Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

Sorry I skipped the blog last week.  We had a weekend visit by the Director of the Fish & Wildlife Service as well as some visitors from the State of Hawaii and climate change experts.  We also got our annual flight of volunteers to count all of the albatross nests.  They're keeping very busy with somewhere around a half a million nests to count.  My wife, Dasha,  also came to visit for a couple of weeks and is helping with the bird banding, greenhouse work, and whatever else needs doing.  She's not getting much of a vacation, but at least she's out of the lab for a couple weeks.
I've got a bunch of photos this time so I'll put the rest of the text in the captions.  I won't do another blog tomorrow, but should be able to get one in next Sunday.

 This is the Director of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Dan Ashe, stepping around albatrosses while getting a tour of Eastern Island.

We also took the group out snorkeling.  This is a spectacled parrotfish and a saddle wrasse in the foreground.

 The albatross nest counters are counting nests on Eastern Island.  They stretch out in a row and walk a line to make sure they get all of the nests.

The albatross counters also help with other things around the island when they can.  They spotted this net floating in the water and helped me take it away.

 The Short-tailed albatross on the nest is looking particularly shiny this year.  His head is much more gold this year.

Here's a zoomed and cropped photo so you can see his coloring a bit better.

The volunteers, Dasha, and the new Physician's Assistant are getting kayak training in the harbor.  The weather wasn't the greatest, but now they can take the kayaks out on nicer days.

 This is an uncommon bird around here.  This is a brant goose.  They breed in Alaska and northern Canada in summer and migrate down the Pacific coast for winter.  If this one can find enough food, it'll probably stay around until April or May before flying back up to the breeding grounds.

 The dolphins have been near the mouth of the harbor a lot in the past few weeks, so I've been getting a couple of decent photos of them lately.

The hydroponics garden is looking really good these days!

A Laysan duck splashes around to wash itself.

 We had a marine debris ornament making party at Capt. Brooks a couple of days ago.  The albatross counters are painting some floats.  We'll have a gift exchange tonight at the All Hands Club, and a nice big Christmas dinner at the Clipper House tomorrow.

Darlene's snowman looks like it should be a character in "Nightmare Before Christmas".  And it's not actually holding the glass of wine.

This is one of Dasha's float ornaments.

This was my ornament this year.  I may have made another one too but the blue paint took a long time to dry.


Seagull Steve said...

I never get tired of Golden Gooney shots, just like I never got tired of looking at them. The hydro garden looks great!!!

Penny said...

The pics are super. I love The Fab Five pulling the net from the net. Man was that thing heavy.