Sunday, December 21, 2008

Bad Weather & Bird Counts

We've been having some more heavy wind and rain this week. We've been mopping up the water from the leaks in the barracks for the last few days, and our internet and phones were out for a couple days. The satellite signal can't make it through the thick clouds. Again, what can you expect on a remote island. I'd still rather have this than the below zero weather back in North Dakota, and I still love it here! Some of the albatross nests were flooded, but as long as they stay on the egg, they should be ok. One good thing is that all 5 of our water tanks are completely full.
We are doing the Christmas bird count for the Audubon Society this week. That will be a big project since we are supposed to count every bird of every species on the entire atoll in one day, and there are only 6 of us. Last year there were about 12,000 birds on this island alone. There will probably be another couple thousand on East Island. It will be really difficult to count the birds at LaPerouse Pinnacle since we can't get on it, but we'll try to count them from the boat.

This is what our runway looks like after a couple weeks of rainy weather and no time to scrape the weeds off. Needless to say, I've got some work to do before our plane comes in a few weeks.

We hope to see the bird with the orange bill on our bird count. It is a Nazca booby (the one in front is a masked booby). Their normal range is the Eastern Pacific, especially the Galapagos Islands. They were considered a subspecies of the masked booby, but now are considered separate. This one was here last year, but there is only one, so it probably won't be nesting anytime soon here.

Here's a closeup of a masked booby.

The red-tailed tropicbirds are starting to come back now too.

Here's a little crab that was wandering around in the catchment pad area. It was about 6 inches wide.

I spotted a few Spotted eagle rays as I went around the island on my entrapment walk this morning.


Anonymous said...

hey Pete-

Great crab pic. You must have had to get pretty low to the ground to get that shot.

I hope all is well out there. Barry and his daughter just stopped by on their way down the California coast. It was fun to see them and catch up. I told them about your new blog so you may have some new fans soon.

Take care and happy holidays


Nellie Northern said...


Merry Christmas,

Mona & Nelson Klavitter

Pete Leary said...

Thanks Brent, I was on the ground for that crab pic.

And I'm glad to see the Klavitter's have also been checking the new blog. I still have conference calls with John every week.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!