THING ONE! Yesterday morning I had the most INCREDIBLE encounter with an ‘Io, or Hawaiian Hawk. These hawks are listed as endangered, but they're quite common on my island, and you see them flying above Hilo all the time. Hakalau, however, is the environment they evolved for, a dense forest full of their prey, Hawaiian forest birds. I see several hawks a day up there, on the hunt, quiet and intense as they glide swiftly between the trees. ...ANYWAY, I was setting up a mist net for our day of bird banding when out of the corner of my eye I saw a branch shake. I looked up to see what bird had landed, and in a low ‘ohi‘a branch about 35 feet above my head was a gorgeous light phase hawk! (‘Io come in a range of colors, categorized into "light phase," or a white chest and face, or "dark phase," mostly dark brown.) The hawk sat there for quite some time, alternately peering at me and into a tangle of ferns on the hillside, while I gaped up at it, wishing I had my camera on me. After a few minutes, it flew off, demonstrating its skill as a forest hunter by passing through a gap between two tree trunks that couldn't have been more than 6 inches wide.
THING TWO! This morning, for what I believe is the first time ever in my life, I laid eyes on the planet Mercury. I woke at 5:15 a.m. and at 6500 feet the pre-dawn sky was glorious, a dome of dark, dark blue still set with bright stars overhead, and a ring of brilliant, flaming scarlet at the horizon. The clouds were below us, and set just above them, in the middle of the fiery band of red, the small, pale face of a planet too small to be Venus. ...I wish my phone had been up to the challenge of photographing the scene, but the stars and planets were too small and unfortunately there was just no capturing that gorgeous red.
THING THREE! Just now, tiny baby gecko on my wall. :)