Be sure to check back here soon! Hopefully I'll have a chance to put up some pictures and stories about albatross by the end of the week!
In about 3 hours, I'll be flying out to Midway! I'll be travelling 1,500 miles to the tiny atoll of Midway and spending the next four months there helping with research and conservation efforts, with a special emphasis on the albatross nesting on Midway (Laysan, Black-footed, and sometimes the Short-tailed) as well as invasive vegetation removal. Fingers crossed, the internet will be fast enough that I can continue to update this blog (somewhat...!) regularly and post some small pictures.
I arrived in Hawai'i yesterday and it seemed incredibly surreal. It had just snowed in the foothills around Boise and all of a sudden I was in +70 degree sunshiney weather! Folks were out surfing en masse, the water was surprisingly warm (I'm used to the cold waters off of the Oregon and Washington coast), and the vegetation and trees were so incredibly green, verdant, and tropical. But the most surprisingly of all was (of course!) the birds! Walking along the beach by the hotel I was staying in seemed like a stroll through a tropical rainforest- the trees were full of singing and chattering birds, although they were hard to pick out. Today I spent the morning trying to identify all the species around me and definitely saw and heard numerous lifers, including Pacific Golden Plovers, Common Mynas, Red-crested Cardinal, Red-whiskered Bulbuls, Red-vented Bulbuls, Zebra Doves, Spotted Doves, Common Fairy Terns, Black-crowned Night-Herons, Cattle Egrets, White-rumped Shamas, and Java Sparrows. As excited as I was to see these exotic birds, most of them indeed were exotic- that is to say, introduced to Hawai'i. So, unfortunately I have not seen many truly endemic species of Hawai'i but soon (very soon!) I'll be on an island with 2-3 million seabirds!
Wieteke Holthuijzen: budding environmental scientist, passionate birder.