Thursday, January 9, 2014


Aloha! One word with so many meanings - goodbye, hello, love. In the past few weeks it has come to mean all of that - and more - for me. For our fifteenth wedding anniversary, my husband and I said aloha to work, children, winter weather, stress, and to-do lists to take a 15-night cruise to Hawaii, where we said aloha to relaxation, discovery, exploration, great food, fun games, volcanoes, and yes, birds. In that time, I added 16 amazing lifers to my list, and as picky as I am with adding any species to my list, I can truly say aloha to each one...

  • Surf Scoter
  • Nene
  • Laysan Albatross
  • Great Frigatebird
  • Red-Footed Booby
  • White-Tailed Tropicbird
  • White-Rumped Shama
  • Brown Booby
  • Red-Vented Bulbul
  • Red-Crested Cardinal
  • Common Waxbill
  • Spotted Dove
  • Common Myna
  • Japanese White-Eye
  • Zebra Dove
  • Java Sparrow

What an amazing experience, with lifers for the picking. We took several tours to different state and national parks, including a bird sanctuary at Kilauea Point, but this was by no means a birding-specific trip, and I was not trying particularly hard to visit top habitats or scout for elusive species. Before the trip, I'd been hoping to see just a few new lifers, but my expectations were exceeded in flocks.

More important, however, is saying aloha to other things in my life. Aloha to bitterness, betrayal, and past - goodbye. Aloha to adventure, exploration, and future - hello. But most of all, aloha to my husband and my family - flesh, feathered and other, all of which are part of me - I love you. Aloha.

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