Tag Archives: Upolu

Passion Vine Butterfly on a Zinnia Violacea flower

Passion Vine Butterfly on a Zinnia Violacea flower in Hawaii

Following on from yesterday’s post about the lack of rain at Upolu, it occurred to me that I rarely see Passion Vine Butterflies there these days. They used to be all over the place, but now I’m lucky to see one or two. I don’t think it’s related to the lack of rainfall, but don’t know what other factors might be involved.

Small plane and Maui

A small plane taxis at Upolu Airport in Hawaii

I was going through some old photos when I came across this one and was struck by a couple of things. One was the dramatic clouds in the channel and over Maui. The other was how green the grass looks at Upolu Airport. Currently, it is uniformly baked brown owing to the lack of rainfall in this area.

Horse and cattle

A horse scratches itself against a post

For some reason, one of the pastures at Upolu has recently been occupied by this horse and a handful of cattle. I’m not sure why the horse is in there, but on this day, while the cattle were standing around looking bored, the horse was furiously rubbing itself against a fence post. Afterwards, it too stood around looking bored!

Turbine painting

Maintenance work on a wind turbine at Hawi Wind Farm, Hawaii.
Maintenance work on a wind turbine at Hawi Wind Farm, Hawaii.
Maintenance work on a wind turbine at Hawi Wind Farm, Hawaii.
Painted patches on a wind turbine at Hawi Wind Farm, Hawaii.

I came across this scene at Hawi Wind Farm on my way down to walk at Upolu. I’ve seen similar before, various maintenance tasks being performed on the turbines. In this case, the crew appeared to be cleaning rust streaks and then painting them.

When I zoomed in I was taken by a few thing. First up was the shadows thrown off by the man up in the air. I thought this shadow had the look of an old time whaler. When I zoomed in, I was charmed that they were to be using a roller to paint these rather large turbines. Granted, they were just patching bad areas, but it seemed like they might use something giving quicker coverage. I also liked the patterns made by the painted patches, as if some kind of code was involved.

Oh, and yes, they missed a bit!

White-tailed Tropicbird

A white-tailed tropicbird flying over North Kohala, Hawaii

Sometimes, when I’m walking along the coast, the first thing that alerts me to the presence of a bird is its shadow passing over me. This happened again a few days ago and I glanced up to see this White-tailed Tropicbird practically over my head and not by very much. By the time I wrestled my camera out the bird had glided out over the water and away. I watched it receding and put my camera away.

A white-tailed tropicbird flying over North Kohala, Hawaii

Moments later, I realized the bird was riding the wind back in my direction. I whisked my camera out and started doing pirouettes as it skimmed closer and turned again when overhead. Again it slid away towards the water. It repeated this maneuver two or three times before heading into the wind and out of sight.

I put my camera away again, hoping I had some good shots, and carried on with my walk. About a half mile father on, a shadow passed over me. I looked up and there was the bird again. I assumed it was the same one, and had snuck behind me while I wasn’t looking. This time the bird drifted out into the channel and disappeared towards Maui. These photos are from that encounter.

The next day, walking in the same area, I kept a watchful eye out for a reappearance, but didn’t see a thing … until a shadow passed over me. There it was again. This time the bird kept going and I didn’t even try to take a photo. It disappeared from view. A couple of minutes later, another shadow passed over. This was a different bird, following the first, so perhaps the day before had also been two birds.

I see these graceful birds once in awhile on my walks in this area, but I think large numbers of them can be found farther along the coast between Pololu and Waipio, nesting on the cliffs.

A white-tailed tropicbird flying over North Kohala, Hawaii

Picasso’s Cow?

A cow rests in a field

I grew up on a dairy farm and have been around cows off and on for years so I’m used to them, used to what they do. Recently, I was walking past one of the local dairy’s fields. The nearest cows turned their heads to look. A couple jogged away from me. Other carried on grazing.

Up ahead, on a rise, away from the rest if the herd. I saw the cow in the photo. At least I thought that’s what I saw. But what was it doing? Was it one cow or two? Alive or dead? As I got closer I thought for sure I was looking at one cow sitting on another, no matter that I knew that was highly improbable.

It wasn’t until I got quite close that I was finally able to make out this one cow resting in a rather contorted position. I think my confusion was caused by all those lumps sticking up, by the swirl of white on the visible rear leg, and by the black hump of the back.

I’m pretty sure the cow was alive though I didn’t notice a single movement while I was watching.

Road block

Rocks across a road in North Kohala, Hawaii

A while back I posted (here) about a trash cleanup at Upolu. As part of that process, the people responsible graded the dirt road down to the area, presumably so that trucks could more easily get in to haul away trash.

Paralleling that road, for a short stretch, is another road next to the airport fence. As part of the same operation, some large rocks bordering the road were moved across to block access. I think this was because the road has a low stretch which has become deeply rutted and where water and mud collects.

Shortly after the road was blocked someone moved one of the rocks to allow access. A few days later the rock was moved back. This process happened several times over the next few weeks. The rock that was getting moved back and forth is the one on the right, in the grass, in this photo.

In the latest development, another rock has been dragged across to block the road. The skid marks can be seen in the photo. I suspect this rock was chosen because it has a flat bottom and might be harder to move. I haven’t been down there since this latest development, but I’m keen to see if the game continues. I have no idea why someone has been moving these rocks out of the way, since this road joins the improved one just a quarter mile farther on. Perhaps someone is simply objecting to being prevented from driving where-ever the heck they want to. I expect that’s guaranteed in the constitution somewhere!


A small plane disturbs a pigeon while taking off in Hawaii

The skydiving plane that operates out of Upolu Airport, has lately been making some lower level takeoffs. A couple of times I’ve been walking up from the coast, east of the runway, when the plane suddenly zoomed into view and whizzed over my head.

On the third occasion, I was ready for it and got this photo. In this case, it was the pigeon that was startled and made a sudden takeoff of its own.