Identifying the Fish of Hawaii: Spotted Pufferfish

27 05 2016

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Birds of Hawaii: ‘Akekeke

20 04 2016

‘Akekeke is an abundant winter visitor in Hawaii arriving in August and heading to its arctic breading grounds in April and May. A few have been known to oversummer in Hawaii.

They are 9″ with short black bills and legs that are a reddish orange. In flight you can see the bold black pattern on the wings and back.

Their call is a clear rattle or soft whistle.

‘Akekeke frequent the shoreline and mudflats in small flocks and with other shorebirds. Their flight is rapid and an entire clock may rise and turn in unison.





Hawaiian Reef Etiquette

2 04 2016

Milletseed Butterflyfish

Hawaiian Reef Etiquette This short public service announcement is colorful and educational teaching viewers the proper behavior when watching the sea life in Hawaii. Highly recommended.

Here’s a cool website that lists various Hawaiian fish and their Hawaiian names and more common names here.





Hawaiian Birds: `Io

17 03 2016

Hawaiian Birds

Because the islands are more than 2000 miles from North America or Asia there are some amazing birds in Hawaii. It has been said that the absence of predators and minimal competition allowed them to evolve in peace. It has been estimated that there were at one time are least seventy kinds of birds that were unique to Hawaii. Of these some forty percent are already lost to extinction and some thirty percent more that are considered endangered.

Hawaiian Birds: `Io

`Io (Buteo soliarius) is sometimes referred to as the Hawaiian Hawk.

In the Kona region of the Big Island of Hawai‘i, the bulk of Mauna Loa blocks the prevailing trade winds leaving the air quite calm. The daily cycle of gentle convectional breezes moves up and down the gentle slopes, bringing the warm, humid climate. The Hawaiian saying “kaha ka ‘io i ka malie” translates as “the hawk stands out in the calm skies,” and is used to express admiration for a person who stands out in a crowd because of his or her appearance or charisma.

This graceful bird of prey measures 16 to 18 inches in length, the female being larger. Two color phases exist: a dark phase (dark brown head, breast, and underwings), and a light color phase (dark head, light breast and light underwings). Feet and legs are yellowish in adults and greenish in juveniles.

February through August is their breeding season, with pairs having their own schedule that may be dependent on locality. Nests are constructed of twigs and lined with leafy material. Eggs are similar in size and shaped to a chicken egg, light blue in color and either speckled or streaked with brown or reddish brown. The clutch size is normally one egg, and should the egg be lost within a few days of laying, a second clutch is laid within three weeks. Pair bonding appears to be permanent, and a pair uses the same nesting site in succeeding years.

also called the Hawaiian Hawk

The `Io usually hunts from a stationary position, but can also dive on prey from the air. It feeds on rodents, insects, small birds, and some game birds. They are opportunistic predators and are versatile in their feeding habits. They have a shrill and high-pitched call much like their Hawaiian name: “eeeh-oh.” They are known to be very noisy during the breading season. `Io are strong fliers.

In the forests of Kapu‘a in South Kona, ‘io still build their nests in strong ‘öhi‘a trees, calling out their persistence for all to hear. They have a shrill high-pitched call like their Hawaiian name: “eeeh-oh.” They are noisy during the breeding season. ‘Io are very strong fliers.





Hawaiian Birds: Palermi

20 02 2016

The Puaiohi or the Small Kauai Thrush is a rare thrush that is endemic to Kauai. Puaiohi are small, drab birds that have long, slender blackish yellow bills. They have pink feet, legs and some white thigh feathers. The adult birds are highly similar and are olive-brown on top, while the belly is light grey. A white eye ring around the eye is a major trade mark of the species, which distinguishes it from its larger cousin, the Kamao. The chicks are brown, with a pattern interchanging white from brown. The bills of the young are more yellow and the belly is more brown then grey. The Puaiohi is some what tubby, however is not as tubby as it larger relative that lives on Hawaii, the Omao. It songs sound like water gurgling.





Birds of Hawaii: `Apapane

4 11 2015

photograph by Peter LaTourrette

Hawaiian Birds

Because the islands are more than 2000 miles from North America or Asia there are some amazing birds in Hawaii. It has been said that the absence of predators and minimal competition allowed them to evolve in peace. It has been estimated that there were at one time are least seventy kinds of birds that were unique to Hawaii. Of these some forty percent are already lost to extinction and some thirty percent more that are considered endangered.

`Apapane (Himatione sanguinea) from the finch family, are considered a Hawaii Songbird. They have at least ten distinctive songs and six different calls. They foraging actively through tree tops of Ohia lehua, consuming the nectar from each flower as they pollinate them. The `Apapane will be aggressive with any bird that dares to drink from its flowers—even larger birds. They forage primarily in the upper canopy and only rarely feed from the ground. It also frequents flowering koa and mamane and has been observed feeding in pines and flowering eucalyptus. They also are known to snack on insects such as spiders and caterpillars.

5 inches. Both sexes look similar. The bodies are crimson red with a white abdomen and under tail coverts. The wings, tail, and legs are black. The bill is short, black, and slightly curved. Juveniles are similar to adults except are a grayish-brown color. Their wings produce a distinct whirring sound in flight.

Their nests are made from twigs, moss, ferns, rootlets, and lichens. They have 2-4 eggs that are white with reddish markings, there is a two week incubation period.

In early Polynesia, red feathers were most valued, as red was a sacred royal color. Feathers were plucked from the `Apapane birds and used in royal ‘ahu ‘ula-cloaks sometimes made from millions of the red and yellow feathers of small forest birds. They strode into battle wearing crested helmets, velvety with the scarlet feathers of the ‘i‘iwi and ‘apapane birds.





Some Favorite Big Island Places

20 10 2015


Like the name states, the Big Island is big. People come to the island of Hawaii and think they can see it all in a week, take my word for it you can’t possibly.

You can however see some highlights and explore the vast natural world and find places that are not overrun by people by getting  a tad off the beaten track. If you pack some decent walking shoes you can go many places and find yourself away from most tourists who go to the same spots and take the same photos.

Greenwell Farm’s Living History Display

Portuguese Sweet Bread hot from the wood fired oven Thursdays 10-1

Exploring the natural world of Hawaii is a highlight and part of that is visiting some of the sacred ancient sites too. These photos portray a few of my favorite places on the Big Island some of which long time island residents we know have yet to visit. Enjoy!

Mahukona a old sugar depot on the north shore

Ancient Heiau by Spencer Park