Friday, July 20, 2007

Chainsaw Thursday

Tomorrow we'll start actually having daytime flights. There are enough birds gone from the island that we won't worry too much about having planes hit the birds. That means we moved "Chainsaw Friday" to "Chainsaw Thursday". So I finally got a chance to weigh myself at noon and after work. I lost 4 1/2 pounds in 3 hours of chainsawing. It probably would have been more if I had dried off instead of being soaked by sweat, and I even drank a quart of water. It's good that I like to work when it's really warm.
Tonight we had another fire near cargo pier. I saw another new thing here. I saw a moonbow or whatever you want to call a rainbow at night. The moon isn't that bright but it was clear and there was rain off to the east so there was an arc of light. It wasn't colorful or anything but it was still cool. I've got no new pictures for today so I'll have to pull some out of the archives. By the way, I've found out that the Canon EOS starts renumbering after 9,999 pictures so I had to start a new file and I've officially taken over 10,000 pictures here.
Somtimes we have to use a bulldozer to clear paths for the birds to get through the plants to the ocean.
This Laysan albatross just has a funny hairdo.


Unknown said...

Where are you cutting trees, and how many are you cutting? How much area is being cleared and for what purpose?

Pete Leary said...

We are cutting the trees in a field that was clear until a couple years ago near the water tower here. The Ironwoods are an invasive species that don't belong on Midway. They were planted in the early 1900's by the cable people. We aren't cutting them down in a big area, but we need to keep them from taking over the entire island. The albatross really have trouble flying through them, also almost all of the birds here are ground nesters so the trees just take away nesting habitat, especially for the endangered Laysan Teal.

Unknown said...

Hi Pete. Thank you for your reply.

I'm sure that you understand that Laysan Teal are not native to Midway; nor are short tail albatross. Naturally one will argue that they are endangered, and aren’t considered invasive and they would be correct in saying so.

I completely understand and support a maintenance program to keep the trees from completely overtaking the island, but don't agree with the total removal of the trees. This philosophy has typically walked hand in hand with the idea that Sand Island should be completely reverted to pre-human existence, which is completely impractical, and it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to call impossible. This idea also discounts the historical significance and the preservation of the history of the island.

I also feel that the removal of verbasina, at this point, is more important than the removal of mature trees. Ex-Refuge Manager Rob Schallenberger stated that there was no plan to completely remove the ironwood trees anyway.

It's great that there are people like you that can take time from the "real world" to have an adventure that also provides a beneficial service.

I await your next blog posting, as I am living Midway vicariously through you.

Pete Leary said...

Thanks for the comment and it's nice to know that people actually care about this place.
It's nice having the big ironwoods for shade, the frigate birds and white terns like to sit in them, and the tropic birds like to nest at the base of them. So I don't think we should get rid of them altogether either, as long as there's people here to stop the spread of them.
Also we only have one short-tailed albatross here and it got here on its own and just can't find a mate, so we're hoping another one comes by sooner or later. I'm not aware of are any plans to bring in any nesting pairs.
And you're right about not wanting to make Sand island like it was before people came. It was called Sand Island for a reason. You're right about it being an impossible task especially because of the hundreds of different invasive insects that came in with all the topsoil the Navy brought in.