Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Proofing Data Is The Tops :)

Sitting at a computer all day is really good for your health.  It makes your eyeballs feel super good and sitting in those office chairs is great on your back.  Also, you don't have to go outside at all and look at stupid birds or animals or anything like that.  It really makes for a nice day.  I wish I could do more tomorrow, but we finished.  I guess I'll have to go into the great outdoors and plant native plants or something.  Oh well.

This is the true love of a mother and her child.  Mmmm.  Such tasty barf.

Yeah, that's me and my petpetrel.  We are best friends.

Monday, January 30, 2012

I Am A Fat Coward

I just got back from playing soccer with the Thais.  It nearly killed me.  God I've gotten old and worthless.  I could barely walk out after playing for like an hour.  So cowardly.  I did pretty well.  Almost scored a few times.  I tower over all of the Thai guys of course, so they are all terrified of me.  But still, I brought great shame to my country, drenched in sweat, on the verge of collapse.  I publicly vow to run around like an idiot more often, until the very idea of exercise doesn't make me light-headed.  I pinky swear.

Same old Noddy Party out at Frigate Point.  Can you find the one that doesn't fit in with the others?

Short-tailed Albatross are not immune to the Bloodlust.  Apparently, the loner  bird that thinks he's a Black-footed got into a scrape yesterday.  I don't know if this is his blood or someone else's, but somebody clearly lost the fight.  I'm assuming the BFAL of his affections finally lost her temper and gave him what for.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Freshly Shaven Onlooker

For birds, Midway is a safe haven.  A place to find rest and relaxation.  To find shelter from the harsh marine environment.  It turns out people sometimes use Midway as a safe haven as well.  Today a passing cargo ship offloaded a sick crew member onto the island.  He will be evacuated by a Coast Guard plane tonight, as soon as it's safe for them to land without crashing into birds.  Annie One-sock and I went out to the sea wall to watch the dramatic rescue mission performed by US Fish and Wildlife staff out on the safeboat.  The swell was apparently well over ten feet, but they puled it off.  Pretty cool.

The safeboat was halfway hidden behind waves and was completely dwarfed by the massive container ship.

Great Frigatebird looks on as the recue mission is underway.   Showing very nicely.  Freshly shaven I think.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


In this business, you meet a lot of people who are in your life for short periods of time.  Tonight, I say goodbye to a very special group of folks forever.  The College Kids From Duke are boarding the private jet and flying off in the moonlight, never to be heard from again.  If any of y'all are reading this, I wish you well and will miss you dearly.  Stay gold.

So I found myself back at the All Hands Club again last night for the Farewell Duke Extravaganza.  It was eerily similar to previous Chugach Band parties.  The same classic rock songs were pounded back into my head.  There was pool and shuffleboard and epic dance moves.  Many young people lost their innocence, and a few old people lost their minds.  The proof can be seen below.

I'm having fun adding my own captions to the main three characters in this photo.    Try it yourself.  If I like your caption the best you can have a free print of any TPAD photo you want.

Full blown Beiber Fever.  Baby! Baby! Baby!

Friday, January 27, 2012


Babies.  I know they're super gross.  But it's important to remember that babies can be cool.  As long as they don't belong to you. Or any of your friends.  And as long as they don't puke or shit all over you.  I've met a lot of babies in the last week.  They are spewing out of their eggs faster than I can keep track.  Some are cute.  Some are weaklings.  Some are tiny little blobs of slimy feathers.  Let me introduce you to two of them.

This baby just rolls with whatever.  One million mile an hour winds?  Sand pelting your face and sticking to your eyeball?  Who gives a shit?  Not this baby.  He actually looks like he's having fun.

Then there are the frightened, deer in the headlights babies.  These poor creatures probably had something horrible happen to them very early on.  Like when they were still inside their eggs.  The baby in this picture was abandoned by his parents and left to die on the cold sand.  Luckily, someone happened to notice this tragedy and told me about it.  I placed him in the care of some foster parents, and named him Foster Bird.  The new parents seem to be dutifully loving and caring for FB, and I wish them all well, despite FB's cowardly demeanor.  

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Do You Even Know Who You Are Anymore?

Do you see yourself how other people see you?  Hella doubtful.  Most likely your self perception is drastically skewed.  You think you're super dumb and ugly, but it turns out some people think you've got a hot ass and you think about interesting and complex shit.  Or maybe you fancy yourself quite the socialite.  Everybody's best friend.  But actually, everyone hates your guts and thinks you're an asshole.  I've just been told by a reliable British source that it's likely a combination of the two.  Somewhere in the middle of what you see and what they see.  In any case, it turns out that there's much confusion on this subject in the bird world too.  Out here, I see birds every day that have absolutely no clue who the fuck they are.  Here are a few of my faves:

This Short-tailed Albatross thinks it's a Black-footed Albatross.  It spends most of its time trying to mate with that Black-footed Albatross right there, which is of course looking away in disgust.  It even bullies the BFAL off of her nest and sits on the egg whenever it gets the chance.  So confused.

This Booby thinks it's a Goony.  This bird has been incubating an albatross egg for several weeks now.  Identity crisis?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Remember Your Clipboard

A pretty good Wednesday.  I started out by doing a Laysan Duck survey on Eastern.  I even got my very own College Kid Interns from Duke.  Pahtree see uh and K Tlin joined me and learned how to do an official, up to protocol survey of one of the rarest birds in the world.  After that, I ate boo koo rice and stew for lunch and then went out to pick up trash off of South Beach.  We picked up hella.  I haven't weighed it yet, but I reckon it was literally tens of kilograms.  Well, I'm almost late for dinner, so Ima go eat more.


I was Fairy Tern Whispering.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Boo Koo

I spent most of today trying to make every job take twice as long as necessary.  This is a good strategy when you want life to be Totally Chill.  We are still in the post-albatross sweep lull, and things are still super slow.  I took hecka photos today, but they're mostly the same old boring crap.  Sorry.  Eggs are hatching at an incredible rate on the island, and we are starting to be surrounded by sickening cuteness everywhere we look.  It's gross.

Red-tailed Tropicbird getting nasty outside the Fish and Wildlife office.  

Another disgusting Black-footed Albatross laying some sugar on her disgusting baby.

Monday, January 23, 2012

I Know What Time It Is

Today was hella slow.  We only had a little bit of albatross work in the morning, and then a bit of native plant work in the afternoon, planting Bunchgrass.  Since our albatross survivorship plots are now done, we don't have much to do.  We are going to be having a lot more plant work in the coming weeks.  Yawn.  

I have some new raging related news for you.  First, I spent last night celebrating Fun Time Midway 2012.  It was awesome.  If you ask me what time it is, all I have to do is glance at my permanent rage clock, which keeps perfect time.  Also, the officials at the Couch Burning have set a date for this year.  It will take place on April 21st, just one day after the international holiday Smoke Hella Weed Day.  Hope to see you all there.

Everyone here knows exactly what time it is.

A BFAL chick hatching during work this morning.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Football Shmootball

I did it again.  I stayed inside all day watching football.  What gives?  I don't even really like football.  Especially after today.  What a lame game.  I'd like to list all the reasons that birding and baseball are both better than football, but I don't feel like writing a hella long list right now.  I did manage to go out birding for about an hour or so.  I didn't see anything abnormal, but I soon will.  There is a legitimate birder on the island (one of the VIP group) and he saw a Gray-backed Tern during lunch.  This is awesome, because it means I'll probably see one in the next few days too.  Tonight is another rage fest for the VIP group, so I'm gonna go rage now.  Wish me luck.

First beer ever bought from a vending machine.  It was so good.

These are Very Important People.  Taking Very Important Pictures.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Black Boobies Aren't Real

The Island is now overrun with college kids and there will soon be hoards of VIPs swarming the beaches again.  There is a greeting rage at Brooks tonight and then a VIP rage at All Hands Club tomorrow.  Should be a fun weekend filled with the spirit of rage.  I went birdwatching today and this is what I saw.

I was momentarily stunned when I saw this bird.  It appeared to be a Black Booby, which to my knowledge doesn't even exist.  After a minute, I found out it was simply a Brown Booby covering up all of its lightly toned bits.

Pacific Golden-plovers using the Midway runway how nature intended.

Friday, January 20, 2012

We Finished Counting

I saw a bunch of great stuff on Eastern Island today.  No new birds, but Ann and I did find some kind of mysterious transmitter buoy that experts say is worth literally hundreds off dollars.  I also got some glass fishing floats, which are prized beyond money or gold out here.  The Gnarly Storm blew a bunch of stuff up on our beaches.  After all that, we finished the Albatross count sweeps that we have been working on since arriving.  The totals are in. It's official.  There are hella.

The ass-end of a Masked Booby.  It's nice, cause you can compare it to the ass-end of a Red-footed Booby in the background.

This Great Frigatebird just kept grabbing crud off the water and then dropping it.  It wasn't food or anything, I think he was just practicing.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Brown Birds Just Chill

Sorry about yesterday.  Can you tell I'm having trouble coming up with new material?  It's not completely my fault.  The Island was terrorized yesterday by a gnarly storm, so I barely went outside.  Today wasn't much better, as I was chained to the desk getting the banding data ready to send off to the banding lab.  Anyone got any bright ideas for future blog topics?  I'll probably just think they're not very good and decide not to use them, but who knows?  Haha, well, here goes another two Ps, another one D.  Oh, and just in case you were in a good mood and thought the world was a nice and beautiful place, let me put things into perspective for you. You know that cute baby Black-footed Albatross?  The first one born this year?  It's dead.  The storm was too intense for it I guess.  Life Is Pain.

Brown Noddy Party.  These guys don't let dead stuff get in the way of a good time.

Brown Booby Party.  Solo.  This guy found a sweet hunk of wood to hang on.  He's still holding it down.  

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Feet are important.  Lieutenant Dan always left only two standing orders in his platoon.  One was to not do anything stupid like getting yourself killed, but the other was to take good care of your feet.  Good advice.  Out here, feet are important.  Many birds are named for their feet.  Black-footed Albatross and Red-footed Booby are a few local Midway examples.  I get minor cuts and bruises all the time on my feet as a result of the dry, sharp sticks of the horrid Verbesina plant.  The albatrosses sometimes lose parts of their feet (big holes in the webbing) when they wipe out into these sharp sticks.  In a tribute to feet everywhere, here are two fascinating photos of feet:

One day, I noticed Volunteer Ann doing this.  No explanation, nothing.  I snapped off a quick photo and still have not stopped calling her "Annie One-sock"

BFALs do some fancy footwork as part of their courtship dance.  They get up on their tiptoes, pretty much like ballerinas.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I Love Chicks

It finally happened.  Not the huge TPAD event that I've been hinting at.  Something else.  We found about five chicks today.  For a man who has been marooned on an island for the last two months, chicks were a welcome sight.  Yeah, I stared a lot.  The chicks' parents weren't too thrilled, but I didn't care.  Here's what they looked like:

Mommy BFAL loving her baby BFAL.

While we were looking at the Goony babies, a few Sanderlings flew by.

All Hail The King

After being here for two months, you start running out of things to take pictures of.  Especially if you mostly take pictures of birds.  So, sorry if this is all getting a bit repetitive.  There's nothing I can do to bring vagrants to the island.  I try to appease the Birding powers that be by drinking lots of booze, dipping, and using swear words on the reg, but mostly it doesn't work.  I guess I should try doubling my rations.  We'll see if that has any effect.  By the way, something new is coming soon to TPAD.   Something big.  If you want a sneak peek, check out today's post at BB&B:


Hope y'all have a pleasant night.  I'll just be out here waiting for the eggs to hatch.  Mahalo.

Red-tailed Tropicbird.  I haven't put one of these guys up in a while, and I happened to get quite close to some today.

Our Brant is still alive and kicking.  It seems more friendly now, too.  You can walk Right up to it.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Day Of The Turtle

Well, it's time for bowling so I'm gonna get in and out of here as fast as I can.  Highlight of my day was a lovely snorkel down at the Cargo Pier.  I made friends with three turtles, and we followed each other around for about a half an hour.  It was awesome.  Turtles love me.  Now, watch this.  Ima go roll a 300.  God, I'm a talented bowler.

More A to M, as seen in TPAD's dragonfly photo on Wednesday, Jan. 4th. http://toophotosaday.blogspot.com/2012/01/isaac-asimov.html

After I got out of the water, this turtle hauled out and tried to follow.  When it realized it could not stay with me, it started crying.  

Red and Gold 4 Eva

I spent about eight hours in Captain Brooks Pub today.  I left only to get food from the Clipper House during the single scheduled mealtime.  The rest of my day was filled with watching football, playing cards, darts, and Monopoly.  Quite a day.  I can't believe the 49ers are good again.  It feels like it's been so long.  It was super fun to watch them own the Saints today.  I look forward to the next game.  Maybe I'll make it into another all day marathon at the bar.  I'm hella tired now.  Watching a tv all day really takes it out of you.

Here's a Great Frigatebird that was pissed off at me yesterday for being too close to its bushes.
A magical rainbow appeared during the football game.  I ran outside to snap off some photos.  I failed at getting hella sicky shots.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Eternal Glory

It has finally happened.  I have tied the Great Ornithologist Felonious Jive's Midway Atoll List.  Well, kinda.  I have a very sketchy tick.  My snipe is still unidentified, causing me great distress.  Still, I have a month to go, and I'm counting on a few more species to arrive by Feb.  In any case, as you may have guessed, I got an Island Bird today.  Black-bellied Plover.  I found it while walking along the beach on Eastern Island.  It really stood out after staring at hundreds of golden-plovers over the last 2 months.  I have officially advanced in the Global Birder Ranking System (GBRS).  What a proud day for birders everywhere.

Felonious Jive: 39 species

Green-winged Teal
Laysan Duck
Northern Pintail
Northern Shoveler
Eurasian Wigeon
American Wigeon
Laysan Albatross
Black-footed Albatross
Short-tailed Albatross
Bonin Petrel
Bulwer's Petrel
Wedge-tailed Shearwater
Christmas Shearwater
Tristram's Storm-Petrel
Red-footed Booby
Brown Booby
Masked Booby
Lesser Frigatebird
Great Frigatebird
White-tailed Tropicbird
Red-tailed Tropicbird
Cattle Egret
Pacific Golden-Plover
Whimbrel (Siberian and American)
Bristle-thighed Curlew
Grey-tailed Tattler
Wandering Tattler
Ruddy Turnstone
Glaucous Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Little Tern
Least Tern
Sooty Tern
Grey-backed Tern
Brown Noddy
Fairy Tern
Black Noddy
Common Myna

Handsome Dan: 39 species

Green-winged Teal
Laysan Duck
Northern Pintail
Northern Shoveler
Eurasian Wigeon
American Wigeon
Ring-necked Duck
Lesser Scaup
Greater Scaup
Laysan Albatross
Black-footed Albatross
Short-tailed Albatross
Bonin Petrel
Wedge-tailed Shearwater
Red-footed Booby
Brown Booby

Masked Booby
Great Frigatebird
White-tailed Tropicbird
Red-tailed Tropicbird
Cattle Egret

Black-bellied Plover
Pacific Golden-Plover
Bristle-thighed Curlew
Grey-tailed Tattler
Wandering Tattler

Snipe sp. (probably Common)
Ruddy Turnstone
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper
Peregrine Falcon

Short Eared Owl
Brown Noddy
Fairy Tern
Black Noddy
Common Myna

The Black-bellied Plover, proving that it's a Black-bellied Plover.

Cattle Egrets.  Insufferable pests.  We also came across this nest today.  Aren't they cute?  Too bad they are slated for destruction.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Another Three Day Weekend

Today I woke up.  Drank coffee.  Ate an English muffin.  Then I went to the office and messed around on the computer a bit.  After that it was albatross plots, and back to the office for data.  It was a hella typical Midway day.  Mostly, right now, we are waiting for the first egg to hatch.  It will be any day now, and I'm pretty psyched to see it all go down.  I once saw a Wilson's warbler hatching, but that remains the only time in my life that I've seen a bird hatch.  I reckon I'm about to see it happen a few thousand times in the coming weeks.  Guns n' Roses is blasting over the Midway radio station right now and I'm drinking Heineken from a miniaturized keg can.  Life is good.  

A Bonin Petrel in the daytime.  It's not that easy to get good photos of these guys since they pretty much just come on Island at night.

This is the same Green-winged Teal that was featured a few weeks ago.  Any more guesses as to its nationality?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Perpetual Sunsetrise

Today we say farewell to all of our famous visitors.  They will be leaving in the morning before sunrise, to avoid crashing into seabirds.  They will be missed, and many Island inhabitants now feel bigger, stronger, and more important, having met them.  I wish them well, and hope that they continue to do amazing things in the world of mortals.  Aloha. 

Last night, I got home from the bar and caught a baby gecko.  I spent the next 15 minutes trying to take a photo of its eye.  This was the best I could do.  

It pretty much always looks like this here.  At all times of day.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Another routine day.  Albatross plots and data entry filled most of my hours.  Now I'm in the process of gettin drunk.  Sounds like a pretty nice Tuesday, right?  I forgot to mention that yesterday the famous artist, Wyland, painted some stuff on the side of Charlie Barracks.  I think it looks pretty legit.  He did it all in just a few hours.  I was impressed at how fast he worked.  Moo had him up on a crane and he was just throwing paint all over everything.  In other news, the very important people are having a party tonight, which means Free Beer.  I've been amazed at the quantities of Free Beer I have consumed while on Island.  I'd wager I've had more than anyone else here, which makes me proud.  Well, thanks for checking in.  Time to go rage.

Here's the mural.  The big bright thing up in the corner is not the sun, it's the full moon.  It was practically daytime last night.

One of my favorite foods.  This is how I am pre-raging tonight.

Sleepy, zzzzz...

Well today was a normal work day.  After work, I helped Scott put data logger tags on some Laysan Albatrosses.  It was fun.  Then we went on a "petrel walk", looking for Tristram's Storm-petrels.  We were unsuccessful.  Maybe in another few weeks.  After that it was a rage fest at Captain Brooks.  I have gotten quite good at the puzzle that they keep at the bar.  It's a bunch of wooden discs that you move around from peg to peg until you put them in the right place.  It is very difficult, but I am a genius and have mastered it.  This is perhaps the latest TPAD I have written.  Goodnight world.

I haven't shown off my Pacific Golden-plovers in a while.  Here are a couple hanging out with a Ruddy Turnstone at the northern seawall.  So golden.  So shiny.

When it's hot out, this is what these guys do.  They face downwind and let the cool breeze blow up through their feathers into their nether regions.  So refreshing.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Ima Watch The Facebook Movie

If you've been with us for a while, you may notice a little something different here at TPAD.  Yeah, I put up a bunch of neon pink and green shit all over the place.  It's pretty sweet, I know.  Last night there was a mega rage at the All Hands Club, complete with the Chugach Band and some sweet A1 solos.  When I left the party, I found that my bike had a flat tire.  So sad.  Then I spent most of today sitting around like a lump.  It was fun.  I eventually got outside, got myself a golf cart, and drove around the island looking for stuff to take pictures of.  Well, sunday night, time to go bowling.

From left to right: Kid (lead singer), Susan Middleton (dancer), A1(lead guitar), Sylvia Earle(dancer).

As far as I know, this is a Ghost Crab.  I don't know, I'm not a Crabologist.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Shocky Rorebirds

I went out and took breathtaking photographs of some of our wintering shorebirds today.  Currently on island are some incredibly famous and influential people.  Sylvia Earle, who is the planet's greatest female oceanographer, is here with me.  If you want to know who she is, click this: 


There is also a mural artist here named Wyland who is apparently hella famous.  He did something for the Olympics I think.  Now he's supposed to paint one here, but I haven't seen any brushes come out yet.  Here's Wyland:


Well, it's time for dinner.  Then I'll be attending a talk by an awesome photographer, whom I may showcase on tomorrow's TPAD.  After that, raging.  It's another Chugach Band performance tonight, and the whiskey will flow.

Wandering Tattler.  You can tell by the nasal grooves and apparently the scaling on the bird's tarsi (legs).  Breathtaking.

Ruddy Turnstone.  Look at it glisten.