Life on the Big Island of Hawaii
I saw this male Kalij pheasant, with two others, alongside the Powerline Trail, off Saddle Road. I hadn’t noticed them while walking through the trees on the dead-straight trail, but I became aware of a slight but steady clucking sound and stopped to locate it. The birds were picking their way through some dense undergrowth and seemed not the least bit bothered by my presence. Perhaps they were aware it wasn’t one of the days when archery hunting is permitted.
For more information about the Powerline Trail, go to bigislandhikes.com/puu-oo-trail/.
One of the things to look out for on the Powerline Trail, off of Saddle Road, is Emesine lava tube. There’s a sign right next to the trail, though it could be missed if you happened to be looking the other way while walking that stretch. Bear in mind that if you want to explore the lave tube, the sign indicates that you should first get a permit from the State Department of Land and Natural Resources (Division of Forestry and Wildlife).
These photos are from the entrance of the eastern part of the tube, which is the most accessible. The ceiling here is about 4 feet so it’s not for the claustrophobic. Not sure whether it opens up further along, but be sure to take plenty of good lights.
The Powerline Trail heads south off of Saddle Road around the 22 mile marker. This trail used to be, as the name suggests, where power lines ran, but only the stumps of poles remain. It’s a very straight trail, which used to run all the way to Kilauea until lava flows disrupted it.
This trail is about 3.5 miles long to the point where it meets the Pu’u O’o trail. The southern part of the trail is dotted with kipukas and is shady and alive with birds. However, the northern two miles or so are exposed as the photo shows. The main feature of interest in this stretch is the Emesine Lava Tube about which, more tomorrow.
For more information about this, and other hikes on the Big Island, go to bigislandhikes.com.
I’ve been fortunate to see green turtles in the water and on land. On land, they’re most often seen hauling themselves up some sandy beach to bask and rest for a few hours. The effort looks like hard work.
In the water, however, turtles are amazingly graceful. They’re powerful swimmers with great maneuverability. They graze on seaweeds, mostly close to shore. I’ve seen them in shallow waters, white with breaking waves and the worst I’ve witnessed is one or two teetering atop a rock before sliding off again. I’ve never come close to getting a photo of that event.
On this day, there were several turtles feeding in a small bay. A moderate amount of swell ruffled the waters, but every so often a set of two or three much larger waves would barrel in. This was nothing worse than I’d seen turtles handle before, but perhaps these waves were a bit steeper and followed one another a bit quicker. Perhaps, too, these turtles were closer in, bumping among the boulders in the shallowest of waters.
As one big turtle puttered in the shallows, a large wave rushed in and lifted it up and over a rock, dropping it into a water-filled hollow beyond. The turtle scrabbled onto the top of the rock. Here was my photo and my camera was tucked away in its bag on my shoulder. By the time I got the bag unzipped and my camera out, the turtle had enough of its weight across the rock that it slid forward, back into deeper water.
Soon after, another turtle found itself in nearly the same predicament against the same rock. But it wasn’t knocked so far into the hollow and managed to escape much quicker. I did snap a couple of shots, but wasn’t sure if I’d got anything decent.
I hung around, waiting for another big set to come through. When one did, it found the turtle in the photos rattling around amongst the rocks in its quest for food. The onrushing whitewater engulfed the turtle, carrying it in, and when the water receded, the turtle did not.
I started taking photos. The top photo is where the turtle ended up, well up among the rocks. The others show it working like crazy to find a way back to the water. I’ve never seen so much flipper flapping in my life. It was starting to make progress over the first boulder when the next wave arrived, plopping it back where it started. Luckily, that was the end of that big set and over the next few minutes the turtle managed to bump its way over the rocks and into the sea.
Even as I was laughing at this slapstick scene, I hoped the turtle wasn’t injured. I don’t think it was; the waves lifted it over the rocks more than slamming it into them. When it finally slid beneath the water it looked none the worse for wear, though it might have harbored dark thoughts about anyone rude enough to photograph the episode.
This green anole is the dominant male at the south end of the house. I see him often, but was surprised recently to find him in this condition. He was shedding, which I think is an annual event. He pulled at the paper-like skin with his mouth, and when it came free, he promptly ate it. Sometimes it can take a while to complete the process, but when I saw him again half an hour later, he was all done.
As with most of my orchid photos, I include the words ‘I think’ when it comes to talking about what it is. I think this is a Doritaenopsis hybrid. Doritaenopsis orchids are a cross of Phaleanopsis and Doritis orchids, in this case Champion Lightning and Chianxen Magpie. This one was at Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden.
For more information about Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, go to htbg.com.