Sunday, July 25, 2010

Another week off

Sorry about missing last week too. Internet problems again!!! But I'd rather be here and have internet problems than a lot of other places!

Things are going along relatively smoothly here. Almost all of our albatrosses have gone. There's only a few late ones still around. We're still doing a bit of bird banding with red-footed and masked boobies, black noddies, and red-tailed tropicbirds. But we aren't getting too many new eggs so most of the seabird nesting is slowing down. The wedge-tailed shearwaters and Bulwer's petrels are the only ones that are just getting going.

The turtle nests have begun hatching. So far we've only found one hatchling that was alive. We put it in a coffee can with sand and kept it in the dark until after sunset. We released it and it swam off. At least it has a chance now instead of being stuck up in the weeds and drying out in the sun like the other few that we found so far. I'll get some pics of them when a few more of the nests start hatching. Everybody loves baby turtles.

The weather has been pretty good lately, so we've been out in the boat a few times also. We did some trash pickup on Gin island and swam with some manta rays on the way there. See, it's not so bad here even with slow internet service.
This manta was about 8 ft. across. The water was kind of cloudy, but that's why the rays like it. Lots of food to filter out of the water.
Some brown noddies are staking a claim to some of the debris on Gin Island. We took a boat load of it, but they still have plenty of debris left to sit on.

This is Disappearing Island. It is at the other end of the atoll. At least it was still there this time. Sometimes it's there, sometimes it's not, but the water is always beautiful.

Dasha made some great donuts last week.
This is a Christmas wrasse at LaPerouse Pinnacle. They are hard to get pictures of as evidenced by my next picture.
This is what a lot of my Christmas wrasse pictures look like. They like to be in the surge zone so I get a lot of bubble pictures.
We had to catch this turtle and carry her back to the beach. She got through our fences somehow and was crawling around on the runway. We didn't want her to get too scraped up, and didn't want her getting stuck somewhere, so 4 people scooped her up in the net and we let her go on Shell beach.

This is a trumpet fish. Sometimes they are brownish and striped, and sometimes they are bright yellow. I don't know why this one was upside down?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

2 More People

Sorry about the skipped week. As usual, the internet wasn't doing so well for a bit. It seems to be doing ok for now.
The Kahana came back again last week. It brought 2 more people to Tern. That gives us 11 people now. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) which is in charge of the Hawaiian monk seal program, hired 2 people to try to help with the shark problem we have out here. So far this year, 3 pups have been bitten by sharks, so a permit was issued to allow them to remove the sharks that are attacking the pups. They will only be targeting the sharks that specifically are going after the pups at Trig Island. Normally, we would say that it's just part of nature that some animals eat other animals, however, since the monk seals are endangered and numbers are still dropping, we've got to do everything we can to minimize the loss of the pups. It seems that there are only a couple of sharks that are doing the damage and if we can take care of them, then it will hopefully save a lot of pups. We also had three Hawaiian cultural practitioners (locals who have learned the traditional Hawaiian practices) come out to perform a ceremony for the taking of the sharks. It was nice to have them out here and it was great to have the cultural interaction and see the thoughtfulness that traditionally went into activities like fishing or visiting another island.
Our albatross banding is about done. We are still finding one or two that somehow hid from us, but overall, the volunteers did a great job. There were somewhere in the neighborhood of 3,200 birds banded this season.
See you next week, if the internet works!

I finally got my underwater camera back from Best Buy. Just in time to get this picture of Pablo with a big Ulua (giant trevally).

Those 2 orange specks in the boat are Carlos and Tiphanie.

Here are the seal and shark crew with the Hawaiian cultural practitioners performing a ceremony for the taking of the sharks that are killing the monk seal pups.

This Laysan albatross chick is testing out the wind.

So far we've only had one sooty tern chick fledge. This one won't be ready for a few more weeks.

We went to East Island one morning and got a little bit of rain. Most of the albatross chicks have fledged from there already.

The adult albatross feathers get worn out toward the end of the chick feeding season, so they start to get a little mottled and the white near their bill starts to expand.

The Christmas shearwater chicks are getting bigger. They won't be ready to band for a few more weeks though.