This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Birthdays.’ See more offerings here. I don’t really have anything birthday-related so I’ve plumped for a photo taken on my birthday this year.
This is an adult black-crowned night heron at Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, just north of Kailua Kona. I watched it for a while, as it moved around the edges of the Aimakapa Fishpond. In the top photo, the heron is coming in to land, and in the bottom photo, it’s taking off again.
The photo to the right shows the bird perched on a float. This was a good shot for my birthday since, with its large beak and somewhat puzzled expression, the heron looks a lot like me!
Ruddy turnstones are one of several species of birds that summer in Alaska and winter in Hawaii. Here, the bird is known as the ‘Akekeke, the name resembling its call. In the photos, this small group of ruddy turnstones was foraging along the Kona coast at low tide, looking for invertebrates to eat.
These two photos were taken at different times, different years in fact, of one of the beaches at Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park. The park is just north of Kailua Kona, the largest population center on the west side of the island. It’s a park I visit at least two or three times a year because it’s easily accessible and is a good place to see turtles, on the beach or in the water, and also birds on ’Aimakapa Fishpond, on the inland side of the sand.
The top photo looks north (that little lump on the wet sand is a resting green turtle). The bottom photo looks south (those little white specks are people). The thing is, these two photos are how the beach looks every time I visit. A few people will walk along it, but most go to the more protected beach at the south end of the park. And this situation is similar to many on the Big Island. If you’re willing to walk a quarter or half mile from any beach nearest the parking lot, then peace and solitude is almost certainly yours.
I think this is a white-faced ibis. According to my bird book, Jim Denny’s A Photographic Guide To The Birds Of Hawai’i, it is an occasional visitor and all reports have been of juveniles or birds in non-breeding plumage. It also notes that it is very similar to the glossy ibis, but doesn’t include a listing for that bird in the book. So I’m going to stick with the white-faced ibis identity unless someone has a better idea.
This one was wading in the shallow of the lagoon behind the beach at Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park. The yellow float was one of several isolating an area where restoration work was taking place. The lagoon is a popular spot for many birds, both endemic and visiting.
A Hawaiian green turtle lifts its head after resting on the sand at Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park. The park is one of many good places on the island to see turtles, either on the beach or foraging in the shallow waters there.
This Hawaiian coot looked surprised to discover a wayward feather in its otherwise immaculate plumage (above). Several attempts to corral the unruly feather failed, leaving the bird with a distinctly grumpy look (right). But a solution was found (below). Time for a stylish V for Victory lap around the pond.
Posted in response to this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge ‘Liquid.’
’Aimakapa Fishpond is one of two fishponds at Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park. The other is Kaloko Fishpond, which is separated from the ocean by a huge rock wall, currently being restored. ’Aimakapa Fishpond’s barrier is made up of sand dunes.
A channel was dug to the ocean to allow water to circulate back and forth and, at the ocean end (seen here), a sluice gate (makaha) installed. The sluice gate helped keep predators out. These days it isn’t used and so the channel has silted up with sand.
Fishponds are different to fish traps. Ponds allow for the rearing of fish from small fry. Traps are shallow walled enclosures, which fish can cross at high tide, but cannot escape from when the tide goes out.
Along the Kona coast, there are several ponds a little way inshore. These are anchialine ponds containing a mix of freshwater and saltwater. The freshwater comes from a mix of rain, runoff, and the occasional spring. The saltwater intrudes from cracks in the lava.
These ponds often harbor a mix of wildlife from birds and bugs to the tiny fish in this photo. I’m not sure what these fish are, in one such pond at Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, but the ponds offer a relatively safe place to start out life. However, they will need to make their way to the sea before they grow too big to escape the pond. Once there, survival will become a chancier thing.