Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Kauai 2012: Quick post

I'm nursing a wicked sunburn tonight and am feeling pretty beat, but I didn't want too many days to go by without posting something.  So I thought I'd put up a couple of bird shots I took today at the Kilauea Lighthouse; many, many more will follow at some point in the near future (I hope).

First, a juvenile White-tailed Tropicbird, which lacks the distinctive long tail feathers of the adult birds. It's definitely one of the better shots I've ever taken of this particular seabird:

And second, a shot of a Red-footed Booby that caught my eye as I went through today's images:

Friday, January 27, 2012

Kauai 2012: Grove Farm flowers

Today we took a tour of Grove Farm, a historic plantation with ties to my own family tree. It was an interesting and very informative day, during which I took several pictures both outside and when we were inside the various buildings. However, there's also a group of chickens and roosters that hang out around the house my folks are renting that have a propensity for crowing and clucking back and forth starting around 3 a.m., which means despite it being fairly early in the evening I find I'm about ready to crash for the night. I really want to do justice to the tour and what I learned, including double-checking some info and correcting the lighting on a few of the photos, so I'm afraid my post about our visit will have to wait until I've had more time to get my act together.

In the meantime, I also photographed a few of the flowers growing in various locales along the grounds; as they don't need much explanation or elaboration on my part, I figured I'd share those with you this evening instead:

Our tour guide told us that this flower is a Dutchman's Pipe.  From the side, it's not too difficult to figure out how it got its name:

When you open up the blossom, as our guide did, this is the sight that greets you:

One last flower for the road:

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Kauai 2012: I cannot tell a lie...

...it was my brother Greg who chopped down our neighbor Don's banana tree. With his blessing, of course:

All it requires is a machete, an apron if you're wearing decent clothes, and a bit of patience:

From a different angle:

Thar she goes...

As Don and Dad looked on, Greg cut the banana bunch off the tree—he told us he was pretending his target was any one of the chickens that like to wake us at 4 a.m.:

Greg auditioning for the next Saw sequel:

And a bit more relaxed (The apron Greg's wearing is the name of our friend Don's longtime family farm and business, The Farmer's Daughter):

Don shows Greg how to hang the banana bunch up to dry as Dad supervises:

Cutting off a bunch to take back to our place:

Do I have something on my face?

Finally, Greg with the fruits of his labors—pun most definitely intended:

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Kauai 2012 : Honu 2

Fair warning: do not mistake the lack of bird photos in today's post for a lack of bird photos. In fact, today I amassed an insane number of images overall, a good number of which starred various avian species. However, it seemed like it was time to take a break from birds, and it wasn't like I was lacking for other options. So, to start things off, a few shots I took this morning of a nearby tree. I really liked how the red leaves were backlit by the morning sun; this first image in particular brought to mind a stained-glass window:

A banana tree growing right next to the house my folks are renting:

A couple of shots of an anole I spotted in the underbrush as I walked along the lanai:

And an anole Dad noticed when it crawled up one of the stumps at the edge of the lawn:

I didn't crop this one in quite as much to provide a better sense of the gecko's size; the trunk in question is about as big around as a basketball:

Later in the afternoon, Mom, Dad, and I walked over to Shell Beach to enjoy the sunshine and, in my case, see what there was to photograph. I'd only been there for five minutes when a couple of guys walking by told me there was a turtle swimming around in a long, narrow pool running from close to the shoreline and out to the deeper water (I can only imagine what it would be like for a person not paying strict attention as they walked along the reef—one moment they'd be maybe shin-deep in the water, the next waist-deep or more). Dad and I hurried over as best we could, but when we got there a man who'd been observing the turtle from the shore had waded in to either photograph or record it. He kept approaching as close to it as he could, it would move away, and slowly but surely he ended up pushing it toward the deeper water. By the time I got there, it seemed well on its way to heading back out to sea.  I tried taking a few shots, but all you could really see was a dark mass in the water.

A bit cranky, I headed back towards the shore. But for whatever reason, I looked back at the pool one last time before I started heading back up to where Mom and Dad had set up their beach chairs. I noticed a dark patch in the water in an area where I didn't think I'd seen any rocks before. I waited, and before too long the spot moved. Spirits renewed, I sloshed back on out and started clicking away.

The majority of the photos I took of the turtle in the water pretty much looked like this, thanks to the constantly moving water:

This was about the only shot I got where the shape in the water was even remotely recognizable as something living:

However, I did manage to get lucky a few times and snag some photos of the turtle's head when it popped up for a breath of fresh air; this first one is the only time the turtle wasn't facing away from me when it happened:

My best shot of the turtle's head:

Cropped in a bit closer:

A look out across the pool at the gorgeous colors of the water, from the shallower light-green of the pool water to the deeper blues of the ocean proper:

Finally... well, how could I not end today's post with this particular shot?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Kauai 2012: Birdapalooza

Another bunch of bird photos today, so once again I've picked a sampling for posting.

To start things off, a bird I'd never noticed during my previous stays on Kauai, yet ever since sighting my first Pacific Golden Plover on Sunday I keep seeing it everywhere—including this morning on the front lawn of the house my folks are renting:

A quintet of Zebra Doves:

A Zebra Dove coming in for a landing on the lanai railing, joining one of its brethren and a pair of Java Sparrows already enjoying their breakfast:

A group shot of the foursome:

Loved the head tilt:

Not my best photo ever, but I liked the way the sun backlit this juvenile Java Sparrow's wing:

A couple of close-up shots of a juvenile Java Sparrow I took later in the afternoon; it was a pretty daring little thing, coming close enough to where Greg and I sat watching that I actually had to zoom out a bit to keep it in frame:

Perhaps emboldened by the younger bird's successfully surviving its proximity to us humans, a pair of adult Java Sparrows soon joined it:

Another bird I saw for the first time yesterday—a male White-rumped Shama:

Moments after taking the above photos of the male, I saw my first female Shama. After flitting around in the greenery at the edge of the lawn, she ended up perching in the same plant he just had. Naturally, it made perfect sense to use those particular shots for her blog debut as well:

And a Mejiro to close out today's photos: