How could we not share this live testament to life? Plus, new photos from a walk…


Albatross Live Nest Cam

Often times, the birds, hang out together, that may or may not be related. This could be the parents of the smaller bird from a previous season or the bird of another family.

As we’re certain that all of our readers are aware, we’ve spent considerable time observing the life cycle of the Laysan Albatross since we arrived in Kauai in January. The adult albatross build their nests in November and equally spend time sitting on their solitary egg.

We had no idea that these birds that we’d occasionally seen momentarily landing on our cruise ship or flying above our heads at sea would provide us with such a strong passion and interest in their life cycle and well being.

This chick is getting fatter each day. It can survive for many days when the parents head out to sea for food, utilizing its own fat stores for water and fuel.

For our readers with little interest in birds, we hope we haven’t bored you with our frequent posting as to their progress. It wasn’t too long ago that we developed a keen interest in birds which has escalated as we observed the albatross.

With little wildlife besides birds in the Hawaiian Islands, we’ve found ourselves replacing our interests in big game and wild animals, to birds while in Kauai for these long four months, surprisingly never disappointed. 

By no means are we avid bird watchers nor do we profess to know anything about birds besides the albatross for whom we’ve learned quite a bit. However, the more time we spend in Kauai, the more of an interest we’ve developed in all species of birds. 

And yes, every morning and several times per day, when we open or stand by the windows and door to the lanai, the same pairs of Brazilian Cardinals aka, Red-capped Cardinal, Northern Cardinals and Zebra Doves, have stopped by to visit hoping for a taste of the unsalted raw walnuts we’d purchased at Costco.

This Red Cardinal stops by several times per day with his smaller female partner, looking for a handout which we generously provide.

Even one particular Brazilian Cardinal has come to know me well enough that his scratchy little feet climb onto my hand to quickly grab at a bite of a chopped walnut from the palm of my hand. My heart always does a flip flop.

The Northern Cardinals are shy and there are a male and a female to whom we refer to as his “wife” who often stop by together peacefully sharing the bits of walnuts, at times taking morsels from each other’s mouths. We swoon when we watch them interact.

Zebra Doves often stop by to scare away the smaller birds from enjoying the morsels of raw nuts we leave for them. Tom calls them “pigeons.”

At times, there’s a scuffle between breeds but, it’s interesting how the same breeds get along so well. For all, we know they have a nest somewhere which they’re returning to with our tenderly offered morsels presented several times each day.

I stumbled upon the above webcam as I scoured the web in an attempt to expand our knowledge of the Laysan Albatross. Having met Bob Waid, the author of the beautiful book on the albatross, and spending considerable time with Cathy Granholm who has been a docent for the Los Angeles Zoo for over 26 years, we feel we finally have an amateur understanding of the life cycle of the Laysan Albatross.

Yesterday, we walked to the beach at the St. Regis Hotel.  All beaches are open to the public and anyone can use the beach. The challenge is getting there down steep paths to use the beach.

We’re grateful to both Cathy and Bob for sharing some of their vast knowledge and familiarity of these amazing birds who nest in their own yards in the nearby neighborhood here in Princeville.

The webcam shown here today is from another area in Kauai close to the sea, near the town of Hanapepe. After watching the local chicks develop close to our home and stopping by to visit every few days, we also feel a close affinity to the chick on the webcam, south of here by no less than an hour’s drive.

Red berries growing on a palm tree.

In these past weeks since the chicks hatched in early February, we’ve had the opportunity to watch the parent’s magical process of feeding the chick on the webcam, at a closer vantage point than when we’ve visited the neighborhood where the families reside.

Frequently, the parents head to sea for days or perhaps weeks, searching for food for the chick which when they later return, they regurgitate for the chick to eat. Being able to see this process is exhilarating, to say the least. 

A view of the massage cabana at the St. Regis Hotel in Princeville. Room rates start at $550 per night, more for ocean views.

I must admit that I’m a little obsessed with watching the webcam, often finding Tom looking over my shoulder to also get a glimpse. We giggle and laugh aloud over the antics of the chick and then, when on occasion, both parents are at the chick’s side feeding, preening, clacking, dancing, and singing with pure joy in their hearts.

Yesterday, we watched a third, then a fourth grown albatross come by to inspect the chick. Both the mom and dad flapped their wings, clacked their beaks, and raised their heads in protest of the intruders. The outsiders quickly departed.

Some of the other adult’s eggs never hatch and yet both parents will continue to sit on the bad eggs for weeks until finally the egg breaks or disintegrates and they realize they are not going to be parents this season.

The views from St. Regis are exquisite.

Later, they take off back out to sea until next season when most will return to the same spot to breed and nest once again. Oh, Life…so magical.

In months to come, the parent will fly out to sea one day, usually in June, July, or as late as August, and never return to the now pudgy chick who sits in the nest day after day waiting for food. When days or even weeks pass and the parents purposely fail to return, the chick’s appetite and newfound maturity will finally inspire her/him to fledge at long last, when she/he is already six or seven months old.

I can only imagine having the kind of “safari luck” to see the moment in time when the chubby chick in this webcam finally fledges and heads out to sea. Oh, would that we could actually see this miraculous event!

Another view of the grounds of the St. Regis Hotel.

The chick will remain out to sea for five to seven years, resting in the water from time to time, feeding and flying thousands of miles to distant shores, to possibly return to the exact home of their birth at which time they’re finally matured and they’ll mate, often for life, repeating this same cycle in this same location. It’s truly a miracle.

Last night, we went to dinner with new friends Cheryl and Paul who are leaving Kauai today, to the local TikiIniki restaurant, a venue we’d experienced in the past. The menu offered few options for me but the staff went overboard to ensure I had a satisfying meal. 

Tiny flowers for which we “zoomed in” to take this photo.

Today, after dining out three times this week, a bit of chopping, dicing, and meal prep is on the agenda as we prepare for tonight’s dinner and also pot luck dinner to bring to Richard’s home tomorrow night. 

An hour-long walk in the neighborhood, an hour by the pool at the Makai Club, and time spent at the overlook across the street will provide another fine day in our pleasing, yet simple lives.

Have a fantastic Friday!

                                          Photo from one year ago today, March 27, 2014:

Doors in Morocco hold a lot of significance in the lives of the Moroccan people. Beautiful and unique doors may be found at every turn when walking through the Medina, aka the Big Square and the souks. For more details and photos, please click here.

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