Friday, January 20, 2012

Albatross Numbers

To read these graphs you will need to click on them and increase the size like you would with an image. You can also use the screen magnifier in the lower right of your browser window. I could not figure out a way to publish them in a more readable format. It is an interesting look at albatross numbers on Midway. The earlier counts before 2000 are difficult to compare with the last 11 years because they all used different protocols than are used now.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Black-footed Project Completion and Going Home

I walked my last sector collecting Black-footed Albatross data on Wednesday morning the 11th. We had the rest of the afternoon off and I used the time to return borrowed items and get my bags packed. We flew out of Midway before dawn on Thursday the 12th and I was back to the hotel in Waikiki by noon. It's always bittersweet to leave Midway as I enjoy the residents, my coworkers and the WILDLIFE. But I also miss my family and am happy to see Jan and be with her again. The pictures include the last sector that I worked through and a nesting Black-footed Albatross. One of about 1700 nests that I mapped. It was not a bad place to work!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Black-footed Albatross Project

Yesterday the albatross count was finished without me. The count was close to completion and I had an opportunity to work on a different project until I leave for home. There have been 2 scientists from U.S. Geological Survey here for 3 weeks and they worked with the bird counters until recently. They are collecting data on nest locations for Black-footed Albatross within the Tsunami inundation zone. They didn't finish all the work they had hoped to accomplish and I am going to carry on their data collection while I'm here. It entails using a very accurate and expensive GPS unit to mark all Black-footed Albatross nests within the inundation zone. The unit has mapping capabilities and I can look at the inundation zone as I do my work. I worked with Karen and Crystal yesterday and last night they left for home. Today I was on my own in our first heavy rain since I got here. For one reason or another about 1/2 of my data this morning was useless but this afternoon I did much better. I managed to plot about 350 nests successfully and think tomorrow will be better. I'm tired every night and learning new stuff every day so the fun continues.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Sunrise on Sand Island

White Terns in Flight

Albatross Numbers

There are many interesting and rare birds on Midway Atoll but the albatrosses are the real poster child for the refuge. Here are some very rough figures on the populations we are counting and how they rank in the world. Midway is the largest albatross colony on the planet. About 75-80% of all The Laysan Albatross on Earth nest here. The percentage for Black-footed albatross is a little lower at 40-50% of the world's population nesting here. We are counting all the breeders of both species on Midway so it is an unprecedented look at a large population of birds of any kind anywhere on earth. It is a rare treat to be involved with a project of this magnitude! Laysan Albatross with egg in the top picture and Black-footed Albatross with chicks in the lower picture