Saturday, December 31, 2011
As we reflect back on 2011, some of you no doubt have fond memories; others would rather forget 2011; most of us have both. Regardless, here's to wishing you all a happy, healthy and successful 2012!
On a nice clear day, you can see a long, long ways. While we're still missing Oahu and Kauai, you could see most of the major Hawaiian islands on this nice, mostly clear day.
Foreground, from left to right: the islands of Molokai, Kaho'olawe and Lanai.
Background, from left to right: the islands of Maui and Hawaii.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Hawaiian Monk Seal, Monachus schauinslandi, on Waikiki Beach, Honolulu. Now what's the chance of running into an endagered Hawaiian Monk seal, not just once in a lifetime, but twice in a week? This time it was a few miles to the East on Waikiki Beach. The seal apparently arrived at 10am and lounged around the beach until around 4:30pm whereupon it waddled slowly into the sea, perhaps to catch a quick meal of fish from within the marine preserve before sunset.
Monday, December 26, 2011
Baobab Tree, Adansonia digitata, Foster Botanical Gardens. The Baobab tree grows in Madagascar where it thrives in wet Summers and dry Winters. Ironically, this Baobab has grown to huge proportions in Hawaii where it likely treats the warm wet year round weather as one extended, unending growing season.
Sunday, December 25, 2011
Coronetfish, Fistularia commersonii, or nunu peke in Hawaiian, live on the shallow reef where they feed upon smaller fish. Their long snout allows them to access small holes and crevices where they use their long snout and vacuum-like suction, caused by rapidly opening their snout, to "suck in" their small prey.
Saturday, December 24, 2011
School of Weke Ula (Yellowfin Goatfish), Mulloidichthys vanicolensis, off Waikiki Beach. It was a little rainy but the fish were still there. What did you do on Christmas eve?
Friday, December 23, 2011
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Monday, December 19, 2011
Brown House Gecko. There used to be a lot of these on the plate glass windows at night catching bugs when I was a kid. Now, there are much fewer. I suspect that it has to do with competition from and predation by other later introduced gecko species such as the Madagascar Day Gecko. There are still a few around although they are albeit a bit camera shy. This one is doing his best to blend in with the wood he's on; unfortunately for him, the wood is long dead and painted white...
Friday, December 16, 2011
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Mormodia Painted Desert 'SVO' HCC/AOS taken at Fred Clarke's yesterday. These beautiful, long lasting red flowers are blooming just in time for Christmas and are delightfully fragrant. They result from a cross of Clowesia Rebecca Northen and Mormodes sinuata.
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Friday, December 09, 2011
Thursday, December 08, 2011
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
Monday, December 05, 2011
One afternoon, we went for a walk down the coast along the steep lava cliffs. We were heading North from Mele Kohola (on the Hawaii Paradise Park coastline), ostensibly looking for the black sand beach (which turned out to be several miles away). Along the way, there were all sorts of lava caves and arches to view and study. This one illustrates the different eruptions very nicely. You can see how layers of lava and ash stack on top of the other like a stack of pancakes. Some layers are harder (lava) than others (ash) and, as the waves erode them at different rates, this results in caves and arches. Other caves result from lava tubes where the lava cooled around a flow and, as the flow emptied into the sea, left an open tube. You will not see the little pancake layers if it was formed by a lava tube.
Note, lava is also composed of different minerals, often each rising or sinking into different layers (within a given flow), depending on the mineral's relative weight, viscosity, etc. Silicon floats to the top, leaving a glossy mirror-like sheen on the top of some lava. As shown here, there are also iron-rich layers that turn reddish brown as they oxidize (think rust or red cinders). If reddish brown is from iron, what is that pink rock composed of? As it turns out, the "pink rock" is actually where the lava is covered by a thin layer of pink coraline algae. While most algae is soft, coraline algae deposits onto the rock in a hard mineral-like layer. As it is a living sea organism, you only see it at and below the water line.
Friday, December 02, 2011
Greater White-Fronted Goose, Anser albifrons, Lake Cuyamaca, California. This greater white-fronted goose was happily swimming along with the Canada Geese and what appeared to be a white barnyard/domestic goose with whom it seemed particularly friendly.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
There were three awards granted at the American Orchid Society Judging in Long Beach, California on November 28, 2011, including one FCC to Fred Clarke! The flowers are shown below. The pictures were taken by your very own wayward Hawaiian.
Monday, November 28, 2011
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Canada Goose, Branta canadensis, wintering at Lake Cuyamaca, California. I've never seen them at sea level this far South. However, there's a small flock that apparently Winters up around 4,000 ft. at Lake Cuyamaca.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Wishing you and your loved ones all a wonderful Thanksgiving, regardless of what graces your table tonight.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
A 65 ft. Female Fin Whale, on the beach at Fiesta Island, San Diego, California. This female fin whale washed up on the rocks of Point Loma, just below the waste treatment plant roughly five days ago. A life guard boat was used to drag it to Fiesta Island, shown above, where it would be dissected to determine its cause of death. A young fetus was also present, ejected as the whale began to decay, at the point loma site; however, it was apparently lost in the process of towing the mother to Fiesta Island.
A large grading tractor was used to attempt to pull it up the beach and out of the water. However, after a large strap and two large chains snapped in a most spectacular fashion in the attempt, it was decided to process the whale where it lay. As the scientists started to cut open the whale, the smell, as you would expect, became rather extreme and this photographer left, generally relieved to not be living down-wind of the carcass. However, a small crowd of onlookers remained to watch the process. Apparently, samples are being brought to the Scripps Institute for further research.
Post script: The scientists reported today (11/24) that the cause of death appeared to be a collision with a boat that fractured several of her vertebrae. As fast as these mammals are, you would think that would never happen, but perhaps curiosity lured her in a little to close...
Osprey flying outside of Point Loma. I've wanted to take a picture of one of these ever since I saw them in Halo (good job military PR). Really cool if a bit expensive... For those of you not familiar with tilt rotors, these little beauties take off like a helicopter and then tilt the rotors down into a lateral alignment to fly like an airplane, allowing them to land and take off in tight spots but extends their range and flight speed.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Monday, November 21, 2011
Sunday, November 20, 2011
American Kestrel, Falco sparverius, Cabrillo National Monument, San Diego, California. I drove out to Cabrillo National Monument to see a Fin whale that washed up into a cove just outside the Point Loma Waste Treatment plant. It turns out, however, that the waste treatment plant wasn't having anything to do with lookie-loos and crazy photographers. In fact, they didn't even let their own security guard go down to the cove to see the whale. However, since I was at Cabrillo, I paid the entry fee and made a day of exploring Cabrillo National Park. I started off photographing the tide pools followed by taking pictures of the bird colonies on the cliffs and then by photographing the succulent species growing in the coastal scrub...which is what I was doing when this little guy popped up. He was flying into the stiff, cool breeze, flapping just hard enough to hover over the coastal scrub, looking for lizards, bugs and small animals. Every now and then he would dive down at some prey and then bob right back up into the sky. He (you can ID male American Kestrels by the grey on the top of the wings -- not shown in this photo) continued to hover and swoop for over 15 minutes, providing for some excellent shots including the one above.
Saturday, November 19, 2011
At first, I thought this was a green heron or else perhaps some other heron that I had not seen before, his color being so different from the adult black and white plummage of a Black-Crowned Night Heron, and his presence in broad daylight outside of the cover of a tree being somewhat uncharacteristic of the Black-Crowned Night Herons which frequent Mission Bay. Luckily, however, the National Geographic Field guide I was perusing included pictures of juvenile birds. Hence, the hopefully correct ID above.
Friday, November 18, 2011
We went out whale watching off Point Loma and Mission Bay. Sometimes you'll go whale watching and seeing very little and at a great distance. However, today there were fin whales everywhere! See for yourself!