Clipperton Journal: The Daily Record of Life on a Pacific Atoll, Part 4

Lance Milbrand
August 29, 2003

View a 'castaway' Photo Gallery by Lance Milbrand: Go>>

April 30, Wednesday, Day 22: Shot this great scene with and adolescent masked booby and my fluffy young bird "Charlie." An older bird picked up a stick and threw it up into the air, catching it many times. Charlie was in the background watching the behavior and he mimicked the older bird's trick and was also successful. I think they were practicing catching fish and swallowing them?

I also noticed that the bird in my camp next to my tent that I was calling Frank is actually a female bird. Oops. Birds are starting to mate with increasing frequency. I hope some eggs and chicks come before I have to leave.

In the early afternoon, I finished the lagoon GPS then packed my cart and headed north to the tide pools to look for eel. I found a few eel. They were certainly afraid of me and took off swimming. I will have to stay out of sight until they are really interested in eating crab. Maybe I came to view at the wrong time?

I went over to Tern Island and shot crabs crawling from the landlocked peninsula, over the pond weed, underwater to the island, breaking the surface and then walking up and ashore. For the first time I noticed the tern are starting to lay eggs.

From a crab's low point of view, a lot of new activity with birds constantly flying and calling out must be a lure. This location should provide good material in a few more weeks as the crabs figure out that Tern Island has a new source of food! The crabs are about half the size of these small terns and a great natural history battle could unfold.

May 4, Sunday, Day 26: It was a tough start to my day since I was up most of the night with lightning and thunder. The storm probably lasted six hours and I caught over 20 gallons of water.

In the morning the sky was black, windy with overcast skies and rain. I donned my rain gear and shot some images with the waterproof splash camera but gave up after a bolt of lighting hit close by. Earlier in the A.M., I moved my copper drainage floors that had worked so well near my tent away from my tent; because I worried they may conduct electricity. Better to be safe then fried.

It was fun taping last night with the full flash of lightning along the horizon and also seeing the outlines of the booby.

Late morning, and it still is windy and rainy. I took the camera into the palm grove to shoot parent and red-footed booby chick.

I called Maya and we discussed the goings on. She wants drama; our last few conversations she asked for natural history. I wanted to go over to Tern Island but it was just too stormy and the material I shot previously would not match.

After dinner I walked the lagoon with my flashlight and saw at least ten rats. When I came back to camp to review video footage, a rat had eaten soap inside the garage and pooped all over the place. He then came back inside while I was inside the tent! I thought he came through a small opening in the zipper door but I found a hole in the tent floor that had been gnawed through. I need to fix that hole.

Continued on Next Page >>



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