Category Archives: Scenes

Radio-controlled nene?

Two nenes stand in a puddle with some myna birds
Two nenes with identifying tags
A nene with a tracking device on its back

I saw these two nenes sharing a puddle with some myna birds alongside the runway at Upolu Airport. A closer view (second photo) shows the identifying tags on the birds’ legs. These are the same two birds that had a gosling in this location last year, which I posted about here.

The third photo reveals a box on the back of the male of this couple. This is a tracking device that was placed on the bird by the East Hawai’i Division of Forestry and Wildlife. They track the birds to help them understand their behaviors and movements. I thought it looked a bit big, but the bird didn’t seem bothered by it.

I had written here, ‘In due course, and probably after not too long a time, the box will fall off and the bird will be unencumbered again.’ but then I saw this pair again yesterday and the box was still there. On the plus side, both birds continued to look in great condition.

Ipu

A gourd or ipu plant in Hawaii

Ipu is the Hawaiian word for the gourd (Langenaria sacraria). The early Polynesians brought the seeds to Hawaii and also used the hollowed out gourds on the voyage, for storing water, food, and other items, and to bail out the canoes.

These days, the gourds are used to make musical instruments that are used in dances and in chants. The plant is a climbing vine and the gourds are the fruit of this vine.

Silent night

The lights of Kawaihae brighten a dark night in Hawaii

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Christmas Song Lyrics.’ See more responses here.

I’m one of those people who sings, hums, and whistles Christmas songs year-round, often to the annoyance of those in earshot. Spoiled for choice, I decided to go with Silent Night with the intention of taking photos of Hawaii’s star-spangled night sky. However, by the time I got around to taking photos, the stars had been blanketed by clouds. These came from a weather system that prompted warnings of blizzard conditions and 100 mph winds!

Such conditions weren’t expected where I live – that would represent climate change of biblical proportions – but the weather system generated clouds and rain island-wide. In addition, it seemed to swirl back and forth and around the Big Island maintaining these conditions for a week and counting.

This photo looks down on the lights of Kawaihae and I think the heavy clouds add a muffled feeling that’s quite in keeping with the song.

Coast Guard buoy ship

A Coast Guard buoy ship meets Hawaiian Canoeists near Kawaihae
A Coast Guard buoy ship near Kawaihae

The Coast Guard paid another visit to Kawaihae recently, checking out the buoys marking the entrance to the harbor. The ship approached the harbor around the same time as a double-hulled canoe. The canoeists wisely decided to give the ship priority.

There are rules for who has the right of way on the water, but it’s always wise to remember that a large ship might have little room for maneuver, especially close to shore. I always bear in mind the epitaph, possibly apocryphal, which reads, ‘Here lies the body of Roger Wray, who died asserting his right of way.’

A close call

A firefighting helicopter carries water to a brush fire in Hawaii
A firefighting helicopter drops water on a brush fire in Hawaii

Driving to work yesterday, after two days off, I passed a couple of fire trucks parked at the foot of the hill. I didn’t think too much about it and carried on. I didn’t notice anything else unusual until I parked my car and got out. Something smelled a bit acrid, but even then, I didn’t think too much about it.

Once I got to the office I was immediately asked if I’d noticed anything. I shook my head. A hand pointed to the window. When I turned and looked, I saw the bank of the reservoir above our location was blackened, as were the hills beyond. That explained the acrid smell; another brush fire.

I found out later that the fire department had been called to a fire in the area on Sunday evening and had put out a small fire. The next day, Monday, a second fire started in the same area. While the fire was mostly out by yesterday morning, my arrival coincided with the Fire Department’s helicopter being called to gather water from the reservoir to douse a couple of lingering hot spots.

These photos show the helicopter heading out with water, dumping it on the fire, returning to gather more water, and then heading out again. One interesting footnote is that the two fuel trucks in the photos are about 100 yards from the foot of the reservoir bank!

The bottom photo is posted for Bushboy’s Last on the Card photo challenge. See more responses here.

Rainbow over Gloomville

A rainbow over North Kohala, Hawaii
A rainbow over North Kohala, Hawaii

Where I live, in Hawi, it rains 50 or so inches a year. Just down the coast a few miles the rainfall drops to 20 inches a year. So it’s not unusual to be driving from sunny climes and encountering grey skies nearer home. My wife and I refer to this as returning to Gloomville.

These photos were taken on my way home from work. It had been a regular sunny drive up the coast until I got to the hill up towards Hawi. Then I noticed the wall of cloud ahead, illuminated by a bold, but short portion of rainbow. I pulled over and snapped the second photo.

Moments later the rainbow had extended itself to form a bright arc over the cloud covering Hawi. That’s the top photo, and as much of the rainbow as I could capture with my camera.

Ironically, for reasons that are as clear as the skies above Hawi, Weather Underground has a strong tendency to report the weather in Hawi as ‘dry conditions will continue.’ This includes when it can be seen to be teeming down outside the window. The theory in this household is that the weather station reporting this information is either in someone’s carport or it’s operated by someone from the Hawi Chamber of Commerce!