Tag Archives: Photo Challenge

Cambria orchid

Cambria Orchid

A favorite place I try to visit several times a year is Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, north of Hilo. There’s always something different in bloom, something new for me to see, such as this orchid.

As usual with orchids, I offer an identification with some trepidation. I think this is a cambria orchid, though exactly which type, I couldn’t say. Regardless, it’s a most striking and beautiful flower and that’s enough for me.

If anyone knows of a good orchid identification site online, please let me know.

For more information about Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, go to htbg.com.

Posted in response to the WordPress photo challenge, ‘Favorite place’.

View from Pu’u Kalepeamoa on Mauna Kea

View from Sunset Hill on Mauna Kea

One of my favorite places on the Big Island is Mauna Kea. Besides being an imposing volcano, it also has a surreal quality with its mix of smaller volcanic cones and high tech telescopes around the summit.

This view is from Pu’u Kalepeamoa, otherwise known as Sunset Hill. Pu’u Kalepeamoa is lower on the mountain, at about 9,400 feet, a short hike from the visitor center. On this day, those low-hanging clouds ruled out a good sunset, but the light and shadows on the pu’us still made for a worthwhile view.

Posted in response to the WordPress photo challenge, ‘Favorite place’.

V-22 Ospreys at Upolu

V-22 Ospreys landing at Upolu

Upolu is a favorite spot where I walk most often. The coast below the airport is wild with crashing surf and strong winds. There’s a wealth of ocean life to be seen from turtles to humpback whales, though this year the whale numbers have been down, at least from my observations. There’s also a good variety of birds and other wildlife.

Also on this coast are Mo’okini Heiau and King Kamehameha’s Birthplace and, in a more modern vein, there’s the airport. I’m posting these photos, not because this is the most notable feature of the area, but because I just took them.

Last May, the Marine Corps got some flack for the amount of operations taking place at Upolu, so they stopped using it for the rest of the year. This is the first time I’ve seen the planes back since then, but it has been two days in a row that I know of.

In the top photo, the planes kick up the dirt as they come in to land. Below, they sit on the tarmac, dwarfing the little plane used by a local skydiving operation.

Posted in response to the WordPress photo challenge, ‘Favorite place’.

V-22 Ospreys at Upolu

Palila Forest Discovery Trail

Palila on a branch

Palila with mamane seedI haven’t ever been a real birder, but since moving to Hawaii I’ve been more drawn to them. Because of this interest, one of my favorite places to visit on the Big Island is the Palila Forest Discovery Trail. Opened in July, 2016, this one mile loop trail passes through Mauna Kea’s unique, high-elevation dry forest.

The endangered palila (above and left, eating a mamane seed), which I posted about previously here, is the signature bird to be seen there, but there are many other kinds of birds, both native and introduced, in the area. In addition, the trail has a good variety of other wildlife from bugs to wild pigs. To top it off, the views towards Mauna Loa (below) and Maui are wonderful.

Finally, the drive to the trail goes along Old Saddle Road, which is a fun drive and a place where I often see pueos, the native Hawaiian owl, as well as wild turkeys and other birds and wildlife. All in all, a trip I never tire of making.

The Palila Forest Discovery Trail is featured on the Hawaii Island Coast to Coast Trail, a selection of sites that offer birding opportunities on the Big Island. For more information about Hawaii Island Coast to Coast Trail, go to hawaiibirdingtrails.hawaii.gov/.

For more information about Palila Forest Discovery Trail, go to dlnr.hawaii.gov/restoremaunakea/palila-forest-discovery-trail/.

Posted in response to the WordPress photo challenge, ‘Favorite place’.

View of Mauna Loa from Palila trail

Aphelandra sinclairiana

Aphelandra sinclairiana flowerAphelandra sinclairiana

Aphelandra sinclairiana, is a shrub commonly known as Coral Aphelandra, orange shrimp plant, or, as this one was labeled, Panama Queen. It’s native to Central America, but this one was at Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, near Hilo.

For more information about Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, go to htbg.com.

Posted in response to this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, ‘I’d rather be…,’ because I’d rather be out looking at flowers.

Kealia beach

Kealia Beach

I’d rather be at the beach, though I’m not one for stretching out on the sand and slowly broiling. I much prefer a beach like Kealia, north of Ho’okena, where the mix of sand and lava attracts tide pool dwellers and the birds that feed on them.

It was here, also, that I first saw butterflies, such as the large orange sulphur (Phoebis agarithe) below, drinking from the sand. I subsequently learned that butterflies can’t drink from open water, but get moisture from dew on plants, wet sand, earth and mud. In addition, drinking from these sources allows butterflies to obtain needed salts and minerals.

I learn something new every day. Now, if only I could remember these things.

Posted in response to this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, ‘I’d rather be…

Large Orange Sulphur Butterfly on sand

Goat brigands

Hiking on the 1871 trail, heading south from Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, I came on this scene. A herd of goats blocked the trail. They watched me from the shadows. Two of them raised themselves onto their hind legs and repeatedly butted heads.

In the deep shade of the trees they carried the look of a gang of brigands, ready to relieve hikers of their valuables or, more likely, since they’re goats, something to eat. That could be just about anything from a carrot to the hiker’s shoes.

As I got closer, the goats filtered into the trees and scrub, disappearing from view. Perhaps next time I won’t be so lucky.

For more information about the 1871 Trail, and other hikes on the Big Island, go to bigislandhikes.com.

For more information about Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, visit https://www.nps.gov/puho/index.htm.

Posted in response to this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, ‘I’d rather be…,’ because I’d rather be hiking.

Bluespine unicornfish

Bluespine Unicornfish

On any given day, I’d rather be snorkeling. There’s always something interesting to see in the water here.

This fish is a bluespine unicornfish, a name which is pretty self-explanatory. The blue spines by the base of the tail are very visible as is the prominent horn. Not all unicornfish have horns.

The horn helps make the bluespine unicornfish look permanently grumpy, which is perhaps why these fish tend to lead solitary lives. They also tend to be wary around snorkelers, maintaining their distance or easing away when approached. This one, however, appeared more curious and made a couple of closer passes before disappearing.

Posted in response to this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, ‘I’d rather be…