Sunday, October 08, 2006

Hanging out in the jungle again

Sorry for the gap in posts - lately things have been pretty routine with work, school and transit!

Today was my first day volunteering at the Waimea Valley Audubon Garden. By far the most interesting thing today was being practically swarmed by Hawaiian moorhens (or 'alae'ula, which stands for something along the lines of "red skull" because of their beaks), which is the guy at the beginning of the post. They are very endangered (there are only about 500 left) and native only to Oahu and Kauai - but we saw a bunch of them at the park today! The tags on its legs tell you two things - the blue and silver ones on the left leg tell you that the bird came from the Waimea Valley, and the colored band on the right leg is unique to that individual bird, like its name. After I snapped the shot of this one, we were joined by a bunch of his/her (you can't tell the birds' sex visually; males and females look exactly the same and sex is determined by a blood test) buddies. Two of them were "posturing" which is a behavior similar to chickens preparing to fight - head down and feathers ruffled. Sure enough, there was a moorhen brawl just feet away from the volunteer coordinator and me.

This next picture is of a jackfruit tree. I drank a snapple or something like that that was made of jackfruit, only I had absolutely no idea what a jackfruit is. So those enormous fruits in the tree are jackfruits, and they are delicious. If you have ever had a fruit beverage that you have never heard of, it is probably from here, things like breadfruit, star fruit, dragonfruit, etc. Dragonfruits are interesting looking, but I would have absolutely no idea how to eat it!!!

Last but not least, the tree at the end was my favorite thing that I saw today. The formal name is entada monostachya, and it is from the West Indies to Guiana, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic. This one was planted from a seed in 1977.

I am keeping up with the online album of Audubon pictures, and they aren't all posted here - so if you want to see what I am seeing, you can always go to this site.


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