Beginnings and Endings


August 6 – August 19
John Vetter

An action-packed two weeks was a great way to finish up my time on Laysan.  The arrival of the translocation crew from Nihoa with 26 more Millerbirds went very smoothly and was a great success overall.  This also marks the return of Robby Kohley to Laysan and the arrival of Michelle Wilcox, who will take over monitoring and tracking responsibilities.  But, before I left, I was able to document the continued success of the current population of Millerbirds on Laysan, as three new nests (and a probable fourth) were found during the past two weeks, bringing the total to probably six active nests Let’s hope that the new arrivals take to the island as well as the previous cohort.

The other island inhabitants continue to do well, as large numbers of Sooty and Gray-backed Tern fledglings are moving around the island.  Also, the first fledgling Brown Noddies have been noted.  Large numbers of cute bundles of puff in the form of baby Wedge-tailed Shearwaters are showing up in many areas of the island.  This period also marked the first indications of fall migration, as up to seven Sanderlings were found foraging around the interior lake.  A number of the Pacific Golden-plovers and Ruddy Turnstones also appear to be fresh arrivals from the northern breeding grounds. 

This last blog post from me also has me looking back on my time on the island, and some of the key life lessons that I have learned.  Such as:

  • A rainbow moving away from you is beautiful; one moving toward you means you are going to get wet.
  • If a double rainbow is coming at you, you are going to get twice as wet.*
  • A clean pillow is a luxury often overlooked.
  • When the flies are really bad, always face the wind when drinking from your Nalgene.
  • Some smells linger for a long, long time.
  • Finally, as I have learned from the Brown Noddies, sometimes you just need to stop and stare at your feet to make sure that they are still on the ground.

*Not intended to be taken as scientific fact.

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