Kona Fall Seabirding expedition, Hawaii - 19th September 2015

Published by Lance Tanino (lance.tanino AT gmail.com)


6:30 AM - 4:30 PM

70 total miles - visited OTEC (13 miles from marina) and Tsunami (30 miles from marina) buoys

Leaders: Lance Tanino, Alex Wang, Thane Pratt


Fifteen participants took part in the first of two 10-hour pelagic birding trips this season out of Kona, Hawai'i.

We departed the harbor at 6:50 A.M. and within our first hour, we encountered a very large pod of SPINNER DOLPHINS (Stenella longirostris), two SHORT-FINNED PILOT WHALE (Globicephala macrorhynchus) pods, and SPOTTED DOLPHINS (Stenella attenuata). In the afternoon, we got our fourth Hawaiian odontocete species, a ROUGH-TOOTHED DOLPHIN pod. We observed this pod encircle a young Mahimahi (attempting to hide under a three-foot long PVC pipe along with a few Filefishes). We witnessed predation in action when it eventually succumbed to becoming a snack for the dolphins.

In the second hour, we had our first two of four JUAN FERNANDEZ PETRELS (Pterodroma externa) for the day. They will eventually make their way to Chile for their breeding season. We eventually observed two more migratory seabird species in the afternoon. We saw a lone BLACK-WINGED PETREL (Pterodroma nigripennis) as well as a SOOTY SHEARWATER (Puffinus griseus; possibly two).

Other species encountered on our 70+ mile journey:

Brown Booby (Sula leucogaster; 2 adults)
Red-footed Booby (Sula sula rubripes; 2 subadults)
Wedge-tailed Shearwater (Puffinus pacificus; 496+); we approached four feeding/foraging flocks
Shearwater sp. (8)
- Large Pterodroma with white hind neck, grayish back (M-pattern), dark cap, dark eye patch, and mostly white undersides. The key characteristics observed in the field and from photos were slight carpal-ulnar bar on underwings and M-pattern on upper parts (wing and back). No more than one was observed at any time. Each encounter was associated with a flock of foraging WTSHs. Very leisurely, meandering flight with WTSHs in calm/variable winds. Photos were taken by Brad Argue, Bob & Bonnie Nims (available at Hawaii Birdwatching on FB) . Peter Pyle and Alvaro Jaramillo provided help with photo identifications.
Bulwer's Petrel (Bulweria bulwerii; 1)
White-tailed Tropicbird (Phaethon lepturus; 1)
Brown Noddy (Anous stolid us; 1)
Sooty Tern (Onychoprion fuscatus; 44 including one vocal juvenile)


Spinner Dolphin (~50)
Spotted Dolphin (~?)
Rough-toothed Dolphin (~5)
Pilot Whale (~10)


Mahimahi (Coryphaena hippurus)
Tuna sp.
Flying Fish sp. (13)
Filefish sp. (2)


Moth sp. (8)
Carpenter Bee (1)

NEXT TRIP is set for SATURDAY, OCTOBER 17th KONA. For anyone interested in joining us, email to sign-up (Lance.Tanino@gmail.com).

Lance Tanino
Manu Conservation
Kamuela (Waimea), Hawai'i

Hawaii Birdwatching: https://www.facebook.com/groups/HIBirdwatchingLT/
Hawaii Conservation: https://www.facebook.com/groups/HawaiiConservation/
Seawatching (land-based): https://www.facebook.com/groups/741700612543590/