Sunday, December 23, 2012
The magnitude of the albatross colony here on Midway is hard to comprehend. The 5 of us on the team that I'm part of counted on Eastern Island Thursday and Friday. The landscape is pretty open and there are not many petrel burrows to fall into so our count numbers were pretty good for those days. Thursday the 5 of us counted more than 20,000 nests and Friday we counted about 18,500 nests. There are 3 teams working and it will take 3 weeks to cover the 3 islands that comprise Midway Atoll. There are a lot of nesting albatross here. I've not taken a picture that does it justice but I've included my best effort.
Monday, December 17, 2012
Our Internet speeds have been very slow so no pictures today. The count is going well with an energetic group of 17 people counting everyday. Today we woke to heavy rain and wind but we still worked until noon. We are a little ahead of schedule so we were able to take the afternoon off to get all of our things dried out. I can put on dry rain gear in the morning, so that will be good. These birds have many difficulties surviving in the world and add to that some deranged person is shooting what look like darts at the albatross. The best guess is that some bored fisherman in the North Pacific is taking shots at the albatross around their boat with a blow gun. Our group has found 2 Black-footed Albatross with embedded darts, one of which was removed, but the other bird they were unable to catch. If we see 2 that are alive and flying I wonder how many don't live. The Black-footed Albatross is much more rare that the Laysan and it's a shame to see this kind of thing happening.