Sunday, March 27, 2011

Getting back to Normal

As most of you probably heard already, our (approximately) 60 year old Laysan albatross, Wisdom, has been seen coming back to feed her chick. She actually showed up the same day as her mate, so the chick got a big meal that day. At least the suspense ended with a good outcome. We still have not seen the short-tailed albatross parents, but they don't stay long to feed anyway. The chick seems to be doing well, so it seems that it's still getting fed. We've got a visiting photography group out here right now led by environmental photographer Chris Jordan. Rather than tell you about them myself, I would highly suggest checking out their blog, Flickr pictures, You Tube videos, and facebook page. They are filming a movie out here as well as taking photos. So please look at these pages: Other links are on this page. Really good vids and photos on all pages. This site is done by a high school student that came along. She has an interesting story. The islands are finally drying out. We've been seeing a lot of albatross chicks dying off. Even though they made it through the tsunami, they may have been injured, stressed, or not found by their parents. We are seeing a lot of new plant sprouts coming up in the devastated areas. Hopefully they are mostly natives. Nesting season is ramping up for Red-tailed tropic birds and white terns, and the sooty terns and gray-backed terns are starting to return. The first Hawaiian monk seal pup of the season was also born a little over a week ago. So the life is returning. We had a Coast Guard C-130 stay for a day this past week. We also got a visit from our supply ship, the Kahana again. Wisdom preens her chick.
The short-tailed albatross chick is huge now and waits to be fed.

Between past posts on this blog and my Tern Island blog, you've seen the Kahana a lot. So here's a slightly different angle.

The USCG C-130 lands about an hour after sunset to minimize interaction with birds.

Jan, Jim, and Victoria are getting some shots for the Midway film on Bulky Dump.

While they were out there, they found two adult albatrosses that fell into a sinkhole. It was produced when the water washed the sand down into the voids of the dumped materials. Quite a few were formed and we try to fill them or at least make a ramp for the birds to climb out. I had to crawl in head first to get this one out.

I found this red-tailed tropic bird on Cargo Beach. I don't know if it was a tsunami injury, but it wasn't doing well. I put it in the shade under a naupaka bush, at least giving it a chance.

This is what most of the washed over west half of Eastern Island looks like. There's not much vegetation left.

This is taken from the top of one of the old airplane revetments looking to the eastern part of Eastern Island. There's a lot of life where the tsunami didn't wash over (too bad it's mostly invasive mustard).

Bad sunlight angle, but there's one chick in the middle of the picture surrounded by adults. This is the only chick in this whole area visible in the picture.

Many of the chicks are sitting on the dead birds. This Laysan albatross chick is sitting on a dead black-footed albatross adult.

This Laysan albatross chick was in the surf and found his way back up the beach.

The parrotfish don't look quite so intimidating when they are alive.

Our seabird biologist from Honolulu, Beth Flint, is inspecting the damage on Eastern Island. Quite a few of the bottles have been turned into little terrariums.

The great frigatebirds are ready for mating season.

Here's the same bird.

At least the dead tournefortia trees are still useful nesting sites.


slune said...

Happy B-Day :) hope the birds are good to you today :)

Forest and Kim said...
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Forest and Kim said...

Trying again... ;)

Great images. How did the popolo (Solanum nelsonii) fare? Got any shots of Spit Island?

Barb said...

LADU -- Do you folks on Midway (and maybe also on Laysan) have an estimate for Laysan Duck survival after the tsunami? I'll bet we're all glad the ducks are on TWO atolls!

Forest and Kim said...
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Forest and Kim said...

Here's some more shots of the tsunami damage on Maui, including some Solanum that survived.

Barb said...

fascinating pictures by Forest & Kim; thanks!

Darcy Pattison said...

Great posts on the tsunami effects. I am interested in writing articles for kids' magazines about Wisdom. Could I ask you a couple questions?

Pete Leary said...

Hey Forest & Kim, thanks for the photos of Maui. Lucky there weren't more problems.

Barb, we don't have any evidence that any ducks died. They could have, but we haven't found any, but you're right, if they were only on one island, something like this could make them extinct.

Pete Leary said...

Thanks Darcy. I'll email you.

Barb said...