zolac_no_miko: (Darwin Valentine)
So for purposes of my thesis I'm curled up in bed reading books and papers on songbird vocalization, attempting to come up with a satisfactory definition of the difference between a song and a call. The problem is, this is biology, and our petty human definitions are very frequently NOT satisfactory, so this has only led to me having a crazy-eyed meltdown on Twitter.

Thought I would share the Storify, for anyone who needs a laugh. Or a cautionary tale.

Biology is the worst science.
zolac_no_miko: (authentic Hawaiian coconut tree)
Oh look I'm actually doing this two days in a row, I'M SO AWESOME, YEEEEAAAHHH~!!

THING ONE! Talked my darling dear friend Chris on the phone today, which I don't do nearly often enough. (She was one of my closest friends at college practically from day one.) It was her birthday on Saturday, which prompted a wee bit of phone tag, and we finally caught each other at a good time tonight. So that was nice.

THING TWO! There's this thing in Hawai‘i where we have chickens just sort of wandering around, wild, don't belong to anyone. Mostly they're moa, or Red Junglefowl, that the Hawaiians brought with them, but all kinda interbred with other domestic chicken breeds. Since we a) don't have a dog or a cat anymore, and b) we throw papaya skins around under our trees to encourage chickens to dig coqui frogs out of the leaf litter and eat them, hens and chickies like to come and hang out in our yard and forage where it's friendly and safe. ANYWAY, there's this one black silkie chicken that's been wandering around the last couple years or so, and she's got her second clutch of little half-silkie chicks, TINY BLACK PEEPING RIDICULOUS FLOOFBALLS AAAAAAAAAAAHHH they make me so happy. T__T

THING THREE! Forrest wanted to have a "found foods" dinner, so I'm sitting on a lawn chair in the dark, drinking a beer while he pokes at the grill. I brought a breadfruit, and he's got some oysters from his job at the aquaculture research facility and lobsters from his lobster dive and heart of palm that he brought back from his kayak camping trip up on the north coast last weekend and it's gonna be awesome, basically.
zolac_no_miko: (‘I‘iwi)
As already discussed, my long weekend at Hakalau sort of messed up the consecutive thing. I've decided to pick three things from the whole weekend and call that my Day 2.

THING ONE! Yesterday morning I had the most INCREDIBLE encounter with an ‘Io, or Hawaiian Hawk. These hawks are listed as endangered, but they're quite common on my island, and you see them flying above Hilo all the time. Hakalau, however, is the environment they evolved for, a dense forest full of their prey, Hawaiian forest birds. I see several hawks a day up there, on the hunt, quiet and intense as they glide swiftly between the trees. ...ANYWAY, I was setting up a mist net for our day of bird banding when out of the corner of my eye I saw a branch shake. I looked up to see what bird had landed, and in a low ‘ohi‘a branch about 35 feet above my head was a gorgeous light phase hawk! (‘Io come in a range of colors, categorized into "light phase," or a white chest and face, or "dark phase," mostly dark brown.) The hawk sat there for quite some time, alternately peering at me and into a tangle of ferns on the hillside, while I gaped up at it, wishing I had my camera on me. After a few minutes, it flew off, demonstrating its skill as a forest hunter by passing through a gap between two tree trunks that couldn't have been more than 6 inches wide.

THING TWO! This morning, for what I believe is the first time ever in my life, I laid eyes on the planet Mercury. I woke at 5:15 a.m. and at 6500 feet the pre-dawn sky was glorious, a dome of dark, dark blue still set with bright stars overhead, and a ring of brilliant, flaming scarlet at the horizon. The clouds were below us, and set just above them, in the middle of the fiery band of red, the small, pale face of a planet too small to be Venus. ...I wish my phone had been up to the challenge of photographing the scene, but the stars and planets were too small and unfortunately there was just no capturing that gorgeous red.

THING THREE! Just now, tiny baby gecko on my wall. :)
zolac_no_miko: (WHEEEEEE~!!)
Quick drive-by update, since it's been a while. Since I wrapped up my USGS Avian Disease Project job my life has been brief flurries of adventuring all over the island in between bouts of being too sick to move. For serious, I have had this horrible cold off and on for weeks. Finally got my energy back (for the second time) in time to hike down to the bottom of Pololū Valley (FINALLY) and go dancing to The Olliephonics at the Blue Dragon in Kawaihae and eat piles and piles of delicious food (omg the lambchops with the fig-pomegranate sauce and the fern shoots and the goat cheese mashed potatoes and the jaboticaba sorbet a;lhsdlgha;ksjgkahsldfk). Had great fun dancing with a guy who just moved to the island from Eugene; he's in Kona but he swears he'll come to Hilo often so he can dance with us. All I can say is, HE'D BETTER, god, young, awesome dancers really need to move here more often.

So that was Sunday, and we got back late Sunday night, and I had just enough time to get my shit together Monday morning before taking off again into the field for the first couple of days of my new job. Up to Hakalau with grad student Josh and an intern who will be leaving shortly, taking a side trip to the summit of Mauna Kea just for fun, spending an enjoyable evening eating teriyaki and char siu axis deer and talking about Science, and waking up early to spend the day in the forest looking for birds. So many excellent sightings of ‘akepa and Hawai‘i creeper, among other things.

In theory I am now full-time employed, although I haven't actually seen my boss' face since February, and I haven't heard from him where or when I'm needed tomorrow or what I'll be doing. *SIGH* Pat is an excellent scientist and a super nice guy and I owe him a lot and I will owe him even more over the next few years, but... he is not terribly well organized. OH WELL.

The big big news is that in ten days I'm taking off on a massive trip with my mother that will involve a day of poking around in Baltimore/Washington D.C., a day of poking around London, many days hiking, biking, kayaking, etc. through Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina, and a few days exploring Bulgaria during which time I will FINALLY meet my dear friend [livejournal.com profile] sirona_gs and maybe I will meet up with my friend Toni as well? GUYS THIS IS GOING TO BE SO AWESOME OMG I AM SO EXCITED.

Which brings me to the question, WHO WANTS A POSTCARD??? If I don't already have your contact info you can give me your address (send me a PM if you're leery of leaving it in a comment, or email me if you have my email, or whatever); if you have a preference for where you'd like your postcard from (Baltimore, Washington D.C., London, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, or Bulgaria) let me know, and I shall do my best to comply. I'll be spending the most time in Croatia and Bulgaria, so I can pretty much guarantee satisfaction for those two locations, at least.
zolac_no_miko: (authentic Hawaiian coconut tree)
We had visitors at the banding station today! A couple of cute local guys, recent Park Service hires on the Fire Crew. They were down in 'Ainahou, weed-whacking roadsides and parking spaces (tall, dry grass and the hot underbellies of cars, not a happy combination). They hung out for a bit and watched us extract birds from the net and do our whole banding and bleeding routine, the two of them all wide-eyed and impressed and asking questions. THEY WERE COMPLETELY ENDEARING. It was fun doing a bit of impromptu outreach, giving some local kids their first up-close experience with 'amakihi and 'apapane. One guy was especially interested because he makes feather lei, and he buys his feathers from the store but he's always dreamed of catching native birds and collecting feathers, the way his ancestors did.

So it was a fun day. ♥


Jun. 28th, 2012 10:24 am
zolac_no_miko: (Darwin Valentine)
So the good news is, the bird did not perish while in my care. Whew! The bad news is, no, there is no procedure in place for USGS Avian Disease to care for lost baby birds, or at least not non-natives; I suspect KBCC would probably take in native birds. (Oh, baby bird is probably a Japanese white-eye actually.)

So I spent the first hour of work trying to figure out WHAT TO DO WITH BABY BIRD, because, realistically, I cannot raise a baby bird to maturity right now, once Jackie and Dennis come back I could be living in the woods again at any time. So I turned to my old friend the internet and found the number for a wildlife rescue place in Kona. I could have taken birdy all the way to Kona and given it to them; the girl told me she's taking care of another baby white-eye as we speak. But she also told me that I could put birdy on a branch within a football field sized area of where it was found, and the parents would hear its voice and come take care of it. ...So that is what I did.

I think birdy will be fine. It's covered in feathers and it can almost fly, so I think it's at the right age to fledge from the nest. That's probably why it was on the road in the first place.

...In other news I think I've managed to get myself some part-time temporary employment? One of the other USGS offices is willing to pay me $9:45/hr for data entry, so I'll be doing that part-time until Jackie comes back. ...HOLY SHIT ACTUAL WAGES. I mean, that's not a lot, but... it's more than I'm being paid now! ...Sweet~.
zolac_no_miko: (self-explanatory)

...So just as I was getting ready to leave the field station, some girls with volunteer shirts come up and they're like, "Are you one of the bird people? WE FOUND THIS BABY BIRD WHAT DO WE DO?" And they're holding this tiny adorable feathery thing, and I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO, Carter and like anyone with any sort of authority has gone home already, and I have no idea what if anything our department does with stray hatchlings but GODDAMMIT YES I AM ONE OF THE BIRD PEOPLE so I took it. And I stole borrowed some Nekton and an eyedropper and the hospital box and I took it home with me.

I think it's a baby Leiothrix? It's very cute, most of its feathers have come in but it's still tiny, definitely not quite ready to fledge. I've got the hospital box set up in the bathroom with the desk lamp from the bedroom and one of the vanity lightbulbs from above the bathroom mirror (incandescent) for warmth. It's been taking Nekton and just now I tweezer-fed it some mashed up banana and a;shdglka;shjdflak BABY BIRD AAAAAAAHHHH SO CUTE.

...And I'm really hoping that when I bring the bird back in tomorrow morning it will still be alive Carter will be there and he will tell me WHY YES OF COURSE ANGELA, WE HAVE A WHOLE SYSTEM IN PLACE FOR TAKING CARE OF LOST BABY BIRDS, LET ME TAKE THAT ADORABLE THING OFF YOUR HANDS.

Oh gaaaaaaaaawwwdd another animal to take care of, WHY. (At least this has all of the cute and none of the annoying. The dogs and cats could learn a thing or two from it.)

ETA: [livejournal.com profile] apple_pathways pointed out that photo evidence was required:

zolac_no_miko: (some say his first name is The)
So a bunch of stuff happened in the last couple weeks. Had fun going to the Kamehameha Day Festival and seeing Prometheus. ...The movie was awesome, by the way... definitely very Ridley Scott, if you like Ridley Scott. Creepy Android!Michael Fassbender was, as I fully expected, my favorite. ...Now I feel like I need to marathon the Alien movies. (Tried to watch Blade Runner the other night... BORED ME TO TEARS.)

The last couple of weeks have been pretty nice at work... exploring Kahuku, mist-netting at ‘Ainahou... I like ‘Ainahou, I mean, it's pretty weedy and there's lower bird diversity and I'm pretty biased towards the rainforest (‘Ainahou's a lot drier than Nauhi), but... it's just a really nice place to hang out. It's sunny and warm and the birds come in at just the right pace... and I'm lounging in the grass under a blue sky, writing, and getting up occasionally to go for a walk under the trees and check nets, and play with birds for a few minutes before going back to lounging and writing and just... how awesome is my life?? Other people work in cubicles. (I told my mom this and she pointed out that other people get paid more than $20 a day. THANKS MOM. ...It's still the best job ever, so there. XP)

And then Friday before last Jackie and I were going to go to Na‘alehu to meet with her friend John from The Nature Conservancy and pore over maps and get his opinions on the best ways to access remote parts of the Ka‘u Forest Reserve, but he absolutely had to go into the field that day... so we went with him! We met up with him and this-younger-guy-whose-name-I-forget in Pahala and drove up to TNC's Kaiholena Preserve, which was AWESOME because I've never ever been up there before. It's way up in the Ninole Hills, which is this really awesome and interesting and (I think) kinda creepy area in Ka‘u, where a massive fault-slip and subsequent erosion created these hills that look completely out of place with the rest of the island's geology (most hills in Hawai‘i are cinder cones), and they're all green and mysterious with their heads in the clouds and I've always wanted to go up there. And the forest in Kaiholena is beautiful, really pristine and full of all my favorite plants, and we took a nice walk along the fence line marking out where the helicopter needed to drop fence-repair materials and I had a lot of trouble keeping up because I kept stopping to geek out at the botany. ^_^;; And we had lunch TNC's little pavilion at the bottom of the preserve with a gorgeous view down to the coast, and on the way down we took a side trip to one of the hills to see this plant called nuku ‘i‘iwi (‘i‘iwi bill) because I'd never seen it/heard of it before and Jackie thought I'd enjoy it, which is... really kind of sweet, actually. It's this really cool vine with beautiful flowers that, yes, do resemble ‘i‘iwi bills in color and shape, and as;hgkalhskfakjshdfls NEW PLANT. *geeks out some more* And all of the lower hills had, mixed in with the native plants, ti and kukui and one of the old Hawaiian varieties of bananas, the name of which I forget, but John told me it was one of the few varieties that women were allowed to eat, and also that it was one of the varieties of bananas that the Hawaiians brought with them in their very first voyage, which makes sense because we're so close to that very first settlement down there. Looking at those ti and kukui and bananas that were probably descendants of plants planted around the very oldest Hawaiian settlements gave me a kind of chicken-skin feeling. ...Anyway, IT WAS A COOL TRIP and it made me very happy. Fuck $20 a day, I CAN'T BELIEVE I GET PAID FOR THIS AT ALL.

On Saturdays I've been doing a bunch of chores for Mom, since her arm's in a cast and she can't do a lot. Father's Day Dad came up to Volcano, and we had a really excellent afternoon: lunch at Lava Rock Cafe, wine tasting at the Volcano Winery, a trip to Jaggar to watch the steam come out of Halema‘uma‘u, and a trip down to ‘Ainahou so I could show him my work site and the historic ranch buildings.

Last week has been more netting at ‘Ainahou mostly, although Thursday and Friday I was on-loan to Mark Kupono trying to catch ‘i‘iwi up Mauna Loa Strip Road. No ‘i‘iwi in the net, just ‘amakihi and ‘apapane and white-eyes, but one of the ‘apapane was this really pretty hatch year bird that was in between fledgling and adult plumage... mostly red with gray and tawny bits and a red racing stripe on the back of its head. SO CUTE. And it was just a really nice day up there, lounging on the rocks and reading. ...Boss Jackie is taking off for Bali for three weeks, so I expect to be doing a lot more of this, along with fun things like data entry and organizing the supply closet. :P

Another major thing is I moved into my boss Dennis' house Thursday before last. He and his family are on vacation for over a month, traveling on the Mainland and in Italy, and I'm house-sitting for them. (Thus the adventure with the can opener the other day.) It's... a bit of an adjustment for me, because they have two dogs and three cats and two bunnies and two turtles and some fish, and it's weird having dependents. And the dogs need to be walked every day, and they have to be walked really early in the morning when no one else is on the street because they get aggressive with other dogs and strange people, so this means I wake up at 6:00 even on the weekends, which is just... not like me at all, heh. But all of the animals are super sweet. It's pretty nice for my ego to come home and EVERYONE IS SO HAPPY TO SEE ME OMG. So I'm really enjoying it, even if there's dog hair EVERYWHERE and Belle is needy and loud and psychotic and has WAY TOO MUCH ENERGY and Splotch has a marked tendency to wake me up at 2:30 in the morning MEOWING LOUDLY FOR NO REASON AT ALL. Can't get too upset with them, THEY'RE ALL SO CUTE.

Oh and also I PIMPED MY RIDE. )
zolac_no_miko: (I am kind of strange.)
Sorry for the radio silence, since my last post I've pretty much done nothing outside of work but lie around and read old OMG logs and threads. This tends to happen from time to time; once I get started it's very hard to stop.

Work's been fun, and the weather's been gorgeous. So weird to be in places that are hot and sunny. Trip to Malama Ki was successful; we caught the four 'amakihi that Carter needed for his immunology study. Two of the birds were infected with the knemidokoptes mites that Boss Jackie discovered on 'amakihi for the first time a few years ago. These skin mites are HORRIBLE; they cause a "scaly-leg" mange that makes it look like the birds' legs have been tempura-fried. It's DISGUSTING. The first bird we caught had one of the most extreme cases that anyone's seen in Hawai'i; the other bird was only in the early stages. I'll post pics sometime so y'all can be disgusted with me. :P

The rest of the week was mostly setting up poles in 'Ainahou (we start netting there on Tuesday), plus driving back down to Malama Ki on Wednesday morning to let our captive birdies go. Tomorrow we go to East Kahuku to scope out mist-netting sites... SO EXCITE. I love East Kahuku, it's gorgeous. And I love Kahuku in general; spent a lot of time there on the last job, I kinda miss it.

This Saturday Shawn and I are going into Hilo for the Kamehameha Day festival, and more importantly to see Prometheus OMG SO FUCKING EXCITED. I'mma see how many other people in housing I can rustle up to come with. Should be fun!

Shawn leaves on Wednesday. Sad day! He has occasionally been aggravating, and things have sometimes been awkward and strange between us, but mostly he's a real chill guy and we get along and I like him. Who the hell else can I nerd out with? It's just nice to have someone around who understands me, you know? He likes SPN and OUaT and GoT and understands why the woodchipper card in Apples To Apples is AWESOME and why I would name my car Oliver and who the Stig is, and today we had awesome conversations about Watchmen (he's read the book!)and Spiderman comics and Batman: The Animated Series and Batman movies. WHO WILL I NERD WITH WHEN HE'S GONE?

...I hope the next to interns are cool. :3
zolac_no_miko: (Pele says hello)
Well, here you go, guys, you've been waiting for this one long enough. I'll make another post at some point with a picspam of Everything Else I've been doing since, like, February, but here's the bird stuff at least.

First off, I should summarize the Nauhi Experience, since I've never really gone and done that. )


Not that anyone would notice if I didn't tell you, but my ‘okina and kahakō are ALL OVER THE PLACE in this; can't be arsed to worry about it overly much, too exhausted. @_@
zolac_no_miko: (WHEEEEEE~!!)
Let's make a list again, I like lists.

-It's a beautiful day in Volcano. ^_^


-First I have to, you know, make a contribution to my community or something silly like that. Told my Dad I'd help out with timekeeping etc. at the Big Island Interscholastic Federation Track and Field Championships at Kea‘au High School. ...Kinda looking forward to it, actually. Them high school varsity track days, thems were good days. I expect a lot of nostalgia. ...Just so y'all know, we're cheering for Waiākea High School; after all these years, I still bleed blue and white. GO WARRIORS GO!! :DD

-OMG YOU GUYS LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT MY JOB AS;ALGHSKFJALS;FSFS. So, it's getting to that time, the time where we make our expeditions down to lower Hakalau. So, next week we're not going up to Nauhi (the cabin at mid-elevation Hakalau); we're running a bunch of errands and doing office stuff and prepping for our trip. Then, on the 14th, a bunch of us drive up to the UH Field Station up at Hakalau Forest NWR. Early the next morning, we take backpacks and machetes and bushwhack our way down to the site, and we clear a landing site if necessary. The next day (weather permitting), a helicopter drops our gear and the rest of our crew off at the site. Then, on the 26th, the helicopter comes and picks us all back up and flies us out. That's TWELVE DAYS IN THE FIELD, HOLY CRAP, and all tent-camping except for that first night in the super-plush UH Field Station. A;LSGHKFASJFAKLHSGLSKJF SO EXCITED!! You guys, I am a badass outdoorswoman, but this is going to be my longest uninterrupted stay in the backcountry, and my longest stay in a tent by a lot, and it's in an area that very few people on the planet have ever been to or ever will and it's going to be very very wet and if the weather is bad we will probably all drown and it's going to be the coolest thing ever and oh my god HAVE I MENTIONED I HAVE THE BEST JOB, BY THE WAY, I HAVE THE BEST JOB. TT_TT

-As awesome as this is I am super bummed by the timing; I'd been hoping to make it over to O‘ahu and help out with my family's archaeological excavation of the pā at Pālehua; I was going to be Pat Kirch's surveying assistant! (This guy, he's like the top expert of Polynesian archaeology IN THE WORLD, I was really looking forward to meeting him!) I've been looking forward to it for months and months! But my trip to lower Hakalau pretty much exactly coincides with the dig, b'aaaaawwww. *heartbroken* WHY NOT A TIME-TURNER, I COULD BE IN TWO PLACES AT ONCE, IT WOULD BE SO AWESOME. TT_TT

-Otherwise, things at work are going pretty well. Week before last was, as I expected, EXCEEDINGLY AWKWARD. But we caught an akepa! :DDDD This is a big deal; akepa are very very endangered. They are also tiny and adorable and day-glo orange. This was the first akepa for all three of us, so we were super excited and happy. (I was the one who found it; oh for a recording of me flipping out on the radio when I called Jackie to come extract it. XD;)

-Now that I'm done with Pō Pouli, I hope to have time very soon for a super über mega picture dump of my various adventures these past few months, including my work up at Nauhi. IT WILL BE AWESOME. It's not gonna happen today though, haha. Probably not tomorrow either. Maybe next week before I leave to die in the woods on my trip?

-Speaking of Pō Pouli, I have just been in this glow of happiness all week. Now that the exhaustion has worn off and I am able to think properly... I think... I think it might be my best work to date? T_T I'm really really happy with it. And everyone has been leaving such lovely feedback, and I've even made a few awesome new friends. HI NEW FRIENDS, HI~!! :DD *waves*

TL,DR; my life is awesome and I am happy. Expect a lot of incoherent flailing in capslock re: Avengers later tonight. (Omgomgomg~!!)
zolac_no_miko: (WHEEEEEE~!!)
Okay, so in case anyone hadn't already figured it out, my internet presence is going to be somewhat diminished for the next several months. I will only have the possibility of internet when I'm not in the field, which, as I go further into my internship, will not be a lot of the time; when I'm not in the field I will only really have internet when I make the time and effort to go seek it out (only one of the volunteer houses has wireless, and it's not mine), or when I come down to Hilo for a bit. I will have internet on my Droid when I'm not in the field, so emails and LJ comment alerts will still get to me on weekends and office days, and who knows, I may even have time to respond. :P

I am going to give up all attempts at actually keeping up with my Friends list. I'll check in occasionally but I'm realistically only going to catch like 10% of what goes on there. I'll make posts when I can to keep you guys abreast (haha I said breast) of what I'm up to, and I'll really make an effort to post pictures occasionally, so you guys can see my beautiful forest and gorgeous adorable birdies.

...So yeah, anyway, this is me just squeezing in a quick update while I devour some breakfast. First week of the internship is going great. The other intern is this guy named Sean from North Carolina; he's quiet and somewhat shy and totally pleasant and amiable and we're getting along great. We live with Matt from Ohio who does insect stuff, and he's cool and friendly and we like him and I think we're all going to be great housemates. I think there's supposed to be a couple of Eban's bird demography volunteers moving in with us this weekend, but there's this whole big drama right now with Eban's crew and who's going to live where and whether or not his techs will get housing even though it's against the rules and blah blah blah, so I don't really know what the situation will be like when I get back on Monday.

Matt and Sean and I usually all start work at the same time in the morning, except for when Sean and I are going into the field and therefore have to wake up at ass o'clock (we have to be at the office at six a.m. on Tuesday. SIX A.M.), so most mornings we walk to work together. Guys, this is fantastic; I've gone from a 45-minutes-by-car one-way commute, to a 15-minutes-by-foot one-way commute. And also it's the nicest commute ever, a pleasant stroll on a path through the rainforest with the birds waking up all around us. T_T It's a great way to start the morning.

We spent a few days doing office stuff, thrilling work like disentangling mist nets and checking them for holes, and disinfecting mist nets and bird bags, and aliquoting lysis buffer into tiny vials, and getting First Aid/CPR/AED certified. We did go up to Hakalau on Wednesday to check out Nauhi Cabin, which is where we'll be staying when we're in the field for the next... a lot of time, and set up a bunch of poles and played tour guide for a visiting malaria expert from Penn State, a dude named Andrew with an awesome New Zealand accent.

Life at housing is neat. Thursday was pizza night, so we all went over to where Caitlin and Keola are living and contributed pizza ingredients. We had a vegetarian pizza with white sauce (spinach and mushrooms and garlic and onions), and a pepperoni, spaghetti squash, garlic, onions, and basil pizza with red sauce (I contributed the spaghetti squash and the Italian-style stewed tomatoes for the sauce), and I brought tortilla chips and Matt brought salsa and Caitlin busted out the SCARY INTENSE hot sauce Laurèen sent from Réunion and Brent brought cheesy bread (AMAZING) and Keola made some intensely delicious shoyu chicken and Caitilin busted out the kim chee and someone brought wine and Matt brought spiced rum and there was a lot of beer floating around. It was super fun. And I had a lot of stuff to take care of that evening, but I had a beer and some wine and a swig of the rum and then I took a hot shower and all of a sudden my head was REALLY HEAVY, so I went to sleep at like 9 and woke up early to do stuff instead. XD;

I am at home in Hilo at the moment, and for at least like another couple of hours, and then Don and Mom and I are headed up to Kapa‘a, which is a beach campground in Kohala, a little ways north of Kawaihae. We're getting together with a bunch of friends for the weekend and there will be music and singing and whale-watching and soooooo much potluck food and I had planned to invite Alex but he broke up with me so he doesn't get to come, nyahh~. And it's a three-day weekend in this great nation, so Sunday night we're sneaking away and going to the Blue Dragon and the Olliephonics are playing and like at least fifteen Hepcats are showing up and we're basically going to take over the whole place and dance dance dance.

And then on Tuesday it's out to the field for a couple of days, catching birdies whee~!

So yeah. I'll, uh. Be in touch when I can.

zolac_no_miko: (Kestrel!)
I'm back from the woods, IT WAS AMAZING, there were lots of adorable fluffy birdies, I will tell you more, possibly with pictures, but later when I am less exhausted oh god I am so tired. TT_TT

And I have planting all day tomorrow and then several Maui Party folks are visiting and there is dancing all weekend and then my new job starts and I'm moving to Volcano and alsghasjfksjfskshjk.

One of these days I will once again have time to sleep/sit on my ass/actually talk to my friends again. Some day. Maybe. @_@

zolac_no_miko: (communist party)
I really don't have time for this, but if not now, NEVER. So, a super-quick drive-by update, just in case any of you have been wondering where the hell I've been for the last week or so.

-Thursday and Friday I went camping for work at Pepeiao Cabin with my boss Mark and my Canadian volunteer comrade-in-arms Caitlin. We tromped around in the Ka‘u Desert for a couple of days through what used to be native shrubland but is now largely alien grassland, checking up on outplants that were put in after a fire some years ago. It was fun! Mark and Caitlin are both great company, and Mark's a fantastic cook, and Caitlin brought a bottle of Jack, and I got to see some cool endemics that I'd never seen/heard of before, and the stars were pretty at night, and it was awesome.


-Here watch a cute video about seal cuddles:

Seal meets girl. Seal falls in love with girl. The end. from Bob Dobalina on Vimeo.


zolac_no_miko: (TARDIS)
So, in all of the (enjoyable) mass chaos of this month, I think I forgot to mention that just before New Year's we got a new car? Out with the '91 Previa, in with the brand new Honda Fit Sport! I took one look at the thing and promptly named it TARDIS, because it's TARDIS blue, it's bigger on the inside (no seriously this little car is so freaking spacious, it really should not be possible), and it will take us on adventures through Time and Space! :DDD


...Mom hasn't let me drive her yet. D:

So anyway, last week Sunday (yes, I know, a week ago, shut up I've been busy) a bunch of us drove over to Kawaihae to eat dinner at The Blue Dragon and dance to The Olliephonic Horns, one of our favorite swing bands. Coming down the hill from Waimea out past Pu‘ukoholā Heiau there were MORE WHALES, about three of them, BREACHING AGAIN AND AGAIN AND HAVING A BIG OLD PARTY, which was lovely, and I thought very appropriate since Pu‘ukoholā means "Hill of the Whale".

The Olliephonics were a blast, as usual, and we had a surprise treat: their guest vocalist was Pauline Wilson! She's the Big Island's only Grammy winner (and she won it back in the day before there were a million categories), and she's FABULOUS and we love her. So that was excellent.

Oh, and [livejournal.com profile] shichahn, in case you thought I was joking or something... )

Not technically champagne; it was a sparkling wine from Italy, I believe. And delicious. ALMOST AS DELICIOUS AS BUNNY.

...So this weekend has been a lot of snorkeling and dancing and good times. (And yardwork.) The weather's been absolutely gorgeous... warm and sunny and crystal clear to the tops of both peaks, patches of snow on Mauna Kea, just... stunning.

I love my life. AND I LOVE ALL OF YOU. ♥ ♥ ♥
zolac_no_miko: (authentic Hawaiian coconut tree)
Yesterday Alex and I went to Makalawena Beach, which is a gorgeous white sand beach in Kekaha Kai State Park on the Kona side, that can only be accessed by either a) walking a long way in the hot hot sun over sharp, rough ‘a‘a rock, or b) taking your life in your hands and a 4x4 vehicle that you don't like very much down the access "road". Alex has a Nissan XTerra and is the best kind of lunatic, so we went with option b. (No seriously, I can't even tell you how fucked up this 4x4 track is, I mean, I've driven in some pretty effing gnarly places for my various internships, but jesus, that road gave us a thrashing! :DD)

Anyway, skipping past all of the very excellent things about Makalawena and going straight to the WHALES, OMG SO MANY WHALES, HOLY SHIT WHALES~!!! It's humpback season in Hawai‘i, and I've been looking and looking and hadn't seen any until yesterday just before sunset, when HOLY SHIT SO MANY WHALES showed up. I can't even, I've lived in Hawai‘i my whole life and I've traveled to Alaska and I've had some pretty freaking excellent whale sightings, but in terms of the combination of sheer number of whales, proximity to the whales, and whale activity, this was THE BEST I'VE EVER SEEN. There had to have been a dozen of them, at least, maybe more, hard to tell, they're under the water and they move around, so. There were definitely one or two babies. The closest whales, a group of I think three, including a baby, was FOR SERIOUS ONLY A HUNDRED METERS OFF SHORE. We could have swum out to them easily if that wasn't a) illegal, and b) dangerous. There was a lot of spouting and we had a couple nice views of tails, and then there were the two whales further out that just WOULD NOT STOP BREACHING, they were having a freaking BREACHING PARTY, oh my god, just flinging themselves bodily out of the water OVER AND OVER AGAIN.


...Okay [livejournal.com profile] platoapproved, it's safe now.

So anyway, this beach. Not too crowded due to the effort it takes to get there, and it's beautiful and there are fun sea creatures and the waves are nice for bodyboarding or surfing, and there were moa (those Polynesian chickens) wandering around entertaining us by boldly stealing food from people's unwatched bags. And surrounding the beach there are a series of rare anchialine ponds and ʻŌpaeʻula Pond, a wetland area that's a National Natural Landmark and is one of the only remaining breeding and nesting areas for rare Hawaiian wetland birds such as the āeʻo (Hawaiian Stilt), the ʻalae keʻokeʻo (Hawaiian Coot), and the ʻaukuʻu (Black-crowned Night Heron). There were SO MANY STILTS, which was super exciting, you almost never see those, and I've never seen so many at once, oh my gaaaaaawd I really wished I'd brought binoculars, and oh my god this place is totally going on my list of Awesome Birding Places to take [livejournal.com profile] shichahn to when she finally comes to visit me.

Also, check out how cute this bird is, seriously. )

...And the vog wasn't bad and the sunset was FUCKING BEAUTIFUL and asghsla;hfklsahgkfs it was a Perfect. Freaking. Day. TT_TT

Also tomorrow is a holiday so tonight a bunch of us are driving up to Kawaihae for dinner at the Blue Dragon and SO MUCH DANCING to the very excellent Olliephonics, OMG YAY I AM EXCITE.
zolac_no_miko: (guns in paradise)
I'm spending a lot of time recently reading the abstracts of research done by University of Hawai‘i professors that could be potential academic advisers for me in my future graduate studies. Am being exposed to a lot of really really cool research... on the other hand, am being exposed to a concentrated dose of one of the major hazards of my chosen profession: Really Depressing News.

This one guy is doing his work mostly on Hawai‘i ‘Akepa (and sometimes other forest birds), and it's all There Is Not Enough Food and Everyone's Covered In Lice And They're Starving And There Aren't Enough Females And The Species Is Going Extinct And It's All Because Of This One Nonnative Bird, and I am starting to become filled with partially misdirected rage at Japanese white-eyes.

...I know it's not their fault we brought them here and set them loose, they're just doing what they do naturally. I don't care. Give me a way to exterminate them and I am on that so fast.

Other things that make me raeg: feral cats. Mosquitoes. Feral pigs. Mouflon sheep. The local hunting community. A very much longer list that I should probably not go into right now, for my own well-being.

*cuddles honeycreepers to chest in an impotently protective gesture*

ETA: This research is just riddled with quiet, unassuming pitfalls and gut-punches. Like, "In addition, birds with lice were less likely to be recaptured than birds without lice." A quiet, sedate, emotionless statement, but what it really means is that some of the birds cannot hold up under the onslaught of tiny parasites chewing on their skin and they die. i_i
zolac_no_miko: (Kestrel!)
So I'm out in the backyard doing the rounds for fruit, and I've arced around the breadfruit tree and I'm starting to sidle around the mountain apple tree with a very ripe breadfruit in my hand, and as the lowest branch of the mountain apple tree starts to come into view I come face-to-face with a large brown bird and I think, "GAH, BIRD!" and I think, "Wow, that's an ugly chicken,"—

—I'm going to pause in the narrative and explain about chickens. Here in Hawai‘i, moa (Red junglefowl or Polynesian junglefowl) run wild in the woods and everyone's backyards, and they look like this:

I've seen them fly up to people's roofs when scared by dogs, and they like to hang out under my mountain apple tree and eat fallen fruit, so it's a reasonable assumption that it would be a chicken, even if it's a bit weird for it to be in a tree, and as you can see, a brown moa would be a sadly ugly one—

—So I think, "Wow, that's an ugly chicken," and I come completely around the obscuring branch and I come face to face with one of THESE:

That would be an ‘io, or Hawaiian hawk, in my backyard, in my mountain apple tree, six feet off the ground and two meters in front of my face. My jaw falls off. She shifts restlessly (gender picked out of a hat, I can't tell the difference by looking) and I've backed off two paces before I can even register, clutching my breadfruit. At which point bird should've been like, "OH SHIT HUMAN" and flown away.

At which point bird was like, "Eh," and proceeded to ignore me completely. She sat on her branch and just hung out, didn't even look at me 99% of the time, even when I moved a little or made a noise, and I just stood and STARED at her, eyes watering at the feeling of how motherfucking privileged I was to be experiencing this. (Endangered species! Symbol of royalty and heavenly power! Motherfucking wild raptor!)

This went on for several minutes and I was starting to get worried that maybe she was injured or something and wondering if I should try to approach her and how I would go about doing so safely when she sort of unconcernedly hopped off the branch and glided a few meters to the lowest branch of the fern tree. I shifted position to continue to watch her from the best combination of Good View and Not Too Horribly Devoured By Mosquitos, and she continued to COMPLETELY IGNORE ME. Over the next bunch of minutes she would occasionally hop up to a higher branch, until she was pretty high up in the fern tree.

...I think she had to be a juvenile. I don't know how else to explain such derpy behavior.

At some point I decided I couldn't justify standing here gawking at her for much longer, so I went back to what I was doing. I walked over to the side of the yard, picked a pineapple and three cherry tomatoes, and came back to check on the hawk. I couldn't see her anymore, even after a good search of the fern tree's branches, so I thought maybe she'd snuck silently out of the tree when I wasn't looking. I continued moving around the yard, circling the fern tree, picked two more pineapples, and then I heard a soft sound and she shot out of the fern tree and dove down into one of the neighbor's yards, like she was hunting something. I didn't hear any undue noises of animal distress, so I guess she maybe didn't catch anything. I ran to the corner of my yard and climbed up on my fence to try and see, and even hopped the fence into the Uyeda's yard to run along the back of their fence, crouching to peer under the fruit trees blocking my view, but I couldn't find her again; all I got for my trouble was the disgruntlement of a few chickens and myself thoroughly molested by our back hedge.

So yeah. I think she must've taken a dive at something in our yard and missed, and flapped up to that low branch to get off the ground, or she was hunting the lizards that were hunting the fruit flies on our fallen mountain apples. I don't know how else (other than "derpy juvenile") to explain why she was sitting so close to the ground in my backyard, in my tree, RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY FACE.




Jan. 29th, 2011 08:42 pm
zolac_no_miko: (BATMAN!!)
NAPOLEON CAUGHT A SHREW! His second ever vertebrate catch! YAAAAAAAY!

He was so good, too! He performed beautifully in the face of a whole pile of new situations: new location, new people, more people than he's hunted with before, new hunting style. He started on the fist while we flipped over boards and sheet metal, and he figured out pretty quick what was going on. When we finally flipped a board with a nest full of mice, we got carried away with the yelling and Poly freaked out and flew away in the other direction and into a tree and wouldn't come down again. After he calmed down a bit (and made a try at one of the escaped mice), [livejournal.com profile] shichahn started flipping boards again, and again he clued in immediately, following along from his treetop like a hawk hunting bunnies. ...Napoleon, I'm sorry, I will never call you dumb again. (Ok, that's a lie, I probably will.) [livejournal.com profile] shichahn exposed a shrew and he dropped like a guided missile. I heard the impact from thirty yards away. He flew with it into a tree, but it was a low branch and he went right back to the glove without too much trouble at all. HE'S SUCH A GOOD BOY. <3

[livejournal.com profile] shichahn hooded him and we had a bit of fun trying to catch rodents by hand. [livejournal.com profile] shichahn's sponsor Ben the Kestrel did succeed in catching a vole, and we all succeeded in getting our hands and knees muddy.

After a spot of lunch we had a very successful afternoon with the bunny hawkers. Parker the redtail hawk caught a packrat in a tree (to the chagrin of his falconer, who had trouble getting him down again), and Ruby, another redtail, caught a garter snake. True to form, our favorite mass murderer, Harlot the goshawk, ended the lives of four cottontail rabbits. <3 <3 <3

It was a gorgeous day, and I spent a fair amount of it scrambling through the underbrush and getting my skin ripped apart by blackberry brambles, and I am now very tired and very happy. I can't think of any way I could have spent my Saturday more enjoyably.
zolac_no_miko: (But then where was food?)

Rubber. Movie description on IMDB: "When Robert, an inanimate tire, discovers his destructive telepathic powers, he soon sets his sights on a desert town; in particular, a mysterious woman becomes his obsession."

Watch the trailer.

...What. Just. WHAT.

......I want to see this movie. XD; I feel like it might be a requirement in my life.

In other news, I'm about to go off with [livejournal.com profile] shichahn and watch birdies (hopefully, cross my fingers, knock on wood) kill things. :D


zolac_no_miko: (Default)

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