Sunday, January 19, 2014

More Chicks Hatching

It's been a pretty windy winter so far.  We haven't been able to get over to Eastern Island too much lately. According to the wind forecast, we'll have winds in the 20's and 30's (mph) for the next few days.  I'm glad the volunteers finished up the albatross survival plots this past week.  Those are the plots that we check every year to see how many adults survive from the previous years.  The black-footed albatross chicks have started hatching.  I don't have any photos of them yet since there are only a few so far.  By next week they should be hatching everywhere.  

I'll be off island for 2 weeks starting Tuesday, but I'll be working in Honolulu so I should be able to put up a few more photos next week.

 Hoku and Shirley are checking one of the Laysan albatross survival plots on the south side of Eastern Island.

 I finally got to Eastern Island to get a few photos of the Short-tailed albatross chick from this season.  It looks pretty similar to the 2 that hatched in 2011 and 2012.  We'll probably be posting a couple more links to video on the flickr page over the season.  http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwspacific/sets/72157625522391142/

 I had my 300 mm zoom and cropped the photo so you could just see the Short-tailed albatross' head.  I didn't adjust the color in this at all so you could see how golden the head looks in the sun.  Sometimes it's hard to tell the real color of these birds since most people try to adjust the contrast or saturation of their photos to make it look brighter yellow.  By the way, I rarely change anything in my photos other than crop them, although since the bright sun makes such harsh shadows out here, sometimes I'll adjust the shadows so you can actually see what's there.

 This hybrid Black-footed/Laysan albatross was over on Eastern.  I rarely can get photos of them all together.

 We had a couple of birds with problems this week.  It's pretty common to have Laysan ducks get plastic rings stuck around their necks.  This female duck flew off before we could catch it.  We'll have to try again later.

 This is the other bird.  You can see the fish hook stuck in the Black-footed albatross' foot.  Thanks Hope Ronco for these two fish hook photos.

You can see we have only the most up to date surgical equipment for working on our birds.   Volunteer Ann, the Physicians Assistant, Mike and I are removing the hook.  Those stainless steel hooks are extremely hard to cut.  We tried 4 different kinds of metal cutters and these giant bolt cutters were the only thing strong enough to cut through the hook.

 The waves coming in from the north behind the emergent reef were pretty big again, although not as big as a month ago.

 Here's another visiting bird that is normally not seen on Midway.  This is a Slaty-backed gull, which normally is on the East coast of Asia or western coast of Alaska.

I was wondering why this bird liked to sit in the water instead of the land.  After watching it for a while, I saw that it only had one foot, although you can't tell from the 2 photos that I put up.

4 comments:

Elliot said...

More awesome pictures, Pete! Thanks for doing what you do.

Pete Leary said...

Thank you, that's always nice to hear.

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