Sunday, October 20, 2013

Back to Work

I don't want to get political on this blog, since there are thousands of others where you can get opinions.  A few words from me probably won't change anyone's mind about anything anyway, but it's good that government employees are back to work.  Even though we were busy out here keeping things going with safety projects, we had no support out here for IT, admin, nor could we buy anything we needed.  So we're back to normal, or at least as normal as we can be with our reduced capacity.

The taxiway project is almost complete so the barge and all equipment will be out of here this week.  That will reduce our island population by about 30 workers.  The albatross will start showing up anytime now, so we're all glad that the birds won't be slowing down the work.  

I didn't take a lot of photos this week so I've added a couple that I took a long time ago.  I just found them again when I was asked by a museum in Alaska for some photos of dead albatross with plastic in them.     

 It was a nice day on Eastern Island today.  I didn't find any sick or dead ducks from botulism, and the view was great.

 Here is the White-tailed tropicbird chick that I showed a couple of weeks ago.  It looks a lot better than when it just hatched.

This Brown noddy chick is living under some solar panels on Eastern Island.

This is an older Brown noddy that probably hatched in July.  You can tell because it doesn't have the full white cap yet.

I don't think I've posted these photos before.  These are just a couple of examples of the thousands of dead chicks that we see each season with plastic in them.  By the way, both photos are exactly the way I came across the birds.  I didn't touch or add anything.  

Since Chris Jordan's Midway movie trailer has been getting a lot of views, I've been asked many times if the problem is real and if the photos are manipulated.  Yes, the plastic is a problem, and no, the birds or plastic are not manipulated other than some photos may have had feathers or leaves moved out of the way to see the plastic inside.


Pete Prellwitz said...

Hi, Pete!
Glad to see things getting closer to normal, just in time for the next breeding season. Nice photos as always, though it's always sad to see the direct results of plastic on wildlife.

I had a couple quick questions. (As always.):
1. You mentioned the solar panels, which I know you have. What percentage of power do they provide to the island? And is there any talk of a wind turbine? Or would they be too dangerous for the birds?

2. Have you heard anything more about French Frigate? The Meg last posted on her blog in March and the USFWS only has a June posting.

Many thanks for all your postings and pictures. They always brighten up my Mondays!


Pete Leary said...

Hi Pete,
1. The only solar power we have is for little remote projects that need transmitters or pumps, water heaters for houses, and the golf cart that I use. We are very interested in getting more solar power out here, but it's a large initial investment. So at the moment, it's a pretty small percentage of island power.
2. The camp at FFS was taken down, as well as the camp on Laysan. I haven't been involved in the conversations on getting them going again. The earliest they could be reopened is March, but I don't know if they are planning on that or not. I'll mention it on the blog if I hear anything.