I was asked how many albatrosses I had seen so far so I checked my data. I was surprised to find that as of today I have already seen 29. Of those, 28 have nested in previous years. The one who has not, unfortunately, is unbanded. I checked last year’s data and found observations of one banded bird in that area who had an unbanded partner that he was spending time with in the quiet contact typical of nesting couples. If they nest I hope we can get a band put on this mystery bird.
One of the golf course nesters may have been chased off by nenes. Many albatrosses are intimidated by these Hawaiian geese, who can be quite aggressive during their nesting season. Sometimes the nenes chase albatrosses coming in for a landing at Albatross Hill at the Kilauea Lighthouse. About six years ago we had an albatross chick in our neighborhood that turned the tables on the nenes. Papaya was at a safe fledging spot but was in no hurry to leave. A few nenes landed near him and started to chase him. Did he run away? Check it out:
Papaya came back to Princeville last season at the age of five. He made his first appearance on the golf course, where I saw him trying to stand up on his wobbly legs and not having much luck. The next day he was back in the neighborhood where his nest had been, displaying with a four year old named Dixie.
I’ll be happy to see him again this season.