Sunrise over Kohala Mountain

Sunrise over the Kohala mountains

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Signs of Autumn.’ See more responses here.

We’re a little short on autumnal changes here. I tend to mark seasonal changes in terms of wildlife, such as the return of humpback whales in winter. For autumn, the return of Pacific golden plovers from their summer breeding grounds in Alaska is probably the most notable.

Outside of wildlife, the shortening of the days does register here. It’s not as dramatic as when I lived in Washington State, with summer sunsets around 9 p.m. and winter darkness setting in a little after 4 p.m.. In Hawaii, the equivalent times are 7 p.m. and 6 p.m., not such a big difference.

But it does make a difference for my morning commute, and autumn signals the time when I usually leave home when it’s mostly dark and arrive at work when it’s mostly light. I also try and give myself a little extra commuting time so I can pull over and take photographs when the sunrise merits it, such as this streaky red sunrise over Kohala mountain.

Spinner dolphins

Spinner dolphins off Hawaii

I’ve seen spinner dolphins on several occasions lately, both from the shore and in the water. But each time I’ve seen them, they haven’t been hanging around, but heading from A to B with purpose. In such situations, I mostly hope some will pass by close enough for me to get a photo or two.

On this occasion, the top photo shows a group passing by on my seaward side. Then I turned and captured the bottom group zipping by between me and the shore. A week or so later, another pod passed by, but the water was murky and the views not great. But then a few stragglers passed quite close and the reason for their relative sloth became clear; there were a couple of baby dolphins not yet able to keep up with the speeding main pod.

However, I didn’t get photos of them because my camera wasn’t working. A short while later, it suddenly recovered, but the episode illustrated the increasingly erratic behavior of the camera. Finally, a few days ago, it got to the point where it seems to have irretrievably given up the ghost.

The next time I went for a swim, it seemed odd not to have a camera in my hand. I’ve already ordered a replacement, which I hope arrives speedily. In the meantime, I’m nervous about going snorkeling, afraid that I’m going to have one of those once-in-a-lifetime encounters with no photographic record!

Spinner dolphins off Hawaii

Fiery skipper butterfly on aptenias

A Fiery skipper butterfly feeds on an aptenia haeckeliana flower
A Fiery skipper butterfly feeds on an aptenia cordifolia flower

I often see fiery skipper butterflies on what I know as ice plants. I thought the different color flowers were just variations within the plant but, while they’re members of the same family (Aizoaceae), they’re different plants. At the top is an Aptenia haeckeliana with its yellow flower. To the left is an Aptenia cordifolia with a magenta flower.

It’s a different butterfly on the two flowers, but both are fiery skippers.

Signs: Kona Brewing

A neon Kona Brewing sign in Hawaii
A neon Kona Brewing sign in Hawaii

Kona Brewing is a local brewery, founded in 1994. They’ve changed hands a couple of times since then, most recently being hived off to PV Brewing Partners by previous owners, Craft Brew Alliance, so that entity could be swallowed by beer giant Anheuser-Busch. PV Brewing Partners is based in Kansas City, which is probably not the first place to spring to mind when thinking of white sand beaches and surfing.

But never mind. The point is that their beer is pretty good and their Castaway IPA is generally my beer of choice when I’m out and about, which isn’t often. And, like all beer companies, they have neon signs which they distribute to stores, bars, and restaurants. These are a couple of the signs.

I prefer the top one. When I look at the red and green one, I always think the creature is an alligator, something to do with the head being the wrong shape and the lack of toes. In the top version, the gecko is more recognizable and the addition of the islands makes it a winner with me!

Red-masked parakeets

Red-masked parakeets at Kohanaiki Beach Park.
A Red-masked parakeet at Kohanaiki Beach Park.

I’ve lived in Hawaii for more than nine years now and had previously never seen any of those most tropical of birds, the parrots. One reason for this is that parrots aren’t native to Hawaii, but a variety of different parrots have become established here.

Red-masked parakeets were first seen here in 1988 and are probably the most common parrot on the Big Island. They’re natives of Ecuador and Peru, but are now fairly well established on the Kona coast, which is where I saw this a pair, in Kohanaiki Beach Park. While they forage along the coast here, they roost high up on the slopes of Hualalai Volcano.

Alexandrian laurel

The flowers of an Alexandrian laurel in Hawaii
The fruits and flowers of an Alexandrian laurel in Hawaii

Alexandrian laurel (Calophyllum inophyllum) is known as Kamani in Hawaii. It’s a canoe plant, which means it was brought to Hawaii by the early Polynesian voyagers. They would have carried this evergreen tree because of its importance for building their ocean-going outriggers.

The small white and yellow flowers usually bloom twice a year and are followed by round fruits with a single large seed.