I noticed something on the cane grass, with a strange shape and some kind of long beak. I wondered if it was a new bird, but then saw it bobbing its head up and down and puffing out the dewlap at its neck. It was a green anole and it was shedding. The ‘beak’ was a chunk of old skin sticking out.
By the time I got my camera, the ‘beak’ was gone, but there were still areas around the head to be dislodged. Sometimes it can take quite a while to remove the last bits and pieces. This anole moved on to complete the job in a bit more privacy.
Common waxbills are an African species and were first seen on Oahu in the 1970s. Now they’re present on other islands including the Big Island. Lately, they’ve been snacking on the cane grass seeds that are currently available here.
Nutmeg mannikin (Lonchura punctulata) is also known as scaly-breasted munia and spice finch. They feed on grass seeds. Here, a mannikin is feeding on cane grass seeds. It will work its way up the stem until the whole plant is stripped and the farther up it goes, the more the stem bends.
Nutmeg mannikins are often seen in flocks and are flighty birds. By this, I mean they’re the kind of bird that constantly flits around and gets farther away in the process. They feed on grass seeds, climbing up the stems and stripping the seeds off the ends.
In Hawaii, when cane grass (Pennisetum purpureum) goes to seed it’s a popular feast for a variety of birds. Here, one of a small group of nutmeg mannikins, busily plucks seeds off this stem before moving on for more.