KAELEPULU POND OBSERVATION LOG
January to June 2006
Special thanks to Bill Carlile who wrote this log. Bill's home
overlooks the wetland.
30 June.Yesterday's Mallards are gone. The Stilts are still sitting nest 5. Still seeing 2 Stilt chicks and several Moorhen and Coot chicks, one coot chick nearly half grown.
29 June. Five Mallards flew in this afternoon--pure, I think--2 males, 3 females.
26 June. The pair of Stilts--from island and nest 2, I believe-- were on the mudflats today with both chicks. This is the first sighting of both chicks, other than under the wings of parents (twice under dad's wings, once under mom's). I usually only see one chick and one parent--I wonder if the parents are keeping them apart in the open spaces for security? I also wonder if the chicks tuck under the parents wings for safety or to sleep?
24 June. This afternoon, Saturday, a Kolea was on the sandbar behind the Hart's house. The Stilts sitting nest 5 are beginning to show aggressiveness--one drove the Kolea to the near (to me) end of the sandbar. I saw it drive off other birds yesterday and today. I have seen 2 Stilt chicks nestled under the wings of Dad on 2 occasions. Other than that I have seen only one chick at a time. These are from nest 2, I believe.
20 June. A male Stilt is kneeling with a chick under each wing on the big mud flat on island 2 --first time I've confirmed 2 chicks in one family this season. I can't be positive, but I believe these are from nest 2 on island 2.
15 June. The Stilts are still sitting the new nest, but I don't think there are eggs yet. Both parents were off the nest at the same time, feeding alongside a Night Heron 15' or so from the nest site. Saw a Coot with 3 young chicks on and around the sand bar behind the Hart house.
14 June. I am watching what may be a new Stilt nest. It is on island 2, near the waterway that separates islands 1 and 2, about halfway across the wetlands. The Moorhen pair with 3 chicks may have lost one. I see only 2, and one is much smaller--younger, I think. Another pair of Moorhens have one chick and a Coot has a young chick. There are several groups of ducklings.
5 June. The three Moorhen chicks are growing, but one is noticeably
smaller than the other 2. The Wandering Tattler was on the sandbar this
Should migrate any day I would think.
2 June. One Stilt chick seen in Nest 3 area and another in Nest 4 area. Parents actively defending area of Nest 2 but no chick seen.
1 June. Mom and Pop Stilt from Nest 1 are dining together in a small pool directly behind our deck. I still have seen no evidence of a chick. A pair of Moorhens with 2 chicks are feeding around the bend from the aforementioned Stilts. I'm sure it's the same ones I've been seeing for several days now, sometimes together as a family and sometimes separated with each parent caring for one chick.
29 May. Saw Moorhen family, parents and 3 chicks. Saw separately but at the same time 2 Coots, each with one chick. Saw 1 Stilt chick from nest 4 area--growing and healthy looking and acting. Four Stilts on island 1 again today, including the one sitting nest 1.
28 May. Separate fly-bys by 3 Ruddy Turnstones and 1 Wandering Tattler.
27 May. Stilts still sitting on nest on island 1-- Nest #1. No activity noted on Stilt nest behind our house--Nest #2. One Stilt chick seen near nest closest to big drain pipe--Nest #3. One Stilt chick seen near nest behind Aku's house--Nest #4. Tall vegetation masks clear looks around Nests 3 & 4. One Coot seen with one chick. One Moorhen seen with 3 several weeks old chicks. One duck seen with 9 ducklings, another with 2. The wandering Tattler was on the mudflat this morning.
20 May. No change in Stilt status. Island one nest--still sitting. Nesting activity first noticed on 7 April. Don't know when eggs were dropped. Stokes' Guide says incubation for Stilts is 25 days. Island two nest behind our house--Still sitting. Noticed this nest after sighting the one on island one. Nest nearest the large drain pipe--only one chick sighted thus far. Nest Behind Aku's house--two chicks sighted.
20 May. A pair of Coots have 2 chicks seen this AM 15 yards or so mauka of the Stilt chicks behind Aku's house.
14 May. The Stilt family from the nest behind Aku's place was prominent yesterday in that they were out in the open for quite a while. I still see only 2 chicks. This morning I saw 1 chick from the nest over near the large drain pipe. The distance, angle, and dense vegetation could be preventing the sighting of additional chicks. Stilts are still sitting the nests on island 1 and the one directly behind my house.
13 May. Stilt activity is very high this morning. Difficult to get a count because of constant movement and obscuration by vegetation, but there are 10 or more adults flying around. The 2 chicks from the nest behind Aku's house were in the water this morning. First sighting of them in several days. The other nests activity remains unchanged. A Wandering Tattler was in the water near the 2 Stilt chicks and the parents.
12 May. No new nest activity noted--3 Stilt nest still being sat. No recent sighting of the chicks behind Aku's house, but the parents are alert, vigilant and protective. One Wandering Tattler was seen on its favorite sandbar today. I think the duck with 11 ducklings still has 4, and the one with 6 now has 3.
8 May. Confirmed sighting of 2 Stilt chicks on the island behind Aku and Stella's house. The 3 nests I have been watching were all occupied this afternoon.
4 May. The Stilts nesting on island 1 have been very busy all day today. They keep pecking at the ground at and around the nest area. At first I thought chicks might be hatching and they were helping them clear the eggshells. Then it became clear that they are reacting to last night's .85" rainfall and are building the nest higher. One keeps tossing small bits of twigs and such and the other is padding the nest with it. Occasionally one will sit the nest as if trying it out, but also nesting for a while. Right now Dad is on the nest and Mom is tossing materials to him while he pads the nest around him.
May 2. I am watching Stilts sitting on 2 nests, i.e., I can see the Stilts but not the nests. One is on the mauka side of the big clearing on island 1, another directly behind our house on island 2, and a 3rd one over toward the big culvert about midway across the wetlands. My best guess is they will hatch in the order listed, with the chicks on the island 1 nest hatching in the next several days.
A duck with 11 ducklings has kept them all alive for at least a week. Another with 6 ducklings has 4 left after about a week.
The Wandering Tattlers (sometimes 1, sometimes 2) are still hanging out almost every day on the sandbar behind Butch Hart's house--the 2 story house next to us.
1 May. There are 6 Kolea in a semi-circle around the nesting Stilt on island one. They are no more than 8-10 feet away and the Stilt is chattering in protest.
29 April. Interesting--several times today I have seen Night Herons make low level overflights of the Stilt nests on islands one and two, and even land fairly closely to the nesting sites, and I haven't seen any obvious defensive moves by either set of parents. Both sets of parents seem much more tolerant of other birds than in past years. Haven't any idea what, if anything, this means. I have not seen any signs of Coots preparing to nest. Indeed, as I've said before, Jane and I have believed for quite some time that the Coot population on the wetlands is down considerably from previous years. I think the Kolea migration started about 2 weeks ago and is now pretty much done. There are still some around, but I'm not seeing or hearing as many as before. One or two Wandering Tattlers are still with us, but I haven't seen the Ruddy Turnstones for several days.
27 April. There are at least 2 broods of ducklings on the wetlands. One has 5 ducklings--2 brown, 2 yellow, and one tawny color, much like the color of the bird I saw in the Night Heron's beak yesterday. The other brood has 9 ducklings, all brown.
26 April. The Stilts are still sitting the nests on islands 1 and 2. I can't see the nest behind Aku's house. My bird book says the incubation period for mainland Stilts is 25 days. I would assume it's the same for Hawaiian Stilts. The Moorhen is out with the 2 chicks. Two Night Herons flew by this morning at 8:45, one with what appeared to be a chick in its beak. They flew from the creek area over to the main lake area and landed out of my sight. The chick was light colored, not dark like the Moorhen chicks, more like baby Stilts--- I've not seen signs of baby Stilts as yet. Two Wandering Tattlers are still wandering--in separate areas.
25 April. A pair of Moorhens have 2 brand new chicks. I saw them early this afternoon and they were still wobbling and stumbling as they tried to walk. I can't see the nest but I believe it is in a clump of vegetation about 90-100 yards directly behind our house. A pair of Stilts appear to be nesting about another 25-30 yards beyond the Moorhens. Interestingly, the Stilts drive off other birds within range of where the Moorhens are, but don't bother the Moorhens. Parental courtesy, I guess. I think a third Stilt site might be behind Aku's house. A pair of Stilts are aggressively defending the area, particularly against the Night Herons. The Wandering Tattler is still hanging out. The birds are really enjoying my birdbath with the waterfall rock. Several types of birds drink from it regularly and several bathe in it regularly. So regularly that Jane and I have to refill it 2-3 times a day.The Mynahs, Bulbuls, Red-Crested Cardinals and Spotted Doves really splash the water out! The Japanese White Eyes and the Common Waxbills use it a lot, too, but of course they don't splash as much out. There were 4 Common Waxbills out there a little while ago.
22 April. Saw a Night Heron in flight with a chick or duckling in its beak. It landed behind some foliage before I could get glasses on it.
21 April. The 2 Stilts are still nesting on island one. Another pair of Stilts seem to be looking for a nesting site on island 2 and are getting very defensive, driving off other birds including the 2 big white geese. Also saw a pair of Wandering Tattlers.
10 April. Five Ruddy Turnstones today.
9 April. Ten Ruddy Turnstones are bathing just across from Hugo's docks. A Wandering Tattler keeps trying to run them off, but they just scatter and then re-group. The female Stilt with the dull gold band on her right leg is on the island somewhat behind Aku's house.
8 April. Saw probably the smallest/youngest Black-Crowned Night Heron today that I've ever seen.
7 April. A little past 4 0'clock this afternoon I saw a female Stilt sitting as if on a nest, with what I guessed to be her mate standing nearby. After I bit the female stood up and I could tell it was the Mother of the 4 chicks on island 1 last year. She threw a few twigs on the spot she had been sitting on and walked around for a bit and suddenly stopped with her neck stretched forward and upward. She stayed that way for a couple of minutes while the male walked back and forth around her, always behind her from one side to the other. He finally mounted her and did his deed, which only took a very few seconds. They then resumed feeding. The two big white geese strolled past them and the Stilts chased the geese away. This took place about a hundred yards off our deck on a heading of about 11:30. I am still seeing a Wandering Tattler on a regular basis. Today I saw 2 at the same time, but in different locations.
3 April. Saw a Stilt today with a black spot on the front of its leg, just above the left knee joint. Did not look like mud, but could have been. Had a small to moderate white eye patch.
Saw another Stilt with a dull gold band on its right leg. This bird, a female, had almost no eye patch, just a thin white line. She ate a small fish while I was watching.
Saw the Mother of last year's 4 island 1 chicks.
A large burlap bag filled with something that looks like long reeds has washed up on island 2, about 40-45 yards from our deck at a heading of about 11 O'clock.
31 March. I empty my rain gauge every morning. Using Bob Bourke's rain figures in the Enchanted Lake Assn. newsletter as a starting point, I have logged in 44.2" of rainfall since 1 February.That does not count the 4" now in my gauge which will be included to tomorrow mornings reading. Here are recent readings: 18th--4.5", 22nd--,5", 23rd--1.1", 24th--1.6", 25th--.3", 26th--3.9", 27th--1.6", 28th--.5", 29th--.8", 30th--.5", 31st--3.5".
Bird activity is pretty much normal. The Wandering Tattler continues to make regular appearances.
27 March. Today I saw the first true signs that the Kolea are getting ready for the long/no pupu flight back to Alaska. In addition to donning their breeding plumage tuxedos they are starting to congregate. A flight of 5 overflew the pond this afternoon, and another 14 are sitting on our rooftop at this minute--5:25PM. Don’t know what attracts them, but there were 50-60 Kolea on our rooftop and the one next door when they returned last year.
21 March. Eight Stilts were squabbling again today and were joined by 2 more. I think there were 5 male/female pairs. After they broke up 2 pairs moved 50 yards toward the lake and started fighting again. They were squawking loudly, jumping and parrying, knocking one another down, standing on one another, one took another’s neck with its beak. I could hear their bodies collide. Quite a show.
19 March. The current rainstorm filled my rain gauge to 4.5 inches. The Pond is at about the same level as it was a couple of weeks ago at its highest, if not higher. The water is flowing very rapidly toward the lake proper and the wind is blowing the opposite direction, making for some pretty significant waves. The birds are extremely active--I even saw a Coot fly about 40 yards at 8 feet or so above the water. A pair of coots and a pair of ducks mated. Bird squabbles are going on all over the place, especially Coots against Coots, Moorhens against Moorhens and Stilts against Stilts. Maybe they are trying to claim what little above ground turf there is?? Normally when the water is high there are large numbers of Cattle Egrets. I didn't see a single one until 11:30 this morning, and there are only 10 in sight now. A small flock of Ruddy Turnstones made several passes around the pond and decided they didn't like what they saw and flew off without landing. The wind and rain have not driven off my pair of Red-Crested Cardinals, though--they have been on my thistle sock on and off all morning.
16 March. Nine Black-Crowned Night Herons, six of them immatures, were gathered this morning at a location about 60 yards off our deck at a heading of about one o’clock. Eight Ruddy Turnstones flew in at 11:40 AM and flew off shortly thereafter. At least one Wandering Tattler was also spotted.
12 March. A lone Ruddy Turnstone made several fly-by’s this morning some above my head and one below it--great opportunity to observe coloration and markings. It landed on island 2. One Wandering Tattler on island 2.
10 March. Two Wandering Tattlers went through what I think must have been about a 15 minute courting routine and I think finally mated. The Stilts went through their parry and jump routine again this afternoon and, as usual, abruptly broke it off and went back to their claimed grounds.
7 March. A pair of Moorhens with 3 mid-size chicks are feeding in a cleared space on island 2. First sighting of chicks of any type (other than ducks) on the pond for me this season.
The water level has risen--I’d guess about 3-6 inches. The oyster beds are not nearly as exposed as before.
6 March. 22 Stilts in late afternoon. At least 3, and I think 4, bullfrogs were bellowing during the evening. One during the day.
4 March. Oyster beds are completely exposed. A Wandering Tattler is feeding there.
3 March. Usual birds, plus 1 Wandering Tattler.
2 March. Three Moorhens were dining this morning on the berries on the U/I plant beside our deck. Usually they fly from the rock wall to the wetlands, but today one flew directly from the plant about 40 yards into the wetland. This is the first time I’ve seen 3 up there--usually there are 2.
2 March. Jane and I have been noticing that the population seems down for both the moorhens and the coots.
28 February. Saw 19 Stilts this AM, and saw 30 Stilts at 5:30 PM. The largest group was located on the small semi-cleared island just Waimanalo of Aku’s house.
27 February. 15 Stilts sighted.
24 February. The wounded Stilt’s leg is back to normal size and there is very little discoloration. The leg still flops about almost uncontrollably, but the bird has learned to land fairly gracefully on one leg.
Approximately 18 February. The water level was extremely low, and 15 Night Herons were hunting on the exposed oyster/clam flats.
12 February. The wounded Stilt is out back. The swelling in the leg has gone down a lot, and the discoloration isn’t nearly as bad as previously reported. The bird is learning to live with the dysfunctional leg, but its ground movements are awkward and at times the bird falls when its legs don’t turn as its body does.
On or about 5 February. Noticed a badly wounded Stilt. The left leg appears to be broken. It is badly swollen and discolored. It will not support the bird. The bird flies very well, but its landings aren’t pretty. The right leg has a single band on it, silver I believe.
25 January. Saw 4 Ruddy Turnstones.
24 January. Saw 3 Ruddy Turnstones. Saw 2 broods of ducklings--11 in one and 9 or 10 in the other.
1 January. Noticed that the Black-Crowned Night Herons resumed daylight hunting about mid-December.
A group of 4 Stilts were engaged in what I guess must be a territorial establishment of rights debate with 4 other Stilts. The groups squawked, jumped and parried at each other, then suddenly stopped and 4 went to island 1 and the other group to island 2.