Tuesday, October 2, 2012

News From Midway











Sad news today...U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologist Pete Leary, who blogs from Midway Atoll, has reported the demise of the volunteer program due to budget cuts for the refuge. Not only does this mean that Midway will be far less accessible to anyone looking to do field work there, it means it will be considerably more difficult to get things done at all, from Laysan Duck suveys to albatross banding to pulling invasive weeds. The volunteers carry out the bulk of Fish and Wildlife's biological field work out there...at least Pete will now have a lot more time out of the office.

I found myself spending a good chunk of 2009, as a volunteer, way out there in the Pacific. To say it was an epic experience would be a profound understatement. The islands are filled with great birds, like the celebrity pair of Short-tailed Albatross that have fledged chicks the last two years on Eastern Island. Hopefully funding will be reinstated soon...or else it will be much more difficult to plot my prophecied return!



Sooty Terns swarm over Eastern Island in spring and summer.


A juvenile Great Frigatebird surveys its facemelting domain.


A Hawaiian Monk Seal and Brown Noddies.



White Tern chick in back of the "duck house".


Grey-backed Terns look immaculate.


Life is good with Red-tailed Tropicbirds overhead (and underfoot).


Good ol' Rusty Bucket.



A Black-footed  X Laysan Albatross hybrid tries unsucessfully to flirt with some Laysan Albatrosses, while a Laysan chicks looks on in it's Chewbaccaesque plumage.


The front of the "float" that a Safely Anonymous Person and myself made for the Songkran (Thai New Year) parade. It was an amazing float.


8 comments:

  1. too many good photos. TOO MANY! That sucks about the funding though, lame :(

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    1. Good photos are easy out there! I hadnt photographed birds for about 9 years when I went out.

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  2. I've already whinged on Pete's site about this ridic. funding decision (yes, by all means, cut off funding that provides HUNDREDS OF HOURS OF SKILLED, BADLY NEEDED, AND FREE LABOR), so I'll not repeat any here...

    HOLY CRAP CAKES those are insane shots. You MUST go back. Let me know if y'all are plotting to write some grants or something. I can help (put on my actual profession's hat) & would love to (for free, duh).

    AND I was alerted to this post via @Wildlife_Photo, so getting some press! Nice!

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    1. I know. I really, really want to go back to the NW Hawaiian Islands...love those birds! I also have better camera equipment now...

      If I ever get the motivation to do my own study (not likely anytime soon), consider yourself enlisted!

      Havent heard of that twitter account, Ill have to check it out.

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  3. Ah, to have a year to volunteer...there really can't be many better places to spend a year.

    Great shots.

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    1. I was there less than 5 months, but I was sooooooo close to doing 3 more. Like MacArthur, I will return.

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  4. That White Tern chick makes me forget all the bad things you just said.

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    1. They make everything better. Looking at a white tern is like popping 4 valuums.

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