Bee on mock orange

A bee approaches a mock orange flower.A bee on a mock orange flower.

There’s a large mock orange in the corner of the yard that blooms three or four times a year. Sometimes just a section produces flowers. Other times, the whole plant turns creamy white. I do notice the blossoms, but what usually alerts me to a new bloom is the scent. A breath of air in the right direction and the house fills with the aroma of mock orange.

The most recent bloom encompassed the whole plant and also highlighted another of the plant’s attention-getters. It hums. It’s not unusual to wake up and, once the din of roosters and cardinals and francolins have been weeded out, a steady background hum takes over. This is the bees working over the mock orange flowers.

The blooms last only a few days. When the wind blows, which it does often here, the white petals fall to the ground like snow. But while this latest bloom occurred during a calm spell, still the snow fell. When the flowers first began to fade, the bees continued to pile in and their busy harvesting knocked the petals off.

Now the plant is a quiet, glossy green again. The blooms are gone, the bees are gone, the scent is gone, this temporary frenzy over in a week. Until the next time.


Wild pig running

A wild pig runs off at Pu'u Wa'awa'a on the Big Island of Hawaii

Wild pigs are widespread on the Big Island. I saw this one on a hike up Pu’u Wa’awa’a. I’d been taking photos and when I turned around, the pig was ambling into some tall grass leading to a shallow gulley bordering the trail. It didn’t seem at all bothered by my presence which it must surely have registered.

A few moments later, I saw it still headed in the same direction, still taking its time. I hurried up the trail trying to make as little noise as possible, and keeping an eye out toward the area where I thought the pig must be. I hadn’t gone too far when I reached a place where I could see that the gulley ended and, assuming it hadn’t moved faster than I thought, the pig would have to emerge into view. I hoped then I could get a photo or two.

I saw and heard nothing so I edged around trying to see into the gulley. I caught a glimpse of movement, then nothing. There was no point going into the gulley myself. I’d lose my vantage point and the pig would surely disappear before I saw it. The alternative was, if it was a boar, it might charge me. So I held my ground, looking and waiting.

Nothing in my proximity or activity changed, but at some point the pig panicked. It’s previous sangfroid was temporarily replaced by the high-strung nervousness of a racehorse. It shot out of the grass, racing back the way it came. When it came to the metal gate I’d just passed through, it clanged into it, squeezed between two bars, and carried on as before. When it finally disappeared into some bushes, it was a good 200 yards away, and still traveling as though making the final turn at the Kentucky Derby.

The eagle rays are circling

Four spotted eagle rays in the waters off the Big Island of Hawaii

It’s not often that Shakespeare comes to mind with my photos, but with this one I think of the caption, “When shall we three meet again … hey, wait a minute.” The last bit might not be Shakespeare, an early draft perhaps.

These four spotted eagle rays were puttering about in clear, shallow water so I got a decent photo without getting wet.

Honokohau harbor

Honokohau harbor is the main small boat harbor on the west side of the Big Island.

Honokohau harbor, at the north end of Kailua-Kona, is the main small boat harbor on the west side of the Big Island. Here, under an ominous sky, a man does some work near the top of the mast of one boat.

Metallic skink in the lava

A metallic skink peeks out from under a lava ledge.A metallic skink peeks out from under a lava ledge. This was on the Puʻu ʻŌʻō Trail, off Saddle Road at an elevation of more than 5,000 feet. It seemed a very challenging environment for the skink.

Cannonball tree

The cannonball tree (Couroupita guianensis) is pretty distinctive.

The cannonball tree (Couroupita guianensis) is pretty distinctive. It sprouts pink or red flowers the length of its trunk and follows them with woody, round fruits that give the tree its name. This one was at Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden.

For more information about Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, go to

Japanese white-eye nesting

A peek of a Japanese white-eye sitting on a clutch of eggs in its nest.

A peek of a Japanese white-eye sitting on a clutch of eggs in its nest.

Tropical coast

A view of the coast north of Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii

One things I like about the east side of the Big Island is the variety of places where one gets a peek of the ocean through tropical foliage. Sometimes this can be from the main highway that circles the island (the belt highway). More often, it’s from a smaller road.

This view of the Pacific is from a narrow, twisty stretch of the original belt highway, north of Hilo.