Life on the Big Island of Hawaii
The gecko is a gold dust day gecko, originally from Madagascar, and the bromeliad is aechmea blanchetiana, originally from Brazil. I liked this scene for the strong color contrast.
These were seen at Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden. For more information about Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, go to htbg.com.
A few miles north of Kona Airport is a stretch of highway where these signs can be seen – the written warning in the foreground and a handy image in background for those who don’t know what a donkey looks like. Not that they’re going to find out here. There are no donkeys.
The signs hark back to when there were a number of wild donkeys roaming the island and this was, apparently a place where they crossed the road on a regular basis. But donkeys crossing a major road travelled by many speeding vehicles is not a tale that ends well, for the donkey or the vehicle. So the donkeys were all rounded up and put out to pasture, as it were, in domestic situations. Only the signs remain.
Except … I’ve been told that not all of them were captured. Unaccountable braying has been heard, though no donkeys have been seen, but do you want to take that chance speeding past these signs only to see, too late …
I’ve lived on the Big Island for more than seven years now, and I’ve seen lots of nene in that time. But until recently, I’d never seen a nene gosling. Then, a few weeks ago, I was driving and saw a pair of nenes with a gosling alongside the road. Alas, I couldn’t stop and take a photo at that time. I went back to the area later, but didn’t see the family again.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, I was out on one of my regular walks around Upolu and I saw this family at the airport. The two parent birds were very attentive and the chick was just a little ball of fuzz.
When I see nene at Upolu, I call the information in to the East Hawai’i Division of Forestry and Wildlife. Forestry and Wildlife keep track of the birds and how they’re doing. Many birds are banded and, when I can, I record that information and pass it on. The bands can be seen in the photos, but not the details. However, I was able to get other pictures that showed the parent birds were 8A7 and 8A6. The color of the bands helps identify them and which leg the bands are on depends on the bird’s sex.
I saw this family again the next day, but not after that. It turned out that the Forestry and Wildlife people relocated the family because they felt that the airport was a dangerous place for the gosling, particularly as it grows and learns to fly.
Still, it was fun to see the little one when I did. It reminded me of the baby goats that I see around the island. Like them, it would busily follow its parents in foraging for food, then suddenly drop to the ground to rest, only to bounce up again soon after and peck away again.
I usually think of praying mantises as just that, but there are more than 2,000 mantis varieties. Ones that are most often seen in Hawaii include Giant Asian mantis (Hierodula patellifera), Carolina mantis (Stagmomantis carolina), and European mantis (Mantis religiosa).
This one is probably a Giant Asian mantis. While I usually see green mantises, they can change color so this reddish one is not that unusual.
Thanks to Hawai’i Insect ID for help with identifying this. For more information about Hawai’i Insect Identification, go to flickr.com/groups/hawaii-insect-id/pool/.
I was snorkeling recently, when I saw something distinctive on some rocks. At first I thought it was an octopus, but it didn’t look right. A lobster perhaps, but again something was amiss. Then I realized that the fin shapes I was seeing those of a scorpionfish. I focussed in with my camera and the fish scooted forward and disappeared into a crack and beneath a boulder before I could get a shot.
When I got home, I looked at my fish book and figured out that I’d probably seen a titan scorpionfish. The only scorpionfish I’ve seen previously have been devil scorpionfish, which are easily identified by their distinctive and colorful pectoral fins. The titan scorpionfish is more colorful overall but without such a distinctive signature. However, it’s the largest scorpionfish in Hawaii and the one I saw was big.
Next day, I was snorkeling in the same general area and I saw a reddish, mottled fish moving. ‘That looks familiar,’ I thought. This time the fish plunked down onto a rocky area and stayed put so I was able to get a good look at it and take some photos, of which this was the best. It was indeed a titan scorpionfish, probably the same one I’d seen the day before. I even saw the loose flaps on its lower jaw which are a prime identifying mark.
Even though I knew where it was, there were times when I looked and thought it had moved on before I could pick it out again, so well does it blend in with its surroundings.
Some recent high surf made a breach in the breakwater of the northern small boat harbor at Kawaihae. Besides punching this hole in the rock barrier, the wooden mooring floats were also badly damaged and boats using the harbor were ordered to relocate since it was no longer safe.
Repairing the damage being estimated to cost around $8 million. Usually these kinds of thing overrun the estimates by a generous margin.
The top photo shows the extent of the damage as a tug and barge approach the harbor. Below, the picnic tables are deserted as the wind whips up whitecaps and a blast of sand across the area.
Incidentally, the tug and barge were unable to get into harbor because of the strong crosswinds and spent the night out at sea. They were still there next morning when I saw them, but were able to finally get into the harbor a few hours later.