Category Archives: March 2018

A horse waiting for a carrot

Horse waiting for a carrot

I often see these three horses on my regular walk. Usually they ignore me, but on this day one of them came to the fence and poked its head over the barbed wire. I suspect it was hoping for treats as I’ve seen people providing them. Sadly for the horse, I was a disappointment in this respect and it looked suitably unimpressed. Next day, the three of them were back to ignoring me.

Signs: Don’t tease the tiger

This sign can be seen at Pana‘ewa Rainforest Zoo & Gardens in Hilo, and that’s Sriracha pacing behind the fence. I post this because I really want one of those signs. It would be great, give local kids something to think about, maybe even cause the neighbor’s dogs to think twice before pooping in the yard.

The only thing that could improve this sign is to add, ‘or we’ll throw you over the fence.’

For more information about Pana‘ewa Rainforest Zoo & Gardens, go to

Cambria orchid

Cambria Orchid

A favorite place I try to visit several times a year is Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, north of Hilo. There’s always something different in bloom, something new for me to see, such as this orchid.

As usual with orchids, I offer an identification with some trepidation. I think this is a cambria orchid, though exactly which type, I couldn’t say. Regardless, it’s a most striking and beautiful flower and that’s enough for me.

If anyone knows of a good orchid identification site online, please let me know.

For more information about Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, go to

Posted in response to the WordPress photo challenge, ‘Favorite place’.

View from Pu’u Kalepeamoa on Mauna Kea

View from Sunset Hill on Mauna Kea

One of my favorite places on the Big Island is Mauna Kea. Besides being an imposing volcano, it also has a surreal quality with its mix of smaller volcanic cones and high tech telescopes around the summit.

This view is from Pu’u Kalepeamoa, otherwise known as Sunset Hill. Pu’u Kalepeamoa is lower on the mountain, at about 9,400 feet, a short hike from the visitor center. On this day, those low-hanging clouds ruled out a good sunset, but the light and shadows on the pu’us still made for a worthwhile view.

Posted in response to the WordPress photo challenge, ‘Favorite place’.

Monk seal pup update

Monk seal and pup

Monk seal pup feedingI visited the Big Island’s newest monk seal pup again, a couple of days ago, and I’m happy to report that mother and pup continue to do well. Since my last post about the pup, it’s clearly been packing on the pounds. Equally obvious is the mother’s loss of weight. Also, since that post, the pup has also been identified as female and given a name, Manu’iwa, which is a reference to the great frigatebird.

In these photos the pup is exactly 6 weeks old, so sometime very soon the mother will leave the pup to fend for herself. The top photo shows the two of them, the pup having shed her black baby coat for the more usual monk seal look. At right, Manu’iwa has a feed. She was lying in the water which is why her lower half looks smooth while the dry upper part is raised and lighter. Below, mom heads for the water leaving Manu’iwa barking that she’s still hungry. Bottom, mom leads Manu’iwa out into the water for a swim, part of her ongoing education of the pup so that it will be able to fend for itself.

I should mention that these photos, as with those in the previous post, are taken with a telephoto lens. The area where the seals spend their time is cordoned off with volunteers monitoring the area and providing information to visitors. The volunteers work to minimize human interactions with the seals. If the pup gets used to humans it may seek them out and, at some point, is likely to have an interaction that ends badly – not necessarily for the pup, but for the person involved. This could be a bite or something more serious. If the pup, or any seal, has such encounters, it will likely have to be captured and relocated to the northwest Hawaii islands, which are uninhabited. This would be hard on the seal, faced with new territory and greater competition, and also be a blow to the goal of raising the number of monk seals living permanently around the main Hawaii islands.

Monk seal and pup enter the waterMonk seal and pup swimming