We recently visited the Chicago Botanic Garden. A fantastic outing and too big for one day. You could spend most of the day looking at the model railroads alone. The trail to see the entire garden is over two miles and it does not include all the side excursions you can take. Next time we visit we will make sure to get to the Japanese Garden.
When I took this picture I noticed to joy on this person’s face. It made me think. A garden is a garden no matter how small. I couldn’t help but wonder if the joy came from the windowbox or from a larger garden in days gone by.
Hummingbirds are fun to watch and very difficult to photograph. Sure you can put up a hummingbird feeder filled with sugar water. You can also sit in a tree stand with feed spread out on the ground to shoot a deer. I prefer to do my hunting in a natural way. I want to photograph hummingbirds in the wild and that requires patience and luck.
Hummingbirds are really fast. Their wings beat very fast. The fastest recorded rate is about 80 beats per second on an Amethyst Wood- star Hummingbird. North American hummingbirds average around 53 beats per second in normal flight. They are drawn to red plants for feeding. I invested a few hours to get these pictures.
While in Maui a friend of ours took us to a Protea Farm. Protea is an ancient angiosperm found in fossils back as far as 80 million years. They only grow naturally in Africa, Australia and South America, It is believed they grew in South America and Australia before the continents split from Africa. They can be cultivated and now grow naturally in Hawaii which is the only place in the United States they can be found outside of a greenhouse.
In 1795, before unification of the islands, the town was conquered by Kamehameha the Great. Lahaina was the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii from 1802 to 1845. It was once an important destination for the 19th-century whaling fleet, whose presence at Lahaina frequently led to conflicts with the Christian missionaries living there. On more than one occasion the conflict was so severe that it led to sailor riots and even the shelling of Lahaina by the British whaler John Palmer in 1827. In response, Maui Governor Hoapili built the Old Lahaina Fort in 1831 to protect the town from riotous sailors.
Originally whalers only chased the enormous and slow Right Whales. They were so slow you could catch them from rowboats off sailing ships as described in Moby Dick. After nearly killing off the right whales, whalers discovered that at certain of the year the faster Humpback Whales would travel to Hawaii to mate and Lahaina became the center to the decimation of this species. However in 1970 things changed and so did Lahaina.
The United States listed all humpback whales as endangered under the Endangered Species Conservation Act in 1970 and then under the Endangered Species Act. The international outlawing of whaling has enable the Humpbacks to survive and thrive. Lahaina changed from being a center of whaling to becoming a center for whale research and conservation. Today the boats still leave Lahaina Harbor in search of whales but to photograph them and enjoy their frolicking in the warm Hawaiian sun
The North Shore of Kauai is often overlooked by tourists. It is a drive to some of the more popular tourists attractions. However it is more relaxed and with its own attractions like Hanalei, The Kilauea Lighthouse and remarkable beaches like Lumaha’i Beach. A newer attraction that should not be missed is the Na ‘Aina Kai Sculpture Park By The Sea. This beautiful garden also contains over 75 magnificent sculptures, a maze garden, multiple waterfalls and is a beautiful place to stroll and contemplate life and nature.
In 1970 Humpback Whales were listed as an endangered species. There were estimated to be only 750 whales left in existence. Commercial whaling of this species was stopped internationally although certain countries still hunt other whale species in violation of international law.
Today, the worldwide Humpback Whale population is estimated at 84,000 and increasing. Regional estimates are 18,000–20,000 in the North Pacific,12,000 in the North Atlantic and over 50,000 in the Southern Hemisphere. The population is no longer considered endangered but still protected by NOAA. Because of this protection it is hard to photograph these animals. Boats are not allowed to get closer than 100 yards. If whales approach the boat they are required to shut off their engines and stay in “whale jail” until the whales back off.
We were fortunate to see a lot of whales and managed to get a few images including a mother and baby.