Planning on a tour today...Raining in buckets at the moment and the sun's shining...What about Versailles?


This is our favorite chick, now named "Joy" who usually sits facing the wall.  She was practicing clacking when we stopped by last week, although we were at least 15 feet from her.  On this particular day, she wasn't facing the wall, as she often does, as did her parents.  Yesterday, she was gone from the nest and we were worried contacting Cathy for an update.
When we lived in South Africa having the time of our lives albeit with bugs, snakes and more, our dear friend Okee Dokee told us of an Afrikaans expression commonly used when it rains when the sun is shining, a so called "sun shower."

Could this chick be any cuter?
Although we've been able to memorize various words and even sentences in other languages, for some odd reason, I can't seem to recall that expression.  It makes us laugh when it slips my mind time and again and, it really makes Okee Dokee laugh when I email her and ask for it one more time.  When the three of us were together continually laughed, often to the point of tears, over the silliest things.
Here's a video we made of a chick swallowing the food his parent had fed him,
regurgitated from a recent trip out to sea, often not returning for
days at which point the chicks are very hungry.
 I'd saved that expression on my computer last December but, it died and the expression died along with it.  So, this morning I wrote to Okee Dokee, for the zillionth time, asking for it one more time.  Ah, here it is:  "Jakkals trou met wolf se vrou," meaning the "the fox marries the wolf's wife" or in other words, its raining and the sun is shining. Thanks, Okee Dokee.  We love you!



Its hard to believe that these fluffy balls will eventually grow into the beautiful pristine white and grey feathers of the adults.
Anyway, we're scheduled for a five star rated tour today at 1:30, hoping to take many photos to share for days to come.  With the rain pelting like we've never seen in Kauai, we may have to reschedule for Thursday, our next option for this tour.

Neither of us mind getting wet. After all, we stood outside at Versailles in France (link to our Versailles post, Part 1) last summer in the pouring rain for 90 minutes, with no umbrella, getting soaked to the gills, with nary a peep of complaint from either of us.  Its the camera and equipment we want to protect.

A Brown Gecko is hanging out in this plant with sharp thorns, a safe hiding spot for sure.
We'll wait and see how it goes.  As I sit here writing now, we have three hours until we have to walk out the door.  In Kauai, the weather can change on a dime.  In a few hours, the sky could become totally clear without a cloud in sight.

Yesterday afternoon, we stopped by the neighborhood to see the albatross chicks and parents to find that things have begun to change. Chicks and parents have begun to move about.  It appeared that the parents who's eggs never hatched were long gone. 

There are many beautiful plants and shrubs growing in the neighborhood where the albatross nest.  The homes are exquisite and meticulously maintained.
Many of our chick photos have been of one in particular who's parents always sat on the nest facing the wall of a house with their back to us. 

When the chick was born in early February, soon growing too large to sit under the parent, it too, began facing the wall.  How sweet that the chick followed the pattern of the parents.  Each time we've stopped by, at least twice per week, the chick was facing the wall, growing fatter each day.

Chickens and roosters wander about the neighborhood, cohabitating well with the Laysan Albatross.
Yesterday, we were shocked to find that chick was gone.  We looked everywhere and couldn't find it.  "Oh no," we thought, "Did something happen to it?"

Immediately upon returning home, we wrote to Cathy, docent and caregiver to the Laysan Albatross in the neighborhood, making notes on their health, activity, growth and well being on two hour walks, twice a day.  We thought if anyone knew what had happened to the chick, it would be Cathy.

This peculiar tree is growing in the neighborhood of the albatross.
This morning when I turned on my laptop, I spotted a message from her that warmed our hearts.  We both sighed in relief reading her message.

Here's what Cathy wrote in her words about the missing chick and more:

"After spending most of his days at or next to his nest, he is suddenly moving around.  He is often around the corner now.  This afternoon he was back near his nest, trying out his wings.  I was wondering when he would leave the security of his nest.  You probably noticed that the one at the house catty-corner has moved closer to the street.  I have a big orange traffic cone that I often have to put in front of chicks when they venture too close to the street, and the Princeville Patrol officers carry cones in their car for the same reason.  The main street worries me a bit because the trucks working at the house at the end sometimes drive too fast.  The chicks do get to a point where they venture out into the street and sometimes have to be coaxed back to safety. This is officially known as “hazing” an albatross, when you walk slowly towards them so they walk away from you and from a dangerous situation.  

By the way, when you see adults with a chick at this time of year, you can’t assume it’s the parents.  The chick you are talking about had several visitors one day last week.  Mom just happened to arrive then, and she snapped at all of them until they left!
Cathy
 
P.S.We don’t know the sexes of the chicks, but the owners of the house where the chick you asked about lives have named him/her Joy."
 
I wrote back to Cathy thanking her for putting our minds at ease.  Although we've never been closer than 15 feet from the albatross, in a funny way, we've become attached to them.  We'll be long gone when the parents finally leave the chick who'll eventually fledge out to sea to begin his/her own life. 

The chicks began preening themselves at an early age.
Most likely, this event occurs in a matter of minutes and the likelihood of ever seeing the chicks fledge would require an around the clock vigil, not at all practical. 
 
Please bear with us on our frequent mention of the albatross.  Living so close to the albatross families has been comparable for us, to when we were living in Marloth Park, a game reserve with wildlife at our doorstep for a full three months.  Yes, I know, I became particularly attached to the warthogs and warthog babies and, I realize, I must have bored our readers to no end with my frequent mention and photos.

Here's another vocal chick.  Now that they are less fearful, they've begun practicing typical adult behavior in preparation for days to come.
Here again, you are stuck with my passion for wildlife of any kind and honestly Tom doesn't fall far behind.  Yesterday, his brow was frowned, as he drove around and around the neighborhood looking for the chick.  This morning, he smiled from ear to ear as I read Cathy's message aloud.

As the chicks have grown they appear to be spending more time alert and awake perusing their surroundings.  of course, now as Cathy stated, they've begun to wander away from the nest, occasionally being "hazed" by humans to stay away from the road and oncoming traffic.
We continually confirm in our hearts and minds that our love of nature is the basis of our travels which includes wildlife, vegetation and scenery.  As for old buildings and places like Versailles, they must hold some interest for us or we wouldn't have stood in the rain last August, soaked through and through, touring the beautiful gardens.  Then again, it was a garden.  We love those. 
 
More to come.
_____________________________________
 
Photo from one year ago today, April 7, 2014:
 
In our post one year ago, we discussed the difference between safety measures in other countries as opposed to those in the US, Europe and other countries.  For details from that post, please click here.

2 comments:

Zellie Odendaal said...

Love you guys. And sharing in all the happiness those albatross chicks are bringing to your hearts. Alltheloveinmyhearty O

Jessica said...

Okee Dokee, we love you too and miss you terribly. Staying in touch with you has been wonderful for both of us. Enjoy your precious Lettie as we enjoy the albatross chicks. Hopefully, someday we'll return to Marloth Park and be together with you and all of our animal friends once again.

Much love,
Jess & Tom

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