On Mauna Kea

At the end of yesterday's blog, I wrote that we were off to see the endangred Palila on Mauna Kea, a volcano that stands at almost 14,000 feet.

Well, we did see the endangered Palila along the western flank of the volcano. It's a striking bird with yellow shoulders and a formidable stubby bill for breaking into the seed pods of the Mamane tree.

Non-native ungulates are limiting regeneration of the forest, which has put the bird on a long term path of decline, and crashing 79% in the past decade. The birds we saw were among the last 1200  estimated to exist.

After this amazing experience, we traveled to the peak of Mauna Kea, where I received what is believed to be the highest altitude briefing ever for a Service Director with both feet on the ground.

In sub-freezing temperatures, with winds of at least 30 mph, I was briefed on the listing status of an insect which occupies the extreme habitat along the crater ridges -- The Wekiu. We also had what is believed to be the first inter-squad, inter-agency, DOI snowball fight in Hawaii.

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's Gravatar Hey Dan, what's your dog's name? Glad your making the trip through the pacific islands. :)
# Posted By | 12/22/11 2:38 PM
Last updated: August 31, 2011