White-tailed Tropicbird

A white-tailed tropicbird flying over North Kohala, Hawaii

Sometimes, when I’m walking along the coast, the first thing that alerts me to the presence of a bird is its shadow passing over me. This happened again a few days ago and I glanced up to see this White-tailed Tropicbird practically over my head and not by very much. By the time I wrestled my camera out the bird had glided out over the water and away. I watched it receding and put my camera away.

A white-tailed tropicbird flying over North Kohala, Hawaii

Moments later, I realized the bird was riding the wind back in my direction. I whisked my camera out and started doing pirouettes as it skimmed closer and turned again when overhead. Again it slid away towards the water. It repeated this maneuver two or three times before heading into the wind and out of sight.

I put my camera away again, hoping I had some good shots, and carried on with my walk. About a half mile father on, a shadow passed over me. I looked up and there was the bird again. I assumed it was the same one, and had snuck behind me while I wasn’t looking. This time the bird drifted out into the channel and disappeared towards Maui. These photos are from that encounter.

The next day, walking in the same area, I kept a watchful eye out for a reappearance, but didn’t see a thing … until a shadow passed over me. There it was again. This time the bird kept going and I didn’t even try to take a photo. It disappeared from view. A couple of minutes later, another shadow passed over. This was a different bird, following the first, so perhaps the day before had also been two birds.

I see these graceful birds once in awhile on my walks in this area, but I think large numbers of them can be found farther along the coast between Pololu and Waipio, nesting on the cliffs.

A white-tailed tropicbird flying over North Kohala, Hawaii

Abstracts: Green water

Green reflections in a pond in Hawaii

I processed this photo, taken at a fishpond in Mauna Lani, a while ago. For the life of me, I can’t remember why I made two versions. The first is close to the original photo, but I must have produced the second when I was adjusting colors and liked it enough to keep it. I’m not sure I’m as taken with it now as I apparently was then.

Green reflections in a pond in Hawaii

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.

Better Days: The weeds are winning

An old backhoe is covered by weeds

This weed-covered backhoe sits besides Hawi Hill, the road from Hawi that leads to Waimea. I’ve passed the spot numerous times and often thought I should get this photo. The problem is that the hill is steep and narrow here, with nowhere to pull off to take the photo. The closest obvious parking place meant a walk back up this busy road.

Finally, one day recently, I was heading home down the hill in the late afternoon. Traffic was light with nothing coming toward me or following close behind. So I stopped the car in the road, wound the window down, and snapped a couple of photos, including this one. Then it was off again, before someone careened into the back of me.

Being watched

An assortment of fish on the reef in Hawaii

While this isn’t the greatest photo, I liked how the very small inhabitants of this rocky area were all looking at me at the same time. At the top is a juvenile wrasse, probably a Saddle Wrasse, though the Bird Wrasse is somewhat similar. The middle two are Bright-eye Damselfishes, and at the bottom is an Hawaiian Whitespotted Toby, the giant of the group at about 3 inches long.