Category Archives: Animals

Lady beetles on passion vine leaves

Ants and ladybugs on a passion vine leaf

I spotted these two lady beetles on the underside of a passion vine leaf. The top one is a Seven-spotted Lady Beetle, the other a Variable Lady Beetle. But what got my attention was the fact that they appeared to be interested in the yellow spots on the leaf, as were several ants.

I knew that some passion vines produce these colored bumps to make it look like butterfly eggs are already there. Butterflies don’t like to lay eggs where another butterfly has already done so, though the leaf bumps aren’t foolproof in this regard (see here).

What I didn’t know was that the bumps produce nectar, which attracts ants, as was the case here. And the ants will defend this food source against caterpillars munching on the leaves. Isn’t nature fascinating!

Flies on him

A steer covered in flies

The expression ‘No flies on you’ means you’re a busy person and/or quick to pick up on things. It dates back to the 19th-century and was intended as a contrast to horses and cattle, such as the fellow in this photo, which tend to be fly magnets when at rest.

Picasso’s Cow?

A cow rests in a field

I grew up on a dairy farm and have been around cows off and on for years so I’m used to them, used to what they do. Recently, I was walking past one of the local dairy’s fields. The nearest cows turned their heads to look. A couple jogged away from me. Other carried on grazing.

Up ahead, on a rise, away from the rest if the herd. I saw the cow in the photo. At least I thought that’s what I saw. But what was it doing? Was it one cow or two? Alive or dead? As I got closer I thought for sure I was looking at one cow sitting on another, no matter that I knew that was highly improbable.

It wasn’t until I got quite close that I was finally able to make out this one cow resting in a rather contorted position. I think my confusion was caused by all those lumps sticking up, by the swirl of white on the visible rear leg, and by the black hump of the back.

I’m pretty sure the cow was alive though I didn’t notice a single movement while I was watching.

Butt out

A Bee on a mock orange.

When I got home from work yesterday afternoon, the sun was shining, the mock orange was blooming, and the bees were busy. So I took some photos, the last one of which was the top one, which is posted in response to Bushboy’s Last on the Card photo challenge (see more responses here).

That photo is unedited for the challenge, but the bottom one shows how I’d edit it, mostly involving a crop to remove some dead space and put the bee in a better place.

A Bee on a mock orange.

A moment’s peace

A young wild pig in Hawaii

I saw this piglet resting at the edge of the yard. It was clearly enjoying the strip of sunshine between the shadow of the mango tree and the dark sanctuary of a large clump of cane grass. But when you’re one of seven piglets in the litter, you can be pretty sure someone’s going to come along and spoil everything.

A young wild pig in Hawaii

Old Saddle Road

Horses off Old Saddle Road on the Big Island, Hawaii
Horses frolic in pasture land alongside Old Saddle Road.

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Road Trippin’.’ See more responses here. Since there aren’t any road trips, in the usual sense of the expression, here on the island, I thought I’d focus on a stretch of road that is one of my favorite drives here.

Old Saddle Road is an 11 mile stretch of the old highway that connected the west side of the island to the east side, through the saddle between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. These days, people take the new road, which is wide and smooth and allows drivers to zip along at 80 mph even though the speed limit is 60 mph. I like this highway, too, but the best part of any cross-island trip is always the old highway, which is up and down, winding, and dotted with one lane narrows where culverts pass under the highway (they’re not bridges) to channel the copious amounts of rain away from the road.

This stretch of road is bordered by ranch land, with horses, cattle, and sheep to the fore. There’s also a good variety of wildlife that can be seen in this area. And the weather can be anything from stunning to biblically awful, sometimes within the hour. So here are a few scenes that give an idea of that short, but special drive.

A ranch off Old Saddle Road on the Big Island, Hawaii
One of the ranches on Old Saddle Road.
Old Saddle Road on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Old Saddle Road undulates down towards the junction with the new highway.
View of Hualalai from Old Saddle Road on the Big Island, Hawaii
A view of Hualalai from Old Saddle Road, showing the new highway winding down towards Kailua Kona.
Two goats off Old Saddle Road on the Big Island, Hawaii
Goats can often be seen alongside Old Saddle Road.
A pueo off Old Saddle Road on the Big Island, Hawaii
O;d Saddle Road is a great place to see pueos, the endemic Hawaiian short-eared owl.
A pueo catches a mouse off Old Saddle Road on the Big Island, Hawaii
Sometimes I’m lucky enough to see a pueo catch a meal.
Mist in the trees off Old Saddle Road on the Big Island, Hawaii
Old Saddle Road can be shrouded in mist…
A view of Mauna Kea from Old Saddle Road on the Big Island, Hawaii
…or glow in the evening sun…
Sunset from Old Saddle Road on the Big Island, Hawaii
…and it’s a great place to take in the sunset.