Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Laysan Love Dance

Love is in the air! These two were dancing on the beach at sunset today and I had a great time watching them.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Big Shorty

This year I received an early Christmas present. Our resident Short-tailed albatross adult made an appearance over on the neighboring island and I was able to get some good pictures of him. Shorties are one of the rarest species of albatross in the world and they breed on only two islands, near Japan, so we are really lucky to have him here. Last year in seemed as if he had found a girlfriend but we haven't seen them together yet this year (although she was here last week when he was gone).

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Saw Blades and Drill Press


I wandered around some of the old buildings here at Midway this afternoon and I ended up in an old machine shop. The place is loaded with old equipment, including lathes and big drill presses. I decided to play around with my external flash unit and got a few cool images. I plan to go back there on my next free day and shoot some more.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ouch!!!!

Chomp! This is what happens when you take your eye off of a black-footed albatross while you're banding it. The bird got a hold of my thumb and then twisted it's head from side to side to get the maximum, flesh-tearing effect. A little while later I got a bunch of sand up underneath the flapper. It took a while to clean the whole thing out. Hey Lauren, please don't show this to Daniel!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I Feel Like Jacques Cousteau

Today I took a few of the volunteers out for a snorkeling trip to the outer reef here at Midway and we had a great dive. There were three young turtles hanging out just inside the reef, probably taking refuge from the big ocean swell that was crashing on the outside of the reef. We also saw a bunch of great, colorful reef fish and we had a big Ulua checking us out (see below). This is the third year that I've been snorkeling at this site and it seems to me that the amount of coral has increased a great deal over that time. It is very encouraging to see, particularly since we are pretty far north and coral grows much slower here than in tropical latitudes.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Solid Gold Moment

video

Here is some video of two black-footed albatrosses dancing up a storm. They are soo hot I think I might need to smoke a cigarette! Turn up the audio for full effect!!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

My trip to Midway - A tale of two bikes

My journey getting to Midway this year began with a bike and has now ended with a bike. The first was the super sexy, Giant carbon fiber machine in the picture below. It is the bike that Mark Cavendish of Team Columbia won four stages of the Tour de France on this year. It just happens to be hanging in the Columbia store at the Portland airport and I saw it right before I got on my plane to Oahu. The second is my sweet green Schwin Cruiser that will be my ride for my time here on Midway. I picked it up this morning and I love it! Check out the whitewall tires and custom paint. I'm trying to think of ways I can smuggle it back to Portland!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Back on Midway

After a fantastic fall in Portland, I'm back on Midway again for the winter field season. It has been a bit of a whirlwind over the last few weeks, preparing for the field while trying to get in as much time as I can with friends. Now that I'm here, things should slow down a bit, although getting here was a bit hectic unto itself. Basically, I've had four plane flight over each of the last four days. I flew from Portland to Oahu on Tuesday, Oahu to Tern Island on Wednesday, return to Oahu on Thursday, and Oahu to Midway last night. The flight to Midway was the longest and hardest because we flew right into a weather front that tossed the plane around for about an hour. I was psyched to get down on the ground! It was all worth it though, and I even got a nice shot of the sunrise Wednesday morning from about 12,000 feet (above).

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Giving Thanks - For Bicycles!

This weekend I travelled up to Seattle to spend some time with Socko, Kate, Bryan, Bittin and the kids. We had a blast catching up and relaxing. Bryan and Socko were working on a new chopper bike for Bryan to cruise the streets of Coos Bay on. It turned out pretty cool. The frame is a vintage Schwinn, turned upside down, with a new bottom bracket welded to what was originally the top of the seat tube! The extended forks were a nice touch as well. We got out on bikes that night and took in the sights and sounds of Lynwood WA, then packed up and headed into Seattle for a ride through our old stomping grounds of Wallingford. We eventually ended up at the Blue Moon Tavern, and it was as dark and foul smelling as I remember!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

SSCXWC

Wow, what a wild day! Today was the second annual Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships (SSCXWC) here in Portland and it was a blast. The day started off with the regualr suite of cyclocross races on the Cross Crusade calender. I rode in the morning and was having a great race (7th out of 160+) until I managed to tear my derailieur right off the bike and got it wedged into the back wheel. Fortunately there was someone right there who saw it all and handed me a beer immediately. Perfect! And that was the end of my race. Fortunately the later race were really entertaining, especially the SSCXWC. Almost every contestant in the singlespeed race was dressed in a costume, and some were dressed in barely anything at all. The highlight of the race was the "wall of bubbles" that the riders had to ride through on each lap (below).

Sunday, November 2, 2008

More Cyclocross!!

Another weekend of cyclocross racing has come and gone. This time we were out at Barton Park, just a little south and east of Portland near the town of Estacada. The course was muddy and lots of fun, technical in some places and really fast in others. I did OK, despite having mechanical problems with my bike that dropped me from the top 15 down to 42nd place.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Halloween Cyclocross

Yesterday was the annual Cross Crusade Halloween Costume Cyclocross Race. This is one of the most fun and outrageous events of it's kind, anywhere. I had a blast. The costumes were fantastic (though not all aerodynamic), but the racing was still very intense. I ended up doing well (6th in the Masters Category C) despite a crash that bent my derailleur and prevented me from shifting properly for the last lap. I have more pictures from the race posted at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wanderingroad/

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cyclocross Racing!!

The cyclocross season is in full swing now and I really am having trouble thinking about anything else these days. I have been racing for my new team, Organic Athlete, for about a month and a half now and I have four 'cross races under my belt. I started out in the beginner category and did really well (10th place in my first race, 2nd in my next, and 7th out of a field of 147 in my third despite getting a flat right at the start and fighting my way up from about 60th place). Last week I moved up a harder category and again had a great race, finishing in 20th place out of 125 people. I was in the top 10 or 15 about 2/3 of the way into that race when I got a flat and had to cruise into the pit area on my rim. There were so many folks racing that I could not find my set of pit wheels among the 70 or so sets. I lost several places that way. This weekend we have two races in Astoria, Oregon. With any luck my tires will stay inflated and I'll find out what I'm really capable of!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Trip to Yellowstone

I just got back from a great trip to Yellowstone National Park with my friend Mary. Neither of us had been there before and we had an absolute blast! What a fantastic place. All of the geo-thermal activity blew my mind, from the bubbling mud pots to the spouting geysers. We stayed a night at the Old Faithful Lodge and ended up wandering around that area for most of the day. The highlight of the trip for me though was the wildlife. We got really good, up close looks at all of the charismatic Yellowstone widlife life, with the exception of bears. But, our wolf sighting made up for it. We watched a pack of wolves for almost ten minutes as they trotted up the road in front of us and walked through the woods beside my truck. Mary took the picture above from the window of the truck. The wolf was peeing on a tree barely 30 ft from us!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Trip to Washington

Back in Portland after a nice visit to Washington DC to see my cousin Katie get married. What a great trip. The wedding was fun and I got to hang out with lots of people who look like me and who I love very much. Sadly, I didn't bring my camera into the reception so I don't have any pictures. Nor did I take any pictures of my old friend Martin, who I stayed with at his place down in the Adams Morgan Neighborhood of DC. I did however take my camera with me downtown, to see the museums on the mall. I took in a whirlwind tour of the African Art Museum (above), the National Gallery (Vinnie, below) and the Modern Wing of the National Gallery (Jackson Pollock, bottom). I got to see some of my favorite works of art, including the Walking Man sculpture by Giacometti. The highlight though was original Burt and Ernie puppets, used for Sesame Street. They didn't allow photos in there unfortunately...
Easily one of my favorite works by Jackson Pollock!! So different from the types of paintings that he is known for. Very simple.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Tour de Fat

Today was my first day back on my bicycle in almost three weeks! And what better way to celebrate this great event than at the Tour De Fat, a celebration of everything wonderful and deviant about bike culture. The March Fourth Marching Band headlined the celebration and a good time was boogied down by all.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bike Crash!!!!!

Ouch! What a crappy Monday I had this week. I've been bike racing lately, in a weekly series here in Portland, and doing pretty good. That is ofcourse until this past week, when I was leading the race and enroute to a strong finish. About 150 meters from the finish a couple of folks passed me and one veered right into as we were pedaling full bore. I had no time to react as the idiot completely took out my front wheel and I hit the pavement hard at over 25 mph. The damage: a seperated shoulder, road rash across my back, shoulder elbow and knee, and a really banged up bike. The guy didn't stop to help me and never apologized after the race. It happened so fast, I'm not even sure what he looked like. Well, I'm off the bike for awhile...


Monday, July 14, 2008

Oregon Country Fair

Well, the Oregon Country Fair has come and gone once again, and like every year, it was a lot of fun. I spent some quality time with good friends, made some new ones, and enjoyed the diversity of my fellow groovy Oregonians. The music was suprisingly good this year, with the hit being a flamenco band from Cali that rocked the house. Bryan, Socko, Kate and I had a great camp set up, complete with three kids running around! My good friend Matt came and camped with us one night and my buddy Sarah joined me inside the fair on Sunday. The highlight though was spending time with my dear old friend Ann and her sweetie Jim. That's Bryan, Ann and I in the photo below.


Saturday, July 5, 2008

South Sister Climb

What a great weekend! My friend Sarah and I celebrated the fourth of July by climbing a mountain and skiing/snowboarding down it! We drove out to central Oregon to climb a peak called South Sister, which is over 10,000 ft. tall. There is still lots of snow up there despite being the height of summer in Portland. The climb was fun, mostly a hike really, with a few sections of moderately steep terrain. We got some great views going up but were clouded out of a view from the summit. On the descent we strapped on our snow gear (Sarah on her tele skiis and I on my trusty split snowboard) and rallied some turns. It has been 8 years since I've gotten snowboard turns in July. Killer! Check out this video of Sarah linking perfect turns...

video

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Dik Reunion

I just got back from southern Oregon where I spent several days with a whole pack of old college friends from the University of Buffalo. Some of these folks, including Mowhawk and Foley (above) I haven't seen in over ten years, maybe fifteen years. What a crazy, insane, non-stop babbling, ridiculous, debaucherous time it was. All of us loud (I was the quietest for sure), all of us New Yorkers, and all of us drinking! Oh, and all of us shooting guns too...Matt Powers (below, before the face plant) hosted the celebration on the incredible piece of land that he lives on. It was a perfect setting for a gathering with lots of small, funky cabins (some made of wood, some of straw bale, some of cob) all dispersed in the woods. Matt also fed us all with wonderful, wholesome organic food, most of it locally grown, including some amazing garlic from a good friend and neighbor of his.

Friday, May 30, 2008

National Geographic Day

In all of my years of doing fieldwork I've been really fortunate to see some amazing things. Some days though are just extra special, and today I was lucky enough to have one of those days. I started out watching a frigatebird snatch up a sooty tern chick and fly off, only to be attacked in mid-air by seven more frigatebirds. The photos of the mid-air tug of war are pretty cool! In the afternoon we went snorkeling around La Perouse Pinnacle, a 150 ft. tall rock jutting up from the atoll several miles away. I saw tons of sharks, had a green sea turtle swim within three feet, was swarmed by schools of reef fish and I ended the dive watching a spotted ray glide under me! To end the day, I wandered the island with my camera and came upon two monk seals having a heated discussion of growls, burps and belches. Usually they are kinda boring to watch bacause they just lay on the beach and sleep, but these two gave me quite a show.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Turtle Rescue

A sea turtle found it's way into the Sooty Tern colony this morning, and the crack, Tern Island Turtle Rescue Squad was scrambled to net the poor beast before it could crush too many bird eggs. A full grown female turtle can weigh over 200 lbs. and when she moves she flattens everything in her path! So, we went out and caught her in a heavy net that has poles attached to make it easier to lift and carry her. It was a tough job but it is very cool to get up close looks at such an amazing animal. The photo below is a different turtle, basking on the beach, where they belong.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Whole Day Off

Today I got to enjoy my first day off in almost two weeks (thirteen days to be exact), and I enjoyed it to the fullest. I slept in a little, but got up in time to catch good early morning light for picture taking. I set out without any ideas or direction, just the camera in hand. This island really is easy for taking pictures though and I snapped a few good shots over the hour or so that I wandered around. All the birds are full of energy in the cooler morning hours and it is fun to watch all of the behaviors and social interactions going on. Lots of chicks popping up all over the place too. Tern chicks, booby babies, tropicbird fuzzballs and tough looking little frigatebirds. The frigates might be my favorite. They are so full of attitude! The one in the picture above just looks tough, even though he's pint sized. A feisty attitude will serve him well since he'll make his adult living by stealing food from his neighbors!
Of course, the Laysan Albatross chicks are really my favorite. Even though they are looking kind of disheveled these days, molting into their real feathers.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Tern Induced Headache!

Well, I'm not quite ready to take back all of the nice things I said about Sooty Terns the other day, but there charm is wearing thin. We were working in a Sooty colony today, banding albatross chicks and a Sooty flew by and drilled me with it's bill right in my right temple! I almost fell to the ground it hurt so bad. Over the course of the work day I got hit in the head by different Sootys four times. During a break we were joking that OSHA needs to set a Daily Tern Collision Limit. I think I surpassed mine today.

On the lighter side though, I spotted this little Red-footed Booby fuzz ball yesterday and got some good pictures of it. I think it's a little early to be testing his wings but he doesn't seem to think so.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Red-footed rainbow

I took this picture yesterday and I really dig it. The Red-footed Booby is the coolest bird! The coloring of their facial skin is extremely variable and this guy really takes it to the extreme. He has almost an entire color spectrum represented on his face!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Great Day on Tern Island

Well, another great day has passed out here on Tern Island. It was hot today and the work was a little bit harder than usual given the heat drain, but it was still fun to handle all of the albatross chicks. We are about 1/5 of the way done with banding after two really full days of effort, which is pretty good! I am happy with the way things are going and I'm taking lots of pictures in my off time. Here is one of the sunset the other night. Half the crew says they saw the green flash and the other half doesn't believe it!!
This is a shot of Irene and Steve banding a Black-footed Albatross chick. Irene is holding the bird while Steve puts on a stainless steel band on one leg and a colored plastic band on the other. The color band has a code on it that is easy to read from a distance so we can identify the bird in the future with minimal disturbance.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Tern Island Bound

I left Portland a few days ago, headed for Tern Island in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. I was lucky enough to hitch a ride out on the NOAA ship Oscar Sette. The ride was smooth and the folks on board, heading out to the other islands, were fun to interact with. It took us two days to get out here and now I'm on the island and getting to work. I'll be here for about two weeks to help band albatross chicks before they fledge. There are about 3,000 of them that need to get banded over the next few weeks, so we have our work cut out for us. Tern is amazing from a wildilfe perspective with birds covering most of the island and green sea turtles and monk seals lining the beaches. The most numerous and vocal residents are the sooty terns. They are practically everywhere and they are loud, day and night. Although some folks could take them or leave them I think they are wonderful!!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Mt. Hood Cycling Classic: Stage 2

Here are a few more pictures from the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic. These are from Stage 2, which occurred the day after the Time Trial Prologue. The stage was held in MT. Tabor Park which is pretty close to my apartment. The riders raced a circuit through the park, amid some pretty big old trees. The picture above is of the women's race leader in the yellow jersey and the picture below is of the men's peleton cranking by on the last circuit before the finish. It was great to see the race action at my local park, particularly since I ride my bike there often.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Mt. Hood Cycling Classic

The Mt. Hood Cycling Classic, professional bike race came through Portland the other day with an individual time trial prologue in downtown. Some of the top domestic professional teams were there and the racing was great to see. The time trial was great to watch, and lots of fun to photograph, particularly since I just picked up a brand new Nikon D300 digital camera! The Rock Racing team was a crowd favorite due to their wild green kit and sweet De Rosa TT bikes. These guys just look like their going faster than anyone else, even when they're not.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

My Brithday in Alaska

I spent my birthday in Alaska this year and it was a really good time. I actually got in two parties for the price of one birthday. On March 14th my friends Lili and Andy hosted a nice gathering of friends in their home in Anchorage for me, complete with cake, great food and home brewed beer. Then on the 15th (the day before my birthday) my buddy Dustin scored us a cabin in Girdwood and we had another party that night. He and Cecille brought their boys down and to the condo for the night. Their youngest crashed early but their oldest boy, Ian, was ready to party all night in the hot tub. Not bad for a four year old! Louie and Rachel came up from Moose Pass as well and my old friend John and his girlfriend Jenny drove down from Anchorage. Brad was in the house as well despite having to work the next morning. Here's a picture of all of us, after a few. Here's a shot of Dusting throwing a pizza crust. He's had a little practice in his time!