Monday, March 31, 2008
A red-footed booby is sitting in a heliotrope tree.
Here's a bigger picture so you can see the colors of its bill.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
An male Great Frigatebird is displaying for the females. The other bird is juvenile.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Here's a Q & A article with Matt:
Here's the Q & A video with Matt and John:
The BBC and FAA people left this evening. And Dasha (my wife) came in on the plane. She'll be here for a week and a half. She loves wildlife so she'll love it here. We've been concentrating mainly on the plastic this week but we still have our other issues, such as invasive species and endangered species.
Here we are dealing with the invasive species. We are pulling verbesina at the memorial on Eastern Island.
Here is one of the endangered species. Can you spot which short-tailed albatross is not a decoy? The juvenile that was hanging around hasn't been seen for a while.
P.S. For all of those who found my site via the BBC stories and are interested in the volunteer program, here is the link: http://www.fws.gov/midway/refuge/volunteers.html
But also watch the Q&A link up above with Matt because it's difficult to get out here.
Friday, March 28, 2008
This is part of our collection of interesting things we've found that the albatross brought here. These things were found near nests and not just washed up. That big toy is about 6" tall and was probably a stomach full for a bird. Like I said yesterday, sometimes you really do wonder where these things came from.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
And don't forget to read David's new internet story. His reports are a bit more colorful than mine, and also written much better. Most of the plastic we find is not so thought provoking. Lighters, toothbrushes, bottle caps, and broken bits of plastic make up the usual finds, but every now and then we find some toy or other item that really does make you wonder what it went through to get here. I'll get a picture tomorrow of a few of the more interesting items. Here's David's link again:
I was taking a picture of these chicks in the marine debris when I heard a lot of squawking. There were two Great frigatebirds fighting over a fish.
The chaser ended up getting the fish from the chasee. Did I mention that Midway was a great place?
It has been nice having the BBC guys here because they are kind reminding us of the big issues we have here. We see the thousands of albatross chicks dying each year because of plastic, but most other people have no idea. One of the crew, Mark, said they'll probably use a quote from me either today or tomorrow, so don't forget to watch at the times I told you on yesterday's blog. It was about 7:25 eastern time Tues on BBC America, but can be anytime between 7 and 8 pm depending on other stories. The shows on BBC One and BBC World should be the same as I put yesterday, and they'll probably put the stories on BBC online in the Science/Nature section.
Here is a link to David Shukman's daily Midway stories:
This is the Kahana coming in at sunset.
Two of the visitors are planting bunch grass in the field where the Cannon School used to be.
This is a teaser for the BBC story later.
Monday, March 24, 2008
This afternoon the volunteers, Greg, and I showed the visitors how to clone and plant bunch grass. It was great that they helped us out. We got a lot of work done with 16 people.
These are a couple of the spinner dolphins we saw today.
It was a beautiful day today. Here are a couple of turtles and the boat bringing over a few people to Eastern Island.
This is the plaque at the cross near the harbor that I said I would show you.
The group that came last night is the first group of the regular visitor program. One of the women said she had been here 6 times before (she is 86) and was really happy that she could get out here again. The group that is offering the tours is the Oceanic Society. You can check out their website if you're thinking of coming out here. Just so you know, it'll cost $4890 for your trip from Honolulu.
Tonight was another bowling night. It wasn't near as crowded as it was with the sailors here, but it was alright.
I had a request to take a picture of the plaque at the cross at the east end of the harbor. I didn't see the message until tonight, so I checked my earlier pictures and found I almost had it. You can barely see the little monument in front of the cross and I'll take a close up of it tomorrow. It basically says that this point is the last place in the U.S. that sunrise services are performed on Easter. I don't know when the last services were here, but probably when the Navy was out here. There are too many petrel burrows there now for any activities.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
This is the chick with plastic problems.
Here's the BBC crew with John Klavitter explaining the situation.
This is what the bird had. It looks like a little plastic mesh bag for produce or something. Normally the chick would have just swallowed the whole thing and it would have taken up space for food, but the hook caught on its mouth. It probably has more plastic in its stomach, but at least this piece is out.
Their parts came in on the plane tonight and Marty (the skipper) took about 3 hours to fix it so they are ready to try for Honolulu again at 9 in the morning.
Christy (bug studier) and Lauren (volunteer) left today. Christy will be back soon but I think Lauren wouldn't have minded staying a little longer. There were a couple of other guys that were out here working to install detection equipment for the U.N. Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, who also left. One of them was a former submarine nuclear power guy like myself, so we had a good time talking.
Matt is back, and I also got a new roommate. His name is Murray. He'll be the new visitor services ranger on the island for 6 months. The first group of paying visitors will be here tomorrow also.
Three people from the BBC came out to do some filming on the plastic problem here. Both the plastic that the albatross eat and the stuff that floats around here and washes up on the beach. There are also a few FAA people who came out. I'm not sure why yet, but I'll find out sooner or later.
Our boat is towing the sailboat past the old wrecked water barge.
Lou and Johnboy are getting ready to tie up to the LCM (landing craft).
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Dana and Lauren are banding the one of the tropic birds.
Here's one of our frequent activities on Midway, digging out petrel burrows. It's very hard to walk anywhere without caving them in. We just have to make sure the sand doesn't bury the birds and that the opening isn't blocked. Most of our work is not on the paved areas, so we usually fall in about 5 times a day. There is rarely injury to the adults, but every now and then an egg or chick doesn't make it. I've fallen in up to my hip before but that was probably a wedge-tailed shearwater burrow, not a petrel burrow.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
This is a Bonin petrel chick. The burrow got collapsed, so it had to sit outside for a minute until it had a hole to go back to. They are little puffballs with a beak. I'm sure they have eyes, but you really can't tell.
Monday, March 17, 2008
One of the traditions at the All Hands Club is for visiting groups to decorate a ceiling tile.
They were tied up to our old landing craft. Now they are headed for Honolulu.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
We had a little party for them at the All Hands Club last night. They are supposed to leave after lunch on Sunday. It'll take about 8 days for them to get to Honolulu.The weather wasn't so good for them. It was really windy and cloudy all day. They were still glad to get here and at least have a day to walk around and have hot showers.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
We had a good game night at Capt. Brooks' tonight. Tomorrow will be an early day since the Australian sailboat will come in first thing in the morning. They are waiting nearby because they can't pull in at night.
The weather was bad for pictures today, but I went down the road and got this Laysan/Black-footed hybrid picture. This bird always comes back to the same place and tries to dance with the Laysan albatrosses. I think it has too many Black-foot dancing genes because the Laysan albatrosses won't have anything to do with it. It still tries though, and maybe one of these years it will find a mate.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
The petrel chicks have started hatching. I don't know if I'll get any pictures of them since they live underground, but I'll try to get something for you. The only way that they get seen is by accidentally collapsing their burrrows. So I hope that I won't see any, but since it's impossible not to cave one in now and then, I'm sure I will.
Here's a canary on a Norfolk pine branch by my house.
Here's a sunset picture from last night. I know you just had a sunset picture a couple days ago, but like I said before, you can never have too many sunsets.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Here's the shark by the nest. It sort of looks like a cookie cutter shark. They only get to be 18 to 20 inches long. It's hard to tell though since this wasn't that fresh. They call them cookie cutter sharks because they go up to bigger fish and seals and just bite a little circle out of them, then swim away.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
I didn't take many pictures this weekend, but I'll get a few tomorrow. Here's a Pacific golden plover by my house. There are quite a few of these around during the winter months.
Friday, March 7, 2008
Here's a Gooney bird near the ofice. Sometimes it just fits better to say "gooney bird" than Laysan albatross.
The last umbrella sedge is getting pulled out.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
I found an albatross chick stuck in a petrel hole. The parent was still feeding it so it was just getting fatter and more stuck. I had to dig it out. That actually happens quite a bit.
I also saw a black-footed albatross with fishing line hanging out of its mouth attached to a bunch of fish eggs. It was trying like crazy to get the line out so I caught the bird to help out. It ended up throwing up its food, luckily, the fish hook came out with the eggs. Although it has to take another trip out for food, at least it, or its chick won't get a hook stuck in them.
Kristin and Jimmy are checking the albatross chicks for their band numbers.
Dana, Lauren, Kristin, and Rex are trimming the naupaka and pulling weeds by the office. I'm finally getting a few pictures of people working. I haven't had too many of those, but now with a few extra people around, I can show the work instead of just birds or scenery.
Tonight we had a couple of talks up at Capt. Brooks'. Christy gave a talk on the relationship between bugs and verbesina, and Janet gave a talk on her petrel research. It's nice to know what people are up to when they are out here and why it's important.
The white terns are coming back like crazy now. There were always a few around, but now they are everywhere. This is an earlier picture, but I like it.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Tonight the plane flew in and brought us some mail unexpectedly. It was on it's way to the Marshall Islands and needed to stop here for fuel and rest for the pilots. They'll leave before sunrise and come back for their normal flight on Friday.
I also went out tonight to help catch and band the petrels. I hadn't done it for a while, but it was about my turn again. Janet and Jen are leaving Friday, so there will only be one more night of them doing that.
Jen, Lauren, and Dana are all bundled up while we were catching the petrels. It was 69 degrees so I didn't think it was so cold. Lauren and Dana live in Hawaii so they have an excuse. Jen is from Canada, so I guess she's just practicing for getting back there next week.
Lauren is having a good time anyway.
Monday, March 3, 2008
This chick looks like it's taking care of the egg. It was really just sitting near it, but it looked funny.
Saturday, March 1, 2008
Here's the game near Capt. Brooks'.
This is Zen trying to dive, but he didn't jump far enough so it ended up being a belly flop.