Maui’s Kealia Wetlands

Maui’s Kealia Wetlands, a National Wildlife Reserve, is a 700 acre home to a variety of Hawaiian waterbirds. The Reserve was established in 1992 and is a natural basin for the 56-mile watershed in the West Maui Mountains. A boardwalk over ponded areas allows close-up viewing of native Hawaiian waterbird species as well as migratory waterbirds who come from as far away as Asia, Canada, and Alaska. The ponds were initially created by entrepreneurs beginning an aquaculture catfish venture which closed in 1995. Subsequently the ponds were restored by the Fish and Wildlife Service.

Maui’s Kealia Wetlands Reserve supports one of the largest concentrations of wetland birds in Hawai`i. It is an important breeding, feeding, and resting area for endangered Hawaiian Stilts and Hawaiian Coots, and the refuge was created to protect these two species in particular. During spring and summer when water levels recede, the refuge may harbor almost half the entire population of Hawaiian Stilts. Kealia Pond also supports a variety of migratory shorebirds and waterfowl from August-April. Some species occur primarily during migration, but others are present throughout the winter months. Over 30 additional species of migrants use the wetland on a regular basis, and numerous vagrants have appeared over the years, making Kealia Pond one of the top sites for wetland birding in Hawai`i.

Maui's Kealia Wetlands

The large central pond undergoes an annual cycle of flooding in winter and drying in summer. The hydrological and biological changes associated with this cycle are important in maintaining a healthy wetland. Water depth ranges from approximately 20 cm in summer to 145 cm in winter. The variable water depth and extensive mudflats that surround the pond provide valuable foraging habitat for a variety of birds. Several small islands provide predator-free nesting habitat, and additional nesting habitat is present among shoreline vegetation that surrounds the pond.

More information about the Kealia Wetlands can be found at the Audobon Website

Additional images of the boardwalk and beach can be found on a previous post.

Maui's Kealia Wetlands


 

A Piece Of The King’s Trail – Maui, Hawaii

Think not that early Hawaiians had no roads, for they indeed did; wide, solid and well built trails which could accommodate people, horses, livestock and the movement of goods from one location to another around the island. The King’s Trail, also known as The Hoapili Trail, at one time circumnavigated the island. Now, only sporadic remnants remain, and make for enjoyable hiking. The King’s Trail segment pictured here is a few miles long and begins at La Perouse Bay in south Maui.

For more comprehensive information on the King’s Trail, click the link below:

The King’s Trail

A March Morning Over Olowalu

 

Olowalu is a quaint, very small community on the southwest side of Maui, about halfway between the commercial center of Kahului and the  historically palatial retreat and tourist area of Lahaina. Olowalu has a rich history. Around 1790, there was a massacre there, today referred to by historians as Hawaii’s Wounded Knee. You can read about this rather significant historical event here.

The shoreline of Olowalu is home to a ‘mother reef.’ What that means is that the corals here at Olowalu release a type of spawn, which then floats on currents to the outlying islands and settles on distant reefs. The end result is new coral growth on dozens of different reefs. And, of course, the shipment of sugar from the local plantations requires a pier, the remnants of which remain today.

Olowalu also has a private campground, a small store, a restaurant and a food truck that sells fresh squeezed sugar cane juice. The snorkeling and diving here may be some of the best on Maui.

You can read more about the historical, cultural and environmental significance of Olowalu here.

An aerial view of Olowalu

 

Enjoy some sights of Olowalu through the lens of a flying video camera…..


 

More Scenic Northwest Maui

The northwest coastline of Maui is rugged and scenic; the views shown here in this post are simply not possible, without a helicopter, or a flying camera, with which these images were taken. Using a popular unmanned aerial system, it is now possible to fly out over the water, look back at the gorgeous, rugged, northwest shoreline, and capture images. It’s not the first post of this area. So, here are….

More Scenic Northwest Maui Views

more scenic northwest maui images


 

 

Polipoli Park

 

A panorama view from Polipoli park, Maui, Hawaii

 

Polipoli Park, on the northern slope of Haleakala, is both a wide expanse of open area and a forested canopy. It offers several hiking trails, mountain biking, sight seeing and is one of the best places for hang gliding. The video below is a short snippet of hang gliders casually cruising over the expanse.