So.... this blog isn't really about bacon or bird eggs. But I do LOVE bacon (who doesn't?) and I do love bird eggs, mostly because they hatch the cutest creatures on earth -not for eating!

I'm starting this blog so that I can keep a journal of my island adventures. Last year I spent 5 months on Southeast Farallon Island working with seabirds and neglected to keep any sort of blog or journal... and I have suffered from internal guilt ever since. Maybe I'll do a Farallon Special Feature sometime between islands? Until then you will be hearing of my Tern Island tales. Tern is a tiny 30-something acre island in the middle of the Pacific in the French Frigate Shoals, which is part of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument about 500ish miles northwest of O'ahu. Here's a link to a picture I didn't take (Tern is the rectangle):

31 March 2010

Bird Lust and Torgies

Love is in the air... and water.

Frigatebirds have been getting busy, shaking their jazz hands, puffing out their irridescent feathers, and smothering lucky pink-eye-liner wearing ladies with their bulbous red gular pouches. The result: eggs have been popping out left and right! The only down side to this event is territorial males that relentlessly whack me on the head. The upside is that there will be a whole new lineage of juvenile frigates to play grab-the-stick with!

Albatrosses that have succesfully bred have starting leaving their chicks unattended to forage at sea, bringing back a slurry of oily goop to pour down their hungry babes little gullets. As a result the chicks have morphed into the shape of heavy bottomed bowling pins, except much squishier. These little bundles of fluff are pretty fiesty in a pathetic immobile sort of way and if you hand some a twig or feather they will grab it and promptly place it in their nest bowl (with attitude) and wait for the next handout (or for you to leave them alone). I've definitely fallen in love with the curious dopey nature of the Laysan albatrosses... if you hang out too long near a group of loafing adults they just might come check you out, tug on a loose peice of clothing, dance with you, or offer to fix your wind blown hair. I experienced my first albatross preening under the barracks while banding tropicbirds. Shortly after, a second albatross walked up and offered to carry my sunglasses for me. How nice.

And of course the the boobies, terns, shearwaters, and tropicbirds are all actively partaking in the baby making as well.

So, what is a Torgy you might be wondering? It's a Turtle Orgy! Today the girls and I stumbled upon some large green sea turtles "doing it" on the beach in the surf. Two other turtles were attempting to bump the humper off with but with no success (as they were much smaller). Their lack of success may also be attributed to the dead weight of the humper, as he seemed to have fallen asleep mid-business.

The Hawaiian monk seals, also known as ʻIlio-holo-i-ka-uaua (say that ten times fast) or "dog that runs in rough water," have also been feeling the love as is evident by the large pregnant seals coming on shore... and disrupting our work (but that's okay because we love them)! This endangered species is super sensitive and needs a wide margin for it's human-free zone, so we have to sneak around very stealthily to remain undetected and to make sure we dont spook any off the island, giving them atleast 300 ft of room to be seals. Which mainly consists of sleeping, scratching, and occasionally rolling over.
*sorry to those with facebook for any repeat pictures or stories!

1 comment:

  1. I read your blog ,and i made copies for lucy and aunt regina,they will be very happy, by the waY U are very funny. love mom