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10/25/09 - Pu'u Maka'ala NAR

Posted Monday 26th October 2009 at 10:17 by bkrownd
Updated Monday 26th October 2009 at 10:20 by bkrownd
Unfortunately I wasted a lot of this morning covering up my broken car window, and some other associated nonsense. I only got a half day out. I decided to just explore a new area off of Army Road makai in Pu'u Maka'ala NAR.

I did point counts throughout the day. Average counts were about 4 'apapane, 3 Japanese white-eye, 2 'oma'o and 1 'elepaio. The nutmeg mannikins were still hanging around a couple of the parking areas where the alien grasses are producing seed. I heard a northern cardinal nearby on the way back. Did not hear the Japanese bush warblers today.

Near the 'aku unit I headed off the road into an area where I haven't been yet. It is a high canopy 'ohi'a forest. Pigs have tilled most of the ground underneath. I followed some hunting trails, pulled a few weeds and kept an eye out for interesting plants, but I found no rarities. Eventually I got to the edge of a lower substrate with open canopy that was heavily invaded by weeds - particularly stinging palm grass and strawberry guava. I could see a tall loulu palm nearby. I didn't want to track palm grass seeds around, so I turned back at that point. On the way back I took a slightly different direction and followed the edge of a ravine. I found more loulu palms, and then started to find some uncommon plants. I found a colony of phyllostegia vestita (giant native mint shrubs), and a time-worn opuhe tree. I'll need to return and explore the edges of the ravine to see what else is out there. The outbound leg was pretty boring, but the return trip made up for it, and this was my first look into this area.

I also took photos of a couple of native snails and spiders, and the wonderful mushrooms in the photo below.

Maps are attached below the photo. The maps show how the Army Road quadrangle is perched behind Pu'u Maka'ala. Unfortunately the one time I climbed Pu'u Maka'ala it was so infested with nasty weeds I never felt like returning. However, I should try to search the steep eastern slopes at least once.

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