satellite view from PMNM
E komo mai; welcome! Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge is surrounded by a lei of foam in the middle of the North Pacific; it's a beautiful, special place.

Not only are there albatross on Midway, but many other interesting kinds of wildlife, both on the land and in the sea. Please enjoy exploring FOAM, an educational blog actively done while on Midway from May through August 2010. Posts are added from off-Midway, as information becomes available. If you're interested in a particular topic, please use the search box or the alphabetical list of "labels" along the left side of the blog page.

Monday, May 31, 2010

What's Different?

What's different between these 2 pictures?

My friend Andy is in the first picture, and he isn't in the second one. Also, the picture with Andy was taken on an overcast day, and the plants are shorter.

I took the second picture today, May 31, and it's a bright, breezy, sunny day.

Both pictures are showing the same field with many, many Laysan Albatross stretching all the way to the horizon. Look closely at the albatross; what do you think is different between the 2 pictures about the birds' posture and colors?

When you think you know, check for the answer in the first comment in this post.

(Then, you might like to check the post "Laysan Albatross Return to Midway Atoll: You Are There."  Three videos show a BIG change in the number of Laysan Albatros during the months of October, November and December.)


Auntie Moana said...

I know; I know!

First picture, with Andy--
--posture: most albatross are sitting
--colors: most are clearly white with jet-black

Second picture, that Barb took--
--posture: most birds are standing
--colors: most of the albatross are dark charcoal

Andy's a friend of mine, too, and that picture was taken when he was here a couple years ago in January. At that time of year we adult albatross are all sitting down on our nests. Each of us has either an egg or a really young chick underneath that we're keeping warm.

You said you took your picture today, May 31? This is a very different time of year. Almost all the birds in your picture are our chicks who are now about 4 months old, and they still have a lot of their dark charcoal down. They're gradually replacing the down with their adult feathers. They're growing up! You don't see many of us white-and-jet-black parent birds in the second picture because both of us are flying far out to sea to get enough food to feed our growing sons and daughters.

I've got some pictures in my wallet of me and my chick; I'll share them with this blog in the next few days.

Andy Collins said...

I wanna be an Al-ba-tross, I wanna be an Al-ba-tross!

Anonymous said...

I had no idea there were so many of them! Surreal looking pictures :-)

Barb said...

When my time on Mother Earth is done, I'm definitely putting in a request to come back as an Al-ba-tross!!

footesea said...

Auntie Moana, I have to ask... where on earth do you keep your wallet?

Auntie Moana said...

Wellllll, I have a friend who acted in Disney's movie "The Rescuers Down Under." (Perhaps you remember Wilbur? Here's a picture of him: He made a terrible landing in one scene -- You'll notice how he's carrying passengers, Miss Bianca and Bernard, on his back as the "Albatross Airlines." So, sometimes I strap my wallet on my back.

But I usually strap it to my leg. I'll soon write a post of another friend of mine, T086, who has a transmitter strapped to his leg. That's completely comfortable...and it will give scientists valuable information about our albatross travels when they get the transmitter in November!

But we albatross mostly no need cash or identification; we're FREEEEEEE!