Sunday, May 27, 2012

Getting Ready

We're busy here on island getting ready for the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Midway.  It won't be as large of a celebration as the 65th anniversary, but we'll be having a few veterans of the battle out here, as well as a special plane bringing out other guests for the day.  As far as other things going on around here, we have a few seal pups on the beaches around here, some Laysan ducklings running around, a lot of nesting birds with chicks, and some good weather.

Jennifer, Peter, and Christine are cleaning up the memorial for Memorial Day and for the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Midway.

This is the finished product of the picture I showed you last week.

Albatross fledging season is getting close, so the tiger sharks are starting to become a lot more common.  People have been seeing them in the harbor quite frequently and I saw this one a few days ago on the way back from Eastern Island.  It looked about 8-9 ft long.

The red-footed booby chicks have hatched.

Here's a Red-tailed tropicbird flying by.  I took some pictures of the White-tailed tropicbirds too, but they weren't so great.

We started a volleyball league.  We haven't been playing much at all for the last year.  We're only playing for 3 weeks, but it's better than nothing.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Visitor Group

We had another good visitor group out here this week.  It's an interesting class at the University of Hawaii-Hilo.  It's a marine biology class but with a strong emphasis on native Hawaiian culture.  Basically, they are learning to use cultural knowledge and observations in addition to the things that they learn in class or books.  They've been getting up to start the day with a chant at sunrise, and also end the day with a chant at sunset.  They also had individual projects and gave presentations last night.

We missed out on the solar eclipse today.  I guess you had to be further north to catch it. 

The 70th anniversary of the Battle of Midway is coming up in a couple of weeks so we're keeping pretty busy getting ready for that.  It won't be a large celebration, but we will have some veterans of the battle coming out.

Here's an updated photo of the Short-tailed albatross chick on Eastern Island.  It will probably only be around for a few more weeks.  It looks a lot like the Black-footed albatross chick behind it, but quite a bit bigger.

 You can tell it's getting warm again, because most of the adult albatross are going for the shade.

 Here's another shady spot for the albatross.  A lot of the chicks stay where they are and don't go to the shade.
A Masked booby is sitting on the pier on Eastern Island.

 A squid washed up on the beach.  It was about 18" long and was the biggest one I've seen washed up.

 This was the old Commanding Officer's desk from the Navy days.  It was in the abandoned hangar and the termites started getting to it, so it was taken out, refinished, and now will be in the Refuge Manager's office.  I'm glad to see it getting use.

The UH Hilo group is painting the FWS visitor center.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day, Mom, and to all the other mothers who read this too!  I hope no one minds that I'm always a day behind on my holidays.  I guess that's one of the negatives about being in the last time zone

It's been beautiful this week so it finally dried out.  The sun was out, it wasn't too hot, and there was hardly any wind.  The volunteers have been keeping busy with the albatross chick banding, and Ive been keeping busy on the computer.  I found a few minutes to get out and see some things though.  I'll explain more in the photo captions.

This is one of our Black-footed albatross plots.  The volunteers have banded pretty much all of the black-footed albatross chicks, but have quite a few Laysan chicks to go.

 Here's an adult black-footed albatross.  It wasn't doing anything too exciting, but hte light was kind of nice.

There are a lot of white terns putting eggs everywhere.  This one found some old bedframes in the Ski Warehouse to lay it's egg.

This is the white tern chick that I showed you a couple of weeks ago under its parent.  It looks like it's still doing ok.

 It was too nice of a day to pass up a boat trip today.  The water was about as flat as it gets.  This is a marker that ships use to align themselves to make it through the channel cut in the coral.  The dark spot on the right side of the picture is a spotted eagle ray.  We saw a few of them today.  We also saw a manta ray, which I got a few underwater pictures of, but they were a little far away.

 This is the USS Macaw (ASR-11).  Today was the first time I had a chance to swim down and see it.  There's a really interesting story to this wreck.  It was a submarine rescue ship which tried to rescue the submarine USS Flier (SS-250), which had run aground in bad weather.  It ran aground too.  The weather was terrible and 5 sailors died during the weeks that it was grounded. They ended up having to use explosives to demolish the ship to clear the channel.  This bow section is relatively intact, but the rest of the ship is strewn all over the bottom.  Here are some quick links to some photos and accounts.

 I checked out a few new spots today.  There were a lot of whitebar surgeonfish and convict tangs following me around.

 The yellow tangs really brighten things up.

 The dolphins came to check out the boat, as usual.  I got a couple of pictures by putting my camera over the side.

I was going really slow, so the dolphins were swimming only a foot or two in front of the bow.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Back to work

I'm back on Midway after a nice time off in the Washington D.C. area.  It's been raining most of the time since I've been back which has caused some flooding in the old parade field and some of the seeps.  Yesterday I spent the whole afternoon pulling out birds that were flooded.  A lot of them could get to high ground by themselves, but a lot of them couldn't, especially the little Bonin petrel chicks that got flooded out of their burrows. I didn't take too many photos this week since I've been in the office catching up on emails and paperwork, just some of the wet birds.

 A view of Waikiki from the plane on my way back to Midway.

 The parade field got flooded.  It hasn't flooded this bad in years.

This is the road going to the old hangar.

 A lot of the birds climbed to high ground, but some of them stayed at their nests.

A few of the birds were climbing on the other ones to get out of the water.

 A lot of the Bonin petrel chicks were floating at the burrow entrances.  There were a lot of drowned birds too.
 I scooped out a couple hundred chicks and put them on dry ground.  Most of them wouldn't have made it if I had left them in the water.  The parents should still be able to find the chicks.

 I also moved a hundred or so albatross chicks to higher ground.  They'll be able to walk back to their nests when the water goes down.

There were quite a few baby mice on plants.  The centipedes and beetles were up on the vegetation too so the ducks had some easy food.  I also saw a blind snake swimming by.  They are only about 6" long.