Tag Archives: Saddle Road

A bright I’iwi

An I'iwi in a forest off Saddle Road, Hawaii
An I'iwi calls in a forest off Saddle Road, Hawaii

On my last hike on the Pu’u O’o Trail, off Saddle Road, I soon ran into a man and his son staring at a tree a short distance away. The man explained that they’d seen an i’iwi, a native Hawaiian honeycreeper, fly into the tree and were hoping to see it again. I waited with them for a while, but saw nothing and decided to move on.

A little later I ran into two men coming out of a kipuka, a cluster of old vegetation that has been bypassed by lava flows. One of them, looking pretty pleased, held out his camera and said they’d just seen an i’iwi and he’d got some good photos. He mentioned the spot where they’d seen the bird, so I headed into the trees to have a look. Nothing. It was beginning to look like it was going to be one of those days where everyone else has a wonderful experience except me!

But not long after, I saw a flash of red and then this bird settled on a branch and began to add its song to the loud chorus of bird songs in the kipuka. One thing about i’iwis is that if they’re around, they’re easy to see, their bright red plumage standing out against the green background.

After the bird flew off, I carried on with my hike. When I returned half an hour later, the bird song in the kipukas had diminished considerably and I didn’t see or hear anymore i’iwis.

Posted in response to Becky’s April Squares challenge theme of ‘Bright.’ See more responses here.

Wild turkey crossing the road

A wild turkey crosses Saddle Road in Hawaii

Wild turkeys aren’t too bright. This one rushed across the road to catch up with the rest of the flock that had scurried across before I could get my camera organized. As to why the flock crossed the road, I don’t know. Perhaps they were following chickens.

Posted in response to Becky’s April Squares challenge theme of ‘Bright.’ 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.

Astelia Menziesiana

Astelia Menziesiana is an endemic plant that can grow as an epiphyte, as in this photo, or in the ground. It does best in cool temperatures, which is where these plants were found at around 6,000 feet in the area between Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, but can also grow in warmer temperatures. Plants are either male or female and both have flowers, but only the female produce berries.

Staghorn clubmoss

Staghorn clubmoss (Lycopodiella cernua) is indigenous to Hawaii and is found in the tropics worldwide. Generally, staghorn clubmoss grows in bogs and wet areas, but these were growing in the lava off Saddle Road, an area that gets lots of rain but also drains readily.

As time goes by

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Weathered.’ See more responses here.

In the top photo, a dead tree on the lower slopes on Mauna Kea, stretches weathered branches toward the sky.

Second photo: Petroglyphs in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park have been weathered by years of sun and rain, but are still clearly visible.

Third photo: A cattle ranch alongside old Saddle Road includes this old structure bordering a stockyard.

Bottom photo: Butterflies have a short lifespan, but in that time they can go from looking boldly marked and colored to very faded, with some looking like it’s a miracle they can fly at all.

For more information about Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, go to nps.gov/havo/.

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.

Ohelo ’Ai

Ohelo ’Ai (Vaccinium reticulatum) is an endemic shrub also known as the Hawaiian blueberry. It’s one of several kinds of native plant adapted to the harsh environment of a volcanic island. This plant was growing on a lava flow off Saddle Road, which is typical here. It does well in disturbed ground above 2,000 feet.

The berries, which are edible, are a food source for nenes, but I really like the delicate flowers and the leaves, which start out as a matching red.

Posted in response to Becky’s October Squares challenge theme of ‘Kind.’ See more responses here.