Hello Friends and Family,

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Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge, Part 1

On my last several trips to Maui, I have been watching the progress at the Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge which is located between Kihei and Ma`alaea. This area is a coastal salt marsh encompassing almost 700 acres. It was formally designated as a wildlife refuge in 1953 and is home to more than 30 species of waterfowl, shorebirds and migratory ducks. The bridge in the photo is North Kihei Road, which runs through the middle of the refuge.

Improvements have been made here to allow people to visit the refuge without disturbing the habitat. A small parking lot is available and this boardwalk provides easy access to the marsh. It is now officially open.

As one would expect in a marsh, there is a wide variety of flora such as this marsh grass.

And this succulent that resembles ice plant (a reminder of my California days).

And here is one of the avian residents of the refuge, a Hawai`ian Stilt, which is an endangered species known in Hawai`ian as the Ae`o.

And another one.

Before long I was mesmerized by these fascinating shorebirds as they slowly creep along, looking for food.

Then I spotted one that was resting on one leg. It reminded me of the balancing exercises I do at the gym. Although this bird is much stabler than I am on one leg.

Then I photographed one of his friends capturing a small fish in the shallows. It was only after I started working on the photos in Photoshop that I realized the same Stilt that was resting on one leg was watching his friend's success. Further, after examining additional photos, I came to the conclusion that this bird appears to only have one leg. Life in nature can be very challenging.

My trance was shattered by another Hawai`ian bird — this one much noisier than the Stilts I was watching in the refuge.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com