Aloha, Kauai!

March 19, 2023

Kauai 2023 – Part 4

I feel weird, like I’ve left us marooned in Kauai. I have to get us back home. Spring in Idaho is nigh upon us! (Yeah, right.) Somehow I can’t move on from Kauai until I wrap up our January 2023 trip and get us safely home again.

Our last hike was on the Club Med Ruins path in Princeville on the north shore where we enjoyed gorgeous views of Hanalei Bay from the east and checked out the surfers. Well now we are in Hanalei Bay walking the beach. Here you see a view of the ‘dock of the Bay’ looking north – that greenery in the background is where we were walking yesterday – where the failed Club Med and other resorts were never built.

Okay so you’re walking the beach with us now. Here’s a video. Feel the ocean breeze on your face and the sounds of the roiling surf:

Let’s walk the whole expanse of the beach and back again. Oh, wait a minute. Too late. While we were busy taking photos and videos the rest of the group made it to the end of the bay and are already on their way back toward the dock.

That’s Eric, David and Victor on the far left side of the photo. Steph is on the far right – she likes to walk along the shore and soak her feet in the salt water.

And look who washed up the beach!

A mermaid named Megan!

We pull up in the parking lot behind the Hanalei Market. I’m always dragging behind. But when I climb out of the car I can’t help but take a photo. Check out the view!

We shop for a bunch of organic food. Yum! Eric’s got the goods.

I hope Sasquatch doesn’t carry Eric off on his bicycle

Oh but there’s a high surf today so of course we have to drive just a few miles further north on the northern tip of Kauai to Lumaha’i Beach! You pull off the side of the road above the beach and park. Then walk down a short, steep, windy path to the beach. Whoa. No swimmers today. Better stay back a ways from the crashing surf! Here, I took a photo. And a video …

I leaped up onto a ledge when a rogue wave came crashing in – almost lost my sandals. Ran into a couple on the ledge. They allowed that it wasn’t a smart move to be standing on the beach today taking videos. (Smart for tourists, though, who may never make it back here?) Yeah, do you know what the locals call this beach? they said. LumaDIE’ i beach. Oh!

To give you a little perspective on what a Lumadie’i surf might look like, here’s a You tube video – ‘Big surf at Lumaha’i January 28, 2016.’ (This might be the same You tube video I shared in a previous blog – but it’s worth sharing again.) Let me just say, a lot of girls in string bikinis risked their young lives to bring you this video, which, I assume is not being taken by their parents:

We’re headed back up to the car now, on a path through a mini-jungle.

You’re welcome, fellas! Hey, this is Kauai.

But before we leave the island, I must share the most charming experience of all, that of witnessing the nesting Layson albatross. Which, by the way, are an endangered species. Here’s a link for you:

Layson albatross spend most of their lives flying over the open ocean and can spend up to six years at sea. They only return to land to breed and raise their chicks on nesting sites on the northwestern Hawaiian Islands, mostly Midway and Layson Island but also on the north shore of Kauai. Albatross have a 20-40 year life span. They return to the very place they were born (called imprinting) and engage in elaborate mating dances until they find a mate at about 8 years old.

We always encounter albatross when we visit Steph and Vic in Princeville because there are usually a few nesting albatross on their street. Sure enough, this year there are two nesting albatross right in the yards of a neighbor 3 doors down. I took this photo from the street just walking past it.

We always encounter albatross when we hike Larsen’s beach. They have a nesting site on top of the bluff at the end of the point. Larsen’s beach is probably our favorite hike on Kauai’s north shore, as we also frequently encounter endangered sea turtles and Monk seals sunning themselves on the beach. I’ve blogged about our hikes there several times, but we just can’t leave Kauai (sigh) without me sharing photos and videos from this year. Are you coming along?

They are magnificent in flight

There’s one flying overhead!

Walking back now, we encounter one all by himself, engaging in mating calls, perhaps? Certainly he’ll catch the attention of another albatross!

We encountered a monk seal too. Do you see it in this photo? Look in the sand.

I’m always lagging behind. Do you see Eric and David in this photo? We’ve almost made it to the point at Larsen’s beach.

Find Eric in this photo:

Here’s a photo of Megan as we head back toward the trail head at Larsen’s beach.

Enough already. Get your butts home to Idaho! Okay…

Aloha, Kauai.

Thursday evening January 26, 2023, and we’re headed to the airport in Lihue to catch the red eye to Los Angeles. I’m a little sad and my phone is stowed away in my purse. Enough photos! We land in LA without a hitch (thank goodness) about 7am Friday and catch our second flight to Salt Lake City. We land in Salt Lake before noon. Of course I just don’t sleep well on the red eye so I’m glad I’m not the one driving us the 200+ miles home to Idaho Falls. Accompanied by ‘old man winter.’ I pull my phone back out and capture a few photos of our drive home from the back seat. Here we are nearing Malad, Idaho. David is driving.

Make sure your seatbelt is securely fastened. It gets messier.

Eric takes over the wheel. David didn’t sleep well on the red eye either.

Near McCammon, Idaho now. Snowplows are a welcomed sight! Well, if you have enough visibility to see them…

Near Inkom, Idaho now. Uh-oh.

Dropping into Pocatello

Oh goody! How many miles to Idaho Falls??

We’re just a few miles from home now. Oh no!

There were five cars off the road in the last ten miles. Oh goody. A tow truck! Somebody will be vey happy to see him!

Just pulled onto our street.

I’m not sure why the photo is so blurry. The scene did seem a bit surreal, arriving home jet lagged and stressed out from travel after spending 15 days in Kauai.

We hunkered in for the long haul alongside old man winter. After we were home, Victor and Stephanie sent us updates from Kauai. On February 1st, just 5 days after we left, the baby albatross on their street (where I had taken the photo) hatched out. Victor sent a photo:

A few days later the second baby in their neighborhood hatched. It seems like a miracle that these babies can survive – sitting in nests on the ground. It’s possible because everyone in the neighborhood is on guard for their safety, keeping their dogs leashed, (what about cats? Yikes!) and there are no mongoose (hopefully) on Kauai.

On February 27 we received this video from Steph and Vic. The baby is now almost a month old. A time for celebration! Watch the video carefully and you will see the baby in the nest to the right of the sign in the video:

Here in southeast Idaho we’ve experienced one of the coldest, snowiest winters in 20 years. We still have mountains of snow in our front yard, accumulating since November with not much melting in between. We have been hopeful for signs of spring and by golly I saw one the other day when a magpie flew past our front window with a large sprig in its beak. Sure enough a pair of magpies are working feverishly on a 2-story magpie bungalow in our front may tree.

In case you don’t know what a magpie looks like, I just captured this picture of one of the pair. Boy have they been busy.

Oh, and did I mention that I also captured a photo of a robin in our back yard? Tough bird, that one. A sign of spring? Hey, I’ll take it!

And what’s the current weather forecast for Idaho Falls? “A return of snow on the first day of spring.”

And now you know why I’ve had such a hard time leaving Kauai.

Hanalei Plantation Trail – ‘Club Med Ruins’

March 11, 2023

Kauai 2023 – Part 3

One of our favorite hikes on Kauai’s north shore is the Hanalei Plantation Trail. The trail starts right below a family owned fresh food stand called Nourish Hanalei at the end of Plantation Road in Princeville –

The area has an interesting history. Check out this link! – The trail runs through the Old Hanalei Plantation that is now known as the Club Med Ruins because there actually was a Club Med Resort on this property in the 1970’s.

The area was a filming site in the movie South Pacific before it was developed. In the 1960’s it was developed into a resort called the Hanalei Plantation Hotel that was then converted to a Club Med resort in the 1970’s. The Club Med resort operated for a few short years but then closed in the late 70’s due to financial hardship. Then in 1979 Honolulu developer Bruce Stark purchased the property with a plan to build 60 condos. The company poured a number of foundations and some walls and stairs before going bankrupt. The foundations remain, which is why the location is still known locally as the ‘Club Med Ruins.’ The path has remained open so people can walk the grounds and enjoy the views of Hanalei Bay. It is still private property. Signs are posted everywhere to stay on the path. A group is proposing some kind of future development but there is strong resistance from the community that has so far kept it from happening.

Let’s do it! We have arrived about 9am, before Nourish Hanalei has opened to make sure we can get a parking space.

Nourish Hanalei

Take in the view at this little stand! The Hanalei river and Hanalei Bay…

The easy walking path down the center of the ruins leads to a promontory point at the east end of the Hanalei Bay. I assume from the article in the link that this is where the resort lobby was planned. It offers a stunning view of the Hanalei bay and dock.

We’re down at the shore now. You’re standing right next to me looking east at the Hanalei dock.

Take the path in front of us and you can follow the shore all the way to the beach. Or follow the path to the right that leads through the woods to Pu’u Poa Beach. We go right.

Encounter some ancient gnarly trees

The trees in the forest almost look frozen in motion, as if they could suddenly spring to life and those tentacled roots could come tromping toward us. Run those tourists out of the woods!

Path to Pu’u Poa Beach

Ah, but we’re saved by a surfer who suddenly appears on the beach. He must have parked near us and walked the same path down. Here’s Megan, David and Eric settled in on one of those elevated roots to watch him.

You ready to go surfing? Let this surfer dude show you how it’s done. He’s just entered the water

Watch him navigate the wide distance to the waves

He’s way out in the distance now, working his way east toward the other surfers in the bay

He’s up! Well, may not be him, there’s quite a few surfers out there trying to catch a wave. This one is obviously a seasoned pro.

Walking back up the path to the car now.

Eric and Steph

It’s so overgrown you hardly notice any ruins.

I heard a beautiful songbird along the way

No idea what kind of bird that is with such a joyful song.

Life is good!

Uh, wait a minute. We’re not in Kauai anymore. This whole blog had me in a trance. All I have to do is sign off this computer and open our back door…

Yeah, like here in southeast Idaho spring is just around the corner.

Mongoose, Mosquitos, Centipedes and Spiders

March 5, 2023

Kauai 2023 – Part 2

So, exactly how many feral chickens are loose on Kauai? Recent tracking (as of July 2022) suggests as many as 450,000, or about six chickens to every human. Their numbers have grown significantly over the years since hurricane Iniki in 1992. Why? Because the chickens on Kauai have no significant predators. The island is free of mongooses.

Mongooses are native to India. But they are now widespread on the islands of Hawaii, Maui, and Molokai. A brownish weasel-like animal, about 2 feet long, with short legs and long tail, they were originally introduced to Hawai’i in 1883 by the sugar industry to control the rats in the cane fields (with a stop in Jamaica, where they were also introduced). Except the plan failed because mongoose are active during the day and rats are primarily active at night. Oops. Mongoose eat birds and their eggs, small mammals, reptiles, insects … they are especially dangerous predators for the native ground nesting nene and albatross and endangered sea turtles.

Although there are no known populations on Kauai, the Kauai Invasive Species Committee (KISC) is actively controlling the mongoose species. Sightings of mongoose (or any other pests on their target list) should be reported to them immediately. They will come and survey the situation and remove the pest for free. Check out their link:

According to their site, one female mongoose was found dead along a road in 1976 near Kalaheo and sightings have been reported all over Kauai. In May, 2012, KISC captured the first live mongoose near the Lihue Airport. (Yikes!) A mongoose was captured in October 2016, again at the Lihue Airport. Then another mongoose was trapped five years later, in December 2021, at the Nawiliwili boat harbor. Very unsettling!

So yeah, because there aren’t mongoose the wild chickens are proliferating. I’m sure the locals don’t enjoy the habits (pooping, cock-a-doodle-do-ing at all hours, aggressively begging for food, and ruining your garden) and antics of the wild chickens as much as the tourists do.

One detail I left out of my previous blog was, while I was following those wild hens around, taking videos of their tiny chicks, Megan was getting eaten by mosquitos. Mosquitos? In Paradise? Admittedly it was near dusk when we walked on that trail, but in the previous nine trips to Kauai I don’t think I got bitten by a mosquito even once. How could it be that in a space of a few minutes Megan got bitten 5-6 times? How was I not aware after all these visits to Kauai that they do have mosquitos? Of course,Google can answer these questions! Yes, some humans are mosquito magnets and other humans, well, mosquitos just aren’t attracted to them (try not to take this personally).  The subjects in the experiment with greater amounts of carboxylic acid on their skin were most attractive to mosquitos while those with low amounts were least attractive. And apparently, your blood type or diet has nothing to do with it, your corboxylic acid levels are fixed: Once a mosquito magnet, always a mosquito magnet.

Hawaii hasn’t always had mosquitos, of course. They were introduced in the early 1800’s via the whaling ships. Six separate species of mosquitos are now found on the islands. Two species transmit deadly human diseases (dengue, chikunguna, and Zika) while one transmits avian malaria. Native Hawaiian species have not developed resistance to mosquito transmitted diseases and so invasive mosquitos carrying avian malaria are particularly dangerous to Kauai’s forest birds, which are fighting extinction. And as far as humans go, if you are planning a trip to Kauai and wondering about the mosquito situation, here is a site – a trip advisor forum on mosquitos in Kauai with lots of discussion from self-proclaimed mosquito magnets…

While we’re on the subject of Non-Native invasive species in Kauai, you can imagine how easily cockroaches arrived in Hawaii as stowaways in shipping containers, starting about 200 years ago. According to this article – – there are nineteen different species of cockroaches in Hawaii. But in my ten visits to Kauai, I’ve only spotted one roach, a very large cockroach, likely the American cockroach. It was sprawled out, not moving one bit, in the entry to the ladies room in the Lihue airport. The horde of women entering and exiting the restroom simply stepped around it. No one said a word about it and certainly we weren’t going to soil our shoes squishing it!

So what’s the point of this blog, you ask? I dunno. I started thinking more about the feral chickens and why they are so happy and prolific on Kauai, which got me on the subject of the mongoose and other invasive species in Kauai. Like the centipede. Check out this link:

There are three types of centipedes in Kauai. The Vietnamese Centipede (can probably guess where it came from) is giant – can grow up to 8 -10 inches long. Vietnamese centipedes prefer warm damp areas like under rocks, woodpiles and mulch. It is not common to find them inside homes, thank goodness. I have never seen a centipede in Kauai, but I haven’t been camping! I got a charge out of this story, a 5-minute read, by Gabriel Morris – who, in March 2022, decided to pitch a tent on a secluded beach on the northern shore of Kauai. He scraped out an area of thick leaves and scared up three centipedes in the process. Just scraped them out a few feet way with his shovel. Kept his tent zipped up except to answer nature’s call during the night and left his tent flap open for a minute. Well you can guess what happened. Let me just tell you that these huge centipedes have one tough exoskeleton. And they bite, but don’t worry, Gabriel did win the battle unscathed against his unwanted roommate.

To put a wrap on this I will post one insect photo I did take, that of the common garden spider of Kauai. Where did I take it? Off the edge of Steph and Victor’s front porch.

It’s quite thrilling to see a garden spider with its zig-zag patterned web. They’re magnificent, don’t you think? I don’t remember the last time I saw a garden spider on the mainland. Here’s a link to the five biggest spiders in Kauai, the garden spider being one of them: Garden spiders will bite if threatened, with swelling, pain and redness. It would probably take either a very brave or very stupid bird to try and eat that spider. None of us were going to mess with it.

Lastly, did I mention that there are no snakes in Kauai? Oh, except for the Brahminy Blind Snake that looks like an earthworm, believed to have arrived via potting soil from the Philippines in the 1930’s. It’s approximately six inches long, and feeds on ants and termites. Now that’s the type of invasive species we’re lookin’ for!

Just for the heck of it, I’ll step out on our front porch and take a photo.

That’s no spider web attached to our gutter. It’s still a freakin’ winter wonderland here in southeast Idaho.

January 2023 – Kauai here we come!

February 28, 2023

You’re kidding, right? The 58 blogs you’ve already written on Kauai aren’t enough? Yep. That’s what I was thinking when we returned a month ago. Enough with the blogs. You’re back from Kauai. Get your feet in the now and get on with your life!

My husband David, brother Eric and I have visited my sister Steph and husband Victor in Kauai every January since 2012, skipping 2020 and 2021 during COVID. Our daughter Megan joined us last year and this year. So, no! No more blogs! Until yesterday, when it was still snowing and I was looking through my photos and videos. And they carried me back to Kauai …. You wanna go?

Tuesday, January 10 – David, Eric, Megan and I hit the road about 4 pm for the 200-mile drive from Idaho Falls to Salt Lake. We will spend the night in a motel near the airport and fly to Kauai tomorrow.

We’ve made it 30 miles already, to Blackfoot! The weather isn’t cooperating.

It’s a rain/snow mix the whole way. Here we are south of Brigham City, Utah about 6:07 pm. My i-Phone says our location is ‘Willard’

Here, I took a video. Turn the sound up to complete the experience from the back seat.

We pull off the freeway in Layton, UT into Red Lobster to grab dinner. Yay! Time for a toast! Let’s kick off this vacation! Margaritas for the old farts and a coke for Megan.

Oh joy. The weather was sure busy while we were celebrating. Back out to the truck at 8PM.

Layton, Utah

We drive our last 10 miles to the motel through a raging snowstorm.

Wednesday, January 11 – 8:40 am. Navigating our way through the Salt Lake City International Airport. You can spot Eric in his ‘Kauai-ready’ orange shirt, Megan behind him, and David next to Megan.

Salt Lake City International Airport

I’m always striving to keep up, even when I’m not taking photos.

We flew to LA and then onto Lihue without a hitch. Rented an SUV and drove about 45 minutes along the east side of the Island to Princeville, at the northern tip. Arrived just in time for dinner!! Tuck yourselves in for a good night’s sleep, we have lots of adventures ahead…

Thursday, January 12. Good morning Princeville! Jump in the car to about anywhere and you circle the fountain.

Princeville’s fountain – statue of Neptune with his trident.

Princeville was named after Prince Albert, the only son of King Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma, who died in 1862 at the age of four. Of course, the fountain doesn’t look particularly Hawaiian. The Roman fountain was constructed in the early eighties by Australian business tycoon Christopher Skase, who purchased 7,000 acres in Princeville. He was inspired by the Fountain of Love when he visited the Cliveden house, one of England’s grand county houses, and commissioned a similar fountain on his property in Princeville. For several years after it was placed vandals frequently sabotaged the fountain and even stole Neptune’s trident. But it has become a beloved landmark. Check out this link to learn more:

So, off on our daily morning walk! Along the Hanalei National Wildlife refuge. Why did the Nene cross the road?

Nene Geese

Because they own the island. Nene geese are the Hawaiian State bird. And a protected endangered species. How lucky to see a pair with two little ones!

Or perhaps they were crossing the road to get away from chickens. In all my blogs I have mentioned the wild chickens, shared photos of chickens, but never on any of our previous trips have I been up close and so personal with so many feral chickens as we were on this trip!

On this walk in Princeville we took along a bag of wild bird seed. There were chickens and roosters pecking about, lots of fowl sightings and sounds. Eric threw some bird seed out. I took a video. Can you keep count of the wild chickens who scurried from every which direction?

Yes, these are feral chickens. Think you could catch one? Ha. Here’s a fun link about the wild chickens of Kauai:

The article explains that the wild chickens of today are a blend of jungle fowl and farm hens. “Different theories have hatched over the years but the locals will tell you that the first wave of chickens came ashore with the Polynesians over 1000 years ago. Then in 1982 Hurricane Iwa hit … and the winds destroyed most of the Island’s coops and blew countless chickens out of farms, scattering them from coast to coast.” Ten years later, in 1992, hurricane Iniki hit, further scattering the chickens. The locals don’t bother eating them as their meat is notoriously tough and untasty. Which begs the question, why would you bother trying to catch a wild Kauai chicken?

We sure ran into a lot of them on this trip, one path in particular, a wooded trail beside the Westin Resort. Megan and I walked it several days in a row, just to check on the little chicken families we had become attached to, the industrious hens and their tiny broods.

I imagine about every waking moment of a young chick’s life is a learning experience. We humans could learn a thing or two about tough love from these seasoned mother hens. Like in this video. Mother showing them how to forage for food, but lets build in another lesson

Now you listen up little chicks. You could be knocked on your ass in an instant! And if you get kicked to the curb ….

Pick yourself up and try again!

You could also call on daddy to intervene

Here he comes to save the day! (Turn your sound up, especially if it’s sunrise)

Okay, in case you haven’t had enough videos of feral chickens on Kauai to last you a lifetime, or you don’t care for videos, I’ll throw in some photos.

Yeah, good try little one getting over that curb in the picture cut from the video. You didn’t make it, did you?

Enough already on these chickens! Yeah, I guess I should add a sunset or something.

Did I mention that Kauai has palm trees?

With this, I’ll call it a wrap! Huh, what’s tomorrow’s theme? Wild boars?

Finding Spring

May 9, 2022

I’ve always lived in northern climes, experiencing the distinct changes in light and weather over the four seasons. Here in southeast Idaho winters are long, and much of spring can feel just like winter.

This past winter was colder and drier than normal. We were walloped with snow in late December, with a couple more storms in January and February, and it pretty much stayed on the ground till March. Here’s a photo I took on March 5.

March roars in and intermittently melts and refurbishes the winter snowpack. It’s a strange experience to stop in traffic on a main thoroughfare in town and find yourself alongside a large snowcapped mountain peak of shoveled snow. How did all that snow turn so black? Surely the parking lots are not that filthy! How much of that soot and grime was deposited by the wind over the last three months?

Mount Filthydomarro

But we’re thawing out and hopeful for signs of spring. By March 12 a local canal thaws into a puddle big enough to accommodate two ducks! But you have to look carefully to see them.

By March 15 our Christmas lights come down.

But on March 16 it feels like Christmas again

And by March 20 we’re back to December.

Do you see the squirrel? He’s back there somewhere

Idaho Falls, March 20

By April 4 the tulips are up and crocuses are blooming!

Things haven’t changed much by April 12. Except we’ve hung a couple bird feeders.

Rudy keeps an eye on things. In between naps.

Can we make you more comfortable, Rudy?

Yeah, well, time to wake up from our long winter’s naps and search for more signs of spring!

What say you Squirrel? No, you’re not getting on the bird feeder.

Oh wow! It’s May 1st and we have a daffodil blooming out front. Yes, one daffodil. Can you see it?

Here’s a better view.

Awesome. A daffodil!

Yeah, find the other hundred daffodiIs I planted last fall. They’re poking up, but hey, what’s the rush? As I said, sometimes in southeast Idaho you have to look carefully for signs of spring.

Can you find the tulip sprouting up in our rock bed? Why of course, I planned it that way.

It’s May now and all the lawns in the neighborhood are greening up. The chickadees keep us busy refilling the bird feeder.

Two ducks have become regular workhorses in our backyard cleaning up the birdseed the chickadees keep flipping out of the bird feeder.

They could almost be disguised as yard art. Notice the proliferation of three daffodils now blooming in our back yard.

The ducks have others joining the team to clean up the mess from the chickadees. Enter, squirrel and mourning dove:

Eurasian doves are helping too. But they all have to be on constant high alert for predators, specifically, raptors circling above. A couple of weeks ago we were passively gazing out our kitchen window at a Eurasian dove in our back lawn, when a hawk swooped in and snatched it up in front of our eyes, leaving only a scattering cloud of feathers. Now you see the Eurasian dove, and ‘poof’, now you don’t. Yikes.

The hawks are circling overhead alright!

Thank God they don’t prey on humans. They could sure ruin a good outdoor picnic, never mind the weather.

Yeah well try having a picnic on a windy day in April or May. Hold onto your sandwich and let the chips blow where they may.

Just last week I was out in the yard in a 20mph wind when I spotted squirrel. Hold on there, buddy!

Morph yourself to a tree limb to keep your bearings!

Can you spot the chickadee in this next photo?

Hint: It’s nearly dead-center (no, not dead) in the arborvitae. Safe from hawk and wind! That’s a May tree by the way, above the arborvitae, so named because they usually bloom by the first of May. Yeah, well it’s May 9th, and it hasn’t bloomed yet. Haven’t seen even one May tree in bloom in town.

Well I guess I should put a wrap on this. Not too motivated today to take a walk and look for spring. Here, I just took a screenshot of our weather app today. High of 44 and cloudy with a wind advisory.

I stepped out and took a photo of our back yard this morning.

More than 3 daffodils blooming in our center garden there! (ya, I knew I planted them last fall). Hopeful signs. The tall lilacs along the fence are shooting out leaves and I swear that flowering crab in the center garden has flower buds. One warm spell and everything will pop!

Oh, and did I mention the robins? We have one tough dude hanging around who thinks he’s a hawk.

A Spring Tail

April 5, 2022

How wonderful the blossoming of spring after a long cold winter! The sweet month of April has arrived, the crocus are blooming, and the summer birds are back to establish their breeding grounds. I spotted our first robin high in a May tree on March 13.

… chirping away as I retrieved the morning paper. I came back out and took a video so you can hear it too.

We have gray squirrels scampering across our back yard all winter long, see all those nests up there in those ancient trees behind our house?

A veritable scurry of squirrels. Okay, so I know squirrels are rodents, part of the scientific order Rodentia.

And they are certainly considered by many humans to be pests and a bit of a nuisance. They chew on things like telephone wires, electrocute themselves on transformers and knock out power lines. They scurry on your roof when you’re trying to sleep and might chew their way into your attic, but hey, they’re just looking for tree nuts and acorns and maybe a place to nest. You have inevitably flattened a squirrel while driving because they are a bit OCD about crossing the road, dang it, make up your mind which direction you’re going there, Mr. Squirrel! Darned if you’re going to slam on your automobile brakes to avoid running over a squirrel.

But I love watching the squirrels in our back yard. It’s a pretty sweet spot for them on account of we have an ever bearing flowering crab apple tree planted right in a center garden. The tree should bloom in the next few weeks, beautiful dark pink blossoms, the fruit comes late summer and hangs on the tree all winter. To feed the squirrels and birds. I love to watch them!

I captured a video of the squirrel from inside the house when our dog decided he was thirsty. A weird soundtrack. Don’t worry. The dog is not sloshing water from the dog dish onto your shoe and you really don’t have to let him out to chase the squirrel.

By mid March the bird feeders come out. What species will we attract? Small woodpeckers perhaps? The chickadees. Yellow warblers?

Squirrels. Let the bird feeder wars begin!

He’s on!

Yes, but I’ve got a solution. Watch this video for the big reveal:

Rabid squirrel-chaser dog. Okay, but I have to step up my game here. Feeder situation not tenable.

I head to my friend Rene’s house. She’s way ahead of me in all areas garden related. She has birds on her feeders. An Audubon book to identify them. Huge trees in her back yard, and at least three gray squirrels foraging around all the time. She thought she had outsmarted them hanging her bird feeder 12 feet down from a tree limb. We were standing at her back door enjoying her utopian garden landscape when suddenly a squirrel leaped from a limb onto the hook 3 feet above the feeder and dropped right down on the feeder. Easy peasy.

Stealthy little bugger!

A few days later Rene looked out her back door and there lying on the ground near the feeder was a tail. Just a tail.

Oh no! A tail without a squirrel attached to it? How did that happen? Is the squirrel dead and eaten? By a …. raccoon? No. Surely they are too slow for squirrels. A hawk? Did a large raptor swoop down and snatch the squirrel? No, would the tail be sitting here right by the back door, then? A cat? A wily quick snatch of its claws, torture and kill, the body eaten, save for the tail. (And a kidney. Is there a squirrel kidney splayed out on a neighbor’s back stoop dropped there as a trophy from the kill, compliments of the cat?)

I just can’t stop thinking about that tail. As it turns out, it isn’t that uncommon for squirrels to lose their tails. Not like lizards lose their tails, where they drop off and bounce on their own to confuse a predator and then the lizard just grows it back. Squirrels can get their tails caught in fences. A predator can rip it off, but once the tail is gone, it’s gone. But I just can’t imagine being a lowly rodent squirrel going forward in life without that bushy tail. A squirrel without a tail? Lowlier than a vole!

A disturbing spring tale.

Here’s a Google link with interesting facts about squirrels losing their tails, not surprising, on a “squirrels at the feeder’ site (you can find anything on the Internet)

Squirrels can live without their thick, bushy tails, albeit, at a higher risk for early death. Their fluffy appendage helps with balance, regulates body temperature, breaks their falls, and serves as a parachute in the air (yeah, we know). A squirrel’s tail is an important thermoregulatory device. Did you think about the tail providing a source of shade for the squirrel in warm weather? The squirrel can wrap its tail around itself in the winter to keep warm and use the tail to protect itself from rain. A squirrel can control blood flow to the tail – rushing blood to the tail to disperse body heat or reducing blood flow to the tail to conserve heat. During a fall, the hairs on the tail separate in order to catch as much air as possible. This slows the squirrel’s fall and provides time for the squirrel to orient its body to land safely. You know, verses falling to its death with a splat from a high tree limb with no tail or a rat tail.

I dunno. This is a dumb squirrel story. I did feel pretty sad thinking about that squirrel tail, obviously belonging to a squirrel, likely a dead squirrel. Rene has been watching out in her back yard for a tail-less squirrel. She hasn’t seen it yet. If alive, it’s likely hiding out somewhere, utterly devasted and depressed over losing its fine bushy appendage. Rene certainly won’t see it on the bird feeder.

Yeah, that thick bushy tail is a pretty dang fancy appendage, for any living thing to lose. Even if the living thing happens to be a medium-sized rodent foraging for tree nuts and acorns, and otherwise, a bit of a pest and, on most accounts, a general nuisance.

Picture taken of our flowering crab, May 7, 2017

Kauai 2022 – P.S. – Did I mention how dangerous rip currents are?

March 13, 2022

I was done with the 2022 Kauai blogs, right? Took you on the whole 10-day ride through seven blogs from our doorstep in Idaho Falls on January 19 to home again January 30, safe and sound, and hunkered in till spring (which always seems to be just around the ‘next’ corner).

Except over this past week I received some terrible news from Kauai. Two swimmers were reported missing and assumed drowned at two of the very same beaches we visited in January (and I blogged about). I made such a big deal about the surfers on Hanalei Bay (including the ‘Surfin’ USA’ YouTube video) in Part-3, even teasing that I was shopping for a suitable bathing suit and surf board because surfing was just too much fun! Then in Part-4, sunbathing on Kahili beach with Megan, watching the surfers, capturing photos and video, while David and Eric hiked to Hissing Dragon. Then my last blog, Part-7, the photos and videos of the teenagers at Lumaha’i beach, jumping into the waves in the high surf, their heads bobbing on the surface. Although I did also mention that Lumaha’i was one of the most dangerous beaches on Kauai.

Well, last weekend, a swimmer disappeared at Lumaha’i beach. There is no lifeguard there and if you read up about Lumaha’i you will be advised only to walk the beach, sunbathe, maybe dip your toe in the surf, especially a high surf, and most especially during winter months. I don’t want you to read my blog, and then decide to race to Lumaha’i and hop in the surf! Oh no!

The danger lies in the rip currents, channeled currents of water flowing away from the shore. They generally begin from the shoreline (yikes!) and head through the surf zone – past the line of breaking waves. Here’s an informative link giving you answers to such questions as, What is a rip current? How do they form? How to spot a rip current? And most importantly, what to do if you find yourself in a rip current?

Here is a diagram of a rip current

From this link:

As far as how to spot a rip current, here’s an interesting YouTube link:

(Planning to visit Australia?)

This YouTube presentation comes to you from Australia, but I don’t think rip currents discriminate! According to this surfer, 70 % of people can’t spot a rip current, good luck with that! If you find yourself caught in a rip current what do you do? (You probably want to know this BEFORE this happens).

Per the link above:

The best thing to do is learn to spot rip currents and avoid them. (Yeah, right) However, if you do find yourself in a rip current, remember the following. It could save your life!

  • Don’t Fight The Rip Current – Conserve energy, keep calm, float, breathe, don’t panic, and wave for help
  • Go With The Flow – You can easily float in the current, there is no undertow. Allow the current to take you away from the beach. In weaker rips, swim parallel to the shore until the current has completely relaxed. Otherwise, the current will eventually release you offshore. Once this happens swim perpendicular and towards the beach 
  • Wait For Help – If there is large surf or shoreline hazards, wave your hands for help and wait for assistance

I’m making such a big deal about this now in contrast to how casual I was about the surfers with not a worry in the world. I posted a video of surfers on Kahili beach (also known as Rock Quarry Beach). But a few days ago we received even more terrible news from Victor and Stephanie, who live in Princeville (we stayed with them on our visit). Another surfer went missing on Kahili Beach just this past Monday.

This hit Stephanie and Victor really hard, as they know this man and his family. They purchase their coconut water from them. Huy Nguyen and his wife have a big farm and three children. He had been surfing before handing his board off to his son, saying he was going to swim to shore. Multiple agencies searched for him until they finally suspended the search this past Friday (two days ago).

So, yeah. Just want to get the word out there about the danger of rip currents on the beaches of Kauai. Here’s an interesting link:

A researcher, Chuck Blay, analyzed drownings in Kauai from 1970-2012. All told, 316 people drowned in the island’s waters during this 42-year period.

75 per cent of the Garden Isle’s drowning victims were tourists. Drowning is the leading cause of death among visitors to Hawaii.

One more interesting tidbit in the “deadliest-beach’ link above … In May 1964, Frank Sinatra nearly drowned in Wailua Bay while filming the WWII flick, “None But the Brave.” He was staying at the iconic Coco Palms Resort (boy that’s another story) and unknowingly swam himself straight into a riptide. By the time firefighters reached him, the Hollywood icon had been carried 200 yards out to sea. “Sinatra’s face had reportedly turned the same color of his famed set of eyes.”

Yeah, so, the most dangerous thing you can do when you go to Hawaii on vacation is go to the beach and jump in the water.

Although you can still drive past the old iconic Coco Palms Resort on Wailua Bay near Kapa’a, built in 1953, where Elvis Presley filmed “Blue Hawaii” and where Frank Sinatra stayed often (and swam in the bay). Here’s a wiki-link to the resort:

“Coco Palms Resort was a resort hotel in Wailua, Kauai that was noted for its Hollywood connections, Hawaiian-themed weddings, torch lightings, destruction by a hurricane, and long-standing land disputes…”

Destruction by a hurricane? Yep. Hurricane Iniki, a devastating category 4 hurricane, with 145 mph winds, struck the Island on September 11, 1992 – 30 years ago. The immense damage done by Iniki closed the Coco Palms for good. Up until 2015 there were several attempts to redevelop the resort, but it’s way too far gone. Here’s an update on the resort from July 28, 2021: The Plan was for Coco Palms to reopen in 2020 with 273 rooms, 77 suites, 3 restaurants, a cultural center, 12k feet of retail, and more. The last round of attempts disintegrated with multiple developers unable to make it work. I also blogged about it after our Kauai trip in 2019. Here’s the link:

And photos of what it looks like today.

Boy, nature can be cruel!

Aloha, Kauai (Was it just a dream?)

March 6, 2022

It feels pretty weird posting about a vacation in Kauai in the face of the brutal Russian attack on Ukraine, now in its 10th day. How is this war going to play out? How will it change the course of history? Can NATO and other European nations collectively support Ukraine quickly, strongly and strategically enough for her to stand and persevere against Putin’s evil destruction? What will happen to the Ukrainian people? How far will Putin go?

Kauai – Part-7, Saturday, January 29, 2022 – Because of the current devastating Ukraine situation I wasn’t going to write my last Kauai blog. Forget it. Let’s just stay in Kauai. But then it feels like a loose end. I haven’t brought us home to Idaho. Hey, control the things you can, right? So I’m going to lead you through our last day in Kauai, then to the airport in Lihue in the evening to catch the red-eye to San Francisco, flight to Salt Lake and drive home to Idaho Falls. You know, so we’re not stranded in Paradise. (Yes, Jody, we’re all for it; this makes total sense.)

One more Kauai sunrise?

January 29, 7:23 am

Our last day in Princeville is clear and sunny. We decide to head to one of our favorite beaches on the North Shore – Lumaha’i, just beyond Hanalei Bay.

Just about every time we get in the car we circle around the Princeville fountain. A sculpture of Neptune, God of the sea, is surrounded by water, fountains and lighting.

Princeville Fountain

Built in 1989, the fountain was commissioned by Australian business tycoon Christopher Skase who purchased 7,000 acres in Princeville. Inspired by the “Fountain of Love” at Cliveden House in England, 12 artisans in Italy worked one year on a 900-ton piece of marble, resulting in the final 200-ton fountain which was shipped to Kauai in 11 containers. Check out this link for the full story:

To get to Lumaha’i beach you drive on the North Shore just past Hanalei Bay. Pull over and park at the side of the road and walk down a short steep path through a small banyan tree forest.

Eric, Victor and David negotiating the path down to Lumaha’i Beach

Suddenly the long, broad beach opens up before you. The ‘Kauai Revealed’ app describes Lumaha’i beach aptly (so to speak), “If you’re looking for a huge, picture-perfect stretch of sand on the north shore, Lumaha’i shouldn’t be missed. If you’re looking for safe swimming Lumaha’i shouldn’t be touched. Exposed to open ocean, it’s one of the most dangerous beaches on Kauai. The waves here, even small ones, are frighteningly powerful.”

Here we are on the beach. I take a video

Eric and Megan

We’re not here for a swim!

Of course, massive crashing waves offer a perfect adventure for teens:

But you want to experience Lumaha’i beach during a super high surf, don’t you? Check out this YouTube video!:

Heading back up the path now through the banyan trees to the car

David. Catch your breath half way up!

Now enjoying our last lunch in Kauai at the Kalypso in Hanalei with Victor and Stephanie, who qualify hands down as the most generous hosts on the planet. We can’t thank you enough for your hospitality, Steph and Vic!

Mahalo, Victor and Stephanie!

Okay, looking back over the past ten days and savoring our favorite moments. I’ll share a few more photos.


Megan being caressed by hibiscus blossoms

A view from the golf course:

An albatross sailing right past us as we sit on Steph and Vic’s patio

Video of three albatrosses sailing overhead.

A rooster, of course!

And Nene Geese – the Hawaii State Bird:

Hunting and predators like mongooses, pigs and cats, reduced the nene population to just 30 birds by 1952. It has since been bred back from the brink of extinction and reintroduced into the wild. Today, with 2,500 birds in the wild, it is still the sixth-most endangered water-fowl species in the world.

A photo of my hunka hunka hubby David

Sitting on the rocks near Kapa’a

And two separate views of exotic scenery captured on my phone from the back seat of the car

Okay. The sun is setting in Paradise. To wrap up our 10-day trip I’ll post two photos of the same sunset:

Princeville, Kauai, Jan 25, 2022 – 6:25 PM
4 minutes later – Alpenglow is glorious!

It’s 8 pm, Saturday, January 29 – time to head to the airport in Lihue. We arrive there without incident. Except I run into this gigantic cockroach at the airport as I enter the ladies room, about 1 1/2 inches long

They have cockroaches in Paradise? Yes, Indeed.

According to this article there are 19 cockroach species in Hawaii, but only 4 are considered significant pests. I’m guessing this one might fall into the category of “baby American cockroach” since I simply stepped over it going into and then coming back out of the ladies room. One could assess that it basically doesn’t fly, or even move much, for that matter. Although it could scare the crap out of us if it suddenly decides to take flight. Everyone entering or exiting the restroom just made sure not to step on it, which, causing a squishy mess when stepped on might be its greatest survival tactic. Who wants a fat splatted cockroach stuck to the bottom of your shoe?

You’re still talking about cockroaches? Leave Kauai, already!

Okay, okay. We board the red-eye to San Francisco, about a 5 1/2 hour flight on which you are supposed to catch some shut-eye, good luck with that. But here, in my relentless alertness I captured yet another emerging sunrise on our trip – from the window of our plane nearing our descent into San Francisco, one at 4:39 am and the next one 2 minutes later at 4:41 am Kauai time. (You’re welcome.)

Nearing San Francisco, Sunday, January 30, 4:39 am
Sunday, January 30, 4:41 am

We land in San Francisco on time, it’s a bit of a blur, oh yeah, we wolf down ham and egg breakfast sandwiches from Burger King to fill our gullets before boarding our 8:30 am flight to Salt Lake. We’re on that flight now. I’ll share some photos.

Over Grantsville (the i-Phone is always spot-on with locations) at 11:03 am

Grantsville, Utah, Sunday Jan 30, 2022

Huh. See that blanket of smog tucked in behind the mountains?

Three minutes later I capture this photo…

Yep. Now you see what a temperature inversion looks like. Warmer air rises and traps the colder air and smog closer to the ground. The steep walls of the mountains surrounding the Salt Lake Valley area also contribute to the inversions, which occur often in winter months.

We don’t care! You say? We just want to get our friggin’ butts home to Idaho. Agreed.

The four of us, David, Eric, Megan and I, have landed in Salt Lake, piled into David’s truck and have hit the road north toward home – Idaho Falls is about a 3 1/2- hour drive from the SLC airport.

Sailing through Salt Lake City at 12:05 pm – the top of the capitol building is in the center of the photo

It’s smoggy, all right.

Off in the distance to our left now is Plymouth, Utah, near the Idaho border. The population was 414 at the 2010 census. Every time we pass by Plymouth I wonder who the heck would live there and what they do.

Plymouth, Utah, with Gunsight Peak in the background (left)

I Googled it, in case you are interested in learning more about Plymouth:,_Utah

Why would I be interested? I don’t know.

At 1:45 pm we pull off the freeway at Malad and hit the Burger King. They are running a ‘buy-one-get-one-free’ special on whoppers. Four whoppers for 12 bucks! Eric buys.

Read the sign – CROWN STANDARD burgers!

Hey, their burgers are 100 % beef, flame grilled on real fire, no fillers or preservatives, freshly cut tomatoes and onions, every whopper sandwich is made to order and blah blah blah ‘love of all deliciousness’ (??) i.e. gut bomb. But hey, we’ve filled our gullets once again.

We pass Downey, Idaho at 2:07 pm. It’s out there near those mountains somewhere..

Is that Downey in the distance?

We roll into Idaho Falls on Sunday, January 30, about 3:30pm. 15 hours of travel all told. Not bad, really, except for being sleep deprived. What really struck us was how everything looked exactly the same as when we left 10 days ago. I was too tired to take a picture when we got home on the 30th. But here, I took one on the 31st.

Idaho Falls, Monday, January 31, 2022

Our street is still solid ice and the snow hasn’t melted one bit.

Are you sure we went to Kauai? One day later and it almost seems like a dream.

The Kuilau Ridge Trail, Sleeping Giant and Wailua Falls

February 27, 2022

Kauai Trip, January 2022 – Part 6 – I can’t just leave us in Kauai now, can I? Have to finish out the trip and get us home to Idaho again. We have about 2 days left of our 10-day vacation.

Enjoy the sunrise!

Princeville, Kauai, January 29, 2022 – 7:24 am

Hmm. What to do today? Let’s start by tossing some seed out for the birds.

January 29, 7:29 am

What? Do I really have to watch a video? Well, they’re pretty hungry. Okay here’s a photo, as well:

So Steph and Vic have chickens! Uh, yeah. Feral chickens that magically appear as soon as the feed hits the ground. They peck like maniacs till the feed is gone and then disappear. They’re likely nesting in the bushes on the north side of the house because you will hear a chicken fracas out there, good luck finding them. Do you know how to prepare a feral chicken? Boil it in a pan with a large rock. As soon as the rock is tender, the chicken is done.

What’s for breakfast? Starfruit! Harvested from the tree in Steph and Vic’s front yard.

Starfruit. Yum!

So what to do on our last two days? Hike! We love the Kuilau Ridge Trail: A pretty easy hike through lush hillsides leads you to a summit with a picnic table and stunning views of Mount Wai’ ale’ ale. There are two trails to the picnic table – the Kuilau Ridge Trail and the Moalepe Trail. We hiked both trails on this trip.

Of course, to get to the trailhead you drive through Kapa’a right past Sleeping Giant. Local legend tells of a Giant who feasted so much at a party in his honor that he laid down for a nap and never awoke. Here he is, lying on his back, stretched out across this photo which I took from the car. Painful for Eric to be so close to the Giant and pass up the hike!

Nounou Mountain (Sleeping Giant)

“Hey,” Eric pipes up. “I know we have hiked the east trail a couple of times, but we have never hiked the west trail to to the top of Sleeping Giant. We could still do that on this trip!”

“No, Eric. Not gonna do it.”

I tell you what, Eric. How about we go with this guy a.k.a. ‘Grizzle Gear’ who hiked the west trail to the top, filmed it and posted it on Youtube. You’ll be on top of Sleeping Giant in less than 8 minutes!

The Kuilau Ridge trail is perfect. About 3.5 miles roundtrip, you hike a gentle constant incline through lush forest and rolling hills, finally arriving at the picnic table. Here, let’s do it!

After Sleeping Giant we drive right past Wailua Falls. We pull over and take photos (with a mob of other tourists). Now this is what Paradise looks like!

Wailua Falls

And the view across the street:

On the Kuilau Ridge hike now! Luckily the trail is dry.

Megan is loving it

Lush rain forest, indeed!

Arrived at the picnic table

From L-R, David, Megan, Jody, Victor, Steph, Eric

Hiking back out

We’re starving and thirsty. And it’s a good hour’s drive back to Princeville. So of course we have to stop for lunch in Kapa’a at another one of our favorite hang-outs, the Olympic Cafe, which might possibly offer up the best Mai-tai’s on the Island (we have to keep sampling them to decide).

What? You were going to wrap up this trip and get us back to Idaho and now we’re sitting in a bar and grill drinking Mai-tai’s?


Here, you can be here with us! Click on this link with photos of the open air restaurant. It’s on a second story with a huge balcony that overlooks the main drag in Kapa’a.!1s0x7c06e0ed2365411b%3A0x8a828e4936f54e81!3m1!7e115!!5sOlympic%20Cafe%20-%20Google%20Search!15sCgIgAQ&imagekey=!1e10!2sAF1QipMEq-KN9Ywb41roUURPImJba1lWZ0MvKZTfFY9y&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjLov3_qaD2AhVRLTQIHeFnB8gQoip6BAghEAM

After the hour+ drive from Princeville to the Kuilau trailhead, hiking to the picnic table, and also stopping along the way to hike the west trail to the top of Sleeping Giant (just go with it Eric and check it off your bucket list), checking out Wailua Falls, sating ourselves with food and drink at the Olympic Cafe, maybe we should call it a day. I can go for another night of sweet slumber in our beds at Steph and Vic’s home in Princeville. Even if the chickens are making a racket in the bushes outside our windows.

So, no. We’re not flying back home to Idaho just yet. But to give you a clue as to what greets us when we get home let me just say it’s been a cold, dry winter, albeit, the large snow that pelted us before Christmas is still there. And accumulating. I took these photos out our front window two days ago.

Friday, February 24, 2022

Check out this video!

Glad to push that “Easy” button. Easy Peasy!

We finally got smart and hired someone to shovel us out.

Things are looking up a bit today, though. The sun has come out and David has cleared the snow off the deck.

Sunday, February 26, 11 am

Current temperature – 15 degrees – Fahrenheit that is. Cover ourselves with down, and we might be able to enjoy our Idaho happy hour out on the deck?

Yeah, I gotta get us home from Kauai. But, hey, what’s the rush?

The Magnificent Laysan Albatross

February 21, 2022

January 2022 Kauai trip Part 5. No, no! Can’t leave Kauai yet! It’s so hard to say goodbye to the incredible sea birds that return to the north shore of Kauai every year to mate and breed and raise their young. The Laysan albatross arrive in November from as far north as Alaska and the Arctic to begin their 9-month mating and breeding season. Whereas, the majority of the world’s Laysan albatrosses live on Midway and other small islands around no humans at all, during the past 50 years several hundred nesting pairs have established their breeding grounds in Kauai. Many of them return to the National Wildlife Refuge at Kilauea Point. A few pairs have built nests in already-established residential neighborhoods in Princeville, scratched out their 3-foot wide, shallow nests on the ground, in grassy front yards, under people’s shrubbery. It’s a hoot to be walking in a neighborhood and see an Albatross sitting on a nest near someone’s front porch. Do they have a dog?? A cat? How does that nest survive?

I’ve fallen in love with the albatross, learning more about them each year we visit Kauai. I couldn’t wait to see them this year, witness their crazy elaborate mating displays, their awkward wobble on land; watch them take off in a little run to launch into flight, then soar overhead. We stay with my sister Stephanie and husband Victor on our 10-day visits every year, and they have a perfect location for albatross watching – on a golf course built on a bluff overlooking the Pacific. Except the golf course is closed for extensive repairs after a huge storm several years back. There are three albatrosses sitting on nests just on their street. A close friend and neighbor has a nesting albatross at the end of her front porch. Well, it is a front porch, and so, well, just walk to the end of the porch, point your camera down, and capture a photo. I did it quickly and told her (him?) thank you for sharing your life experience with me!

That white corner is the porch railing!

Our second afternoon in Kauai I took a walk on a golf cart path behind the private residences and heard this big racket. Three albatrosses having a patio party, near a bedroom window of someone’s home, hey, we’re taking a nap here, please stop disturbing the neighborhood! I took a video:

Don’t wake up the person in the next room playing this video!

All of the birds without mates will participate in elaborate mating displays that include a piercing whistle, a loud rapid clacking of beaks, bobbing, pointing their neck straight up and placing their head under their wing. Hey, they are picking a mate for life! Laysan albatross don’t mate until they are 8-9 years old. But then, the oldest known bird on earth is a 70 (71?)-yr-old albatross named Wisdom, on Midway Island. Here is a link to Wisdom. She gave birth to her 40th chick in 2021 (at 70 years of age!):

That article is 11 months old – written last March, maybe we will hear an update this year – At age 72 did she birth yet another chick?

The couples are extremely committed to each other.

They build a nest about a yard wide and 2″ deep and by the end of November, have likely laid one egg. That egg has a 50 per cent of being viable, but both parents take turns sitting on it for the 60-65-day incubation period. One parent will roost while the other goes on foraging trips lasting up to 17 days, flying as far as 1600 miles over the ocean, landing on the ocean’s surface and plunging with its beak to capture squid, fish eggs and crustaceans, and of course, sometimes plastics, which are lethal to the birds. The foraging parent returns to the nest and takes over the roosting and frees the other to forage.

Meanwhile the single birds are busy, busy! One afternoon I heard them out on the golf course. I shot out the back door of the house. A group of them had gathered about 3 houses down right in the middle of the course. A meet up? Speed dating? The group started with four, then five, then, well, I was taking a video, zooming in from a distance, when number eight arrived.

Oh boy, now Charlie has arrived, further complicating this social situation

One by one they each take flight. They run into the wind to launch their bulky bodies

Until finally there’s one left. She (He?) wobbles toward the edge of the course and takes flight.

Just seems like it’s a ‘she’

There are several albatrosses nesting in a neighborhood near Sea Lodge Beach and if you visit there you might see nine or ten.

Mr. Big Stuff checking out the scene

I have several fantastic links about albatrosses to share with you. First of all, a fascinating YouTube video by Robert Waid will take you through the whole breeding season in Princeville from the moment the albatross return in November to when the chicks fledge in July.

That YouTube video is embedded in this web site:

– Written by Bob Waid who lived with his wife on the North Shore of Kauai From 1998 to June, 2016. Their home was located in a neighborhood which has been chosen by the albatross as home.

Another Princeville local, Cathy Granholm, kept a running blog containing news about the Laysan albatrosses in Princeville. Really fun! Here’s the link:

Meanwhile, back to our trip, the last day of our visit, Saturday, January 29, big news came from the neighbor’s house three doors down. The chick had hatched! She took photos off her front porch.

The parents will stay with the chick for two weeks, and then both of them will leave the chick alone in the nest while they forage for food. One parent will return every 4-7 days to feed the chick. The chick will remain in the nest for about 165 days, while it develops into adult size. It will wander a bit off the nest to exercise its wings as it prepares to fledge. In late June or July, the time to fledge has arrived. The adult sized chick finds a path to a 15-story bluff overlooking the ocean. Then runs and jumps off and takes flight for the first time. It heads out to sea where it will remain for 3-4 years, never even touching land.

After three or four years at sea, the same albatross will return to its place of birth (imprinted on its brain) and begin to socialize with its peers and engage in the elaborate mating dances over the next 5 years. The albatross return every November and eventually choose a mate by the age of 8 or 9.

Albatross are able to fly over 2000 miles in a single stretch through a process called dynamic soaring and can stay at sea for up to 5 years without touching land. They sleep on the water. No wonder they look so awkward on land.

Such incredible birds!

Meanwhile back here in southeast Idaho we’ve just shoveled ourselves out. Here’s the view outside our front door this morning.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Yeah, well the salmon don’t start returning till May.

Do you really think I’m ready to leave Kauai?