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Hawaiian Goose
10 February 2008

Nene

A long time ago some migrating Canadian geese were caught in a severe storm and blown off course.  They probably spent several days flying over the ocean with no land in sight.  Exhausted and starving, they got extremely lucky and found an island thousands of miles from their intended destination.  For generations they have survived on this island, losing their old ways and evolving new ways.  Now their descendants are called Nēnē and they are Hawaii's state bird.  They are unique to Hawaii and are the world's rarest goose.

This isn't the best picture, it was windy and late after a long day.  We were at Jaggar museum at Volcanoes National Park right as it was closing.  I overheard a tourist asking the ranger if he knew where he could see a Nene.  The tourist had been looking everywhere but hadn't seen one yet.  Unfortunately the ranger couldn't help because the Nenes are wild so they come and go as they please.  The tourist was obviously sad and a bit frustrated.  I know how he felt, sometimes I will be really looking forward to something and things just don't work out.  He would probably never be back to the island and never again have a chance to see a Nene.

Minutes later, after the museum had closed and almost everyone had left, we spotted some Nenes walking across the parking lot.  I looked around but the tourist was nowhere to be found, he had probably already left.  I took a few pictures of my own then got in the car to head home.  As we pulled out of the parking lot I saw the tourist coming out of the bathroom.  He saw the Nenes and his grin was gigantic.  Sometimes things work out after all.

Volcano




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