Changes Aren’t Permanent but Change Is: Part 2 of 2… by Brad Marks

Howdy folks! Not sure what it is like in your setting, but in our parts – it’s damn cold. As a gauge, my last two training runs have been on the treadmill. Guess what I HATE more than anything else…Christmas commercials before Halloween has arrived, BUT, running on a treadmill is easily second highest on my multi-volume set of things that make my blood “boil”. I enjoy running in the snow, tolerate running in sleet and fight through temps into the teens, however, 20mph winds pushing windchills into the single digits can freeze-“burn” the lungs right out of my chest. Reluctantly, tied on the Summer shoes, cranked up the conveyor belt and caught up on several streaming shows – harder that it sounds since I had to strain to hear over the body constantly nagging “Can we go OUTSIDE now!, how about now, I know what we should do..let’s go out there, please, please, pretty please, you know, real mean train outdoors, the ballet called, they want their tutu back, is that your picture next to the ‘wuss’ entry in the dictionary?!?” My body doesn’t even whine that much during ultra races. In an effort to save my sanity and maybe help push the mercury up (do kids even know what that means anymore?) let’s all toast our toes over lava with the second part of Brad’s post on Hawaiian volcanoes.

Take it away Brad…

Brief recap.  Twenty years spanning vacations to the Big Island.  Halema’uma’u crater relatively stable. Blah Blah Blah.  At the end of our last episode as we left our intrepid volcanic crater in the Spring of 2018, hell was breaking loose.  Literally. 

The first sign that something big was happening in 2018 was on April 30th when the lava in the Overlook crater at the Kilauea summit dropped significantly.  This meant that the magma had rapidly drained away from the summit and, based on the earthquake trail, was moving rapidly to the East Rift Zone.  To help with the scale of the next part of this article, please visit the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) site to see a map of the East Rift Zone.  I’ll wait while you go check out the map (humming a popular game show theme song). Halema’uma’u crater is to the lower left of this graphic. Here’s a re-post from a prior article.  It is a wildlife and adventure blog after all.  This trio was captured flying over the caldera on our last day on the island this year.  Remember, Nene prefer to walk everywhere and do not normally need to fly.  Just goes to show how large the caldera really is. 

Hawaiian Volcanoes by Brad Marks

OK, now we can go onto the next section.

Continue reading Changes Aren’t Permanent but Change Is: Part 2 of 2… by Brad Marks

Changes Aren’t Permanent but Change Is: Part 1 of 2… by Brad Marks

In a bit of a surprise, Brad has managed to bring us a two-part post. I have no idea how he had time to crank out not one, but TWO posts with all our new Intrigued employee required training that is just short of 30 online classes, two instruction led workshops and a week long retreat. Included in this curriculum: Information Security, Data Privacy, GDPR, Data Classification, Industrial Waste Management, Prohibitive Harassment (unless target is a lawyer), Insider Trading, Office Ethics: How Not to Embarrass Your Boss in Public (there are some Twitter employees that would benefit from our 2 day course), Corporate Assets Usage (jet, carpool, yacht, big wheel, unicycle, pogo stick, jacuzzi), Lawyer Hell Week (first rule of Hell Week, don’t talk about Hell Week), Performance Reviews, Incentive Compensation (I see Brad already added another “craptastic” check in this post!), Intrigued Birding Rules (link here), a complete viewing of the Monty Python comedy series and Field Safety 101 which includes a very useful workshop on how to properly swing (and if needed avoid) a tripod to escape a wild animal attack – hint, you do not use it on the animal. I’m exhausted just thinking about the workload. While I head off for some rest and a fruity drink with an umbrella in it, enjoy part 1 of Brad’s very “hot” topic.

Take it away Brad….

By now you may have noticed a few guest posts about birds and turtles on the Hawaiian Islands.  We have been fortunate to have been able to visit the islands several (more than a few, less than many) times.  We’ve also visited Volcanoes National Park each time we are on the Big Island of Hawai’i.  Who doesn’t like walking around on an active volcano?!  We’ve seen dramatic changes inside Volcanoes National Park.  I’m not talking about new parking stripes, or the remodeled Volcano House.  I’m talking about geological changes that can take thousands or millions of years to occur.  For example, Pikes Peak in Colorado looks pretty much exactly the same as it did 100 years ago, except for the new Visitor Center at the summit and the kitschy shops around its base.  The same could be said about the Kilauea caldera on the Big Island the prior hundred years.  Even Tom Sawyer’s creator, Mark Twain, seemed unimpressed at first with the Kilauea caldera saying it was “a wide level black plain” and that it was like “a large cellar – nothing more”.  Twain was unimpressed until he realized the scale of what he was seeing.  The “place looked a little larger and a little deeper every five minutes” he said.  Since the Halema’uma’u crater appeared in the early 1920’s there have been precious few large-scale changes.  That’s why after reviewing photos from our most recent visit this past August, I realized how much had changed since the prior visit in 2015.  And how much had changed from the visits prior to that.  Here’s my attempt at explaining or illustrating the changes we have witnessed over the 20 years of visiting Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island.  (time for a gratuitous volcano photo from 2010)

Hawaiian Volcanoes by Brad Marks
Continue reading Changes Aren’t Permanent but Change Is: Part 1 of 2… by Brad Marks

Now You See Me . . . Hawaiian Sand Crabs…by Brad Marks

With the day after day pressures subsiding I’m finally getting to work on Linda’s .. I mean my to-dos. Tops on that list is to battle the leaf invasion that has managed to break through my first line ranks and now pouring over the castle walls with reckless abandonment. The paired night (or high wind/rain) task is to get caught up on the Mothership with some very late race recaps and more than likely some haunt tutorials sprinkled in. While I’m tending to those, S.W. Brad is ready with a “ghostly” observation from the Hawaiian Islands.

Take it away Brad!

On the first morning of our first ever vacation to a tropical island in 2000, the last thing you might think to do is to rise early.  However, when your body clock is off by five hours and thinks it’s noon, you get out of bed even though the sun isn’t up yet.  (BTW, in the tropics there’s only a little more than 13 hours of sunlight in the summer, and up to 11 hours in the winter time, go figure) Ambitious you say?  Jet lagged I say.  At the time, I was in the habit of having a mug of honey ginseng green tea with a dash of local honey in the morning before work.  Jan had already been awake and moving for an hour or more.  After steeping my first mug of tea for the day, I walked the 100-feet from our condo to the beach.  Lucky for us, the condo on Kauai was on a beach on the east side of the island, which means we’d get a perfect view of the sunrise each morning.  My primary goal that day was to watch my first Hawaiian sunrise and see if the green flash was a myth. (It’s not a myth, by the way, check here as one of a hundred potential resources)

Hawaiian Islands Sand Crabs

As I stood watching the sky brighten in anticipation of sunrise, I noticed a lot of sand seemingly moving by itself.  I worked my way closer to see if I could figure out what was happening. 

Continue reading Now You See Me . . . Hawaiian Sand Crabs…by Brad Marks

Guest Feature: There’s a What in the Tree? …by Brad Marks

I am definitely not in any condition to provide you a quality post. Although my race last weekend is officially over, my legs and various other body parts (some of which I didn’t even know I had) are in a constant bicker to see who can complain the most. Advil has apparently met its match! “You torture us like that and then try to bribe us with those puny anti-inflammatory pills !?! – we tell nerves to illicit more pain you fool – now crawl into the kitchen and get us some frozen peas!!!” Such a cranky bag of parts. Anyway, I’ll eventually get to a race recap, but for now, let’s just classify it as bittersweet. While I try to get everything calmed down, blisters popped, blood cleaned off and knots pressed out, I’m once again turning wildlife post duties over to Brad. Today’s adventure is a little closer to home and definitely rings the “Intriguing” bell. I’m sure you will enjoy. Note, WordPress was rendering the images a bit too small to really see the details, so I went ahead and added links directly to the photos so you can view the full picture – you can also use the link Brad provided at the end to view the complete gallery.

Take it away Brad…

Brian and I were both fortunate enough to be able to retire at relatively young ages from the same company.  And after 30+ years of running around like a (fill in your own phrase here) it is nice to have a slow day ever now and then. (BTW, Brian still needs to learn this) One afternoon while sitting on our four-season porch reading, Jan asks “is that a raccoon in the tree?”  I grabbed my handy bird binoculars and took a look at the mulberry tree.  It was a very still day so when parts of the tree move all on their own, something larger than a bird is moving in the tree.  The critter was out at the edge of a branch near the tasty leaves, but had no mask or stripey tail.  Coincidentally my camera was nearby so I tried a few photos.  It looks like a . . . no it can’t be one of those . . . in a tree.  I ran upstairs to get my really long lens to see if I can tease out the identity.  At first, I didn’t believe what the camera was telling me.  A quick internet search revealed that yes indeed, these animals do sometimes climb trees.

Groundhog in a Tree by Brad Marks

Hit the jump to read more about this surprisingly nimble creature

Continue reading Guest Feature: There’s a What in the Tree? …by Brad Marks

Guest Feature: Infinite Regress …by Brad Marks (and Family)

Greetings everyone! By the time you are reading this post I will be passing from the severe discomfort phase and transitioning to the path paved by torture. Self-inflicted, of course, so I have no one to blame but myself for my addiction to long distance trail running – hell, I even paid good money to punish myself ha. I have always felt it is good to know one’s limits – let’s hope over the next 15+ hours, mine is somewhere past a 100K! With the focus on the pre-race fretting, the race itself and an unknown length of time required for recovery, Brad has once again thrown me a lifeline with another guest feature. He is also working on additional posts so I might have to promote him from “guest” status to Intrigued Corporate Staff Writer – this position pays the same, but it sounds far more prestigious. Hope it doesn’t cause problems with his lovely wife as our staff writers are constantly being chased down by sexy hordes of groupies. With that, I’ll let Brad take you through another island wildlife adventure.

Take it away Brad…

Have you ever seen the photo of Earth hanging in the blackness of space?  I know some people think that photo is a fake, and that there are rocks holding the flat, Photoshopped, earth in place.  There are many stories about the creation of the earth, most involved animals (elephants, turtles, birds, water, etc.).  One variation of the many involves turtles and was first referenced in an ancient Hindu text. 

Fast forward to modern times.  Two people are discussing a variation of the creation story (heavily paraphrased here). 

Person One says, “Earth was created by putting soil on a turtle’s back, growing the Earth and then holding it up.”

“If that’s the case, what is the turtle standing on?” asks Person Two.

Person One replies, “another turtle of course.”

“Then what is THAT turtle standing on?” asks Person Two.  

Person One says, “Oh no you don’t, you are not going to trick me.  It’s turtles all the way down”.

At this point you’re probably wondering why I’m talking about turtles.  After all, isn’t this a birding blog?  True.  However, if you’ve ever seen a sea turtle glide through water, the motion their flippers make in the water is very similar the motions birds use to fly through the air.  See, I could tie this story back to birds (sort of), you just had to stick with me.  Plus, turtles are really cool. 

Hit the jump to read more about these intriguing creatures!

Continue reading Guest Feature: Infinite Regress …by Brad Marks (and Family)