Things are still busy on Tern and our internet is still not up to par, but thanks to Dasha, I'm getting another blog out this week. Besides the seal, turtle, and shark work going on, the Hi'ialakai (NOAA ship) is here doing their own things, such as more shark tagging, and some archaeological diving. The Hi'ialakai looks exactly the same as the Oscar Elton Sette, which I showed you before. They brought us a big supply of food, so it's nice to have them come through. The volunteers are still trying to get our almost 3,000 albatross chicks banded. They are about 2/3 done, so their getting their practice in. The bird noises are a little different than when I left. It used to be albatross and red-footed boobies making all the racket while I tried to go to sleep, but now it's sooty terns and wedge-tailed shearwaters. The shearwaters sound pretty weird. They have 2 basic noises. One sounds just like a ghost from cartoons, a rising and lowering “ooooooooooooooo”, got that? And the other noise they make sounds like a baby crying. It usually only takes about 1 night to get used to the new birds when they get here.
A couple of the Black-footed albatrosses have already fledged. This guy needs another month or so. The sharks are starting to patrol the islands pretty closely looking for chicks who got in the water thinking they were all ready to fly, but really aren't. Quite a few of them have already been eaten.
Irene is measuring a turtle. There are 2 turtle techs here right now, Irene and Shari, and they camp over on East island since that is where most of the nesting takes place. They work at night and count, and monitor all of the nesting turtles that are there. They take turns coming back to this island after 3 or 4 days each. I went over one night and checked out what they do. It was very interesting, since I didn't get to see much nesting activity over at Midway. Over 90% of the population of Hawaiian green sea turtles nest here at French Frigate Shoals. Here we are coming back to Tern on the boat. These are 3 of the volunteers, Whitney, Sarah, and Adam. The weather has been great lately for getting over to the other islands.
Here's Mark, one of the seal crew, snorkeling out at LaPerouse Pinnacle. It only looks about 6 feet tall here, but it's really 120 ft. And good news. We saw a few blue-gray noddies back on the rock. We hadn't seen any since the peregrine falcon came around. So it's good to see there are at least 3 of them around.
Here's a Red-footed booby stretching its wing.
The Red-footed booby chicks are getting big now. Only a couple had hatched when I left. This chick must have had a tiring day of squawking, since it's yawning now, and they really don't do much. The Great frigatebird chicks are pretty big now too. None of them had hatched when I left.