American painted lady butterfly

American Painted Lady Butterfly feeding

American Painted Lady ButterflyA while back, I posted photos of a painted lady butterfly (Vanessa cardui) here. The American painted lady butterfly (Vanessa virginiensis) is similar, but with some noticeable differences.

On the upper-side, the American painted lady markings are more pronounced on both the forewings and hindwings. On the underside, the same is true, with the American painted lady’s color standing out more. In addition, the hindwings have two large circles as opposed to the four smaller circles of the painted lady.

The American painted lady is also known as simply American lady or painted beauty. Alternative names for the painted lady butterfly are cosmopolite or cosmopolitan.


Signs: Drive very carefully

Signs-Speed limitRecently, these two new speed limit signs appeared, alongside the main road, not far from where I live. Nothing too remarkable about that, you may say, but it is odd. The first sign gives the speed limit as 45 miles per hour, but the second sign mandates a minimum speed of 40 miles per hour. Seems like a prime area for tickets to be handed out. I can’t imagine anyone getting very far without breaching one of those two limits.

As it happens, about a quarter mile before this pair of signs, there’s another pair that have been there a long time. Those signs, which mark the departure from a more residential area to a largely uninhabited stretch of road, mandate a speed limit of 55 miles per hour, with the same minimum speed of 40 miles per hour.

So why would the county want people to speed up to 55 only to put the brakes on a few hundred yards down the road? They don’t. They just put up the wrong sign. It was gone a few days later.

This isn’t the first time the Hawaii County Department of Public Works has had a sign problem. In late 2016, a major new road project, the Mamalahoa Highway Bypass, south of Kailua-Kona, was completed. Where this new road joined the existing Mamalahoa Highway, a dangerous Y-shaped junction became a fully-signaled, four-road intersection.

Most people were thrilled with the new, safer setup, but not all. People unfamiliar with the area were perplexed. They didn’t know where to go because the major new highway intersection didn’t come with any signs. If that sounds like it must be an exaggeration, it is a bit. There was one sign, on the old road, that had not been removed during the project. Unfortunately, because of the intersection’s redesign, the directions it gave were wrong. It indicated the main highway went straight ahead, but that now sent traffic plunging down a steep, winding road into a populous residential area.

As with our local sign, after a few days the old highway sign disappeared and a week or so later proper signage was erected for the new intersection.

Planes landing at Kailua-Kona Airport

Plane landing at Kailua-Kona airport

Hawaii has the reputation of being a tropical paradise, but arriving at Kailua-Kona Airport looks anything but. The final approach to the airport comes over the 1801 Huʻehuʻe lava flow from Hualali volcano. This flow is still quite barren with next to no vegetation. For first-time visitors, touching down on actual tarmac can come as something of a relief.

Exiting the plane, it will most likely be hot, but sunny? Not so much, especially if touchdown is after noon. Typically, clouds roll in during the morning and vog (volcanic smog, caused by pollutants from Kilauea Volcano) settles over the area. The appearance, seen in these photos, is sometimes called ‘concrete skies.’ Not a bad description.

Plane landing at Kailua-Kona

White king pigeons in Honolulu

Pigeons drinking in Honolulu

Pigeons in HonoluluWhen I was out walking in downtown Honolulu, I came across this scene. Someone had had turned on a hose up the street and the ensuing temporary river caused an instant influx of this hoard of white king pigeons.

I particularly like the presence of the Oahu Nature Tours bus in the background with its 924-BIRD phone number. Pretty easy work. Just pull the bus over, turn on a tap, and ‘Voilà.’

Posted in response to this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge ‘Prolific.’

Orange feral cats

Orange feral cats

A couple of feral cats, of which there are many on the island. These cats are prolific breeders and while there are some spay and neuter programs here, the number of feral animals doesn’t seem to go down.

Posted in response to this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge ‘Prolific.’

Blooming mock orange

Bee flying to a mock orange

Bee on a mock orangeThree or four times a year, the mock orange in the yard comes into bloom with a prolific show of small, white flowers and wonderful fragrance. During these times it’s a bee magnet and the whole tree buzzes from morning to night.

Posted in response to this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge ‘Prolific.’

Yellow tang shoal

Yellow tang feeding

Yellow tang shoal feedingYellow tang are one of the most noticeable fish on the reef, in part because of their bright color, and in part because of their prolific numbers. These fish are also very popular in the aquarium trade, but because they can’t be bred in captivity, all aquarium yellow tang are collected from the wild.

Aquarium fish collection is regulated by Hawaii’s Department of Land and Resources, but conservationists have taken the department to court claiming it doesn’t follow Hawaii’s environmental laws. The DNLR restricts areas where fish can be collected and issues permits allowing the capture of 2,000 fish per permit. However there’s no restriction on how many permits can be issued, or where the permit will be used or what fish are intended to be taken.

Last week, a court voided all the permits and basically told DNLR to start over with its rules for fish collection. Expect this case to run and run.

Posted in response to this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge ‘Prolific.’

Yellow tang shoal

Mahukona light

Mahukona Light

A view of the light between Mahukona State Park and Lapakahi State Historical Park on the North Kohala coast.