Tag Archives: Sunday Stills

Ohia

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Geometric–explore various angles.’ I’ve focused more on the ‘various angles’ than the geometric.

Ohia trees (Metrosideros polymorpha) are endemic to Hawaii and the flower of these trees is the official flower of the Big Island. Depending on growing conditions, ohias can vary from ground hugging shrubs to 50 foot trees. They grow at sea level and at elevations up to 8,000 feet. They’re probably most noted for two things. One is their brilliant display of flowers. The other is that they’re usually the first plants to recolonize lava flows.

They grow in lava is because their roots reach down into lava tubes and tap into the moisture available there. But ohia can also put out aerial roots to gather moisture. They’re very flexible in this way.

The puffball flowers are actually clusters of flowers. Each flower is made up of a bunch of stamens (the male part of the flower) and a single pistil (the female part) which is thicker and longer than the stamens. When the flowers have been pollinated, the stamens fall away until only the pistil remains. This too will disappear as the calyx, where the seeds are found, develops. Eventually, the calyx will dry out and release the tiny mature seeds, to be dispersed by the winds, and hopefully grow into new ohia trees.

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

Tropical foliage

Tropical foliage at Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve and Garden

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

In Hawaii’s mild climate, a few trees, such as plumeria, will shed their leaves for a short while in the depths of our not-so-bitter winter. For the most part though, the island is green year-round, particularly in the wetter parts, which is where these photos were taken.

The trees remain green. The vines which climb the trees are green, and other colors too. The foliage around the trees is green. In short, the landscape is evergreen.

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

Barbecue under the trees

A barbecue at Spencer Beach Park, Hawaii
Six little pigs forage for mangoes

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Under the Trees.’ See more responses here. Here are a couple of photos for this theme. They’re both under the trees and they’re both barbecue-related when you think about it.

The top one shows people sharing a barbecue meal under the trees at Spencer Beach Park. If this post featured ‘Smellovision’ you’d know it was a barbecue without me writing anything at all.

The bottom photo shows the six little pigs that have been daily visitors to the yard this past couple of weeks. They come for fallen mangoes, scampering out from the cane grass and racing around below the mango tree searching for fallen treasures. There are often one or two on the ground and the lucky ones bolt back into cover with their prizes. Their antics are a continuing source of entertainment. Mind you, it’s not all fun and games. There used to be seven little pigs!

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

The great outdoors

A view of Hualalai from the water
Hualalai from the water.
A sailboat enters Kawaihae Harbor
A sailboat returns to harbor.

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

In Hawaii, people spend a great deal of time outdoors. It’s common for people to have an outdoor kitchen, sometimes their only kitchen, sometimes a second one where a barbecue is the featured cooking apparatus. Carports often feature chairs and tables with cars parked elsewhere. The lanai, or deck, is as well-used as any room in the house.

Outdoor activities are popular here, too. Many involve the ocean and its inviting water: swimming, snorkeling, paddling, and of course surfing. Plenty of people go fishing and hunting, longtime sources of food for the table.

For me, experiencing the great outdoors primarily involves hiking and snorkeling. Hiking isn’t especially popular here, especially along the coast where it can get quite hot. I get strange looks when I hike the length of popular beaches togged out in hiking gear, including shoes, hat, and fanny pack loaded with water. For most, the beach is a place for stretching out and broiling in the sun, not actively working up a sweat.

The vast majority of photos on this blog are taken in the great outdoors. These photos are a small selection of things I’ve seen while out and about, from sweeping views to birds and bugs.

A view of Kohala Coast from Koai'a Tree Sanctuary
A view of the south Kohala Coast from Koai’a Tree Sanctuary
View of Mauna Kea from Pu'u Wa'awa'a bench
A view of Mauna Kea from Pu’u Wa’awa’a.

Hawaiian stilts nesting

Hawaiian stilts at Kohanaiki Beach Park in Hawaii
A Hawaiian stilt sits on a nest at Kohanaiki Beach Park in Hawaii
A Hawaiian stilt at Kohanaiki Beach Park in Hawaii

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

I saw these two Hawaiian stilts at Kohanaiki Beach Park. They were in a pond at the south end of the park and, when I arrived, one was already making a lot of noise. I think this was because another person was walking on the path bordering one side of the pond. My arrival meant that the wading bird kept up its noise as it moved across the pond, away from the bird on the nest.

I took some photos and moved on. When I returned from my walk, 90 minutes later, all was quiet. The bird on the nest was still there, the other was gone. I looked around and saw the other bird in a neighboring pond, at which point, the bird saw me. It immediately began making a lot of noise and then flew back to the pond where the nest was. After a splashy landing it gathered itself, gave me a long look and then began wading along the edge of the pond, probing for snacks. It occurred to me that this bird’s very demonstrative behavior was mostly to get my attention and, by doing so, draw it away from the nesting bird. It kept up its noise, kept moving away from the nest. When I left, the bird quietened immediately. Hawaiian stilts are known for robustly defending their nests and also for such acts as feigning injury to draw attention away from the nest.

The Hawaiian stilt (Himantopus mexicanus knudseni) is considered a sub-species of the North American black-necked stilt. In Hawaii it’s called the aeʻo. It’s an endangered species and, while the population is considered stable or increasing slightly, it’s estimated that the total population is less than two-thousand birds.

In the little-known-fact department, the Hawaiian stilt’s long, pink legs are the second-longest legs in proportion to their bodies of any bird. Only flamingos rank above them in this regard.

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.