"Oh! Oh! Right there! See it? Up . . . down . . . splash!"
"Another one! Up . . . down . . . splash! Did you get that?"
|A humpback whale as seen from our beach chairs.|
I was taking pictures of the empty horizon with a tiny point-and-shoot camera, on maximum zoom.
The shutter-delay was driving me crazy. But also, in the bright sun I couldn't see anything through the viewfinder. I just pointed the camera at the horizon. As soon as Bob yelled "Up," I pressed the shutter. And as soon as the whale sank out of sight into the depths, the shutter finally clicked and took a picture of blue on blue.
Later, after enlarging my images to the breaking point on the computer, I did find one where a whale is visible. It isn't much, but I came home with memories better than my images.
|A gecko consumes some disgusting thing.|
From December to May, humpbacks prowl just offshore of Hawaii's Big Island. We saw them nearly every day last week, from various beaches. They visit Hawaiian waters on their annual migration to breed and give birth.
On the smaller end of the scale, the geckos on our patio entertained me endlessly. They say you aren't too likely to see a cockroach in Hawaii - and I didn't - partly because the geckos hunt them voraciously. Big points to the geckos!
But geckos are harder to photograph than I expected. They dart fast and end up in shady corners. It's not easy to photograph a dark object in a dark corner while facing the blinding sun.
|A tanager forages for insects in our lawn.|
In Hawaii the yellow birds with reddish heads were all but tame. They were everywhere on the lawn and hedge behind our condo, foraging for insects.
Their tolerance of humans surprised me because, on Whidbey in the summer, these migrating visitors from the tropics are very shy and remain high in the tree canopy for the most part.
Another pretty bird that frequented our condo was the Red-crested Cardinal, which I understand is a member of the tanager family.
|Red-crested Cardinal takes a bath.|
One of the more striking birds I photographed was the Java Sparrow. This one intrigues me. It is said to be a popular cagebird. It is described as gregarious, and since it feeds on grain and other seeds, farmers consider it a serious agricultural pest.
I don't have the whole picture of this bird's distribution, but apparently it has been introduced to several widely different parts of the world.
|Apparently not everyone loves the Java Sparrow, but I do.|
In the United States a breeding population also became established in the Hawaiian islands, especially Oahu.
I could go on about birds, but that's not all we saw.
While visiting the Place-of-Refuge I wrote about in post #38, we noticed a Green Sea Turtle sunning itself on a sandy beach. Ok, this creature does not exactly put on a "show," but is kinda fun to watch even while lying stock still on its belly.
|Another exhausting day for the Green Sea Turtle.|
I missed way more pictures than I got. While driving up and down the Kona Coast, through the endless lava fields, we saw many wild goats and wild donkeys. Signs warn of donkeys on the move especially at sunrise and sunset.
Sorry! I can't drive and take pictures at the same time. The rental car company gently told Bob they lose two cars a week in head-on collisions caused by drivers in the oncoming lane. I feel very proud that we did not put so much as a nick in the paint. We stayed in our lane.
I did get a "butt view" of a wild turkey. Blame that on the delayed shutter again.
|Mccaws at the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden.|
I had mixed feelings about the confinement, but the keeper indicated the birds have it pretty good. They're all related to one-another, all about 20-30 years old, and he has known them all their lives. He plays with them daily and the bird-human relationship appears quite close.
Back at the condo, a feral cat came calling on our patio one evening. Sue thought it was adorable and fed it milk, though it hissed every time she put down the bowl. I cannot feel anything for feral cats. This one did not look malnourished at all. In Hawaii I believe feral cats probably are the most environmentally destructive pest of all, eating thousands if not millions of wild birds.
|Cattle egrets near Hilo. Terrible photo. Pretty birds.|
Bottlenosed dolphins swim in a special lagoon at the Hilton Hotel and are easy to watch. Management calls it The Dolphin Learning Center and offers visitors a chance to swim with them. I think it's a thinly-disguised sideshow and a disgrace. The dolphins don't have much space or any freedom at all. I guess they're supposed to be grateful that we pen them up.
Our friend, Sherryl, saw manta rays somewhere. I didn't get the story on that yet.
Magpies were everywhere. At the Hilton Hotel after dark, a whole treeful of magpies raised such a deafening racket we asked an employee if the sound were actually an amplified recording. She said no, it's the real thing.
The sights and sounds of Hawaii wildlife were surprisingly rich. I might try this again sometime with a real camera.