While at Midway I met several people who lead quietly interesting lives. Megan is one of those people. Before arriving on Midway to work with the Laysan Duck she studied Millerbirds in the field on Laysan Island in the Hawaiian archipelago. This winter, while working on Midway, she put together some of her video on the endangered Millerbird and recently posted it here, on the American Bird Conservancy blog: Megan’s Millerbird post. The blog post covers the history and success of the translocation of Millerbirds to Laysan Island.
Here is one of her Millerbird videos:
During the night there are visitors to my yard that I would not see if not for the use of a trail camera. Most mornings I eagerly check the camera for any videos it may have captured. I’m always happy when the camera captures a visit from a bobcat or coyote. While many people view these animals and pests or dangerous, I view them as welcome visitors, aesthetically pleasing to see and as being critically important for a diverse and thriving ecosystem. One of my former co-workers at Game and Fish once told me that he “loved bobcats more than any other animal.” He then continued, describing how he and his friends often went ‘predator hunting’ and would kill bobcats. Just for the fun of it.
I say: Love the coyotes and bobcats and share this land with them…
Midway Atoll is still fresh on my mind. I spent 4 months there and came back to Tucson in mid-March 2015. While I was at Midway I was able to post some videos that I thought were worth seeing despite the slow internet connection. I also managed to capture a lot of video that I have not reviewed or edited. The following video is some of that and shows just a few short scenes of a magical few months of life in the middle of a bird colony:
Occasionally a Cooper’s Hawk will visit my back yard, usually swooping in fast and low looking for a quail meal. The other day one decided it was time for a bath. You can hear the worried quail chattering in the background:
Since I can’t fly (yet) I still try and get aerial views of my world. Here’s a short aerial I took at the Molino Canyon overlook just off the Mount Lemmon highway:
In April I set up five trail cameras on the Audubon Appleton-Whittell Research Ranch. The goal is a long-term monitoring of the species that utilize the Research Ranch in one way or another. All cameras are set up at permanent water sources (4 man-made, 1 natural). You can visit the Research Ranch web site here: Audubon Research Ranch
Here are two recent videos:
In the last few months since I’ve been back from Midway I’ve continued to capture videos and photos. The following video is just a smash-up of interesting clips:
Watch out for snakes!
While I am now back in Tucson I did have one more post about Midway Atoll wildlife before I delve back in to the Sonoran Desert and other land-locked wildlife adventures.
The last week I was at Midway a small group of us went to Spit Island, the smallest of Midway’s three islands, to do some habitat work. While we were hooking up to the buoy and setting an anchor several endangered Hawaiian Monk Seals swam by:
Click on the image below to learn more about Hawaiian Monk Seals:
Hawaiian Monk Seal, Eastern Island, Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. Copyright: Greg Joder/USFWS.
Click on the image below to see more of my Midway Atoll photos:
Hawaiian Monk Seal, Eastern Island, Midway Atoll. Copyright: Greg Joder/USFWS.
So, my four month term in the USFWS biological volunteer program came to an end and my flight off Midway Atoll was a few days ago. I’m both ready to get back home and also already missing the birds, the ocean, solitude and geographic isolation. There are a few people I will miss too and hope to work with again some day. I’ll continue to post more interesting photos and video of Midway once I am home in Tucson, though I will also return to making posts of the desert life and other wildlife work.
Ipomoea (species of morning glory). Copyright: Greg Joder/USFWS
On Midway, the albatross are in full swing raising their chicks. The nestlings are getting bigger and hungrier, so the adults are making lots of trips to sea to catch food. Most of the chicks are too big for the adult to brood, though some still try (See below), so now the adults are either absent from the nest for periods of time or they rest near the nest.
Laysan Albatross and nestling. Copyright: Greg Joder/USFWS
Some chicks are getting a little daring and are starting to explore away from their nest, though they return after a bit:
Laysan Albatross chick. Copyright: Greg Joder/USFWS
Make sure and watch in HD: