The Binocular Site
Alakai Wilderness Preserve, Hawaii
Alakai Wilderness Preserve is often referred to as Alakai Swamp. True, a boggy area does exist within the preserve, but don't let the name fool you. Alakai Preserve is actually a wet forest found on the island of Kauai. It's near Mount Waialeale, the wettest spot on Earth.
Alakai Swamp is two miles wide and ten miles long. The Alakai Swamp trail is a boardwalk that has been built over the boggy terrain to allow visitors to observe the flora and fauna up close. It stretches for three and a half miles through a thick mist brought on by the heavy rainfall. At the end of the trail is an overlook where Hanalei Bay is visible, as well as several waterfalls. The road leading to the preserve is often closed because of deep potholes, also caused by the rain, so be sure to check weather and road conditions before heading out.
The Alakai Preserve contains numerous bird species not found anywhere else in the world. It is a very delicate habitat that has been greatly affected by severe weather, invasive plants, and herbivores that roam the area.
Many bird species that were abundant just 40 years ago have been reduced to such small numbers that they are endangered, or feared extinct. They include the Ou, Kauai Oo, Kamao, Kauai Nukupuu, and Greater Akialoa. Five other species—the Puaiohi, Akikiki, Akekee, Anianiau, and the Iiwi—are still found in the forest, but are species of special concern.
If you've visited Alakai Wilderness Preserve, please take the time to share your experience and any tips or insight you have about this Hawaii bird watching location below.
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