Another spotted eagle ray encounter

A spotted eagle ray swims in the waters off the Big Island, Hawaii
A spotted eagle ray swims in the waters off the Big Island, Hawaii

Last week, I posted about an encounter with three spotted eagle rays (here). A few days after that I ran into one of the small eagle rays a little farther up the coast. The visibility wasn’t good – those pink spots are small organisms floating in the water – but the ray came so close that I was able to get a few photos. I’m pretty sure this was the same one that was so curious on the first encounter. This time it didn’t hang around but drifted by, disappearing into the murky water.

A spotted eagle ray swims in the waters off the Big Island, Hawaii

Spencer Beach Park beach

The beach at Spencer Beach Park, Hawaii

A few days ago, I posted about a heron encounter (here) when I didn’t have enough time to walk along the coast before going to work. I took this photo when I did have that time.

This is a view from Spencer Beach Park towards Kawaihae Harbor. The footprints are mine. There were no others. As a start to the day, it doesn’t get much better.

Watching an octopus

A day octopus in the waters off Hawaii

The easiest way to spot an octopus is to see it swimming (top photo). They’re not large creatures but they’re quite distinctive when they swim.

If they’re not swimming, one thing to look for is certain fish, such as goatfishes and jacks, just hanging around in a spot for no apparent reason. When these fish are hunting alone, they tend to be more active in probing the rocks and trying to disturb prey. But when they’re hunting with an octopus, they seem more content to let the octopus do the work and snapping up whatever emerges. I’ve found that goatfishes are particularly helpful as an octopus indicator.

A while back, there were videos online of an octopus apparently punching a goatfish. I wasn’t surprised by this. The octopuses I’ve seen don’t seem best pleased by the presence of goatfishes. Part of this might be down to feeling that the goatfishes are not pulling their weight in the hunt. But another factor might be that if goatfishes give away their position, for the octopus that can be fatal.

Octopus is a popular food in Hawaii and has long been so. If I’ve learned to look for goatfish as an indicator of their presence, then no doubt spear fishermen have too. These days, if I see an octopus when anyone’s spear fishing nearby, I don’t do anything to draw attention to it.

A day octopus in the waters off Hawaii

Subaru Telescope visit

The Subaru Telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii at sunset
The Subaru Telescope at sunset.

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Going Back….’ See more responses here.

I was thinking about posting photos going back to my first visit to Hawaii, but in looking at them, I realized that I’d never posted photos from my tour of the Subaru Telescope, which I took a few months after moving here. At the time, the Subaru Telescope was the only one on the summit of Mauna Kea that offered tours to the general public, though the tours have been shut down by the current Covid situation.

I particularly remember the fabulous views from the walkway around the exterior of the telescope. The interior of the telescope was also interesting, though in the abstract way of a giant piece of equipment. This is not a telescope where one gets to put an eye to the lens to see what’s going on, though I was charmed to learn that when Princess Sayako of Japan dedicated the telescope in 1999, she was able to do just that because a special eyepiece had been constructed for that purpose!

The Subaru Telescope is a Ritchey-Chretien reflecting telescope. It has a large field of view which makes it ideal for wide-field sky surveys. For more information about the Subaru Telescope, visit https://subarutelescope.org/en/. The telescope’s live camera stream captured a cool video of last month’s Perseid Meteor Shower which can be seen here.

Whitecrossed seed bug

A Whitecrossed Seed Bug in Hawaii

I was doing some cleanup work outside, when I noticed this bug on my hand. I headed in to where my camera was and the bug stayed in place the whole way. I got the camera organized and took a few photos before it finally flew off.

I knew I’d seen one of these before, but couldn’t remember where or what it was. A quick search revealed that this is a whitecrossed seed bug (Neacoryphus bicrucis), a resident of fields and meadows.

My previous sighting had occurred after a hike on Mauna Loa. It was on a water bottle I’d left in the cooler in my truck while I hiked. I suspect that one had inadvertently taken a day trip with me and was probably stunned to find itself at 11,000 feet, surrounded by barren lava!