Monday, January 26, 2015


2015 Inauguration of Joey P (JP) San Nicolas

This seems to have taken me ages but finally I can bring you some pictures of the Mayor’s Inauguration. This is a bit of a departure from the hike and nature theme of this blog but is an event of interest.  You can click on the pictures  to enlarge them for your viewing.



For weeks in advance there was sprucing-up of the designated site.  Palms got trimmed to prevent any possible injuries from falling coconuts.

And the Kammer Beach Pavilion got a new coat of paint.


However the weather was not cooperative and the site had to be changed to the Tinian Dynasty Ballroom.  Alas the weather also prevented the Governor and other off island dignitaries and friends from attending the inauguration.

It started off at the Church, with the Red (Inaugural) Mass.



  And of course some (heaps of) picture taking both at the church and at a VIP reception at the Dynasty.


Then onward to the main event. JP and those dignitaries  who rated being on the stage were escorted  down the red carpet, to their seats,  between rows of JROTC members forming an arch of raised swords.

Posting of Colors was performed by Tinian JROTC.


The National and CNMI Anthems were led by Julian Hoffschneider and Raegina Castro.


The Invocation was done by Rev James Howard.  Welcoming remarks were made by Senator Francisco Borja – himself a former Mayor of Tinian.


The Oath of Office was administered by Chief Justice Castro, first to JP San Nicloas then to the new Council Members.  


Then came the speeches by various dignitaries   


and finally JP’s Inaugural address. 


Closing remarks were made by JP’s former teacher and favorite mentor, Joseph Connolly. Then the Benediction was given by Fr Jesse Reyes.



  Then of course it was time for more photos with dignitaries, both CNMI and foreign,



A huge banquet jointly prepared by family, friends and the Dynasty was enjoyed  


By everyone including family, friends, and visitors.  


It was followed by hours of celebrations by everyone – long after my camera and I departed. 








Friday, January 2, 2015

2015 - New Year's Day

The Year 2015 began very Birdy-ful!
I wasn't even out the door when I heard Mariana Fruit Doves. And before I got to the street I heard the White-throated Ground Doves. I didn't see either then.

I did see 3 Pacific Golden Plovers in the lower field - though I've about given up on them ever coming down to 'my' end of the field as they did in other years. Well, new year - new hope - huh? Their breeding plumage is only seen here in April just before they migrate to their summer home.

At the stairs to the beach I again heard the call of the White-throated Ground Dove. While searching for the tree I thought it came from I spotted a Mariana Fruit Dove, then another. Though they moved around a bit they soon settled side by side and pretty much ignored me. They were in so much shadow I hadn't much hope for the pics I took but some are pretty fixable! My enhancement program does do a pretty good job at lightening up photos - if I just stumble on just the right commands!

Mariana Fruit Doves

When they flew over to another tree I followed and nearly got attacked by some Micronesian Starlings. A pair of them seemed to fall right out of the tree just above my head. Then they swooped and flew just over my head scolding me loudly. They were joined by several others. They all kept moving from branch to branch screeching at me and I feared they were trying to 'poop-bomb' me. I just kept moving so as not be right under them - trying NOT to get 'tagged'!

When they calmed down I caught a brief glimpse of White-throated Ground Dove Apaka but not his mate. And before I left there I also caught a couple of glimpses of Egigis (Micronesian Honeyeaters).

I guess it won't surprise you to read that I decided to also come home by those trees but  there wasn’t anything remarkable there on the return trip.

At the bandstand I saw White-throated Ground Doves again - both the Apaka(m) and the Fachi(f) but never at the same time. I also heard Mariana Fruit Doves. Both these dove species cover wide areas so they could have been the same ones or different. I got no pictures then but here are some older ones clearly showing the white throat/chest of the male - (apaka=white in Chamorro)

 White-throated Ground Doves

I guess the Kingfishers didn't want to get left out as I saw a young one fly the length of the Fiesta Grounds a few times to swoop down near the Sparrows trying to terrorize them - though this is getting so common for the Sparrows they scatter then rapidly recover.
And as usual the Eurasian Tree Sparrows were gathered, waiting for their treat and would rapidly return to it after each Kingfisher swoop.
 Eurasian Tree Sparrows

 Terns and Starlings are always abundant everywhere. They are a given any time I go out and thus often don't get mentioned in my posts. But today a young tern gets top billing. It obviously was pretty new at this 'flying' stuff and fluttering and flapping as it lost altitude, it landed in the road. I was able to get rather close and got several close-up shots while it kept a close eye on me. Eventually it had had enough of the photo shoot and fluttered and struggled to get airborne again. It finally succeeded - landing on one of the roofs which afforded it much more distance from 'the human with the long nosed black box'!

White Fairy Tern
Going home held its delights. A pair of Egigis (Micronesian Honey Eaters) landed on a palm frond rather close to me. I thought it likely they were a mating pair but in my pictures they look more like two males. I'm beginning to wonder if the females are not always so much duller and drab as I've read. I couldn’t get good pictures but here are some earlier ones of the very vibrant male and the much more drab female.

Opposite the Plover field there is a tree where a Micronesian Starling (Sali) family was camped out. The little one would flutter or hop from branch to branch while the parents kept a watchful eye. I now suspect that may have been why the earlier bunch were upset with me. I was just unknowingly too close to a new fledge. Salis are readily distinguished from other black birds by their yellow eyes. Adults are otherwise totally black while young Salis have a sort of striped front.

Sali family

A couple of young Kingfishers were squabbling on the overhead wires while I was getting some shots of the Salis.

So if the first day of the year is an indicator of the year to come my 2015 may be a very birdy year indeed.