Updated: Jun 17, 2020
In honor of V Day, I am just going to share a little anecdote while hiking the Haleakala Crater in Maui. Gail, one of the most amazing women hikers you would ever meet, took me on my first hike into the splendid crater. We left early and started our descent around 6:30am. You have to start early or you'll be there still when darkness sets in and unless you are equipped for camping in there with winter must-haves, forget it! Start early and you should be done around 3pm, at least if you opt for the short trail.
We took a break half way through for some lunch when some Nene showed up and we quickly realized that love was in the air!
I'll let you enjoy the video now.
Nene are an endangered species.
The nene is a medium-sized goose at 41 cm (16 in) tall. Although they spend most of their time on the ground, they are capable of flight, with some individuals flying daily between nesting and feeding areas. Females have a mass of 1.525–2.56 kg (3.36–5.64 lb), while males average 1.695–3.05 kg (3.74–6.72 lb), 11% larger than females. Adult males have a black head and hindneck, buff cheeks and heavily furrowed neck. The neck has black and white diagonal stripes. Aside from being smaller, the female Nene is similar to the male in coloration. The adult's bill, legs and feet are black. It has soft feathers under its chin. Goslings resemble the male, but are a duller brown and with less demarcation between the colors of the head and neck, and striping and barring effects are much reduced. (Ref. Wikipedia)
These charismatic water birds are native to Hawai‘i and, though they were once almost extinct, are beginning to make a much-needed comeback.
Nene can be easily mistaken for Canada Geese. Their appearances are astonishingly similar. They diverged from a common ancestor about a million years ago. At that point the Nene made their way to Hawai‘i. Their differences include physical features like size and feet. Nene are smaller and have less webbing that allows them to walk across rough lava rocks in search of their favorite foods, like red ‘ohelo berries. (Ref. Hawaii.com)
Would you hike Haleakala just to see these fabulous birds?