Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hecka TPADs

I only just noticed that monday marked the 100th post for TPAD!  This one will be #102.  Congratulations to all involved on achieving this milestone.  Yesterday was business as normal.  Worked a little.  Birded a little.  Ate hecka buffet food.  I'm starting to get into my routine.  So everything is chill.  I guess a plane is stopping here tonight for an overnight refuel or something, so there may be a couple of new faces on the island for the night.  I don't really know if this is true though.  Everything here is so bizarre and confusing that I don't generally know which end of the beer bottle to drink out of.  

A Bottlenose Dolphin that I saw during tuna fishing the other day.  These are much rarer here than Spinner Dolphins, but they are still the only dolphins I've seen since arriving.

This Ring-necked Duck is a pretty popular bird these days.  It's hard to imagine this bird flying all the way out here.  Amazing.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I Will Learn Karate And Vanquish My Foes

So I finally got some photos of the Brant that was found by Jim and Cindy a few days ago.  Boss man Pete says that this may be a first island record.  The Laysan Albatrosses have begun to lay hella eggs.  In one plot, we now have 38 nests, where there were only two the last time we checked it.  Whelp, time for breakfast.

A Wedge-tailed Shearwater chick wandering around lost.  Get back in your burrow.

The Brant.  Rarest bird on Midway.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Looking At Boobies Is Fun

I spent yesterday recovering mostly.  I went out to a spot called Reef Hotel for a nice snorkel.  It was fully legit.  The fish here are every color you can think of.  After all the snorkeling and a bit of birding, and then dinner, I PTFO again.  This time at about 7:30 pm.  It was ridick.  Then I accidentally woke up at 2 am.  Life was pain last night.  Anyhoo,  shit is super chill out here.  Pretty close to paradise.  Ima go dream of goonies now.  Night.

A hatch year Red-footed Booby in a tree.  Bam.  Simple as that.

This is a Keeltail Needlefish (or so they tell me).  It is awesome and beautiful.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thai People Are Good At Pool And Ping Pong

Last night was John Hanna's retirement party.  He has been the project manager out here for a long time and he's leaving on the next plane I guess.  There was a huge rager, feast, and pool tournament to celebrate.  Super fun.  I also went birding and tuna fishing earlier in the day (we hooked two big lunkers, but they both got away).  I'm hungover so I'm keeping this short.  Mahalo.

Brown Booby, boobying.

A few of the guys fusballing.  Mali, official judge.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Lifers Lifers.

After a day of getting my hands torn to shreds by Black-footed Albatrosses, I went around to some seeps checking for vagrants.  At a place called Sunrise Seep, I believe I found one.  A tattler was present that looked a bit funny. When it finally called, I was pretty confident that I had just found a Grey-tailed Tattler.  In any case, I'm not ticking it off just yet.  I want y'all to take a look and tell me what you think.  Oh, also I saw three Sharp-tailed Sandpipers.  They common.

Gray-tailed? Tattler.  It called like a plover as it was flying away.  I have a shot showing its wing projection as well if anyone wants one.  Holla.

A couple Sharp-tailed Sandpipers.  Straight chillin.

Friday, November 25, 2011

No Gooneys Were Harmed For The Making Of This Holiday

I started Thanksgiving off by watching White Christmas.  It was the classiest Thanksgiving morning in recent memory.  Then I filled myself to bursting at the massive feast.  Shit was off the hook.  I was groaning in my chair for an hour, drunk on wine, until I demanded that everyone go snorkeling.  Most were too deep in food comas to comply, but five of us squeezed into wet-suits and headed down to the cargo pier to check out turtles, fish and sharks.  It was sick.  The rest of the day was chill and uneventful.  Actually I barely remember it.

I could relate to this Northern Shoveler as I was shoveling gobs of turkey and beef into my mouth.

The Midway Thanksgiving Table.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

We Eat Goonybirds For Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all.  Yes, I got my rage on last night.  I smashed my previous 2 beer record with a whopping 7 beers!  I competed in the Midway Triathlon, which is ping pong, pool, and shuffleboard.  I won because of Physical Strength.  I then wobbled home on my bike, the Blue Beauty and PTFO (passedthefuckout), only to be rudely awakened by an earsplitting beeping alarm coursing through the house at 3:30AM.  I thought that it was a Tsunami warning and that I would certainly die.  Turns out the smoke alarms sometimes just go off for the hell of it and nobody knows how to turn them off.  A half an hour later, I finally got the situation under control and PTFO again.  When I woke up, it was 9:30!  A new sleeping record.  I missed breakfast.  Oh well.  I guess I'll just be extra hungry for the massive Thanksgiving dinner that the Thais are cooking up.  Shaka Bra and Mahalo.

This is a Red-tailed Tropicbird that is just about to fledge.  It's in black and white, so you know it's artistic.

These birds sometimes get the Bloodlust.  When they're in this state you must steer clear.  Unless of course you want to be devoured alive.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Where Is The Rage?

We continued setting up our albatross plots yesterday.  It was fun.  I got to ride my bike past the Golden Goony again.  Which was hella fun.  We were disappointed later when we tried to tune in to The Hangover 2 on the projector in our living room, but were rejected by Technology.  LIP.  I drank a whopping two beers yesterday evening, which is probably my Island High count so far (yes I feel cowardly).  Tonight is rumored to be an epic Ping Pong Battle over at the All Hands Club.  The All Hands Club is cool.  It's kind of like the Farallones Social Club, but with pool tables, ping pong, a bar, Foosball, pinball, bathrooms, etc.  Maybe I'll get the camera out and demand that people sit for black and white portraits.  Here are some more birds.  I have yet to take a single photo of a non-bird, seal, or turtle.

One of 423 Pacific Golden-plovers that call Midway home.
Ruddy Turnstone.  Showing nicely.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

If Only Albatrosses Could Smoke

We banded a few birds yesterday.  I am beginning to get into the swing of things.  I now seen firsthand the devastation that a fully grown bull Black-footed Albatross can inflict on human skin.  It ain't pretty.  No lifers yesterday, but I currently have my sights set on a few target lifers.  Namely the boobies.  Possibly some Wedge-tailed Shearwaters.  I've been told that this is entirely possible, but I've yet to see the goods.  It's time for work again today, so I've gotta run.

Good old-fashioned Laysan Albatross fight.

A Laysan Duck out on the lawn.  This Life bird is probably the rarest animal that I have ever seen.  I think there are only a few hundred left.  

Monday, November 21, 2011

It's So Tailed Around Here

I saw two lifers yesterday.  Short-tailed Albatross (sofuckingsickiknowright) and Sharp-tailed Sandpiper.  They both have very unique tails.  I'm sure that I can obtain better photos of these birds in the future, so I'm not sure I'll put them up today.  I continue to wake closer to California time, but I am switching over.  I've got to get over to the Chow Hall for breakfast before our first real day of work.  Mahalo.

Bristle-thighed Curlew.  You can tell because of the bristles.  This is one of my several Life Birds thus far.  

Short-tailed Albatross.  This is one of just a few left in the world.  And one of maybe three or four that will be seen on Midway this year.  Pete says that this bird looks to be about 8 years old or so.  This is the best bird ever.  Period.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sleep Through The Most Amazing Time Of Your Life

I spent a good little chunk of yesterday asleep.  Trying to get used to waking up three hours later.  I'm starting to get the hang of it.  I also went on a nice beach walk and saw some seals and turtles.  For some reason, I didn't take many pictures.  I was planning on more lifer photos, but I don't think I took any.  Don't worry, they comin.  The food here is great.  I love buffets, and that's all there is on Midway.  Ima get hella fat if I'm not careful.  Sunday Brunch starts in about an hour.  Mahalo.

The obviously cute Hawaiian Monk Seal.  I believe this is a pup from this year.  It was marked, but I couldn't read the entire number.

An exhausted looking Green Sea Turtle.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Midway: Day 2

So I may go for a TPAD marathon today.  I'm considering switching to writing the blog in the evening at the end of every day.  We'll see. Yesterday was my first full day on island.  I went through an orientation Powerpoint and then I drove a golf cart all around everywhere, seeing some of our work sites and trying not to run over any Goonies.  After dinner, I was trying to TPAD but I just fell asleep and failed at my one true purpose in life: Blogging.  For now, I'm probably going to be putting up  all the photos of the Life Birds that I get.  This should carry us through the next couple of days.  Enjoy.

This is a White Tern.  Like most of  the birds out here, they are very friendly and curious.  One of the other volunteers thinks they look evil.  I say they pretty.

Brown Noddy on the runway.  Another Life Bird from yesterday.

I Have Seen At Least Two Albatrosses Today

Maybe even more.  This post is reaching you late because of Terrorism.  If you must blame someone, blame the terrorists.  Midway is Facemelting.  I don't know another way to put it.  I arrived at night.  It was dark.  I stepped off the Air Force One plane and was immediately surrounded by Thais and golf carts.  I was then zoomed off to my new house, amidst the stares of thousands of Gooneybirds.  My head is still spinning from the intensity of it all.  Anywhere you look, there is an albatross.  It is so sick.  anyway, I managed to go out in the front yard and take two shaky photos before having a few cold ones at the pub and hitting the hay.

That's my front door over to the right of this Laysan Albatross.  My bedroom window is the second window on the left.  Its very cozy in here and I fall asleep to the yelling and screaming of all these birds.

This is a Bonin Petrel.  Also out in the front yard.  They live in burrows under all the albatross.  It is only the second Pterodroma I've ever seen.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mahalo Means Thank You (I Think)

Well, I've been in airplanes and airports all day.  Not much sleep last night, so I'm purty zombied out.  I am currently in the lobby of a fancy shmancy private jet service.  I feel like the president or something.  The pilot just shook my hand.  I am important.  Before something else happens, here are yesterday's photos.  Sam and I met up with Felonious and Ben for a Dayger aroud the Mission.  We kept up with them for about 25 percent of their mission.  It was awesome.  There were many drinking rules and regulations.  High percentages were achieved by all.

I'm thinking of starting a Hot Guy Of The Week column.  This will be the first installment.  Breathtaking, no? 

Sam and I finished the night at some swanky restaurant o the bay.  There was a really good happy hour.  Everything cost five bucks.  Super chill.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The City Of Richmond Is A Nice Neighborhood

Felonious and I took a trip around the Bay yesterday, starting at Lake Merrit and ending at Point Pinole.  We saw 90 species.  At the beginning of the day, I guessed that we would see 90 species.  This is the third time I have guessed correctly in the last 2 or 3 weeks.  I have the gift.  Felonious now owes me a drink.  I finally bought my Midway ticket. Less than 24 hrs in advance.  Which was stupid.  I am leaving at 9:00AM tomorrow. Very nervous.  Feeling like I forgot a hundred things.  Anyhow, if any of you are reading this and are in San Francisco and would like to give me a huge send-off...I am about to start drinking in the Mission.  It will be grand.  Here are two highlights from yesterday.

A young Black-crowned Night Heron scowling at the passersby, Lake Merritt.

Female Common Goldeneye, Lake Merritt.  Somehow, we missed the Tufted Duck that is supposed to be lurking about.  LIP.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Lucy is the name of a skeleton that is thought to represent one of Man's earliest ancestors.  It is also a warbler.  i saw one yesterday in San Francisco.  Fully legitimate.  Later in the evening, it was happy hour at a martini bar.  Rage.

The very elusive Lucy's Warbler at Ferry.

Sam with JennyB (The hottest blogger in the City).  You can check out Jenny's 100%vegan blog here:  

You're Welcome.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Just Another Dollar Day.

It is really fun to go bet the ponies on Dollar Day.  I highly recommend it to anyone living around the Bay.  Beer costs a dollar.  How could you not go?  Once again, I didn't really bird yesterday.  Too much other stuff going on.  I'm finally all packed up for Midway.  I'm only allowed fifty pounds for the flight out, so it was a bit difficult deciding what to pack, and what to leave behind.  Right now, I have to go meet F.J. to try for a Lucy's Warbler down at good old Ferry Park.  Here was some of the fun we had yesterday.

Breaking from the gate.  I had a bit of money on that red horse.  It finished second I think.  Not bad.

Sick sunset last night.  This is my sister Kayla with my former friend Lando. Lando and I used to be friends, but not anymore.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Of energy and cash.  I am only getting this TPAD in for fear that you all would lynch me if I didn't.  I spent all day at the races.  I rarely won a bet.  It looks as though I need to quit the gambling for a while.  I'm on a really bad streak these days.  At least I got to drink about ten dollar beers.  So economical.  Here was yesterday:

Nuttall's Woodpecker at Brushwood, with a nice stick running through his head.

Yet another Anna's Hummingbird.  This one was Near Forest Meadows.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Early Thanksgiving

I didn't go birding much yesterday.  Instead I teamed up with my raging little sister to cook a Thanksgiving dinner.  We drank hecka Drink and cooked thirty pounds of food.  It was chill.  Then I passed out on the couch, vodka drunk, after eating hella.  Today I will post some more photos from Salt Springs that I couldn't include yesterday because of my strict two photo maximum policy.  

My county Mountain Bluebird.

I don't know snakes, but I guess this is a Gopher Snake.  I shooed it off the road.  He was pissed.  He liked laying on the warm asphalt.  

Friday, November 11, 2011

To-Do List Day

I gots a ton of stuff to do today.  So much Business to TCO.  Yesterday was cool.  I birded my persy fave Calaveras birding spot, Salt Springs Valley.  Didn't have a lot, but I did see Ferruginous Hawk, Loggerhead Shrike, Lewis's Woodpecker, and Mountain Bluebird (My first for Calaveras County).  Now I've got to go hit the DMV.  Should be epic.  

This Shrike was nice enough to give me a nice close-up.

Ferruginous Hawk.  Screaming at me.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Pizza was a great success.  Many slices consumed.  Many guzzlings of Budweiser also occurred.  At Mike's Pizza, there is this game.  It's called Stackers.  Over the years, my sister has probably spent about 50 dollars in quarters trying to win the grand prize, which is something ridiculous like a generic MP3 player or a DVD that you'd never watch.  Still, she believes.  She will try to win that Grand Prize every Wednesday for the rest of her life.  We even asked someone who works there if it is even possible.  He said no.  He told us that he has never seen a single person win in over 2 years.  In any case, I didn't do much birding yesterday.  Too tired.  And hungry.  Still, here you are:

This is how I feel after ten slices of pizza and 2 games of Stackers. Muy Loco.

Yellow-billed Magpie.  The Central Valley version of Magpie.  I sometimes see these in Calaveras County, a little ways up out of the valley (1000 ft elevation).  It was sweet to look at the Black-billed Magpies on Wednesday, and then these guys yesterday.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Flee Before You're Broke And Dead

Well, I got out of Tahoe barely intact.  Most of my money gone.  Little sleep under my belt.  Running on fumes. I crash landed back here at home, the lovely Brushwood Estates of my childhood.  I did manage to go out birding yesterday, just before all the boozing and unsuccessful gambling started.  Saw some ducks and crud.  A few pairs of Redhead, Canvasback, Ring-necked Ducks, and the like.  I need to make sure I go out and take some pictures today before I Pass The Fuck Out.  Of course, Wednesday is All-U-Can Eat night at Mike's Pizza here in Angels Camp.  This is basically the ultimate weekly social event around these parts, so I mayhaps will stay awake long enough for that.  Anyhoo, love you guys.  See you tomorrow.

Mountain Chickadee.  Staredown.

Canvasback.  Tahoe Keys. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

South Lake Blues

Went birding at the Lake yesterday at sunset.  Totes chill.  Best bird was Herring Gull.  Ate all I could eat at a sushi bar.  Drank all the free drinks I could drink at the casino.  Lost 95 buck.  Life was pain, but not too bad.  Here are the other things I saw yesterday:

This Barn Owl was being chased around the marsh by a Northern Harrier.

Black-billed Magpie.  Magpie-ing.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Summer in The City

I called in to the sf birdbox yesterday to find that somebody had found a Summer Tanager in the park.  I went to pick up Felonious and we quickly got on the bird.  We had to hold some older folks' hands and walk them through the whole experience as well.  They were overjoyed.  Today I flee the City for higher ground.  I am heading into the mountains to drink, gamble, and bird my way through the next few days.  All while living in the lap of luxury.  I will check in tomorrow from one of South Lake Tahoe's fabulous casinos.  

Summer Tanager.  Isn't it lovely?

Great Blue Heron at Sutro Baths.  Very tame, great success.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Nada Mucho

Espanol.  It's pretty cool.  Right now it is muy tarde.  I shoulda done my TPADing much earlier, but I was hecka busy.  Birding.  Anyhoo, here are the photos from yesterday.  I'm going to bed.

A Snowy Plover at Crissy Field.  I only just discovered where they have been keeping all these guys.  Gray White/Yellow Yellow.  Pretty cute.

Red-winged Blackbird.  Also at Crissy.  I think he looks like he's flexing.  Tuff.