Life on the Big Island of Hawaii
I think this is a white-faced ibis. According to my bird book, Jim Denny’s A Photographic Guide To The Birds Of Hawai’i, it is an occasional visitor and all reports have been of juveniles or birds in non-breeding plumage. It also notes that it is very similar to the glossy ibis, but doesn’t include a listing for that bird in the book. So I’m going to stick with the white-faced ibis identity unless someone has a better idea.
This one was wading in the shallow of the lagoon behind the beach at Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park. The yellow float was one of several isolating an area where restoration work was taking place. The lagoon is a popular spot for many birds, both endemic and visiting.
For more information about Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, go to https://www.nps.gov/kaho/index.htm or bigislandhikes.com/kaloko-honokohau-park/.
An ongoing problem, both here in Hawaii and in all the oceans of the world, is marine debris. There are floating garbage patches of such a size that nations will surely soon be fighting over whose territory they are. There’s debris washed up onto beaches that is both unsightly and dangerous. And then there’s discarded or lost items that are a danger to marine creatures everywhere.
Sadly, I saw one such example recently. I hadn’t seen an eagle ray in a while, so I was excited to see this one. But it’s progress seemed a bit odd and I quickly realized that it was, unwillingly, towing some kind of marine debris. It looked like an old net or something similar, on the end of a loop of line that had become hooked over the beak of the ray.
In the top photo, the clump of debris can be seen on the right, above the black triggerfish swimming in the opposite direction. The loop of line can also be seen. In the photo to the right, the line can be seen looped over the bill of the ray. I shared this photo with several people, alerting them to the situation, and some thought the line was caught in the ray’s mouth, but I don’t think that’s the case, though it has clearly dug a furrow into the face of the ray.
While I spread the word about this, there’s not a lot that can be done. I didn’t see the ray again and, to my knowledge, no one else has either. Even if they do, the chances of being able to approach the ray and free the line are slim. The debris is probably part of some fishing gear, which is lost in great abundance around here.
Hopefully, the ray will find some way to dislodge its unwanted haul, but while that could happen, it’s also possible that the ray is stuck with its burden. And, in the end, that might tip the balance in its chances of survival.
I peered down into a spider lily one day and this is what I saw looking up at me, a gecko with wings. The wings, of course, were those of an unlucky moth, which the gold dust day gecko had snagged from behind. The moth struggled a good deal, but there was only ever going to be one winner in this contest.
Balloon plant (Asclepias physocarpa) is an invasive weed, introduced to Hawaii as a fiber crop. A member of the milkweed family, it is considered to have medicinal properties, but parts of the plant are also poisonous.
I saw several of these plants in a pasture occupied by livestock and, like the cow in the photo, they were avoiding the plants. Consequently, the pasture consisted of close-cropped grass and a generous sprinkling of these scrubby plants, 2- to 3-feet high, though they can grow to 6-feet tall.
The ‘balloons’ are actually the fruits of the plants. When ripe, they’ll burst and release a multitude of white silky-haired seeds.
I don’t know who Christa is or was, but there were a couple of things that struck me about this image.
The sign and the swing’s rope and seat were in excellent condition in stark contrast to the tree, which was dying and deliberately so. The channel around the trunk, below the sign, is intended to kill the tree, probably a silk oak, which can take over and crowd out native trees.
And then there’s the location, not far from the old quarry near the foot of Pu’u Wa’a Wa’a. It’s more than a mile down the hill to the nearest habitation, a ranch that runs livestock in this area. So, an isolated spot for Christa’s playground, but a wonderful location too, with views to the Pacific and surrounded by birds and animals, both domestic and wild.
Posted in response to this week’s Sunday Stills challenge on the theme of ‘Playground.’ See more responses here.
This week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Chair.’ (See more responses here.) Usually I dig through my files for something suitable, but I knew I was light on chair photos. Instead, I went out and took a photo specifically for this challenge.
I’ve always liked the front of this hair salon in downtown Hawi and, in particular, the old barber’s chair located out front. This is a spot where customers can hang out prior to an appointment, but it’s also fine for passers-by to take a seat and watch the world go slowly by.