Sunday, December 28, 2014

Shooting Photos on the Reef

I never get tired of watching the huge schools of fish grazing on algae and flowing with the waves.  I snapped over a hundred pictures before I was forced to head back to shore as the cold and shivering started to take its toll on those normally steady camera hands. The water had a fair amount of particulates, probably due to the recent rainstorms and, perhaps, due to  people feeding the fish nearby so not all of the pictures were clear enough to keep.  However, here are a few to give you an idea of the amazing variety of fish.

Convict tangs (Manini in Hawaiian) and Blue-lined Surgeon 

 Blue Parrotfish and Convict tangs

 Moorish Idol
 Rockmover Wrasse

 Snowflake Moray

 Threadfin Butterfly fish

White bar Surgeon and Convict Tang

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Queen's Surf

Finally a sunny day and a good excuse to get to the beach to snap some fish pictures.  Here's a few pictures of what we saw!

Bluespine Unicornfish

Cigar Wrasse

Lagoon Triggerfish

Orangespine Unicornfish (left) and Fantail filefish (right)

 Manini or Convict Tang and Bluespine Unicornfish browsing on algae on the reef.

 White Mouthed Moray, Gymnothorax melealgris, possibly a male and a female.

 White Mouthed Moray, Gymnothorax melealgris.

White Spotted Puffer

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Anahulu River and the Dole Plantation

American Anole on Bromeliad, hunting for ants.  The Bromeliad was about five feet tall, part of the beautiful gardens at the Dole Plantation.

Canoe team out practicing.  There were three canoes going up and down the river, dodging the crowd of paddleboarders and canoes.

Hawaiian Duck coming out of the water to beg for food.

Mongoose checking me out.  It walked past two cats and neither budged.  In fact, they gave no sign of seeing that mongoose, not even a head turn or a flick of a tail!  I suspect that they are old acqaintances...

Paddleboarding families on the Anahulu River.  One Mom chose to keep her kid up close on the kayak but the other let her kid get up on the paddle board with Dad! 

Green sea turtle coming up for air.  They stayed close to the top of the water, except when the paddleboarders got a little too close, making it easy to have your camera ready when they popped their heads up to breathe.  It seemed like there were four or five green sea turtles in the mouth of the Anahulu river, making for a nice turtle viewing spot for the passing paddle boarders, kayakers and for the people along the shore.

Two green sea turtles up for air at the same time!  Could it be that there were even more than four or five of these in that little patch of water?  I don't know why they are there; perhaps to eat algae or leaves/vegetation off of low lying trees.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Rainy Day Waterfalls at the Ho'omaluhia Botanical Gardens

It was really raining hard today, sometimes so hard it was tough to see out the windshield.  Most people were indoors at home or at the many malls, enjoying the holiday season.  However, I've been hoping to see one of the most spectacular displays Kaneohe has to offer, where the Koolau Mountain range just lights up with waterfalls!  Today was the day.

Waterfalls galore on a rainy day outing to the Ho'omaluhia Botanical Gardens!

 A damp but hungry chicken came up to the car hoping for food!

 Common Waxbill, Estrilda astrid.  These tiny little birds are so light, they can site on a blade of grass.

One of the many varieties of tropical plants at the botanical gardens.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Friday, December 19, 2014

Yellow Banded Pipefish

Yellow Banded Pipefish, Doryrhamphus pessuliferus, at the Waikiki Aquarium.  These tiny seahorse relatives use suction to capture their prey out of tiny crevaces in the reef.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Dog's Day Out

 Brants, Branta bernicula, down from Alaska for the Winter.

 Enjoying the sun and the company.

 Quite the social pair!

 Western Grebe

Western Meadowlark

A bright sunny day after all that rain.  The parking lot was a muddy mess but the doggies were having a great time at the dog park as were the humans!  The migratory birds are down from Alaska and Canada for the Winter.  What's not to like.  Looks like more rain on Tuesday but clear sailing until then!

Sunday, December 07, 2014

SoNo Fest and Chili Cook-off

The  SoNo Fest and Chili Cook-off could not have chosen nicer weather for their chili-loving fans.  Thorn Street was a mass of people trying out just about every sort of chili you could imagine.  Some of them were really amazing including my favorite, the entry from Soda and Swine made of short ribs, milk stout, guajillo peppers and 70% dark chocolate chili!  There were vegan entries, chicken entries, a kahlua pig-Hawaiian entry, a shrimp chili, a prime rib chili, a short rib chili, a venison chili, a green chili chicken version from Urban Solace (my #2 choice.  yum!) and more other varieties than you could imagine.

Of course, this being North Park, the pets were out in force, also enjoying the fine weather and festive mood.  $20 got you a hand made ceramic sampler bowl from the local pottery school/shop and a wrist band which allowed you to go up and down the booths sampling chili until you pretty much rolled out of there.  I truly doubt that anyone left there hungry and it was a great way to survey some of the local restaurants, most of whom had booths on the street and their own variety of chili.

A huge turnout of hungry patrons.

One happy dog, keeping a keen eye on her human's chili!

The Grinch rocking out the North Park crowd

Thursday, December 04, 2014

San Diego AOS Judging Center Awards for December 2014

 Ctsm expansum 'SVO Midori' AM/AOS

 Fdk Enter Dark 'SVO Red Burgundy' AM/AOS

 Lepanthes telipogoniflora 'DMH' HCC/AOS

 Mormodes Virgin del Valle 'SVO Dark Horse' AM/AOS

 Phal Chiada Stacy 'Sweetheart' HCC/AOS

 Phal Sun Jye Diamond 'Peacock' JC/AOS

Telepogon intis 'DMH' AM/AOS

Monday, December 01, 2014

Allen's Hummingbird, Selasphorus sasin, waiting for a spot at the feeder

Allen's Hummingbird, Selasphorus sasin, waiting for a spot at the feeder.  This is the longest the Allen's Hummingbirds have ever stayed, going well into the Winter.  Normally, they've headed down to Mexico and warmer climates by now.  It could be those two huge feeders I have out back...

Monday, November 24, 2014

How to Have Blooming Orchids Every Day of the Year???

Orchids are generally seasonal, blooming at the same time each year (roughly).  The exception is those Phalaenopsis that you find blooming in the grocery store, hardware store, etc. which are forced into bloom through chilling and are therefore available in bloom all year round.  If not forced, most Phalaenopsis would bloom in the Spring through Summer time frame (March-June) [a story for another day].  In any case, if you buy your orchids in bloom and you space your purchases throughout the year, assuming they bloom at the same time the next year, you will typically have something in bloom pretty much all the time!  Of course, buying orchids like Phalaenopsis or Cymbidiums with flowers that last a month or more helps as well.  

One last tidbit.  People complain that they cannot get their Phalaenopsis to re-bloom in the home.  Phalaenopsis benefit from a 10 degree drop in the Fall time frame (or really whenever you're trying to force them to bloom).  Once the new flower spike starts to emerge, you can return the temperature to something more people friendly.  When I lived in "cold country" I used a programmable setback thermostat to drop the temperature by 10 degrees during the day (while I was at work) and raised the temperature back up to the 70's when people were around.  The Phalaenopsis would bloom en masse in the Spring.  In theory, you could do this at any time of year.  However, I did it in the Fall/Winter when I could just turn down the heat during the day.  If you wanted to force them into spike when it is warmer, just pop them in front of a swamp cooler or an air conditioning vent for a week or two.

Here are the Fall bloomers from the greenhouse.

Bulbophyllum rothschildianum 'Red Chimney' FCC/AOS 

Dendrobium victoria-regina 

Dendrochilum cobbianum album 

Dendrichilum cobbianum (this one with a nice orange lip!) 

Laelia anceps 'Mendenhall' X L. anceps 'Newberry Princess' 

 Pleurothallis cardiothallis

Stanhopea impressa 

Stanhopea occulata (this one smells like Andes Mints!)