Tag Archives: Mauna Kea

Yucca flowers

I see this stand of yuccas on the drive into Waimea and watch for it to bloom. When it does, late afternoons are the best time for photographs so I try to remember to stop on the way back from hiking off Saddle Road or at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. In this instance, it was the latter, and I was passing by around 6 pm.

Look closely at the top photo and the telescopes of Mauna Kea can be seen in the distant background, which is a bit unusual for this time of day, morning being their time to shine.

Alien cloud

This vary strange looking cloud formation appeared one day atop the saddle between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. It hung around there for a long time before suddenly disappearing into space. No, not really. Instead, the lower level clouds continued to build and eventually obscured the view of the alien cloud. All very mysterious.

Snow on Mauna Kea

This past week or so has been a bit bleak weather-wise. At one point we had a high wind warning, winter storm warning, flash flood warning, and a high surf warning. The warnings were justified. Winds blew at 40 to 50 knots with higher gusts. Rain bucketed down. Surf pounded the shorelines. It was an unfortunate week to be vacationing here.

Meanwhile, up on Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, the winter storm warning produced a decent snowfall giving those peaks a Christmassy look, albeit a few weeks too late.

I’iwi

I saw this I’iwi (Drepanis coccinea) on a trail off of Saddle Road, between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. These bright red birds are native Hawaiian honeycreepers and in the old days, the feathers of the birds were collected to make cloaks for Hawaiian royalty.

The curved bill is suited for feeding on native lobelias, but a decline in those plants has seen the I’iwi adapt to feeding on other native plants including ʻōhiʻa lehua, māmane, and ohelo.

While the numbers of I’iwi are still fairly good, particularly on the Big Island and Maui, they have suffered, like other birds, from loss of habitat. In addition, They are susceptible to avian malaria, spread by mosquitoes. Consequently, I’iwi are doing better at higher elevations, such as where this photo was taken at around 6,000 feet.

Hualalai and Pu’u Ahumoa

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Peace.’ See more offerings here.

I’ve always found looking down on clouds gives me a peaceful feeling. Those fluffy balls of cotton wool look like they would make a comfy resting place. The irony is that those clouds may actually conceal roiling, turbulent air currents that are anything but peaceful, but let’s not allow reality to spoil the image.

This cloud layer blanketed the saddle between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. The two peaks poking above the clouds are, in the foreground, Pu’u Ahumoa, and in the background, Hualalai.

High surf and low sky

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘December Chill.’ (See more offerings here.)

Since I haven’t been to the chilly areas of the island recently, up on Mauna Kea or Mauna Loa, I’ve gone for a scene that at least looks chilly. Low, scudding clouds and high surf, driven by brisk trade winds make for a chilly scene, though the truth is I was almost certainly wearing shorts and a t-shirt when I took the photo.