Author Archives: Graham

About Graham

I take photos when I'm out and about, recording life on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Monk seal dreaming

This week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Dreams.’ See more responses here.

A couple of weeks ago, I was out walking along the coast and saw a monk seal I didn’t recognize. As I usually do when I see monks seals, I took photos in an attempt to identify it. Many Hawaiian monk seals have numbered red tags in one or both tail flippers. Some have been bleached with an identifying mark, though this lasts no more than a year as it will disappear when the seal has its annual molt. Some have scars of one kind or another that help with identification. This seal had none of those things.

Its most distinctive feature, apart from being a bit on the small side, was that it was restless. As soon as I saw it twitching and rolling and flexing its flippers I thought it looked like the seal was having a dream of some kind. It finally rolled over completely, in the process opening its eyes and noticing me, up on the cliff, taking photos. No matter. The seal ended up on its belly and found a good spot to rest its chin and drift back into slumber and that rather good dream it had been enjoying.

I sent some of my photos off to Lauren, the Response and Operation Coordinator at Ke Kai Ola, who keeps track of the whereabouts of monk seals around the Big Island. She said the seal was most likely Hiwahiwa (meaning a person or thing greatly beloved). He was the only monk seal pup born on the island this year, back in April. Because of the Covid virus, the shorelines were closed at that time, so access was very limited. This also meant that the pup didn’t get tagged, which explained his lack of identifying marks.

I haven’t seen him since, but a week later I saw another seal I didn’t recognize. That one turned out to be Hiwahiwa’s mother so maybe they bumped into each other again somewhere along the coast.

For more information about Ke Kai Ola and Hawaiian monk seals, go to www.marinemammalcenter.org/hawaii.

Also posted in response to Becky’s October Squares challenge theme of ‘Kind.’ See more responses here.

The same kind of gecko

These two may both be gold dust day geckos, but the large gecko on the outside of the window was definitely thinking unkind thoughts about the youngster inside. It kept striking at it, and banging its head against the glass. Truth is, it’s a gecko eat gecko world and the adult was trying to make a meal of the little one.

I don’t know whether the youngster learned anything from this experience. They always look baffled by everything going on. Still, plenty of them are obviously surviving the challenges. It doesn’t look like we’ll be running out of geckos any time soon.

Posted in response to Becky’s October Squares challenge theme of ‘Kind.’ See more responses here.

Sonoran carpenter bee

Sonoran carpenter bees are big. They’re the kind that, when I see one, I automatically flinch because I don’t want it to bump in to me and have it leave a bruise. Truth is, they’re pretty docile. This one is a female and has a stinger, but will only use it if provoked. Males are brown and somewhat smaller and don’t have a stinger at all.

Posted in response to Becky’s October Squares challenge theme of ‘Kind.’ See more responses here.

The ocean doesn’t want me today

I like to go snorkeling whenever I get the opportunity, but there are some days when that’s not possible. This is a photo of my local snorkeling spot. That’s the parking area on the right, and the place where I generally park my car is right where that tower of spray is.

In other words, this was the kind of day to find something else to do, such as take photos from the shore.

Posted in response to Becky’s October Squares challenge theme of ‘Kind.’ See more responses here.

Ohelo ’Ai

Ohelo ’Ai (Vaccinium reticulatum) is an endemic shrub also known as the Hawaiian blueberry. It’s one of several kinds of native plant adapted to the harsh environment of a volcanic island. This plant was growing on a lava flow off Saddle Road, which is typical here. It does well in disturbed ground above 2,000 feet.

The berries, which are edible, are a food source for nenes, but I really like the delicate flowers and the leaves, which start out as a matching red.

Posted in response to Becky’s October Squares challenge theme of ‘Kind.’ See more responses here.

Hawi mosaic

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Ochre.’ See more responses here. This is a fall color challenge, but Hawaii is short on fall colors so I’ve gone with this piece of street art in downtown Hawi. I like this kind of mosaic tile work and I’m pretty sure one of these colors must qualify as ochre.

Also posted in response to Becky’s October Squares challenge theme of ‘Kind.’ See more responses here.