View from my window.
I’ve been home a little while now and I find myself wishing I could go to the atoll at the drop of a hat. Thank goodness that’s not possible because too many people would do that and it would loose its wonderment. It was raining most of the last day. Just as I was about to pack up my camera and go out for some last minute shooting, the bottom fell out of the bucket and it never really stopped. It was pouring rain when we had to go to Captain Brook’s to wait for our departure and it just didn’t stop. It was still pouring when we got on the plane. There were only 6 of us going back to the real world, 3 wives and 3 counters. We all had seats to ourselves. No sharing rows was necessary. This afforded me the opportunity to reflect on my visit to Midway and probably the largest albatross colony in the world.
Getting up off the water.
If you have never seen an albatross, you probably could never imagine what it is like to be in a huge colony. Life on Midway, 8 months out of year, is filled with albatross life, their sounds, their dances, their nest building, their curious looks at everyone that passes them. You interact with them whether you want to or not. I do. I talk to them and I sometimes even dance with them. That’ll really get you a curious look. As I feel the wheels of our plane speeding down the runway, I realize that I am leaving the colony that I have been a member of for 2 weeks. The tears stream down my cheeks.
The numbers are up this year. And we get to add a new species to our count. The Laysan nest numbered 482,909. This is up 13% from last year. The Black Footed count is 28,581, up 20.5%. The biggest news is that there is a Short Tailed Albatross nest this year. This is the first time in recorded history that the Short Tail has nested outside of Japanese water. The chick hatched out on January 14. May he/she live long and prosper in this colony of the albatrosses.
Female Short Tailed Albatross on nest by USFWS volunteer Sarah Gutowsky, Midway, 12/1/10
Male displays the egg. USFWS J Klavitter, Nov 2010, Eastern Island, Midway Atoll NWR
Eastern's colony with what remains of WWII.
The Guys and Doll team. l-r David, Joe, Mike, me, Richard, Gary.
Two monk seals napping.
Laysan Ducks resting at puddle edge on the main road "in town."
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