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[Ashmore Trip 1]: Rats, boobies, and the ride back

June 11, 2013

[This is the seventeenth in a series of ‘Ashmore Trip 1’ posts, essentially diary entries. Internet was unavailable at the Ashmore Reef, so they are being presented one-day-per-day now that I am back in Melbourne.]

23/04/2013 and 24/04/2013

On the 23rd, we woke early again, and the Rat Team, J1 & J2, and I headed to the island to pull out the rat trap-lines and bait-lines, and to catch a few more boobies. This went smoothly, though we did have a bycatch of one Buff-banded Rail on the trap-lines.

Notable definition of the day: a ‘bustline’ may form just above the tideline, but under the vegetation line. It is on such ‘bustlines’ that all of the boobies on Adele are found.

Also: unlike most birds, boobies do not have a ‘beak’, as such, that you have to restrain. The pointy thing on the front of a booby is more properly termed a ‘nipple’.

We were back on board around midday, and set off for the Lacepedes around 15:00. We anchored near the Lacepedes overnight, which was a change in plan that allowed more daylight-hours for seabird-logging en route.

New species: White-winged Black Tern, Great Egret.

24/04

Under sail from just after dawn. I am, mercifully, not seasick for this return journey, but not much interesting is happening. I have had a decent conversation with M, of the Rat Team, regarding the state of ecology research in Hawaii, where he has been a researcher. Nothing really notable has been sighted: some terns (mainly Common and Crested), a couple of Brown Boobies, some probable Bottlenose Dolphins.

The air-conditioning  in the sleeping quarters broke down sometime yesterday. Better then than at the start of the trip, for certain!

Time of arrival at Broome mooring: 16:00.

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