This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Summer Bugs.’ (See more responses here.) To the best of my knowledge, Hawaii’s bugs are pretty much the same year-round. Here are some of them.
The top photo shows a bee showing impressive balance on a maiapilo flower.
Next up, clockwise from top left: Getting down to eye level with a juvenile praying mantis. A painted lady butterfly on a kiawe tree. A katydid wondering what it’s done to deserve this much attention. A seven-spotted lady beetle being watched.
The final gallery: Top left: A mango flower beetle explores a spider lily. Top right: A watchful cane spider wondering if it should run, very fast, away. Bottom left: A Hawaiian carpenter ant (Camponotus variegatus), one of too many that have taken up residence in the house. Bottom right: A rusty millipede deciding that it’s all too much!
This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Favorite Vacation Spot.’ See more responses here.
It’s been a long while since I took a vacation, but a favorite day out is a road trip to the east side of the island and a visit to Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve & Garden.
The day starts with a drive out of Hawi, up the hill to Kohala Mountain Road. This winding road climbs to around 3,500 feet before descending into Waimea. One the way, it passes through pastureland that is home to cattle, horses, and sheep.
A few miles after driving through Waimea, there’s a left turn onto Old Saddle Road. These days, the main road across the island is a smooth, wide thoroughfare, but it’s not so long ago that the highway was all like Old Saddle Road – narrow and twisting. In those days, rental car companies would not allow their cars to be driven on that road. Old Saddle Road is the last remnant of the original road and it’s one of my favorite roads to drive here, not just because of the road’s qualities, but because it’s one of the most reliable places to see pueos, the Hawaiian short-eared owl. On this road I drive like one of those people you follow and say ‘What the !@^%$@)&^ is that idiot doing?’ I’m prone to zipping off the tarmac and bolting from the car, camera in hand, snapping photos as I go.
Old Saddle Road joins the new highway a just before it reaches Pohakuloa Training Area, a large military base in the saddle between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. It’s not unusual to hear the sound of shells exploding here as they do live ammunition fire. Past this area, there are several good hiking trails that venture into the high elevation landscape. This is one of the best areas for seeing native birds that are still hanging on in much reduced habitat.
After that, there’s the descent into Hilo and then a jog north to the garden where, every time I visit, I see something different, something that wasn’t blooming on previous visits or that I’d just missed in the profusion wonderful plants to see.
And on the way back there’s a good chance that there’ll be a splendid sunset to be enjoyed.
Also posted for this week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Road Trip.’ See more responses here.
This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Water.’ See more responses here.
First up is a patch of water lilies on Lily Lake at Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve and Gardens, which reopened at the beginning of April after being closed all year. My wife and I visited last Friday and it was great to be back. As usual, I took a bunch of photos most of which still need processing.
Second is a sailboat running before the wind on the blue Pacific.
Below that is a pair of canoeists paddling along the island’s northern coast. Yesterday, I saw several vehicles going by with canoes, probably headed for Keokea Park, where they can put in safely, possibly for a race. One of the vehicles pulled in to the likely landing spot, where surf was crashing over the parking lot. The driver didn’t look too enthusiastic. I don’t know whether the race took place or not.
Fourth is that quintessential Hawaiian pastime – surfing. Watch out for those rocks!
Finally, a pair of northern pintails coast on a pool of water at Upolu. These used to be seen in large numbers in Hawaii, but not so much these days.
Yesterday, I posted about the dangers geckos pose to a praying mantis that has been living on a spider lily.
Today’s post is about the advantage of that location for the mantis. The primary benefit is that the spider lily’s flowers attract wasps, bees and other insects. In these photos, the mantis has caught a good-sized paper wasp, securely held by its forelegs. It held the wasp in that position for a while, but once it began its meal, it made short work of devouring the wasp. Next day I saw it with a bee and a beetle.
As the spider lily flowers fade, new ones pop up on other stalks, so the insect attraction has been fairly continuous.
For the past three weeks, this praying mantis has been a fixture on this spider lily. The downside of this location is that the plant is a favorite spot for gold dust day geckos. The geckos would no doubt like to eat the mantis, but have so far not made a move that I’ve seen. I suspect that one reason for this is that the geckos have learned that, while the mantis looks like it never moves, when they do, they move fast. A few futile sorties against a mantis would make any gecko decide to seek easier prey.
Tomorrow, I’ll post about the upside of this location for the mantis.
I peered down into a spider lily one day and this is what I saw looking up at me, a gecko with wings. The wings, of course, were those of an unlucky moth, which the gold dust day gecko had snagged from behind. The moth struggled a good deal, but there was only ever going to be one winner in this contest.