Sunday, April 18, 2010

Lana'i Fauna IV - Humpback Whale Dives

In addition to seeing Humpback Whales (Megaptera noveangliae) engaged in the so-called "head rise" or "spy hop", we also saw humpback whales diving on our whale watch boat tour in the channel between Lana'i and Maui.

Here's a sequence of shots of one whale diving while another whale remained on the surface emitting a series of blows (with Maui in the background).

Humpback Whales


Humpback Whales


Humpback Whales


Humpback Whales



Humpback Whales



Humpback Whale

Tweet This

Anna's Hummingbird

Today, we walked along Chrissy Field in San Francisco. Along the way, we observed a male adult Anna's Hummingbird (Calypte anna) sitting on a branch. In the sunlight, we could see his beautiful iridescent red throat. At one point, he was vocalizing the characteristic high-pitched, screechy call. Here's a link to an example of this call. These hummingbirds are very common throughout the year in San Francisco.

Anna's Hummingbird
Vocalizing Male Adult Anna's Hummingbird

Hummingbird
Male Adult Anna's Hummingbird


Tweet This

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Lana'i Fauna III - Humpback Whales and the Head Rise or Spy Hop

Humpback Whales (Megaptera noveangliae) travel from feeding areas in Alaska to the Hawaiian islands in the winter to give birth to their young and mate. As a result, the largest gathering of humpback whales in the world may occur in Hawaii during the winter months. While on Lana'i, we saw blows and tail slaps from humpback whales travelling by the coast and took a whale watch trip into the channel between Lana'i and Maui. There, we had several humpback whale sightings including the so-called "head rise" or "spy hop" in the photos below. Some have speculated that this behavior reflects the whale's curiosity in something on the surface -- perhaps a boat -- as the whale rises relatively slowly out of the water and remains still for a minute or two before finally receding slowly into the water in a horizontal position and creating a large splash.


Humpback Whale
Head Rise or Spy Hop


Humpback Whale
Head Rise or Spy Hop


Humpback Whale
Reclining Horizontally


Humpback Whale
Splash


Tweet This

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Lana'i Fauna II - Axis Deer

The Emperor of India apparently introduced Axis deer to the Hawaiian islands in the 1860s by giving several Axis deer to the island of Moloka'i. A dozen Axis deer from Moloka'i then were introduced to Lana'i in the 1920s. In India, the known predator of Axis deer is the Bengal Tiger. On Lana'i there are no natural predators and thus there are now thousands of Axis deer roaming the island. Axis deer have a very pretty reddish-brown coat with white spots. From our hotel balcony on Lana'i, we saw these three Axis deer blending in well with the Kiawe (Prosopis pallida), a kind of mesquite shrub or tree common to the coastal areas of Lana'i and the other Hawaiian islands.


Lanai (8 of 9)
Axis Deer Doe and two Fauns

Lanai (9 of 9)
Axis Deer Doe




Tweet This

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Lana'i Fauna I - Spinner Dolphins (Stenella Longirostris)



A few weeks ago, we spent a week on Lana'i, one of the smallest Hawaiian islands. While swimming at Hulopo'e Beach, a protected marine life conservation district, a pod of Hawaiian spinner dolphins (Stenella longirostris) swam alongside, above and below us. When the dolphins approached, we stopped swimming and just watched them swim by (and spin above water) with an underwater camera. It was an extraordinary experience. Here's a video of them swimming by us and a few photos.




Spinner Dophins
Lanai (6 of 9)


Spinner Dophins


Lanai (1 of 9)
Tweet This