Tag Archives: Pueo

Road trip to Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve and Garden

Hualalai volcano seen from Saddle Road in Hawaii
Hualalai Volcano from Old Saddle Road.

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.

Sunset seen from Saddle Road in Hawaii
Sunset from Old Saddle Road

Also posted for this week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Road Trip.’ See more responses here.

Pueo hunting

A Hawaiian short-eared owl (pueo) hunting
A Hawaiian short-eared owl (pueo) hunting

I saw this pueo cruising back and forth above the grasslands alongside Old Saddle Road. Sometimes it hovered and moved on, but a couple of times it dove into the grass. Not sure if it caught anything, though they’re quick to swallow any rodents they catch.

Uplifting moments from 2020

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Your 2020 Retrospective.’ See more responses here. Also posted in response to Becky’s January Squares challenge theme of ‘Up.’ See more responses here.

In this retrospective I’ve focused on events and photos that were uplifting for me during the difficult year that was. Most of these photos haven’t run before, but were taken at the same time as those in posts that ran in 2020. Links to the original posts are at the end of the captions.

The owl who was God

When I took this photo, I was thinking of the James Thurber short story, “The Owl Who Was God,” which can be read here. The main differences between that story and this photo are that pueos have very good eyesight during daylight hours, which is when they’re active, and no animals were harmed in the taking of this photo. The bird flew away shortly after I took it. He does have that look though.

Pueo stare

This week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Capturing a Feeling.’ See more responses here.

A fair number of my photos of perched pueos (Hawaiian short-eared owls) show the birds giving me a scowling look of disapproval. This one has a bit of that, but there’s also a look of astonishment. If I had to give this bird a speech bubble, it would be something along the lines of, ‘He took my picture. He didn’t even ask. The nerve.’

I like this photo for two additional reasons. One is that single, visible curved talon resting on the post. Easy to imagine the effect of that on some unfortunate rodent. The second reason is the eyes. Notice anything about them?

Also posted in response to Becky’s July Squares challenge theme of ‘Perspective.’ See more responses here.

Pueo flying under gray skies

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

This photo shows a pueo, the native Hawaiian short-eared owl, gliding over a gray road beneath a gray sky. This is a stretch of Old Saddle Road, which is one of the best places to see pueos as they hunt in the pastures on either side of the road or rest on fence posts alongside the road.

Favorite photos from the early days

My first decent pueo photo taken on Old Saddle Road. I noticed it on the post as I drove by, then stopped, got out, and started taking photos. The bird watched me with that intent stare that they have. (Original post here.)

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Oldie-but-Goodie or Favorite Photo.’ (See more responses here.)
This seemed like a good opportunity to run a few of my favorite photos from the first year of this blog.

Hawaiian monk seals are solitary creatures, but these two spent some weeks in each others company. On the left is the female and on the right is IO5, the male I see most often up here in Kohala. (Original post here.)
A rusty millipede casts a giant shadow.
I saw this rusty millipede crossing a dirt road in the late afternoon and liked its giant shadow. This photo ran on the BBC website here. (Original post here.)
A new born calf is cleaned by his mother.
A cow cleaning her very new calf. Another photo that ran on the BBC website here. (Original post here.)
A pair of zebra doves perch on a mock orange branch
A couple of zebra doves enjoying the late afternoon sun together. (Original post here.)
Breakfast strikes back
A personal favorite, this green anole snagged a Chinese rose beetle, but the beetle did not give up. Instead, it got itself onto the anole’s nose before escaping. The anole did not look thrilled at having this incident photographed. (Original post here.)
Finally, a photo from a hike along the coast. Colorful tide pools, blue ocean, white sand – I spent a long time traversing this stretch. (Original post here.)