Kahuku Golf Course is the easiest place to see Bristle-Thighed Curlews in Hawaii. Located near the northern tip of the Oahu, this public course is open from 6 am until 6 pm every day.
The curlews are often found in the Kahuku Japanese Cemetery just north of the golf course. See this site for detailed instructions on how to find the cemetery. The golf course has been open to birders cutting across. Please be considerate by giving priority to the golfers who are paying to use the facility.
The golf course gets dawn light every clear morning once the sun rises above the low bushes. During most of the months curlews are present the sun sets over the mountains.
Bristle-thighed curlews are the biggest (birding) attraction at the golf course. The curlews are most abundant from August through April. In the summer, they migrate to Alaska to breed.
I’ve made two visits to the golf course. On one visit (mid-February in the late morning), the curlews were present near and in the cemetery right when I arrived and tolerated me and two other photographers for quite a while. On the other visit (mid-December 20 minutes after sunrise) the curlews were not present. I waited an hour and eventually saw the curlews fly by, but they did not stop in an easily accessible location.
The photos below were taken near noon during a brief visit on a mostly sunny day. Much better photos are possible given additional effort. See for example this trip report.
The golf course also hosts other typical Hawaii birds, including Gray Francolin, Pacific Golden-Plover, and Laysan Albatross.
- James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge, Oahu, Hawaii: Birdfinding — Info about the nearby wildlife, includes information about the golf course
- Kahuku Golf Course: Budget Birders — Includes detailed instructions on how to reach the curlews