Saturday, January 30, 2010

Mauna Kea from Mauna Loa's upper Northeast Rift Zone

A view of Mauna Kea from Mauna Loa's upper Northeast Rift Zone. The haze in the saddle area, between Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea are caused by emissions from Kilauea Volcano. These emissions, known as Vog, are the result of volcanic gasses, primarily sulpher dioxide, mixing with moisture and dust in the atmosphere. Notice that the summits of both mountains are clear of haze, this is due to an inversion layer with an average height of about 6,000 feet, (2,000m). The result is a dry and stable atmosphere above the inversion layer. Photo: USGS

Friday, January 29, 2010

Li'ili'i nioi hiohio ka waha

Li'ili'i nioi hiohio ka waha. Small pepper makes the mouth blow. Said of one who is small but potent. A Hawaiian proverb, (Olelo Noeau). Photo: Warren Costa

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

'Ua'u Kani (Puffinus pacificus) Wedge Tailed Shearwater

On a recent trip to the Island of O'ahu, we made a visit to Kaena Point to do some birding. It was a gorgeous day, and we were fortunate enough to see a variety of native Hawaiian birds, including this Wedge Tailed Shearwater resting near its nest. The Wedge Tailed Shearwater nests on the ground in compact, little burrows, dug into the sand. Be careful if you visit the area; some of the nests are on the trail, and you could step on them, if you are not careful!
Kaena Point, the westernmost point on the Island of O'ahu, was designated a Natural Area Reserve in 1983 to protect  valuable and fragile natural and cultural resources. Photo: Warren Costa

Sunday, January 24, 2010


'Onipa'a. Stand firm. Motto of Queen Lili'uokalani, last reigning monarch of Hawaii. Photo: Warren Costa

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Nene: Hawaii's endangered state bird.

The Nene or Hawaiian Goose, (Branta sandvicensis), is endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. At the time of Captain James Cook's arrival in 1778, it was estimated that there were about 2,500 birds in Hawaii. By the mid 1940's, the Nene population on the island of Hawaii was drastically reduced to only 50 individual birds. This reduction in the population was largely due to over hunting, the introduction of predators, such as the mongoose, cats, and dogs, loss of habitat due to agricultural activities, and disturbance by foraging animals, such as the feral pig, sheep, cattle, and goats.
Today, the Nene is a federally listed endangered species, with about 400 individuals on the island of Hawaii, 125 birds on the island of Maui, and a small population on the island of Kauai. Photo: Warren Costa

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pua Kala

Pua Kala, (Argemone glauca),  is an endemic Hawaiian poppy. While most endemic Hawaiian plants are notably devoid of thorns and poisons, Pua Kala is covered with sharp, thorny prickles on its leaves, stems, and seed pods, and the sap contains poisonous alkaloids. The poisonous sap of the Pua Kala was used in Hawaiian medicine to treat toothaches, ulcers, and other ailments. You can see Pua Kala on my Volcano Adventure, and my Hilo Birdwatching Adventure! Photo: Warren Costa

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The sun above, the smooth lava below.

O ka la ko luna, o ka pahoehoe ko lalo. The sun above, the smooth lava below. Said of a journey in which the traveler suffers the heat of the sun above and the reflected heat from the lava bed below. A Hawaiian proverb. Photo: Bandler Ohana.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Moss Sporophyte

The fruiting body of mosses, or sporophytes, are spore - filled stalks that bend and release spores when mature. The spores then grow into new plants. Photo: Warren Costa

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Old sugar plantation house

On a drive back to Hilo from Kona, I turned off Highway 19 onto the Old Mamalahoa Highway. I came across this old plantation home. The yard was overgrown with weeds, and the house was showing signs of decades of neglect. I sat for awhile and tried to imagine the house when it was in it's youth, smelling of pine sap and new paint. One day, the bulldozers will come to wipe the slate clean, making way for a new beginning. Photo: Warren Costa

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Beyond the Rim: Hiking Volcanoes National Park with a guide.

A few months ago, I had the privilege of taking Kim Steutermann Rogers on a tour of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Kim is a writer for . Here is the article that she wrote; Beyond the Rim: Hiking Volcanoes National Park with a guide. Thank you Kim for a great article!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Benchmark on the rim of Kilauea Caldera.

Benchmark on the rim of Kilauea caldera. For more information on benchmarks and benchmark hunting check out this site. This benchmark can be seen on my Volcano Adventure Tour. Happy hunting! Photo: Warren Costa

Friday, January 8, 2010

Lava visible within Halemaumau's collapse pit!

Spectacular eruptive activity has been occuring within the collapse pit in Halemaumau crater at Kilauea's summit. In this photo taken by the Hawaii Volcanoes Observatory, a lava stream is clearly visible within the pit. Also visible, are the walls of the pit, which are usually obscured by fumes. This is a great time to visit Kilauea volcano! Make the most of your visit with a tour by Native Guide Hawaii, or send me an email for more information.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010