Category Archives: Insects

Wasps building a nest

Wasps building a nest
Wasps building a nest
Wasps building a nest
Wasps building a nest
Wasps building a nest

Last week, I saw these wasps working on a nest under the eaves of a building. I was curious because the wasps were mostly stationary, almost like a still life painting (top photo). Then another wasp flew in and the ones on the nest burst into life, swarming the newcomer, and bustling about their business.

I went outside with my camera and watched the activity. A couple of wasps flew away while the others continued with their work. Within a minute or two they slowed down until they were again mostly stationary. It occurred to me that this was all part of the process. Wasps flew in with building materials or water. Other wasps received this and used it to add to the nest. When they were done, they waited, conserving energy, until another delivery occurred and the cycle kicked off again.

I waited with my camera and, sure enough, a wasp flew in (at the bottom of the second photo). The others responded, crowding around for supplies, before dispersing to their work sites on the nest. I’ve watched wasps building nests before, and seen a nest grow to the size of a football, but I’d never registered this work and rest cycle before.

The great outdoors

A view of Hualalai from the water
Hualalai from the water.
A sailboat enters Kawaihae Harbor
A sailboat returns to harbor.

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Great Outdoors.’ See more responses here.

In Hawaii, people spend a great deal of time outdoors. It’s common for people to have an outdoor kitchen, sometimes their only kitchen, sometimes a second one where a barbecue is the featured cooking apparatus. Carports often feature chairs and tables with cars parked elsewhere. The lanai, or deck, is as well-used as any room in the house.

Outdoor activities are popular here, too. Many involve the ocean and its inviting water: swimming, snorkeling, paddling, and of course surfing. Plenty of people go fishing and hunting, longtime sources of food for the table.

For me, experiencing the great outdoors primarily involves hiking and snorkeling. Hiking isn’t especially popular here, especially along the coast where it can get quite hot. I get strange looks when I hike the length of popular beaches togged out in hiking gear, including shoes, hat, and fanny pack loaded with water. For most, the beach is a place for stretching out and broiling in the sun, not actively working up a sweat.

The vast majority of photos on this blog are taken in the great outdoors. These photos are a small selection of things I’ve seen while out and about, from sweeping views to birds and bugs.

A view of Kohala Coast from Koai'a Tree Sanctuary
A view of the south Kohala Coast from Koai’a Tree Sanctuary
View of Mauna Kea from Pu'u Wa'awa'a bench
A view of Mauna Kea from Pu’u Wa’awa’a.

Naio

A Western Pygmy Blue Butterfly on Myoporum sandwicense (Naio) flower at Kohanaiki Beach Park
Myoporum sandwicense (Naio) at Kohanaiki Beach Park

Naio (Myoporum sandwicense) is an endemic plant that has a variety of forms, from ground cover to tree. The flower color can also vary quite a bit. I’ve seen pinkish purple blooms previously, but these flowers, on a shrubby plant, were all white. Naio used to be common in Hawaii, but now is much less so. It’s known as false sandalwood because the heartwood of the tree form smells similar to true sandalwood.

The butterfly in the top photo is a Western Pygmy Blue butterfly. a native of the Americas, it was first seen in Hawaii in 1978.

Green hover fly

A green hover fly hangs upside down on a leaf

The reason I don’t like this photo is because, just a moment before, this green hover fly (Ornidia obesa) had been right side up in the sun, which illuminated its wonderful metallic-green body. Alas, by the time I got my camera out, it had relocated to this spot.

Still, it’s an interesting fly, which could just as easily be called the green wolf fly – ‘what big eyes you have.’