Monday, January 31, 2011

Bird of the Day

It was cold today, getting colder over the next few days as strange weather conditions hit much of the US.  
But I don't mind because I am thinking about Hawaii! 

This posting is for Mum, who portentously said "if this goes well perhaps we shall have to go to Hawaii again" and I thought "damn sure we will Have To Go Again."

Not having every been before this may be too bullish but even the birds there are brightly colored. After days of almost-sun and half-rain, any saturated colors will do. Actually, secretly, I edited this image below to pump up the saturation. I didn't feel the scan did it justice.

This morning, the sun broke through around breakfast time and I was struck but an urgent happiness and rushed to Whole Foods and bought fluffy white bread (which we never get) and made French toast. Then the sun passed and I returned to my running training, Cleopatra reading apathy - interspersed only by episodes of pinching my belly fat and looking at Josh in a perplexed way, to which he replies matter of factly: "carbs" or "small-things" or "Sugar" depending on what he is thinking at the time.

Anyway, from saturated fats lets return to saturated colors:

PLATE 38:  Hawaiian Native Birds - Yellow, black and red honeycreepers.
From Pratts field Guide to the Birds of Hawaii and the Tropical Pacific.

Extinct Bird of the Day: ULA-AI-HAWANE  (top left)
From Pratt:
"Found in historic times only on the Island of Hawaii.  Last seen early 1890s in Kohala.  Extinct.

Other listings theorize that it was too dependent on the hawane palm to survive habitat destruction.

You might see it Bird of the DAY:  IIWI  (top right)
 From Pratt (p 309) A nectar-feeder often found in flowerin gohia-lehua, mamane and many introduced plants like banana poke.  Slow and deliberate in movements, keeps to the interior of leafy branches, rarely in the open.  More difficult to see than apagane, with which it often feeds.  Wings produce an audible flutter in flight....

In native forests above 600m.  Common to abundant Hawaii, Maui, Kauai...."

From Wikipedia we learn:
"One of the most plentiful species of this family, many of which are endangered or extinct, the ʻiʻiwi is a highly recognizable symbol of Hawaiʻi. The ʻiʻiwi is the third most common native land bird in the Hawaiian Islands. There are large colonies of ʻiʻiwi on the islands of Hawaiʻi and Kauaʻi..."

 While not rare, it is threatened because of habitat limitations, diseases and also pigs which create wallows which serve as habitat for avian malaria larva.  Avian malaria and fowlpox are serious threats to Hawaiian birds.  Apparently 90% of exposed Iiwi die.

 This weekend Joshua and I had a touch typing contest.  Josh says he thought he was fast and I said I was too.  Because he is Mr Always Right, he was right.  He is a bit faster than me.  He types at about 95 WPM at an accuracy comparable with my 85 WPM.   I can type faster worse and he can type faster-faster worse.  When typing antiquarian English typing tests we both scored in the high 80s but once the constraints of topic and crazy spelling were removed, Josh can do over 100 WPM with some ease.
His oddity is that he talks to himself while he's doing it, sometimes.  Surely I can deduct 10WPM for that?

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