Category Archives: June 2020

Pu’u Wa’awa’a bench

One of the nice things about the hike up Pu’u Wa’awa’a is the selection of benches available for rest and contemplation, on the way up and at the top. This bench sits halfway up the steep slope that accesses the top of the hill. It gives a good view of Mauna Loa and the pastures on and around Pu’u Wa’awa’a. If you’re lucky, you might even see a dung beetle or three doing what they do.

Fishing at sunrise and sunset

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Rise/Set.’ See more offerings here.

I decided to go with sunrise and sunset photos taken from more or less the same spot on Kawaihae harborside. Above, a man fishes from the end of the harbor breakwater around sunrise. Below, a fisherman seated on the shoreline at sunset, with the breakwater across the harbor in the background.

Big and small bluespine unicornfish

Adult bluespine unicornfish, such as the one above, are liberally trimmed with blue on their fins, spines, and tail streamers. They also have a horn jutting from their brows. Juveniles are also tinged with blue, but while they have blue spines, they don’t yet have tail streamers and they don’t have a horn. Once they grow a horn, their cuteness will disappear and they will acquire the grumpy look of most unicornfish.

Signs: Nēnē crossing

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

Nēnē, the endemic Hawaiian geese, are long-distant relatives of Canada geese. They were listed as an endangered species, until the end of last year when their status was changed to ‘threatened.’

Because of the nēnē’s precarious numbers, it isn’t unusual to see “Slow, Nēnē Crossing” signs, particularly in areas where nēnē breed. Because their numbers are on the rebound on the Big Island, it’s also not unusual for me to see nēnē, on my daily walks or when I was working. But in my years on the island, I never saw a nēnē anywhere near one of the warning signs, until earlier this year, just before the lockdown. This sign and these two birds were in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, where a fair number of the birds live and breed.

I had to stop and get a photo of this unusual event, fortunately without getting myself or the birds killed (it’s a busy, narrow road). The only disappointing thing about this encounter was that neither of the nēnē actually crossed the road. I guess I’ll have to wait another seven years to witness that.

Laysan albatross

Not the greatest photo, I know, but when I saw this bird flying off the North Kohala coast I knew it was something I hadn’t seen before.

It’s a Laysan albatross, more often seen on Kaua’i and O’ahu, but also on other Hawaiian islands. This wide-ranging traveler can cover a couple of thousand miles or more as it searches the Pacific for food.

Spencer Beach Park

Spencer Beach Park, near Kawaihae, is a popular spot for families. With protected water, sand, shade, and facilities it’s got most everything little kids need. On weekends it can get crowded, but during the week it’s usually possible to find a quite spot.

The park is right next door to Puʻukoholā Heiau National Historic Site so it’s possible to visit both places from one parking spot.

Yellow tang and little fish

Shoals of yellow tang are the most visible fish on the reefs. Their bright yellow color means that they’re often easily seen from shore. The smaller silvery fish are juveniles, though I don’t know which kind of fish they are. But it’s fun to see them darting around in the shallows and, as seen in nature documentaries on TV, turning en masse from one direction to another when I approach.