Sunday, September 30, 2007

Bingo Night

Last night was Bingo night, we even had prizes and at least didn't have to pay for our cards so it wasn't gambling. Our morale committee gets these things going every now and then.

It's been a rainy weekend so we didn't play volleyball on Saturday evening, and I didn't get out and do much of anything.

This memorial is next to the old power plant building that I showed you a couple of days ago. It is for George H. Cannon, who was killed on Dec. 7, 1941 (many people don't know that Midway was also attacked the same day as Pearl Harbor). He was the first Marine to be awarded the Medal of Honor in WWII. He was injured when the Japanese bombed Midway and he made sure all his men were helped before he was, and then he stayed in the command post until he was forcibly taken out for medical attention. He died later from loss of blood.

This is Tern Island again (I said I'd post another one that's a little closer). It's the best shot I could get out of the scratched up plane window.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Another Friday

I got some spraying of the weeds in this morning, and a little mowing this afternoon before the plane came in. We sent off our Fish & Wildlife managers and got a couple new coral reef people. Wendy came back with a new technician named Kate. I hope she' s not a practical joker like our last Kate was. They'll be here for 6 weeks. The weather is starting to get a little more windy and the ocean is getting a little rougher. So we'll see if they can get all their work done out on the reef.
Greg and I did some more banding of red tailed tropic birds today. We only have one chick left to band. It's still so small that the band will fall off of it's foot, so we'll get it in another couple weeks.
This weekend I'll actually get out and take some pictures of the new things going on around here and maybe the places that we cleared of weeds. But in the meantime, I'll give you some old pictures that are still new to you.

This is a picture of French Frigate Shoals from the airplane. It is mostly coral reef but the little tan spot on the right under the little cloud is Tern Island (that's where the people live). I know it's hard to see but it's really not that big.

These are a couple of spinner dolphins that were passing under me on the fuel pier.

Here's a seal that was born this year playing with one of our floats next to the dock.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Chainsaw Thursday again

We got rid of a few more ironwood trees on Radar Hill. I think the albatross will like their new nesting spot. There's one dead adult albatross hanging from a tree, which shows you why we are getting rid of them. Most of the birds pay enough attention to not fly into the trees, but not all of them I guess.

We got a lot of mowing done today, too. We did an area where there are broods of Laysan ducks so I got to run the tractor while Greg walked in front and checked to make sure there weren't any ducks hiding in the verbesina. It's pretty slow going. Normally you would think the tractor and mower would scare the ducks away, but they will come closer to see what the commotion is, so we have to be really careful near our ponds. Today while I was chainsawing near the Radar Hill pond, the ducks were coming closer to watch me cutting down the trees.

I didn't take any pictures today so here's some that I took last week.

Here's our fuel pier. I took this one just to show the shades of blue

Here's another one just for color.

This is one of our construction projects going on right now. This building is replacing our huge old hangar. This building is about 1/10 the size, but it's all we need. Those buildings behind used to be baracks for the Marines stationed here.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Plane Day and Volleyball

It was good to get our plane today since we've been out of fresh veggies for a while in our salad bar, we haven't even had lettuce for a while. That watermelon tasted pretty good tonight. We had some papaya from one of our trees here a couple of days ago and it was interesting. These were like eating pieces of carrot that tasted like tropical fruit, so they were good as long as you thought of it as fruity carrot.
I did more mowing and spraying today and am making good progress on those darn weeds. Tonight I just played some beach volleyball and talked to some of the FWS people that are visiting for a few days.
I think I've shown you this before but it was a view from shore. This used to be a water barge that would bring fresh water to the island. That was before it ran aground and now is just a wreck. It's pretty big. It sticks up about 20 or so feet out of the water. I took this when we were trying out our new boat.

I told you the white terns would nest anywhere. This one is just barely hanging on to the exposed reef about a foot above the water. I can't believe it didn't get washed away. This was on the northeastern edge of the reef about 3 miles from the island.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


I got a lot of work done today. I sprayed a lot of new verbesina seedlings this morning so I at least shouldn't have to go back to that spot for 2 weeks or so. I got some mowing in this afternoon. We're making a lot of nesting space for the albatross when they get back next month.
So here's a few pictures from last week to look at.

Here's a Laysan duck stretching out in the sun.

This is a fledgling Sooty Tern and an adult over on Eastern Island. They don't look much alike, do they? The fledgling is the spotted one.

Monday, September 24, 2007

More mowing

Today was nice until about 5 pm when it started raining. I got a lot mowed around the communication building today. I also took care of some office stuff. There hasn't been too much extra stuff going on around here lately. The turtle nest still hasn't hatched, there's only been 1 duckling to hatch lately, and there's nothing new with the seals and dolphins. I did have to make a new hole for a wedge-tailed shearwater chick, since the tractor caved in it's little spot. I just picked it up, dug out it's hole and put it back and it seemed like it liked it ok. When the parent comes back to feed it tonight it can fix the place up again.
Here's my new bike for those of you who wanted to see it. It's nothing fancy, but it gets me around. I put those fenders on too so I don't get mud thrown on me in the rain.
There were 18 turtles on Turtle Beach yesterday (there's only 10 in this picture).
While I was taking the turtle picture I saw this curlew behind me on the fire hydrant.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Nice Weekend

It was a nice weekend and it didn't rain until tonight. Yesterday, a bunch of us got together and worked on the mini-golf course. It was leftover from Navy days and in serious disrepair, so we patched up the concrete and we'll order green carpet for it. At least we'll have one more thing to do.
Here's a couple pictures that I took in the sun.
A few guys are working on the mini-golf course.
This is the old power plant building that was here during WWII.
This was an old communication building. Now they use it for fire training.

Friday, September 21, 2007

One More Rainy Day

It rained again today, but at least this morning I got a bunch of mowing in. I'm hoping it's sunny tomorrow so I can take a few pictures of the area that is done. This afternoon I got some inside things done. There wasn't a lot of action around here to report on so I'll just give you a few pictures that I took last night when I checked the turtle nest.
See why I can never decide which pictures to delete?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Another Day of Rain

I guess we're getting into the rainy season since it's the 4th day in a row. We didn't do any chainsawing in the rain either. I got some more office work done and we went out in the rain to transplant some morning glories into some sandy areas that we cleared. At least they won't dry out.
I also went out to check up on the red-tailed tropicbirds. There hasn't been any new nests for over a month so I think all the chicks will be gone in a couple weeks. I saw a few seals hanging out on the boat ramp and the beach in front of the Clipper House tonight at supper. So there's still things to look at even in the rain. I don't take pictures much in the rain because it will ruin my camera, so here's some from a few days ago.
This is where the Green sea turtle nest is, behind the orange stakes.
A black noddy is sitting on the rocks.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Rainy Day

It rained most of the day again so no sunny pictures for you. Greg and I took our invasive species boss out in the field to look at things and discuss more issues. The Honolulu people all went back today since we had a plane come in. This afternoon I just took care of some paperwork and data entry so nothing too exciting. So here's some pictures from Eastern Island yesterday.
Here's a few of the Laysan ducks.

These are short-tailed albatross decoys. These birds are endangered and one comes back every year. By having these decoys, we're hoping that maybe another one will stop by also so they start nesting here. We also have a little solar powered ipod that plays their calls. The one bird probably won't be back until sometime in October.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Turtles and Seals

It was really windy and rainy today. We didn't get much work done but it was productive because Greg and I took a few of our supervisors from the Honolulu office around the island this morning to show them what our issues are with invasive species. At least they can see exactly what we're dealing with when they make their decisions there.
This afternoon we took them to Eastern island in the rain to show them what was going on over there. We saw a lot of seals resing on the beach and a couple turtles, too. I also counted 41 Laysan ducks at one of the ponds there. It was a good chance to see the status of the weeds and stuff over there.

Here's the group walking in the rain on Eastern Island.

The seals like to sleep next to things on the beach, this time it happened to be a turtle, who doesn't seem to care.

Monday, September 17, 2007

New Ship

While I was in Honolulu 2 weeks ago, I helped buy supplies for the island and this morning the ship that was carrying them came in. So I finally get a new bike and a new mattress. Good stuff to have since I use both of them every day. We also got a few visitors. A few of the USFWS people from Honolulu came out. I'm glad they come so they can see what issues we have in person rather than just hearing about them over the phone.
It's actually very complicated. For instance, the endangered Laysan ducks sometimes like to hang out in the verbesina, which of course is a highly invasive weed that chokes out native plants and ruins albatross nesting areas. So people have to decide weather it's more important to get rid of the weeds or take a chance on hurting a duck. That's just one example, but that's the kind of stuff that we think about here.

This is our supply ship, the "Kahana". One of those shipping containers has my bike and matress.

While I was taking a picture of the Kahana, I saw this white tern chick. Since I haven't given you one for a while, here it is.
Close-up of the same chick.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Dolphins and Seals

We just got a new boat recently so today we took it out to make sure everything was good with it. It is really nice compared to our other boats. We can use this one for emergencies as far as Kure Atoll which is about 90 miles away. Other than going around the atoll in the boat, I really didn't do a lot today, so I'll just give you a few pictures.
This is our new boat.
This weanling seal was being lazy on the boat ramp next to us.
The dolphins came to visit us again. I finally got a good dolphin picture after the 100's I've taken.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Dolphins and Turtles

I worked a little this morning on our native plant garden. The native plant garden is in the picture I put up a couple weeks ago of our office (with the whale skeleton). It was getting really overgrown with naupaka bushes and morning glory. Greg and I will have to go around the island to find some more examples of native plants to throw in there for people who visit the island.
While I was eating lunch a pod of dolphins swam out in front of the Clipper house. They were kind of lazy, so I went home and got my camera and rode out to the fuel pier and took some pictures while they swam under me. I didn't get great pictures because I had my 300 mm zoom and they were to close most of the time. I'll give you a couple that I got.

There was a turtle on the beach, so I took a picture of that also. Tonight's volleyball night so I'll check to make sure the turtle nest isn't hatching and then play volleyball.
The dolphins are swimming under the pier.
They just swam past.
Green sea trutle on the beach.

Friday, September 14, 2007


Today was another day of mowing. We've got to get a lot done before the albatross start coming back at the end of October. When we spray the weeds, the dead stalks stick around for a couple months so it's better to mow it than spray.

There hasn't been much going on lately with new people on the island. I am learning a little more about insects though. Christy is the one collecting bugs from the verbesina and has been showing them to me and telling me about them. I didin't realize that so many kinds were here. One interesting one is called a Mealybug Destroyer, it's not as mean looking as it sounds. It's just a reverse colored ladybug, black with an orange head. I don't have any insect pictures since I don't have a good macro lens.
Here I am mowing the verbesina.

It's not very green after we mow, but the grass will come back. We'll have to keep spraying all the little plants that come up. That big square out there is a cement block with a manhole to get to an old drainage or water system. There are quite a few of them throughout the field and will wreck the mower if we hit them. You can't see them through the thick plants, so we drive with the tractor bucket down so it will hit first and we have time to stop.

Here's a turtle for you Dasha.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Chainsawing and Mowing

It was Thursday so that meant more chainsawing of ironwood trees on Radar Hill. It's going a lot slower with only 3 of us. I finally got to cut down the tree that I had been leaving alone since it had a tropic bird chick under it. The chick finally fledged so it's gone. You can see that tree in my last pictures of the trees on Radar Hill from a few weeks ago.
I did some more mowing this morning. It will be great if we can keep that field clear for the birds.
Here's some more pictures from my underwater camera.
This is a Spectacled Parrotfish
This is what it looks like out at the reef around the atoll. There are lots of tidal pools out there. The exposed area is really sharp, but the seals like to sleep on it anyway.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Another Nice Day on Midway

I did pretty much the same thing I did yesterday, spray weeds and mow part of the big field near the seaplane hangar, but it was still great. I love being outside and actually doing productive work where you can see the results. I've never been much of a paperwork person and I hope I never will be.
Tonight we had a few really good games of beach volleyball. It was a lot of fun. Every night before we play, we have to go check the turtle nest to see if they are hatching yet. If they are hatching, we have to quit the volleyball for the evening because the baby turtles will head toward the light instead of the ocean. It's a couple hundred yards away, but since this is the first ever recorded Green Sea Turtle nest on Sand Island, we'd like to make sure it goes ok for the little guys (and gals).
This is where the turtle nest is. It was at my feet while I took this (no, I wasn't stepping in it). You can't tell it's there since they cover it back up with sand, but we saw the adult's tracks up there and back, and a large depression, so we're assuming it's a good nest. That's our native morning glory plant creeping out onto the beach. You'd see the nice purple flowers if the picture was bigger.
I took a few pictures of the 4 cable houses from the early 1900's. As you can see they aren't doing too well. They probably won't last much longer so I have to get pictures while I still can.
This was the cook's quarters for the cable houses. We've been getting rid of the verbesina here for a long time so there's very few plants of any kind left around. All those dead stalks were verbesina. More native ones are coming back now, so in only a year or two, it will be all native plants.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Radio Story

I had a good day today. I got some weed spraying in this morning followed by some more mowing with the tractor this afternoon. It was really warm and humid today, good thing I love that weather.
A couple of people told me that they heard my friend Jimmy Breeden on NPR last week including my dentist back in Honolulu. They did a story about him called, "The Bird Man of Midway Atoll". Here's the link if you'd like to read it or hear it. It's worth checking out.

This is "The Bird Man of Midway Atoll" jumping off of cargo pier.

These are a few of the Laysan Ducks that Jimmy studies.

I just thought I'd put a colorful Threadfin Butterflyfish up from my underwater camera.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Back to work

Today I had to tie up a few loose ends from my shopping in Honolulu. I had to get back to the vinyl fence company. I got an estimate for a gooney bird fence. It was kind of funny when I went there because they couldn't understand why I only needed a 2 foot fence. I told them it was just to keep the gooney birds out since they walk instead of fly. I think they understand?

I also finally got to mow some verbesina with the John Deere tractor. There's a lot more job satisfaction when you mow that stuff down versus spraying it and watching it wilt for a week or two before it dies. We have to be careful not to mow over any Bonin petrels or Laysan ducks, but when you have a bunch of acres of weeds, this is the most efficient way of getting rid of them.

One of these days I'll show you some pictures of the mowing so you have an idea of what's up. My pictures today are still some catch up ones from my underwater camera and one back on Oahu.
The spinner dolphins are keeping us company on our boat trip over to Eastern Island. That orange corner is the side of our boat. It's funny because they only like it when you go fast. They get bored if you are too slow. There were about 120 of them this day.
This is some kind of moray eel in the purple coral. In case you don't remember, a few weeks ago we had a medevac for a guy from a ship (Ziggy the filmographer, his picture is back in the archives if you want to see) who got bit by one of these guys (a little bigger than this one).
For those of you who've been to Oahu before, this is the big rock out in Waimea Bay. Back when I lived there we used to jump off of this all the time. You'd hit the bottom, but not too hard. I have closer pictures of this but I thought the guy poling the surfboard was cool.