Wednesday, March 3, 2010

So, I have a pretty sweet gig here.

I wasn't planning on keeping a blog here at all, and I'm still a bit sheepish about having one, but after experiencing so many wonderful things in just my first few days here on Midway I've decided to try and share this experience with people who might be interested. Hopefully that group will include at least one person besides my mother. I promise only humble observations and maybe even some decent pictures, if you're lucky.

Where to start? I guess I should say that I'm here as a volunteer for U.S. Fish and Wildlife and I am helping them specifically with monitoring the seabird populations and restoring the habitat. (That last one is code for pulling weeds and picking up litter). I'll be here for only three months but I am so excited about gaining some valuable field experience and also making a discernible difference on the island.

So! Upon arriving here on Midway two weeks ago, I quickly found that there are unusual concentrations of many good things here. First and most obvious, you have the hundreds of thousands of seabirds flying in the air and nesting on the ground. If you know me then you know that this is rather thrilling. Like pee-your-pants thrilling. Then you have the world's friendliest and sweetest people all on one tiny island. Seriously - I've never met so many welcoming people in my life. I guess living in paradise will do that to you. And finally, and perhaps most exciting of all, people cook copious amounts of delicious food for you! And it's free! I can assure you that I'm fully taking advantage of this wonderful situation (packin' on the pounds, baby!).

Good, good people

The Clipper House (dining hall)
Um, yes. So when I'm not eating, I find myself banding albatross chicks, checking tropicbird nests, cloning native bunchgrass, boating to the next island over (with a pod of dolphins no less), and biking to a beach. I feel I should inquire if it's possible to become a professional volunteer forever.
More to come later. For my fellow bird nerds, I leave a list of birds that I've seen so far on the island.
  • Laysan Albatross
  • Bonin Petrel
  • Black-footed Albatross
  • Magnificent Frigatebird
  • Pacific Golden Plover
  • White Tern
  • Common Canary
  • Black Noddy
  • Brown Booby
  • Common Myna
  • Bristle-thighed Curlew
  • Laysan Duck
  • Short-tailed Albatross
  • Red-footed Booby
  • Wandering Tattler
  • Ruddy Turnstone
  • Northern Pintail
  • Eurasian Wigeon
  • Sooty Tern

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