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Ashmore 2: Foreshadowing

December 6, 2013

15/11/2013

AM: We spent yesterday evening from sunset until 10:00 this morning on Middle Island. Because Brown Boobies are a low priority for tracking this trip, I had to ring, bleed, and fling ten of them to keep my molecular-analysis stockpile up. The others were searching, mainly, for tagged Red-footed Boobies, Masked Boobies, and Lesser Frigates, of which there were only small numbers to get through, so I had an abundance of help. We finished the target species around 21:00, and moved on to Lesser Noddy, picking up another few.

The last two nights, there have been tropical storm-systems along the Northern horizon, crackling with yellow lightning. On an island that is regularly swamped by storm-surges, with a collection of electronics of varying degrees of frailty, these caused some small amount of concern. Fortunately, the squalls have held off hitting Ashmore in each case until we were safely aboard Diversity for the day. At one point, though, the weather was intense enough to break one of our ship’s tenders loose. There being ladies present, this gave one of the crew a fine excuse to throw off his shirt and dive into the ocean to retrieve it. It is now held with a somewhat stronger rope.

The squalls are ongoing, making planning somewhat difficult, though ongoing general plans are to collect enough mummified Bridled Terns for molecular analysis (the numbers of live ones are very low), and find out what can be done with Crested Tern.

PM: Slow day today. Went for a dive around the reef and sorted out my plans for the remaining time here. I will overnight on Middle Island tonight with AH and RM catching Lesser Frigatebird juveniles, one of the remaining nights on East Island bleeding a collection of species, and probably two days mapping the vegetation on East and Middle so that I can calculate the available area for each species to breed in (as this may partially-determine subcolony sizes). One more day (or night) will be spent collecting dead specimens to fill gaps in my molecular samples. This combination should see me very busy until we leave for Cartier on the 20th.

The Navy and Customs crews are sending over visitors for drinks tonight from 17:00. As the earliest extraction from Middle tomorrow morning is ~08:00 on the rising tide, I will endeavour to nap until then.

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From → Scientist

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