August 21, 2013

Golf Course Nature Walk

After hours on a gold course in Waikoloa, Hawaii. It is a surprisingly good place to do some animal-watching.

An eagle eye (and a photo enlargement) will spot the animal hiding in plain sight in this photo.

It's a mongoose! All these years, I'd wondered what the ferrety animals were, and now I know. It's possible one of the most bizarre animals you could ever find on the island. 

Some backstory: in the late 1880s, a sugar mill received 72 Indian mongooses from Jamaica for the purpose of eating rats. They did not fulfill those expectations, and preyed on birds and eggs instead. They drove animals to extinction, and with no animal to challenge them, grew exponentially in number. For over 100 years, Hawaii has recognized them as a threat to their environment.

I mean, look at the number of mongoose holes in this patch of land. I've even seen them steal cat food.

Completely unforgiving lava rock.

A family of quails rapidly running away. Ironically, I would not have noticed them if they had not been so fast.

Here as well, there are at least five quails, but if they had stood still, they would have blended in perfectly. Incidentally, the mongoose in the second photo stood so still, it took using the zoom lens to recognize that it was animal, not a rock, even though it was standing on the green grass with nothing to camoflauge it.

I marveled at how swiftly they were able to move across lava rock to get away. There are seven quails here.

A panorama view.

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