Birding Midway Atoll from Your Couch!

By josh • Landscapes, Nature, Wildlife • 3 Jan 2013

It came to my attention this morning that Google has done Street View on the abandoned military base at Midway Atoll at the west end of the Hawai’ian archipelago.  The navy operated an air base on Sand Island until 1993, and the Atoll has been a National Wildlife Refuge under the management of the Department of the Interior since 1996.

It’s interesting to navigate around the abandoned base to see the mall and the bowling alley and all of the other amenities needed at a facility 1250 miles west of Honolulu, but what is most notable about the place is that it’s been given over to a remarkable avian spectacle.

Duck Crossing, Sand Island

Duck Crossing, Sand Island

There are Brown Boobies everywhere, thousands of them, and not a few Laysan Albatrosses.  They’re lounging under trees, puttering around on the airport runways, and sitting on peoples stoops and in their gardens.  Some (critically endangered) Laysan Ducks were reintroduced the island not long ago, but I haven’t been able to locate any of them yet.

I’d highly recommend a “stroll” around Sand Island- here’s a link to get you started in the middle of town near the barber shop:  http://goo.gl/maps/RsaoY

The beach is lovely.

Beach

And is this a red-tailed tropicbird?

Tropicbird

What about these all-white albatrosses?  Short-tailed, perhaps?  Can’t profess to be an expert here.

Albatross

 

And, unlikeliest of all, a flamingo:

Flamingo

(Tip of the hat to @urbanphoto_blog)

 

 

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One Response

  1. Oddly enough, this article about a 62 year old albatross laying eggs showed up in Twitter feed a few hours after this post published:

    http://www.fws.gov/refuges/news/WisdomLaysEggAgain.html

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