and hairy here, so despite a large pig population there are pockets where interesting plants could potentially live.

It was raining fairly hard when I arrived, but fortunately after a half hour it slowed to just occasional sprinkles, and did not get really wet again until near sunset. Quite pleasant weather, actually. I was able to do several bird counts during the afternoon. There seemed to be a bumper crop of 4 (yes - 1,2,3,4) i'iwi in the northwest corner of the Army Road quadrangle. Well, you have to relish the little things at the lower elevations. There were usually 3-8 each of 'apapane and Japanese white-eye moving around at any time, and scattered 'oma'o. There were scattered 'elepaio (4-5?), and I probably counted the same pair several times during point counts. I heard about 3 northern cardinals. No other species that I can remember.

There was a lot of recent pig activity in the area. I found a good population of 'anini trees for my map. A couple of 'ohe mauka trees. More interestingly, I found a (very) small colony of fragile trematolobelia (koli'i) plants along one of the hunter trails. A few were epiphytic, and might manage to eventually flower and carry on the population after Army Road is fenced and restored in the future.
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