Sunday, August 25, 2013

Goodbye John & Leona

As our island population gets smaller, it keeps on getting busier.  Right now, it's just John Miller and me on island for USFWS.  That will keep us busy for going to Eastern Island every day.  The contractors working on lead paint abatement are back.  We've seen a lot fewer albatross with "droop wing" this year.  Droop wing is one of the symptoms of lead poisoning, so the project seems to be working.  We continue our Laysan duck botulism checks around all of the wetlands.  We still have a very few albatross still here, but by next week, they may all be gone.  The birds that nest in Alaska and Canada are coming back, like Ruddy turnstones, Pacific golden plovers, and Bristle-thighed curlews.

I was informed that there is a better link for Chris Jordan's movie (thanks Victoria).  I updated it on my last post, but here it is again.   Again, I'll let you know more when the distribution information is released.

Most of the island showed up to the airplane to say goodbye to John & Leona after almost 11 years on Midway.  Good luck at USFWS headquarters and we'll miss you!

I checked on the only turtle nest of the season at Midway on Eastern Island and one of only 4 that we've had here.  It doesn't look like it has hatched yet, but should soon.  Here's some native Lepturus repens grass on the beach nearby, and a bit of trash, with Sand Island in the background. 

I also found this WWII era fire extinguisher on Eastern Island from the Buffalo Fire Extinguisher Co.  We don't find things like this too often over there, but maybe we will now that the verbesina is going away.

A Brown noddy and chick sit on an old ironwood stump.

Each summer there are a few White tern chicks on the Eastern pier.  Many don't make it because they are pretty exposed.  This one is being fed seems to be doing well.

I only saw one albatross chick today and that was out on the cargo beach, looking lonely.  It rained a few minutes after this.

The clouds are moving in over the Cargo pier.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Eastern Island

There's not quite as much going on around here as there used to be.  Our planes are every 2 weeks, and not as many people coming to the island for research projects and such.  We're still keeping busy though.  We did a vegetation survey on Eastern Island on Friday.  As you can see from the photos, our vegetation survey isn't showing near as much verbesina as last year.  It looks like we may be very close to eradicating it from Eastern Island in the next couple of years.  

I thought all of the Black-footed albatross were gone a few weeks ago, but there's still one holdout on Eastern Island.  You can see that there aren't many Laysan albatross around either.

 Some of the Sooty tern chicks are flying now, so the numbers on Eastern Island will start declining in another few weeks.

 Another sunset from the deck at Capt. Brooks Tavern.

 I haven't seen the dolphins around too much lately, so I went back to my June photos for this one.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Movie Release

There are fewer and fewer albatrosses every day.  I would say it's quieter around here, but the young albatross don't make much noise, and the Bonin petrels are showing up in the evenings again and keep it from getting too quiet around here. 

Over the past couple of years, I've had some photos of Chris Jordan and his crew out here filming their Midway movie.  It looks like they are finally done and it will premier at the Toronto Film Festival in September.  I'm really looking forward to it.  Here's a press release about it. 

We've started our day flights, which will continue until the albatross start coming back in a couple of months.  I like flying on the day flights a bit better because the other Northwestern Hawaiian Islands can be seen. 

This summer has been pretty hard on the Laysan ducks as far as botulism is concerned.  Here Jim, Cindy, and Greg search through all of the tall weeds to look for sick or dead ducks.    

We did a biological survey of an area near the seawall.  You can see that not everywhere around here is beautiful coral.  

This White tern caught a little squid and 2 fish for its chick.  As soon as I walked away, it went to feed the chick.

I've been putting in a lot of photos with blue sky and blue water lately since it's been mostly bright and sunny, so here are some pink hibiscus flowers to add to the color of the plumeria a couple of weeks ago.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Another Island Goodbye

We had a special going away party last night for John & Leona, who have been at Midway for over 11 1/2 years.  John will be going off to the USFWS national office in Arlington, VA.  We'll be sorry to see them go, since they both have done so much for Midway.  John was the one who originally hired me out here 6 years ago.  Now we'll all have to look up all of the answers to questions the old fashioned way- pouring through file cabinets for hours instead of taking 10 seconds to ask John. 

 We had a sunset toast for John & Leona on the deck at Capt. Brooks' Tavern followed by a short presentation and some music.

The albatross chicks look off toward the old grounded water barge.

 This is the view out on West Beach.  We keep this beach closed so we don't bother the seals.

This Red-tailed tropicbird chick is about to fledge from in front of the office.  I'm pretty sure it will be gone when I go to work in the morning.

Here's the Aviary seep with an old weapons storage bunker in the distance.

This is our new (2008) airport ops building.  The old "Marine Barracks" are in the background of this shot.