Sunday, May 5, 2013

Back Again

It was a long vacation, but I'm finally back.  I was in Washington D.C. for most of that time, but also went to Bismarck, N.D. for training and to visit my parents and a few old friends.  It was a bit cool there with -30 wind chills, then 91 in D.C. two weeks later. 
There was a big change while I was gone.  Our island population is getting smaller.  Twelve positions have gone away, so the folks left on island will get a bit busier.  Here are a few photos that I took on vacation, and a few new ones, too.

The prediction for the blooming of the cherry trees in Washington D.C., was off by about a week, so the crowd gathered around the one blooming tree.
 
Here is the same spot a few days later.  There were more trees to take pictures under so this one wasn't so popular anymore.
 
A lot of people were out enjoying the blossoms.

Some cherry blossoms with the Jefferson Memorial in the background.
 
 The chicks have grown quite a bit, and there are quite a few around.

There are a lot of Laysan ducklings in the seeps now.  
 
We had some visitors from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.  They gave us grant money to help get rid of the verbesina on Eastern Island, and now Sand Island.  I'm glad they got to see what great work the crew is doing with their grant.  Here, they are on a tour of Eastern Island.

 The Sooty terns have also come back since I've been gone.  Eastern Island is loud again.

A Coast Guard C-130 came through for crew rest after conducting a search for a person who fell off of a sailboat.  They called off the search without finding him. 
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/10029553/Search-for-missing-sailor-who-fell-into-Pacific-Ocean-called-off.html

 A group from NOAA also came to pick up marine debris while I was off Island.  They got a decent amount in their short time here.

 I think you can see why the albatross eat lighters out in the ocean.  They look a lot like the squid on the left.
 I found this dead Pacific Golden Plover while I was checking seeps on Friday.  This bottle cap was probably picked up by an albatross in the ocean, brought back to Midway and fed to a chick, then either was coughed up with other non-digestible stomach contents or was left after a dead chick decomposed, then found by this plover which then caused its death.

We got out to check on the reef.  This spectacled parrotfish is just about to take a chomp out of the coral.

7 comments:

Pete Prellwitz said...

Welcome back to blog country, Pete! Hope you had a great time.

What kind of adjustment is there - if any - when going from a sparsely populated island like Midway to a large metropolitan city like DC, or a vast prairie like ND? And what's it like when you go back to Midway after six weeks?

As always, many thanks for the posts and pictures!

Anonymous said...

So glad you're back. My Monday mornings feel back to normal now when I start off reading your blog. I live in DC and visiting your blog is a nice escape.

Jill said...

Welcome back, Pete,

It is wonderful to see you and your photos on the screen when I check in the mornings. I echo what Pete M and Anonymous say.

Who has left? Chugach, FAA, USFWS?

sevenintheocean.com said...

Thanks for the update, Pete and welcome back to Midway! :) I was so sad to see that photo of the Plover. Dang!

Awesome photos, as always. How are the birds these days? Fingers crossed for no botulism outbreaks...

Anonymous said...

Glad to read your blog posts and to see your photos again.I enjoy keeping up to date on Midway: Traveled there many years ago with the Oceanic Society.

ebee said...

Hi Pete,

This is not the best medium for contact, but I was referred to you by Jeff at Monterey Bay Aquarium. I have a question about albatross on Midway. Would you mind sending me an email - ebjorkquist@cleansd.org. I apologize for the unconventional approach to contacting you.

Best,
Erika

Pete Leary said...

Thank you all. It's nice to be back too. For the second commenter, sorry to give you pics of D.C., since it's not that much of an escape for you.
Jill, this latest population drop was all DBSI (Chugach) folks, since USFWS lost the positions in October. I do this as a personal blog on what goes on where I live, rather than an official blog about what USFWS is doing over here. That's why I don't go to deep into the job or personnel issues.