The excitement mounts as Meg Duhr Schultz reports from Tern that ke ka'upu (the black-footed albatross) have laid almost 100 eggs so far, including at least one nest with two eggs! The team currently on-island (Meg, Erin and Scott) are keeping very, very busy with albatross -- and with protecting their native out-plantings from these curious birds. Meg also reports that the albatross appear very attracted to the areas the team has been revegetating -- which is great news.
Back in Honolulu, Team Tern II is beginning to gather in Honolulu for their deployment. Abram Fleishman came from research in Baja California/Mexico. Dakshina Marlier flew in from her home island of Kaua'i, after some months of leading biking trips in southeast Alaska. These two new-to-FWS volunteers arrived last week to participate in training, help buy and load supplies, and enjoy the last bit of civilization before heading out to Tern.
During this week, we've picked up almost $3,000 in dry foods, supplies for maintaining the buildings, tractors and boats (things like PVC, hand tools, carts, extra tires, ropes, sewage line, and boat tiller kits). We've tested and packed equipment needed for biological monitoring (things like measuring tapes and calipers, a night-vision camera, rite-in-the-rain notebooks, and data loggers). And we've had lots and lots of training: an introduction to operations, training on banding safety, evacuation, medical safety, boating safety, team safety, lifting safety, cooking safety, mental health and safety, and of course, safety safety. Our outreach expert Barbara Mayer joined us for an introduction to Biological Monitoring and the Common Species at French Frigate Shoals.
All this training, shopping, and packing can be tedious -- but it is extremely important for the crews to have a broad background and understanding of the purposes and methods before we get to the island. Even before they arrive on-island, they should have a pretty good idea of what they will be doing, and able to identify all of the bird species. We've even gone over the proper way to capture an albatross, albeit our practice albatross strongly resembles a pillow with a paper towel roll taped on the top. :-) This training really provides the volunteers with enough background that they will know when they're missing information, and what questions to ask, once we hit the ground running with albatross monitoring once we arrive.
We've made a couple trips to the Northshore of O'ahu collecting naupaka cuttings for transplanting at Tern Island. We're hoping this influx of new plants will result in a long-term increase in the number of shrubs at Tern, important for nesting habitat.
|FWS Volunteer Dakshina Marlier (left) and staff Paula Hartzell (right) gather nau paka cuttings from the roadside on O'ahu. |
Photo by FWS Volunteer Abram Fleishman.
|Abram's beautiful photography at work: A naupaka blossom. While Abram took these great shots, Dakshina enlightened us with a telling of the traditional Hawaiian story about naupaka. Looks like we're really going to benefit from the talents of these two this winter!|
|The naupaka pruning gets serious... Tempers flare....|
|The crew, post cutting.... hmmmm.....All that shopping, packing, and pruning can be exhausting. :-)|