Sunday, January 25, 2009

Another Interesting Week

We had a pretty interesting week for Tern island. Biologically, we got done with our fourth and final albatross sweep where every nest is checked to see if birds are banded or not. On Monday, the first Laysan albatross chick hatched. They are starting to pop out everywhere now. The Sooty terns are flying over the island by the thousands, and every day more show up to fly around. They don't land, for the moment, but one of these days they'll all decide it's time to sit and pick nesting spots.

A few days ago we had a visit from a helicopter. It must have been military from a ship since we are kind of out of range for anyone else. They just flew around the atoll for an hour or so, then went back where they came from. I guess they just wanted to check out the atoll.

We also had a supply plane come in on Saturday. They meant to turn right around and head back to Honolulu, but they blew a tire from having to brake so fast on our short, bird-filled runway. So they got to stay the night, and we were happy to have them since they brought us mail and fresh food which we hadn't got since Dec. 4. We've been having a lot of canned stuff lately. Today, another plane flew in with some new wheels and a mechanic to change them. The pilot was Bob Justman, who flew here for many years. Today was his 663rd flight out here. He was pretty good at dodging the birds.
My big project for tomorrow is fixing the kitchen/common room lights. It was kind of cool making dinner by kerosene lantern light, but I think I'd rather have a little better light so I can at least get most of the ants and fruit flies out of my food.

Here's the first Laysan albatross chick.

This is the unknown helicopter flying off into the sunset.

This doesn't roll so well anymore.

Bob J. was showing us a picture similar to this from a few years ago, except his plane was the one with the flat.

This picture was from last week. Kelly is taking the turtle out of the net so we can put it back over the seawall. This isn't the same turtle as in my last week's post. This one is a little bit bigger, but it was in the same spot.


Anonymous said...

Pete, I assume the Piper pilots wear full face helmets in anticipation of bird strikes! :-)
They really did some hard breaking - I guess it doesn't have ABS - yet.

Really enjoying the great pictures and learning of your labors and routines.


Pete Leary said...

And yes, they do wear the full helmets when they land or take off. I thought I had posted a picture of that, but I guess I didn't.