Monday, April 18, 2011

Happy Songkran

 Another slow internet day yesterday, so I'm a day late with the blog.  Our new Refuge Manager, Sue Schulmeister, came out to Midway last week.  It will be nice to have the extra person out here.  The person out doing the monk seal surveys found a couple of interesting things over on Eastern Island.  She found a small turtle buried in the sand on the beach.  Only its head and the tip of one flipper was out of the sand.  She thought it was dead, but dug it out anyway.  It actually was alive, and swam away.  It could have been there since the tsunami, or it could have been washed over later, but either way, it was probably there for a while and was good that she happened along.  Another thing she found was a bucket that was labelled "Laysan Island".  It was actually washed away from the camp on Laysan during the tsunami and washed up on the beach here about a month later.  Laysan is around 500 miles away, so it got here pretty quickly.  The Laysan seal crew had brought millet out for food, and it looks none the worse for wear.  I also found a message in a bottle on the beach (the second one I've found on Midway).  I opened it at a gathering we had one night, and let me just say, if you are planning on putting a message in a bottle, make sure it's sealed well, because paper doesn't last long in salt water.  Metal screwcaps don't seal that well so we could only make out a word or two, but it was written on Hawaii Outrigger Hotel stationery.

Last week we also celebrated Songkran, the Thai New Year.  Cleansing with water is part of the tradition, which means a lot of water balloons, squirt guns, and buckets.  At least it was a beautiful, sunny day, so a great day for a beach BBQ.
This is a recent photo of Eastern Island.  It's really easy to tell exactly where the tsunami water stopped.  The salt water killed most of the plants.
Here's John Klavitter giving a bike tour of the tsunami damage to our new manager, our head of Refuges for USFWS, and some visitors from Hawaii.
The tour also included the hydroponics garden, which has some good cherry tomatoes ripening.

Here's one of the more recent pics of the Short-tailed albatross chick.  We haven't seen the parents yet, but the chick is still doing fine.

I came across a masked booby nest over on Eastern Island too. 
Another interesting bird was this Laysan, Black-footed albatross hybrid.  I've never seen this guy (or girl) before.
This was the Songkran parade from the Chugach office up to Captain Brooks.
Captain Brooks Tavern was decorated nicely.

Here's one of the Songkran sand sculptures.  There was also a nice turtle and seal, but I can only show so many pictures.

John is getting a good hit on the ball.


Forest and Kim said...

Thanks for the update Pete, that Laysan bucket story is pretty unreal.

Jim Gilbert said...

Several cool finds. Nice to see how the Short-tailed chick is growing - one lucky bird. Interesting to see that hybrid Albatross, a very different look from the one that's near Charlie barracks and the similar dark-headed one out near the runway.

Nellie Northern said...

Thanks for the photo update.

How about a photo of the monument by the pier regarding Easter sunrise?
Mona & Nelson Klavitter