I managed to get several pictures of the green heron last summer at Boomer Lake, and I was happy with how I managed to progress from just getting a partial picture of a green heron to actually getting a picture of one in flight during a very foggy morning.
I haven’t seen a night heron since my trip to Hawaii back in 2009; but in all honesty, I had no idea that they migrated through Oklahoma. I think it would be super cool to spot one within the lower forty-eight states–though that may mean being in a slightly more tropical part (such as California, Florida, or along the Texas coast) where they are around all year.
The other ‘stocky’ members that I would like to get a picture of are the yellow-crowned night heron (which is mainly found in the eastern part of the US, though it does summer in OK), and the bitterns (both American and Least), but these two birds are even more secretive than the green heron.
Have you gotten a picture of a bittern? If you have–how long did it take to get a good picture?
So I’m in a mood to where I’m looking back at old pictures and trying to decide where and when I’m going to take another solo vacation. I’ve realized that I don’t do it often enough (I don’t mind traveling with friends or family), but there is something about picking a place to go, and then having all the control over what one does while they are there.
Today’s throwback pictures are throwbacks to my trip to Hawaii back in 2009. The theme of the pictures is simple–it’s reptiles.
So one of my favorite animals that I actually got to see in the wild–the sea turtle. Green Sea Turtles are common around the islands (they’re one of five species found in the area). The one I would really love to see in the wild is the leatherback sea turtle–it’s the largest sea turtle (and the fourth heaviest reptile) in the world.
I may have to look into a good snorkel mask that I can fit over my glasses so that if I ever decide to go back and snorkel–I’d be able to see what I’m trying to take pictures of.
The other two smaller reptiles that I saw, were two lizards that kept me company during the day and early evenings when I was in my hotel room.
The first one that I saw was the green anole. This little guy, isn’t native to the islands–but they’ve established themselves quite nicely. They were originally brought over to sell in pet stores, but then they either escaped or were let loose. After awhile they managed to establish themselves on the islands.
The other lizard that I saw was much more colorful. I knew that it was a gecko due to the toes, but I wasn’t certain at the time of the species. This guy stands out brilliantly due to being a day gecko. These geckos are native to Madagascar and other islands off the east coast of Africa. Therefore since they’re out during the day–they need to be able to blend in with the vegetation, hence the bright green coloring. While it is hard to see in this picture–they also have a vivid blue ring around their eyes.
You can see a little bit of the blue around the eyes from the top. You can also see all the “gold” dusting on the back of the gecko as well. While the presence of either lizard is a double edge sword. They can be considered somewhat beneficial–they eat obnoxious insects, but at the same time they could be driving undiscovered insects and small invertebrates extinct as well.
I would like to go back to the islands one of these years, and try to see what other wildlife I can get pictures of: there are four other sea turtles in the waters surrounding the islands, whales, rays, fish, birds, and flowers. That will be the next goal–more wildlife pictures from another island (or a different part of the big island).
So today’s pictures are for #waterfallwednesday. Also I was feeling slightly nostalgic and wanted to look back on my first big solo trip that I took in 2009. One of the places that I visited within Hilo, was the Wailuku River State Park, which had a nice waterfall.
I actually went to the this particular state park twice–once on my own, and then as part of a group tour.
The waterfall was nice–not gushing over, but it had been awhile since they had any rain, so things were drying up a little. I would have loved to see the rainbow that forms in the morning–but my hotel wasn’t close to the falls, and it wasn’t open that early anyway.
I wished that I had seen these waterfalls when the water was flowing nice and fast over them–to where you would be barely able to make out the caves below them. Even though they were “small” waterfalls–at least there was enough water flowing over them to be waterfalls.
One thing I would like to do–travel and see how many different pictures of different waterfalls I could capture. I’ve gotten several from different state parks in northern Minnesota. They’re a thing of beauty when they’re flowing and a thing of wonder when there isn’t much water flowing and you can see under the falls.
Today’s photograph is
also another flashback Friday photo for my trip to Hawaii. One of the things I
tried to do on my trip was sit near the water in areas where I could observe
fish and other aquatic life. I then tried to zoom in with my camera to get pictures
(this was all before I got a digital camera that I could then actually put in
the water). So some of the photos came out nice and crisp, and other (like this
one) had more of abstract look to them.
I thought that the fish
in the photo is the Moorish idol (Zanclus cornutus)—or a member of the
butterfly fishes that also closely resembles it—hard to totally tell from the
picture. Anyway—the Moorish idol is a fish that has a wide distribution through
the tropical and subtropical waters, especially around reefs and lagoons. But
know I think that it is the black and white butterflyfish; these fish are also
found throughout the tropical and subtropical waters around reefs.
The diet of the
butterfly fish varies depending on the species—some eat coral polyps and sea
anemones, while others are more omnivorous (which makes them easier to care for
in salt water aquariums).
The way the fish mature is unique as
well—butterfly fish release their eggs, which float on the currents with
plankton until hatching. Then as they mature, the young go through a stage
where they are covered in large, bony plates that are shed when they mature.
The Moorish idol is a very difficult fish to try to keep in captivity—mainly due to its diet (it feasts on sponges, coral polyps, tunicates, and various other invertebrates) and the fact that they require very large tanks as well. So that is why butterflyfishes (especially the black and white) are sometimes called the Moorish idol replacements.
I would like to go back to Hawaii and try my hand again at getting pictures of various fish under water, now that I do have a camera that I can stick underwater (at least a few feet).
So today’s FishyFriday post is the “unicorn fish” and also a Flashback Friday post to my one trip to Hawaii (namely the big island).
It has been almost ten
years since I went to Hawaii (I went in December 2009 to celebrate having
passed my dissertation proposal exam—which meant I was basically one
presentation/paper away from getting my PhD). I managed to pack quite a bit of
sightseeing of the large island in during that time—especially seeing the
Volcano National Park twice.
I spent quite a bit of
time walking in Hilo, and one of the stops was the Mokupapapa Discovery Center,
which focuses on the native coral reefs and fish around Hawaii. Within the
Discovery Center is a 3,500-gallon saltwater aquarium with numerous different
One of those fish is
the “unicorn fish”. There are twenty species, and they are found in the
Indo-Pacific region of the oceans. They get their name from the long spike that
is protruding from the forehead.
These fish are herbivores feeding on algae (though they can also be opportunistic feeders and eat other small invertebrates that they come across as well), and travel in groups (called schools).
One of the things I would like to do is get back to Hawaii for another visit. There are other areas of the Big Island I would like to see, and I would to see how Mother Nature changed the landscape of the Volcano National Park as well.