Tag Archives: albatross

My Christmas Day Birding

After the great party last night, I thought I would sleep in. And I did until 6:30. Woke up and it was breakfast time so I decided to go eat. We do a lot of that around here. The grand Christmas feast started at 11:30 and we all eat until we are stuffed and then make plates for dinner. I haven’t eaten this much in months. Thank goodness we go back to a little bit more normal eating schedule tomorrow. The Clipper House starts to have this Pavlovian effect on you. I started walking over for Christmas dinner thinking I wasn’t hungry and then as I started to step up to the porch, I’m suddenly starved.

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Short Tailed Albatross 12/25/2013

After breakfast, I went to Rusty Bucket. It’s the western end of North Beach. It’s one of the prettiest places on the island to me. Of course I saw lots of albatross and I saw Midway Canaries, Bristle Thighed Curlew, and Black Noddies. After the feast, I rode down to the airstrip and saw the young Short Tailed Albatross. He’s probably around 20 years old now. Almost all of his dark neck juvenal plumage is gone. In the photo to the right, the black footed albie and the Laysan albie in the fore ground are in the same plane. The black foot by the short tailed gives you and idea of how much bigger the short tails are. You can see just a touch of darkness still at the base of his neck. That will probably be gone next year. And yes that is a pink bill with a blue tip.

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Short Tailed Albatross 12/25/2010

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Location, location, location

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Incubation exchange. It can take a while for the incoming bird to convince the incubating bird that it is time to switch. There always seems to be a bit of a conversation over the job.

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This little canary may soon be considered a subspecies of the canary family. They were released on the island by someone who was here during the Navy era.

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Bristled Thighed Curlew

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Laysan Albatross at Rusty Bucket

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Take off

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2013 Christmas Stocking

It has become a tradition to decorate our doors for Christmas. This year, we got here so late that I didn’t have time to go beach combing for marine debris until today. And look what I found, a Christmas stocking. It’s always fun to do these kinds of things.

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Arrival.

I made it. I’m here. Someone pinch me. I’ve got a nice room with a fridge and a TV. Doubt I’ll use either one much. As I sit here typing I can hear Laysan squealing and clacking. I took a cruise around the block with Maura Naughton, a wildlife biologist with Fish and Wildlife Service. We know each other from seabird conferences. We petted albies  and I held a Bonin petrel. There are bird everywhere. It’s just unbelievable. And I haven’t even seen the place in day light.

Goodnight from Midway.

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Three sleeps to go.

The cats let us sleep in today. That was nice. We did our usual rituals and I remembered to go check the SOS aid stations. I’m so ready to go that there are few things that I need to do. I did do some laundry and got in some cardio work.

About 2:30 this afternoon, I called my mother. We had a great conversation. She asked me what ALL I was going to be doing at Midway. I told her I would be counting albatross nest. And then I would count albatross nest and then I would count some more albatross nest. There probably will be close to half a million nest to count. The nest count is up in Princeville, so it is likely that the Midway count will be higher this year.

Mom asked some good questions that let me know she’s been reading my blog. That’s the wonderful thing about sharing your blog with your mother. If no one else reads the blog, you know your momma will. Thanks, Mumb.

I say there are 3 more sleeps to go, that is if I can sleep. I’m feeling great and the excitement is really building. The guarantee is that I will be able to sleep after a day’s work at Midway.

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What day is it anyway?

I was awakened this morning by a phone call from a stranger. Turns out it was a man I had been playing phone tag with. He is going to let us rent his cabin in Koke’e State Park in January for my birthday. We had been looking for a private cabin to rent and another volunteer just happen to mention her friend and his place last Tuesday while she was taking a short break to come up to the point to see the wave action. It’s amazing how the universe can work things out.

So my day started earlier than I had planned. There was no way to go back to sleep. Payne (my cat) was being a pain. He wanted his breakfast. We got up and started our morning ritual of coffee on the lanai. I knew that I was going to go to the gym today because I didn’t go yesterday. So that makes it seem like Friday, but we had a party last night so wouldn’t that make yesterday Saturday and today Sunday.

11:30 rolls around and I get another phone call. It turns out that I had completely forgotten to go check the aid stations for the shearwaters. Shearwaters and other small birds of  petrel species fall to land after fledging and many people find them and put them in these aid stations so that their health can be check and then they can be released in a safe spot that will allow them to get out to sea. There are 3 stations up here on the north shore that I check over the weekend so that the Save Our Shearwater techs will know if they need to come all the way up here. No birds. It is the end of the season. Now I know for sure that it is Saturday.

When I get to Midway, I’ll be working everyday except Christmas and New Years day. I’ll constantly be wondering what day it is. The best thing is that every day will be a great day with the birds.

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We’re ready for Santa.

Santa came by early and he sure was good to us.

Tonight we had friends over for a pot luck dinner, one last get together before I leave. Before they came, we finished decorating the tree and wrapping presents. It’s so nice to have all that stuff done. The tree looks great. We didn’t have any decorations up last year. That was easy but I really missed the festiveness. Little sparkly lights just make me feel good.

This year Christmas comes twice for me, once on the 15th and again on the 25th. I must have been very good for Santa to come see me twice. I’m sure the night of the 15th is going to feel more like Christmas eve when I was 5 and just couldn’t go to sleep with all my excitement. I will have already opened the presents from under the tree, but the biggest present will still be more than a day away. I won’t see Midway in the light of day until December 17th. I’m so excited I can hardly wait.

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Walking Kapa Ka street.

Another beautiful day on Kauai. I took my walk earlier this morning so that I could get ready for my last massage before I leave for Midway. My therapist has moved to a new drop dead beautiful place. What a wonderful place to live and visit for a massage. Nola has a view of Crater Hill, a small pond and the ocean. If she had some binoculars, she could probably see albies flying around the crater, quite a few nest on that hillside. Oh and yes the massage was heavenly.

Yesterday, my trainer, Anna, gave me a pedometer. So I decided I’d give it a try on this morning’s walk. At a pretty good pace, I made my way up to the water container at the end of our road and back. In less than an hour I made 3884 steps. Let’s say that I average the same number of steps per hour while counting nest. At about 31000 steps a day for 24 days, that means I will have stepped almost 3/4 of a million steps. Can you say “Tired puppies?”

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