Kilauea Point

Kilauea Point is one of my favorite places to visit on Kauai. Kilauea Point encompasses both the Kilauea Point lighthouse and the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge. The lighthouse is a neat place to visit, but the wildlife refuge is the real reason why I like to visit. Click the images to view larger.

Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge
Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge

The lighthouse is located 110 feet above the water on a lava peninsula on the north shore of the island. Not only does the lava peninsula make for a great placement of a lighthouse, but it is also a great place for the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge. The height of the peninsula and the proximity to the preferred nesting and roosting grounds of many Pacific seabirds makes it a great place for a wildlife photographer to visit. This is the only section of the refuge that is open to the public. Fortunately the birds are quite cooperative and dozens are constantly flying by all day long.

Kilauea Point Lighthouse
Kilauea Point Lighthouse

In February there is a good strong north wind blowing in from the Pacific. By standing along the edges of the peninsula, you can view sea turtles, dolphins and whales in the water. But best of all you literally have a bird’s eye view of the seabirds as they stream in and out of the Pacific on their way to and from their roosts in the refuge. We saw most of the major seabirds that can be seen from the refuge.

The red-footed boobies were the most abundant birds flying by.

Red-footed Booby - Kilauea Point
Red-footed Booby – Kilauea Point

I did find one brown booby that passed by right in front of me.

Brown Booby - Kilauea Point
Brown Booby – Kilauea Point

One of the nice things about being 110 feet above the Pacific ocean is that sometimes the birds are at eye level. A female great frigatebird passed by right in front of me.

Great Frigatebird - Kilauea Point
Great Frigatebird – Kilauea Point

Followed a short time later by a male great frigatebird.

Great Frigatebird - Kilauea Point
Great Frigatebird – Kilauea Point

After seeing the nesting Laysan albatross a couple of days earlier, it was nice to get a flyby of one of these huge seabirds. I could almost reach out and touch him.

Laysan Albatross - Kilauea Point
Laysan Albatross – Kilauea Point

I did get a couple of shots of red-tailed tropicbirds, but the birds are so small and were so far away that the images will forever be only my personal record of having seen and photographed them. The refuge also supports a couple of different species of shearwaters, but they leave at sunrise to feed in the ocean and return at sunset. Unfortunately the refuge and lighthouse don’t open until 10:00am and closes at 4:00pm. Maybe next time I can time it to be at the Kilauea Point lookout at sunset to see these birds come back in from a day on the ocean.


  • Ed Rosack

    March 19, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    Great photos, Michael. Kilauea Point looks like a wonderful place.

  • Don Weesner

    March 20, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    Great shots. Keep up the good works.
    By the way, Carla & I will be going to New Zealand on Oct 3, 2015.
    By boat, Holland America, 35 days. By way of, Hawaii, Samoa, Fiji, Australia then New Zealand.
    Uncle Don