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.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Laysan Albatross Return to Midway Atoll: You Are There

Laysan Albatross Photo Gallery; James Lloyd, 2007
What a difference a month makes!  Have a look at this ~30-second video that Joanna recorded on October 17.  See any albatross?  Nope, because there aren't any on the entire Atoll.  There's no audio to this video, but if there were, you probably would hear only the breeze and maybe some White Tern "rubber-band" calls, since these birds live on the Atoll year around.
Midway Atoll, October 17, 2010 from Barb Mayer on Vimeo.

Now watch Joanna's video from a windy day on Sunday, November 14.  Can you see that there are now albatross present?  And she says only a little more than half of them are back; more are arriving every day!  In the video, you can hear the wind...and albatross whistles.
Midway Atoll, November 14, 2010 from Barb Mayer on Vimeo.
December 2010 update:
Here's the newest video by Joanna; LOOK AT ALL THE LAYSAN ALBATROSS!!!  Pretty amazing, huh?!  And do you hear them?!  Albies: welcome back to Midway, your largest nesting colony in the world!

Midway Atoll, December 14, 2010, from Barb Mayer on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Golden Gooney seen on Midway Atoll!

Short-tailed Albatross Gallery; James Lloyd, 2007
I'm no longer on Midway, but my friend Joanna is.  She's one of two volunteers now on the Atoll, and she's experiencing the return of thousands of albatross.  It's getting quite noisy!

Wow; she spotted the very rare Short-tailed Albatross (STAL) on Sand Island!!  The photo to the left shows an adult bird.  With that golden head, you can certainly understand why it's also called the Golden Gooney.

Below is a video of the STAL taken by Joanna.  The caption says the video is mine, but she's the videographer, not me. We're just storing the video on my Vimeo account.

Enjoy Joanna's video!  You'll notice the bird doesn't have the same golden head and neck as shown in the photograph to the left.  That's because the bird that James photographed back in 2007 is an adult, and Joanna's bird is younger, not fully adult yet.  However, it's still a big bird; notice how much bigger it is than the Black-footed Albatross, with which it doesn't seem to get along--

Short-tailed Albatross from Barb Mayer on Vimeo.