Sunday, December 4, 2011


Our oldest known albatross is back this week.  "Wisdom" was banded in 1956 as a nesting adult and was estimated to be at least 5 years old at the time, so we say that she'll turn 61 this season.  She still looks exactly like all of the other birds.  We can't find any way to tell her apart from the young Laysan albatrosses.  Most of the Black-footed albatrosses have laid their eggs now, and the Laysan albatrosses are still laying them.

People around here are getting pretty chilly.  It was 64 this morning.  It has also been mostly windy and rainy for the last week, so normal winter weather is here.

If you haven't checked out Chris Jordan's Journey to midway page recently, it's worth looking at again.  He and his crew have posted a new video clip called, MIDWAY IV – A dream of a dying Albatross.  It's really well done.  Here's the site:

This is Wisdom on her egg.  It's only a couple of yards from her spot last year.  You can see there's a Bonin petrel burrow in the lower right corner of the photo that goes right under her nest.  The ground should be stable enough to hold the nest.

Most of the island population got out to say goodbye to John Hanna, the retiring DBSI (formerly Chugach) manager.  Don't pay any attention to that giant shadow right in the middle of the pic, ok?
The female Short-tailed albatross is taking her turn on the nest surrounded by Laysan and Black-footed albatross.

Anne and Karen are collecting beach trash in our Eastern Island marine debris plot that we check monthly.

This is Brackish Pond.  Which is a brackish water pond (hence the name) made by the Navy for non-potable water.  Those ironwood trees all died from the storm and tsunami washover, which bathed the trees in salt water for a couple of months.

The Thai King's birthday is tomorrow (Dec. 5), so it will be a holiday for the Thai workers.  Here's part of the holiday display that was put up in the Clipper House.


XJ said...

I had no idea albatross lived that long. Pretty cool she's still breeding too. I think of you guys every time I work the G2 heading out that way or coming back. Mele Kalikimaka!

Mali said...


I found your blog the other day and think it is very interesting! I knew albatrosses could live old but I had no idea they could go over 60 years old. I hope I'll have the chance one day to observe some of these wonderful birds (I live in Quebec, Canada). Keep on writing :)

Pete Leary said...

Thanks for the comments XJ and Mali! It is pretty amazing that these birds live so long.

michael said...

Hi Pete... regarding the "beach trash" bit in this posting: I periodically read press in the mainland news about how the Pacific Ocean is full of plastic trash (or at least plastic bits and pieces). Are you guys picking up a lot of that kind of stuff, or is it more natural junk such as floating logs & sticks & other detritus?