Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goonies With Hats

I spent most of today helping Scott remove the data logger tags from goonies that have been wearing them for the last year.  Scott has been tracking seabirds for years and is the guy who discovered the Sooty Shearwater migration route.  Super interesting stuff.  The method for getting these tags off is a bit different from our normal routine, so I took some photos while we worked.

In about an hour, the New Year's Eve festivities will begin.  Dinner, Bingo, and the fabulous Chugach Band will be the agenda for tonight.  I plan on raging to the fullest extent of my abilities.  It's still 2011!  Kegstands!

This is the cute, outdoorsy look.  

We keep a few Short-tailed Albatross out in the garage.  One of them is quite the baseball fan.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Death By Birding

We got off early today, for the holiday known as New Year's Eve Eve.  Pretty sweet.  I didn't take any photos today, so Ima just go through some old ones and pick two that I wanted to post but never did.  The weather has been ridick my entire time out here.  Virtually no rain, and flip flops every day.  The skies have been ominous lately, but have not produced anything major.  Today was perhaps the coldest so far, meaning that I had to wear jeans.  Brrrrr.  How embarrassing, I'm making small talk about the weather.

The very rare Freshwater Albatross.  This was a life bird.

If you're wondering how wet it is outside, you can look at the Goonies' backs.  All natural rain gauge.  

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Data Will Slowly Kill You

Had to do a few hours of data entry today.  For lack of anything better to do.  I started nodding off by the end.  This is a common data entry induced side effect for me.  After work, I went out by the runway where bird counters Diana and Kirstin found six Short-eared Owls on Christmas Day for the CBC.  All of them were there.  Sick.  They're hella hard to raph though, because they flush so easily.  Hopefully the photos will get a little better each time I go out.  By the time I leave I'll have something good.  There is an airplane tonight.  We will be losing some bird counters and gaining some complete strangers.  Should be fun...  Ima go to Brooks now and drank on something.

The cream of my Short-eared Owl crop.  It's sub-par at best.
ID all nine correctly and win a prize.  BTW, for a better look, right click the photo and open on a new tab.  You can zoom in hella.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hella Talky

Everyone is giving talks all of a sudden.  Tonight will be the third in a row.  John Klavitter (one of the head honcho guys around these parts) is giving a talk on Albatrosses.  I enjoyed a talk by Karen and Crystal last night about climate change and long-line fishing.  Fully legit.  Lots of sick Short-tailed Al photos.  I worked hella Goonies today.  I read millions of bands.  Banded thousands more.  It was a hard day.  And now I give you Albatrosses being ridick cute:

That's right, back to black...and white.  If you are looking at this, you are viewing art.  Officially.

This should be a Hallmark card.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Fishooks, Spiders, Scrotes, Oh My.

Went to Dr. Breck's Intro to Seabirds talk last night.  Thought it was great.  We mostly discussed adaptations for a bird's life at sea.  I think there might be another lecture tonight, we shall see.  Today was fairly chill.  There is a lot to do after our three day Christmas Break.  I capped the day off with removing a fishhook from the neck of a Black-footed Albatross.  It was gross and scary, but I reckon I saved his life.  So, good job to me.  

I found this Deadly venomous Giant Killing-spider (Arachnus murderensis) in my golf cart today.  I barely escaped alive.

The best way to advertise that you're ready to go to bed with someone:  Attach a scrotum to your face.  And make it red.  Bright red.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Take A Knee

Christmas was a great success.  My Sam and my Mommy both sent hella hella good Christmas packages. I got an exact replica of the pink NWTF hat from the Farallones, and also my stocking that I've had since I was born.  So sick. Thank you guys.  Aside from being hungover and opening presents, I also went snorkeling, did a Christmas Bird Count, and raged/rocked out with A1, Eck, and the Thai gangstas.  So fun.  Merry Christmas again.  

It looks like I photoshopped a photo of myself taking a knee and fist-pumping.

Eck, flashin his Benjamins.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Drink Elf, Drink.

I passed out in my tights last night.  On the couch.  The British had to grab the water out of my hand to prevent me from spilling it.  I'm officially the Drunkest Midway Elf of all time.  What an honor.  Before all of that happened yesterday, I went snorkeling out at Reef Hotel.  It was hella sick.  I saw a Yellow Tang (google it), Surge Wrasse (they're ridick, google that too), and lots of other shit too.  I don't have that much space left in my head to learn the names of all these fishes.  Too many birds.  Well, I'm going snorkeling again now.  Everyone send me good vibes to kil the last of my hangover.  And Merry Christmas!  If you are reading this, I love you.

The hardest part of last night was learning to sit like a lady.

This is us arriving at Christmas.  Notice that the tallest elf ends up with the shortest dress.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Elf Is My Favorite Christmas Movie

Have you ever been snorkeling on Christmas Eve?  I have.  It's legit.  Do it some day.  My C.E. started off with a vague report of a new vagrant sighting on the Island.  The bird was described as being larger than a Peregrine Falcon with a white rump patch, but definitely not a Northern Harrier.  It was being mobbed by a flock of White Terns.  I have no idea what it was, and all my searching resulted in nothing more than the Peregrine.  Life Was Pain.  Tonight there will be some sort of massive rage fest to celebrate the eve of the birth of our savior.  I have been told that I will be dressed as an elf, and will hand out presents.  I will wear tights.  Be prepared for some raunchy, too hot for tv, barely legal TPAD tomorrow.

It's kind of embarrassing to put up such a poor quality PEFA photo, as I have a bunch which are much better.  This is the only one, however, of the Midway PEFA.  Top 10 Birders: what subspecies?

Bristle-thighed Curlew.  This will be the new travel ad poster for Midway tourism.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Vomiting Green Slime

Typical day.  Went to Eastern.  Banded birds.  Came home.  Picked up trash on the beach.  Although, on Eastern we encountered a vicious monster Black-footed Albatross.  It bit the shit out of Karen, barfed green slime, bit the shit out of Pete, then finally got banded.  Probably this was the most interesting thing that happened today.  I will now be heading over to the All Hands Club to drink and decorate for the Christmas party.  Mahalo.

Th crew at dinner: Intense one on the left is Karen.  Goofy in the middle is Ann.  The British on the right is Nik.

Another Gray Goony.  This one is incubating an egg, so apparently it convinced someone to mate.  No small feat for a half-blood.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I Am Creative

Hey y'all.  Today I didn't do much.  I checked on all of the albatross reproductive plots.  It's official, they're reproducing.  I also went and looked at a few ducks near the airport.  There were a few, but things have really toned down in the migrant department.  That being said, I saw a Snipe yesterday.  I don't know if it was a Common or a Wilson's.  I saw it poorly.  I have hella confidence that I'll see it again though.  So no worries.

This is the ornament I made last night.  Out of garbage.  It's an albatross, obviously.  The judging has not taken place yet, but I'm sure to be awarded first prize.

So what kind of Green-winged Teal is this?  Any of my Top 10 birder friends care to venture a guess?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ducks And Moustaches

I shaved a moustache into my face.  Again.  I've had lots of staches over the years.  Mostly they were STMs (Short Term Moustaches).  They typically lasted a day or so.  Except for that one in Tahoe.  I held on to that little beauty for a few weeks.  I'm thinking about doing the same with this one.  We'll see what happens.

This is what my Wednesday mornings have become.  I frantically pedal my bike around the island trying to read as many of these Laysan Duck bands as possible.  Today I got 65.  A new record. 

It dawned on me that I haven't posted any Wigeon photos yet.  I dunno why.  Probably because they are the hardest of all ducks out here to get close to.  So this is about the best I've been able to do so far.  Pretty poor if you ask me.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Living on Midway, you are forced to share your living space with many forms of life.  Two of the cutest can be found inside your house.  I went around my place today and found some models so that you all can see what they look like.  If you want to know more about household pests, I recommend a blog on BB&B:

I tried to find a particularly memorable entry about FJ finding a Midway Pede in his bedsheets, but this was the best I could come up with.

Baby House Gecko.  Off the charts on the Cuteness Scale.

Cucaracha.  I'm not sure which is dirtier: Nik's hands, or this bug?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Cowardly Tired

I PTFO after work today.  Almost missed dinner.  Not really sure why I'm so cowardly and tired.  In any case, I have in my possession Season 4.5 of Battlestar Galactica.  They have reached Earth, which is a barren wasteland.  What will happen next, who knows?  I intend to find out.  Tonight.  Here are some most excellent photographs of birds:

To study the differece in nasal grooves, compare this photo of a Wandering Tattler with the Gray-tailed photo I posted on November 26th:

This is a female Laysan Duck.  I had to take a photo of her because her head is much whiter than the rest of the ducks.  So she looks cooler.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Just Go Bowling

I sat around again for most of today.  I got out to look at birds for a while, but I kept it casual.  Bird of the day was the continuing Ring-necked Duck.  All of the VIPs just left on the plane, but we still have the fifteen bird counters, so the Island is still pretty busy.  Sunday nights are bowling nights.  7-8 PM, all you can bowl.  I was defeated tonight by the British, who rolled a 161, which is unprecedented for a person from the UK.  Howembarassingiknowright.

This man is an excellent bowler.  He is also your Ornithology professor if you go to UCSC.

Maybe the best part of bowling on Midway.  You get to go behind the lanes and see how it all works.  These machines are older than dirt.  It's a Christmas miracle that they still work.  The old safety inspection notices are even still in place.  It's amazing.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Raging And Snorkeling

Tonight is phase 2 of Rage-a-thon 2011.  Hopefully it will be great success.  Last night was pretty chill.  I finally drank whiskey with the legendary man known as Walker.  He is good at raging.  Despite the fact that today was saturday, I still had to do a little bit of work.  After work, I had a cocktail and went snorkeling.  It was pretty killer.  I saw a Giant Trevally that probably weighed as much as me.  There was one White-tipped Reef Shark, a bunch of Puffers, and other crazy exotic fishes that I still don't know the names of.  The Island is still really crowded, so it could be a fun party.  We shall see.  TTYL, BRB, LOL.

There is a small fruit orchard on the island and one of the trees makes these oranges, Which are more red than orange.  They eat purty good too.

Yesterday this bike rack went from having three or four bikes, to this mayhem.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Mind Bottling

We were invaded by 15 new volunteer bird counters in the night.  At breakfast, I waded through unfamiliar faces to find my bacon, eggs, and coffee.  After breakfast I searched the freshwater seeps on the island for signs of Botulism (dead ducks).  I found one, a Northern Pintail.  Life is Pain.  Most of the rest of the day was spent entering data and banding Laysan Albatross on Eastern Island.  It was fun.  We even walked by the adult male Golden Goony.  He is spectacular.  His head is made of solid gold.  Tonight, a bunch of VIPs are flying in.  I think it's the head of Fish &Wildlife or some such person.  Cray cray.  I guess there's gonna be a fat rager to welcome him on Island.  I better go get cleaned up for the meet and greet.

Frigatebird identification baffles me.  It's mindbottling.  You know, like when your mind feels like it's in a bottle?  I'm pretty sure this is just a Great Frigatebird (not the fabled Lesser that I search for in vain every day).  But I'm not really sure why...

The Short-tailed Albatross of Eastern Island hanging out with his fake friends.  Check out how much bigger and cooler he is than the surrounding Laysans.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Island Bird Day

Island Bird today.  I am within inches of FJ's record, which was previously thought to be unbeatable.  I can almost taste all the Fame and Eternal Glory.  I got a hot tip from one of the Albatross counters that they had seen two Short-eared owls out by the water tanks.  I blasted out there and ticked that shit off like it weren't no thang.  

I've been reading this book called She's Come Undone.  It's good.  It's about this girl who grows up with hecka crazy parents and then gets raped by a neighbor and then gets super fat and then goes crazy herself when her mom dies.  It's very depressing, but I'd still recommend it to anyone.  I think it is the fourth book I've read since being here.(also an Asimov, a cyber punk novel, and a crappy novel based on a move called Event Horizon)  You have plenty of time to read out here while trying to get into a normal sleeping pattern.  I often wake up before 5 AM on accident.

Lastly, I'd like to congratulate Matt Brady on seeing his 10,000th County Bird in California (a Rock Wren in Colusa).  This is an incredible milestone, and I am genuinely proud of my friend for all his hard work.  Rage.

Volunteer Nick gets a look at the Short-eared Owl.  To bad I wasn't standing where he was standing.  My photo would've been much better.

Boobies.  Still fun to look at.  This is a Masked Booby on Eastern Island.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I Wish Starbuck Rolled With My Crew

Apparently Kara Thrace (call sign Starbuck) is leading Humankind to utter destruction, even though everyone thinks she's leading them to fame and glory on Earth.  This is of course only the story from an old man in a bathtub last night on BSG, so who knows... Today was obviously another chill day.  I wasn't even Albatrossbitten, so life is good.  There is a plane tomorrow bringing about 15 people out to count ALL of the albatross on Island.  It seems like a big job, I know.  Last year they counted nearly a million.  Can you believe that?  Anyway, there will probably be a little shindig at Captain Brooks tonight, so it's looking like light breezes out of the NW, partly cloudy, with a slight chance of Rage.  Here's some stuff that happened today:

This is my crew, from left to right: Nik Aspy, Ann Humphrey, Karen Guglielmone.  Watch your back or they will frack you up.

This may be the rarest bird on Midway currently.  Mallard is another one of those birds that really surprised me by being out here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Bonin Petrels At Sunset Are Truly Romantic

I didn't take a lot of photos today.  Mostly I stood around reading Goony bands and banding Goonies.  It was chill.  It was so chill, I'm ready to go back out and do it tomorrow!  In other news, yesterday was BJ's birthday.  So if you're one of those lucky people who know the name Bobby Joe Smalling, call him up and say happy birthday!

A Green Sea-turtle checking stuff out at the cargo pier.

This is what the goonies do when they get a hold of you.  The bloodlust.  I only got one bite today.  I was lucky.

Monday, December 12, 2011

I'm An Artist

Last night was bowling.  I rolled a 133.  Totally respectable.  We started doing our Survivorship Plots for Laysan Albatross today.  Lotsa work left to do.  I rented season 4 of BSG today.  Getting ready  for that whole ordeal.  The weather has been ridiculously nice lately.  I heard it was going to be cold out here during winter, but so far it's effing paradise every day.  Sorry, everyone else.  Hey speaking of winter, what should I get people for Christmas?  I'm at a loss.

Another Wedge-tailed Shearwater chick, running around scared.

Here's part of yesterday's dolphin show.  This is what happens when you try to take photos of things that are 10 feet away with a 400mm lens.  It doesn't fit in the frame, so you call it art.  Look everyone - Art.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Spent half the day indoors before finally kicking myself in the ass and going down to the cargo pier.  Luckily, I ran into the first Black Noddy I've seen in over a week, and the first one I've gotten a decent shot of.  Then Pete came and found me to let me know that the boat was going out for an Island Tour.  It was pretty sweet.  Highlight was a large pod of Spinner Dolphins.  I practically could pet them.  So dinner is approaching soon, and I'm hecka hungry.  Here is a short lesson in Noddy identification.  Later.

Brown Noddy.  Notice the slightly stockier bill and the contrast between the brown tertials and black primaries. 

Black Noddy is the superior Noddy out here.  They are much smaller, darker, pointier-looking, and are much harder to come by than their brown cousins.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


The day was relaxed (chill).  I went birding a little bit, drank a couple of beers, and finished season 3 of Battlestar Galactica.  I now know the identities of four of the final five.  I only guessed one correctly before watching.  Also, I missed the boat to go out snorkeling at some exclusive and amazing reef (life was pain).  I guess it's now time to go watch Miracle on 34th Street.  Merry Christmas to the Fays and friends tonight.  May they rage and be filled with the Christmas Spirit.

Red-tailed Tropicbirds are hecka pretty.  This is what they look like in color after they're all grown up.

This is one of the Gray Goonies I have seen around the Island.  It is a hybrid between a Laysan and a Black-footed Albatross.  Nobody seems to want to hang out or mate with them, so you usually feel a bit sorry for them and like them more.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Double Dip Lifer Day

So I saw two species today for the first time in my life.  Of course, this is only a small consolation when I think about a certain duck that my "friends" are seeing in California right now.  You miserable bastards.  Anyway, we spent the entire day over on Eastern Island banding hella goonies.  I got a couple of nice goonybites for my trouble, to go along with a couple of nice lifers.  Mahalo.

Masked Booby.  Thus completes my Booby Trifecta. (unless I can find a Nazca, but I don't even want to think about that...)

Spinner Dolphin.  They just look kind of silly when you look at them captured on camera hanging motionless 2 feet above the water.  But seriously, these things are legit.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Lima. Indigo. Papa.

Life. Is. Pain.  I am experiencing a computer crash.  My shit won't even start up.  I think I need to order a new computer.  The only problem is, I'm on an Island that is hella far from everything else in the world.  Pray for me, my friends.  And pray for TPAD.

Baby Wedge-tailed Shearwater.  Still fuzzy, but able to swim and fly.

This is it, my humble audience.  i don't know what it means.  I don't know what to do.  

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Buy Stuff, It's Christmas

I forgot to mention something that I discovered during the great Thai King Rage of 2011.  I am the second youngest person on Midway.  I was pretty sure I was in the top five or ten, but number 2?  Cray cray.  Just when I felt like I was getting old...  In other news, I went to Eastern Island today and saw hella boobies.  Also hecka Great Frigatebirds.  I bloodied my shins walking through the dry pokey sticks of Verbesina. (most hated plant on island)  Also, the Goonies seem to be getting meaner because they have started occasionally biting me on the legs when I walk by them.  Usually I call the offending bird a bad name and keep walking.  It helps me to feel better.  Hope you're all doing well in Christmasland, buying lotsa stuff for the people you love.  I know I am.

When I took this photo, I was sure I would look through the flock later and find some mega rare vagrant.  Nope, just Chuck Testa (google it) and 24 Ruddy Turnstones.

So sick.  In your face Great Frigatebird.