Sights & Sounds to Soothe the Soul

Living in your own private island retreat can be a feast for the senses. Imagine being immersed daily in the sights and sounds of wildlife thriving on your property’s natural landscape …

Each morning, the bell tone calls of gray francolins float across the yard as sweet melodies of bright red Northern cardinals serenade from the trees. Soon, staccato chirps of red-crested Brazilian cardinals blend in harmony with the warbles of Java sparrows and finches added to the soothing coos of doves. Snowy egrets land gracefully on the green as an elusive black francolin scurries across wild grasses and tiny, white-eyed mejiros flit among shrubbery. None are so entertaining as the rascally mynas with their cheeps, tweets and silly antics, or the mimicking calls and songs of the mockingbirds.

Red crested Cardinal Norfolk pine
Red-crested Cardinal
Black francolin in Hawaii
Black Francolin

Occasionally, a clear whistle can be heard from the kolea (Pacific golden plover) while searching for insects on the lawn. Kolea feed in the islands from late summer to late spring before making their annual trek to Alaska for nesting. When honking is heard from a distance, you soon see overhead the distinctive formation of a flock of endangered nene geese flying between valleys. This rare Hawaiian goose was introduced to the West Maui mountains a decade ago. These geese are thriving and have grown larger in size than those populating the high mountain slopes of Haleakala. As the sun is setting and night falls, the shy pueo (short-eared Hawaiian owl) can be seen soaring low over ravines while searching for food or if you’re lucky, you can find him perched on a branch, head swiveling, as he scopes out the terrain.

Nene geese pair West Maui
Nene (Hawaiian Geese)
Pueo short-eared owl Maui
Pueo (Hawaiian Owl)

A spectrum of green abounds:  from dark evergreen boughs of Norfolk pines to the intricate fronds of kiawe and leafy branches of monkeypod trees. Bright green waves of heart-shaped kalo (taro) leaves and long blades of mai (banana) leaves wave in the breeze. Soft, silvery greens of endemic ‘ilima and pohinahina shrubs contrast with olive green tones of woody ‘a‘ali‘i and mamane bushes. From the dark green paddle-shaped leaves of kamani to bright green teardrop kou leaves and from the silvery green maple leaf structure of kukui leaves to the bold green hand-like leaves of ‘ulu (breadfruit), the groves of trees offer cooling shade as well as natural beauty.

Floral blossoms range from dark red to hot pink and bright yellow on plumeria trees and bougainvillea vines. Yellow is nature’s color of choice for native plant blossoms on ‘ilima, contrasting with multi-hued red in the blooms of ‘a‘ali‘i, both of which are scattered across this tropical oasis.

yellow 'ilima blossom
‘Ilima
red a'ali'i flower
‘A‘ali‘i

No matter where you look, nature is by your side to soothe the restless soul.

Sharing my vision of Earth … inspired by The Daily Post.

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