Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Look Beyond: Blooms and Birds of Kauai, Hawaii

Hawaiian Birds and Blooms

Bird of Paradise
During the winter months I had sorted through some photos from a November trip to the island of Kauai and thought I would share some of the birds and blooms I encountered while there.  Kauai is truly a tropical paradise and the home to a huge variety of amazing wildlife and blooms.  Being an avid gardener and aspiring photographer, I ventured out on many walks with camera in hand during our trip in order to capture as many memories as possible through the eye of the lens.
Mountains and Palm Trees
Kauai is the oldest of the Hawaiian Islands geologically and is the fourth largest of the five main islands.  It is known as the "Garden Isle" and has an average rainfall of 50–100 inches annually.  Kauai is the home to many tropical rain forests and the constant rainfall allows the island mountains to be heavily vegetated. The majestic green mountains in the backdrop with tropical palms gracing the foreground make for a picturesque view.
As I zoomed in closer I found myself in awe with every click of the camera. 
Sandpiper Pectoral Sandpiper (Calidris melanotos)
I came across such a variety of birds on each stroll that I was amazed at what I was seeing.  I spend about twenty minutes or so slowly getting closer and closer to this adorable little sandpiper, which was living right at the resort.  During the same walk I also saw this egret. Neither bird likes to stand stationary and are both very fast moving, so I had to be patient and it took many attempts to get these photographs! 
Cattle Egret
Red-Crested Cardinal
These cardinals were just outside the resort eating berries from a tree down the road.  They resemble our northern cardinals only they have a red head and gray and white body.  Also known as the Brazilian Cardinal, these tropical birds were introduced to Hawaii in 1930 from South America. The juveniles have a brown crest and black bill.
Red-Crested Cardinals
Red Crested Cardinals are often seen traveling in pairs as these two here.  They feed on seeds, fruits, insects and plant material.
Red Ginger (Alpinia purpurata)
One of my favorite plants in Kauai is this Red Ginger. The combination of foliage and bloom makes this a magnificent plant and the flower is interesting to photograph. Red Ginger is a tropical perennial with a native range that spans from the Maluku islands in Indonesia to the southwest Pacific. It was introduced to Hawaii in 1928. 
 Hibiscus 'Montego Wind' (Tropical Hibiscus)
These Tropical Hibiscus can be seen everywhere on the island and come in an amazing array of striking colors.  There are seven known species of Hawaiian hibiscus which are regarded as native to Hawaii. The native Hawaiian yellow Hibiscus (Hibiscus brackenridgei) is the state flower of Hawaii.
Hibiscus brackenridgei (Tropical Hibiscus)
The varieties mostly seen for ornamental use on the island are of the Chinese variety (Hibiscus rosa-sinensisand its hybrids.
Hibiscus Pink versicolor (Tropical Hibiscus)
It is wonderful seeing these beautiful blooms growing all over Kauai.  They can only survive as summer outdoor plants or houseplants here in the northeast.
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
Here is some more of the local wildlife. On one of my walks I spotted this little fellow who was a familiar sight, as we have sparrows in the northeast. I believe he is a House Sparrow.  In the resort areas the birds are so used to having people around that they didn't even budge.   As I got closer up with the lens I believe this little one was actually posing for me! 
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
Monstera deliciosa (Swiss Cheese Plant)
All over the island this pre-historic-looking plant can be seen.  The leaf belongs to Monstera deliciosa, also known as Swiss Cheese Plant.  These large plants can be seen growing at both the resorts and along the sides of highways.  Monstera grows way above the rainforest canopy and can develop huge aerial roots up to 70 feet in length.
I loved seeing and photographing these beautiful Plumeria trees. Plumeria are tropical trees famous for their gorgeous flowers which are used to make Hawaiian leis.  They can be seen everywhere on the island and their aroma of sweet perfume is wonderful!
(Crinum augustum)  (Queen Emma Spider Lily)
These tropical lilies are amazing. Queen Emma Lily displays spiral-like flowers in either pink or white on plants that can grow to about five feet tall by wide.  The blooms are not only beautiful but are also fragrant.
Ixora (Jungle Geranium)
Here are some Ixora, also known as Jungle Geranium.  Ixora can be found in hues of pink, orange or yellow and displays showy spikes that burst open into flowers and resembling geranium once opened.
Cordyline terminalis “Red Sister” (Red Ti Plant)
In ancient Hawaiian culture the Ti leaf was believed to offer spiritual protection, and only royalty were allowed to wear them. Today the plant’s foliage is still a popular element in many Hawaiian religious rituals and is also widely grown for gardens.  Hawaiian Ti is also known as the "good luck" plant. Ti can be seen growing all over the island and was originally introduced to the islands when brought over in canoes by ancient Polynesians.
Zebra Dove
Doves can be seen throughout the island are are not at all camera shy, such as this one perching on a rock right along a walkway.
Kauai's Unofficial State Bird!

Kauai is known for its wild roosters that can be seen everywhere on the island including parking lots, backyards, roads and gardens.  They were brought there years ago by early settlers and have no natural predators, so the population continues to flourish.  The real state bird of Hawaii is the the "nene", or Hawaiian goose (Branta sandwicensis) but the chicken population seems to be much more visible. Known as "moa", or wild jungle fowl, these birds are protected under state law. Like all the birds of Hawaii, the moa is protected as an important part of nature.  I was able to photograph this colorful fellow as he was casually walking along on the road aside me. 

As our walk ends it is time to get back to reality once again. I hope you enjoyed Kauai's birds and blooms.  Aloha.

As Always...Happy Gardening!

Author: Lee@A Guide To Northeastern Gardening, ©Copyright 2015. All rights reserved


  1. Beautiful blooms and birds. I just love the red-crested cardinal. Lovely mosaics and images..Happy Thursday!

  2. Lost the first comment, love this post Thanks.
    I never heard of a red Crested Cardinal, he is
    wicked Kool.

    1. The cardinals there were so beautiful and we experienced such a vast variety of tropical blooms and wildlife. Glad you enjoyed!

  3. Beautiful blooms! I like the hibiscus. I really want to collect hibiscus on my little garden, but I haven't realized it yet. They are lovely plant, great colorful bloom. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I tried growing tropical hibiscus for years but they never looked like the ones in the islands. It is a gardener's paradise. Thank you for dropping by and commenting!

  4. Paradise!!
    How colourful everything is, even the birds look like they are dressed up for a party :-)

    1. They all do look so festive with such vibrant color! Even the chickens that roam everywhere are amazing. The wildlife and blooms are so different from here.

  5. It's always nice to see and admire blooms from farther away:)

    1. Glad you enjoyed. There are so many gardens and not enough time, but I am on a mission to experience as many as I can!

  6. What a beautiful post, thanks for sharing!
    For me (in Germany) this all looks very exotic...

  7. A trip I hope to take all the beautiful flowers and that cardinal is so unusual.

    1. It certainly is paradise Donna. Everything is so exotic! I am glad you enjoyed the photos and thank you for stopping by!


Thank you for visiting. I love reading your comments and knowing you have been here, and will try to reciprocate on your blog. If you have any questions I will try my very best to answer them. As always...HAPPY GARDENING!