Big Island, Hawaii

Off the Rock: Hawaii (Part 1: Big Island)

The edge a kipuka visited by the Puu Oo trail, where the old growth forest meets the barren lava flow.Our first stop was the Puu Oo trail, which at ~5700′ elevation winds across lava fields on the SE slopes of Mauna Kea (one of the largest but dormant volcanoes of Hawaii). Importantly, the trail visits several kipukas (islands of old growth forest spared between the otherwise barren lava flows) which are home to a number of endemic bird species. Our big target was Akiapola’au which has been a nemesis for Jody, eluding him on his previous visits.A view of Mauna Kea, taken from the Puu Oo trail. This is a fabulour hike through some very interesting landscapes, not to mention some very hot birding! d flake bark, and then its long, curved upper mandible to probe out insects and larvae from within. It is also a very threatened species, occurring only on Big Island and (like many endemic forest birds of the Hawaiian Islands) in select sections of high elevation forest.

With dogged focus, we ignored the Apapane and Iiwi calling around us and headed straight for the first large stand of Koa about a mile in. Hopeful (but not over-confident!), we slowly worked our way through the trees, scanning and listening for the family group that had been spotted here several times in recent weeks. About fifteen minutes later, I heard Jody calling out to me with obvious excitement in his voice. Not only had he finally found an Akiapola’au, but it was a beautiful adult male. Amazingly, the bird honoured us by hanging out for almost an hour, going about its business using that incredible bill, and sometimes feeding just metres above or in front of us! It was a fantastic experience and a perfect way to start our two weeks in Hawaii!!

This male Akiapola'au, one of Big Island's rarest and most special birds, graced us for almost an hour. Check out that crazy bill!! The Elepaio, an energetic little monarch flycatcher, occurs on three of the Hawaiian Islands, where each has been split into separate species. Here on Big Island, the Hawaii Elepaio even has three distinct races - this once being considered the A view of Hawaii's highest peak, Mauna Kea, poking up above the clouds - taken from our airplane. Two Hawaiian Hawks (an endemic species) soared high above us on the Puu Oo trail ... not exactly stunning photo opportunities, but great birds!

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Hawaii (Big Island) Help?

by JBegleiterla

My girlfriend and I are going to Kona and the rest of the big island for the first time, and I can't seem to find a good restaurant guide.
Anyone have any suggestions of great places they've eaten? Looking for guidance at all levels, from cheap lunch to fancy dinner.
(Someone also told me about a nice restaurant on the island that they described as a "treehouse..." but I haven't been able to figure out which place they're talking about. Anyone have a lead on this?)

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FAQ

Kate V
Traveling in Europe (Austria-->Greece, the Alps)?

I am going to be studying abroad in Salzburg, Austria for the month of June. I will be allowed a few "free days." The longest time I have free is 5 days, and I have the afternoon after classes end (about 5?) to start my trip.
I would love to go to Greece, but I don't know if I will have enough time to get there and enjoy my time there. How long would it take to get there? and will I have time to relax and hit the beaches?
I would also like to climb the Alps, but is it safe to be an unfamiliar climber on the Alps? I have climbing experience, but I'm not sure how much the…

You could take one of those discount flights and be there by dark. then you spend your time.

If you are in Salzburg, and you want to hike the alps, you probably don't have to hike far from your door. Salzburg is pretty much IN the alps. Really beautiful country. And not that far from Switzerland, if you want to cross the border for a weekend, that should be easy to do.

What you really need to do is set yourself up a longer program of study, like a semester or even a year, so you can REALLY get a feel for your town and the possibilities...next semester,…

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