Sunday, November 23, 2008

Birds and Sharks

The weather here has been nice. I went snorkeling a couple of days ago. It's a lot like Midway, but a lot more sharks. I saw 5 of them. A gray reef shark and a bunch of white-tipped reef sharks. I was busy learning again too. We tried to take the boats out so I could learn the reefs, but they were acting up, so we'll have to look at them this week. There are also a couple of fish that I haven't seen before, like Potter's angelfish and Yellow tailed coris. They are both really colorful.
There are a lot of Black-footed albatross nests now, and a few Laysan albatross nests. The island is starting to fill up with them. The Black noddies are also laying eggs right now.
Things are going fairly smoothly around here, and I'm getting more comfortable with the cooking. Last night I made sesame chicken that I think turned out pretty tasty. On Thanksgiving we'll all do the cooking and cleaning.

This is the gray reef shark that was following me. It's about 6 ft. long, so it's bigger than the other ones I've seen. It was following pretty closely which was a little unnerving. I heard there is one gray reef shark that doesn't like people swimming through his area, so when you see him getting mad, you're supposed to swim quickly out of there. This one wasn't doing any posturing, so I wasn't too worried.

This is our one coconut tree that I told you I'd show you. The others are heliotrope (Tournefortia) trees. That one in the back is the biggest one on the island and the rest are pretty much just bushes.

This is LaPerouse Pinnacle. It's the last remaining part of the original island. It's still 120 feet tall. This is where the peregrine was hanging out and where the blue noddies used to live.

These are some Blue noddies on Nihoa. Here's are Brown and Black noddies for comparison.

Brown noddy.

Black Noddy. It normally looks more black than this, but the sun was really bright.

Since I showed you the noddies from Nihoa, here's another bird I saw there. This is a Nihoa finch in a native popolo plant (Solanum nelsonii). They are endemic to Nihoa. They are endangered since they are found nowhere else.


Anonymous said...

hey you lucky guy! you get to experience those other hawaiian islands. whats the hawaiian name for Tern island? have a great time there. the pictures look awesome. plant more natives! watch out for the mano.

aloha 'oe

Kahi Alves

M. Laura said...

As always Pete...nice job on the blog!!! We really enjoy the pics! Happy Thanksgiving!!! L&P

Pete Leary said...

Thanks Kahi & Laura...The Native Hawaiian name of French Frigate Shoals is Mokupapapa. We're working on the plants. No bunchgrass though.

Michel Ottaviani said...

Hello Pete,

I am a french ornithologist (attaché to Paris museum) and preparing a book on the Hawaiian Honeycreepers. I have some personal photos but not covering all the species. In this way, I would like to reproduce your interesting photo of a Nihoa Finch eating on popolo plant. Just let me know if you agree, I can offer you the pdf book as soon as published.
Kind regards

Michel Ottaviani :