The first Nextian X-Treme of 2005, Holly has this to say:
"...Aloha from Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, 1,300 miles northwest of Honolulu, Hawaii (long trip by airship). We're pictured taking a break from counting albatross nests during the annual census. By Christmas, we had counted nearly 200,000 nests -- with some help, of course -- and expect to count about that many more before we're finished.
A field of 15,000 Laysan albatrosses is a fine setting for a Nextian interlude. The albies don't eat marshmallows (squid and flying-fish eggs are their preferred fare) or stand on one leg (as some other seabirds are wont to do), but the young birds that aren't incubating and talking to their eggs are dancing, whistling, mooing, bill-clapping, and strolling around sociably in search of potential mates and nice spots to practice nest-building. Wish we could send you a sound clip. Plenty of Laysans and their cousins, the black-footed albatrosses, are soaring around, along with white terns, brown noddies, migrant shorebirds and a few ducks. Oh, and there are flocks of yellow canaries, too. No kidding. At sunset, the little Bonin petrels swarm in, barking and growling like angry chihuahuas, and head for their burrows (underneath the albatrosses).
Holly Freifeld & Beth Flint (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Honolulu, Hawaii)
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