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Fancy last won the day on April 15

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    : British Columbia
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    Birding, photography, nature, insects, swimming, track and field

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  1. Violet-green Swallow in the rain yesterday. Violet-green Swallow by Bridget Spencer, on Flickr
  2. 1-2. Yes. 3. A leaf warbler of some kind… notoriously difficult to ID, unfortunately. 4. Looks good. 5. I believe Himalayan and White-cheeked are different names for the same species, and yes, it does look like one. 6-7. I'd say your guesses look good. 8-9. Hard to tell from the second pic, but the first one looks like a Red Crossbill. 10. Rufous Sibia 11. Striated Bulbul 12. Oriental Magpie Robin 13. Red-billed Leiothrix 14. Stripe-throated Yuhina I've never birded anywhere in Asia before, so I definitely could be wrong here, but these are my best guesses. Nice collection!
  3. ID Help - Vireo?

    Welcome to Whatbird! You're likely having trouble looking through the vireos as this isn't a vireo at all - it's a female Bushtit.
  4. Australia!

    After we returned home, we snacked a bit before the rest of the family went back into town for some shopping while I wandered around Noosa National Park for an hour. This time, I took a much more productive trail for birding. Shortly after the trailhead, the forest thinned a little and a number of birds were feeding on the forest floor. I quickly found another Little Shrikethrush, a Rufous Fantail, Eastern Yellow Robin, Spectacled Monarch, Golden Whistler, and White-browed Scrubwren. Many of these we had seen on Fraser Island, but I got much better looks here. Little Shrikethrush Golden Whistler Large-billed Scrubwren Continuing on, more Eastern Yellow Robins, Spectacled Monarchs, and Spangled Drongos appeared. Spectacled Monarch I came across another area of activity, happy to find a group of Variegated Fairywrens! The females were very curious and accommodating, but the males were unfortunately shyer. A Varied Triller also moved through the area briefly, and I got my best looks at an Eastern Yellow Robin. Shortly after that, I came across more Variegated Fairywrens, another Rufous Fantail and Large-billed Scrubwren, and a Brown Thornbill. Across the path a female Rufous Whistler watched from a low branch. Variegated Fairywren Why couldn't the males be as friendly as the females??? Eastern Yellow Robin Rufous Fantail - wish I was a little lower so the leaf wasn't covering its head. Brown Thornbill Varied Triller By now the rest of my family had finished their shopping, so I headed back, stopping briefly for another Large-billed Scrubwren and Spectacled Monarch. I definitely could have spent more time here though, and wished I had found out about this trail earlier. After being picked up, we returned to the house, where I had promised my sister I would go swimming. The waves were super rough and with all the previous jellyfish sightings I had been reluctant to, but she convinced me. We went with our dad and it was a lot of fun playing in the waves, even with the rough conditions. After getting tired out by the saltwater, we got out and went to dinner.
  5. Australia!

    Day 12: This morning we left the house at 8:25, as we had plans to meet the koala people and see if they would be able to catch the koala to get him treated. He was in a few trees over but still in the general area, and the volunteers agreed that they should try to catch him for treatment. Hard to believe they don't fall out of the trees. They're surprisingly agile though! We actually found out that they did catch him just a few days ago, which is good news as his treatment will begin. I'm not sure if this link will work, as I don't use Facebook, but here's some photos from the koala Facebook group of his rescue: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=2074670002790688&id=1518226821768345 We also showed them the second koala, but they confirmed that he was healthy, and bigger than the last time they had seen him, so that was good. The koalas have been declining drastically in this part of Australia, mostly due to diseases, which is why it's important to get them treated as soon as possible before they spread them to others. As we were watching the koalas, a group of Laughing Kookaburras began laughing deep in the forest, and then all flew across the parking lot and into some other trees. I followed them over to see if I could get better photos or a recording, and watched as they fed on a termite mound. After they left, I scanned some of the trees and noticed a funny branch close to the ground. Jokingly thinking to myself that it could be a frogmouth, I lifted the camera and took a photo. Looking through the camera, I realized it did appear to have feathers… and holy crap it was indeed a Tawny Frogmouth! I had really, really been hoping to see one of these, but didn't think I would be able to due to their nocturnal behaviours and camouflage. I still can't believe the luck involved in actually finding this one, as it was completely still and I just wandered over there to follow the kookaburras. It was pretty close to the ground (about 7ft up), offering great looks. I showed my parents and sister, and they also thought that it was very cool. Habitat shot, with the frogmouth somewhat close to the centre. I photographed it for quite a while, somewhat in disbelief, before wandering down a different trail. Shortly I came across a bird flycatching from the trees, and after it perched in the open I realized it was a Leaden Flycatcher. As I walked back up it began to rain, so we returned to the car and soon headed out. We went to a wildlife reserve/bird blind at my request, and fortunately the rain stopped. Soon after stepping out of the car, I spotted a family of Comb-crested Jacanas, Eurasian Coots, Dusky Moorhens, Welcome Swallows, and across the lake was a group of Magpie Geese. The Magpie Geese were pretty cool to see, but unfortunately were on the other side of the lake, not allowing good photos. Comb-crested Jacana adult and chick. I'm pretty sure these guys were actually my 900th life bird. We headed down a path to a different part of the lake, finding a couple small frogs, a Bar-shouldered Dove, Cattle Egrets, a Great Cormorant, Australasian Darters, and an Australasian Grebe. Great Cormorant At the blind, there were more darters, a Little Pied Cormorant, coots, moorhens, swamphens, and 7 Black Swans. We watched the swans for a while, avoiding the large spiders in the blind, before heading back. Black Swan! A male Mistletoebird fed in the branches along the trail as it began to rain lightly again. I scanned across the lake for a little longer, finding Rainbow Lorikeets, a Pacific Black Duck, another Australasian Grebe, and watching the Magpie Geese for a bit longer before we left. Along the road back to the highway were Australian Magpies, Noisy Miners, and a Little Shrikethrush. Upside-down Mistletoebird
  6. Is it a sandpiper of some kind?

    Nice bird! Was this at Robert Lake?
  7. Australia!

    The hike was about 5km and took over an hour due to the steepness and inclines in some areas. Unfortunately, we couldn't find any koalas, but did get better looks at a Spangled Drongo, and saw a number of Brown and Lewin's Honeyeaters, Ospreys, a flyover White-bellied Sea-Eagle, and a Black-faced Cuckooshrike. Brown Honeyeater Spangled Drongo One of the way too many orb-weavers Some kind of skink? Saw a number of unidentified lizards on the walks. We met our parents back in town for lunch and returned to the house. Still hoping to find a wild koala, we searched a bit online and found a nearby spot that seemed reliable so we headed off to try. Sure enough, soon after walking across the parking lot, we found one! He was sleeping at first, but then became more active and hopped around some branches and began eating. My dad soon spotted a second individual, closer to the ground, but he slept the whole time. The only birds around were some Torresian Crows, a Pied Currawong, and an Australasian Brushturkey. I love the ears! Once back home, we reported the koalas to the site where we had gotten information about the location, as they closely monitor the individuals and capture them in case of illness. We found out that the first koala is an unnamed male and does have a disease and will need to be treated, and the second koala fortunately seems healthy and is named Teodoro. We returned to the house and spent some time by the beach, watching people get tumbled around by the waves as it got dark.
  8. Australia!

    Day 11: This morning we headed back to where we had seen the kangaroos yesterday. On the way we passed by the field where the spoonbill had been, and I got a better look at it this time, confirming that it was indeed a Royal Spoonbill! Nice. We made it to the golf course where I had seen the kangaroos from air yesterday, and seeing that there weren't many golfers, my sister and I ran on. We passed by some Australasian Swamphens and Dusky Moorhens, and came to a lake with two more Royal Spoonbills, some White-eyed Ducks, and a few Eurasian Coots! There were also Pacific Black Ducks, Magpie-larks, Little Pied Cormorants, Maned Ducks, a Black-faced Cuckooshrike, and more moorhens. We ran across the fairway, seeing a Spangled Drongo and Lewin's Honeyeater in some bushes. My sister had seen a drongo yesterday from the car, but I had missed it, so was happy to pick this up here. White-eyed Duck Royal Spoonbills and Eurasian Coot Finally, across the fairway, we spotted two kangaroos! Another was in the distance. We approached quickly, as some golfers were coming, and the kangaroos continued grazing on the grass. Eventually one of them started hopping away, so we headed back to the car as it started to rain. Super glad to get good looks at this awesome Australian species in the wild! After reviewing photos inside for a bit, my sister and I decided to go on a walk through Noosa National Park to look for koalas. On the way to the trailhead, we passed a White-breasted Woodswallow on a wire and a magpie eating a dead Crested Pigeon.
  9. Australia!

    Day 10: This morning the kookaburras from across the street woke up early and started cackling maniacally, waking us up literally just seconds before our alarm. We got up, had breakfast, and drove down to the Noosa airport. There, two Lewin's Honeyeaters foraged in a tree and a few Australasian Pipits ran around the runway. Taken through the plane window. We took a small plane to the largest sand island in the world, Fraser Island. Shortly after taking off, I noticed a few Eastern Grey Kangaroos feeding on a golf course below - my first wild ones! On the island, the runway was the beach, which was a little nerve-wracking. Here we picked up a 4-wd car and were given a map, before being let loose to drive around the island. We first headed to a lake 14km inland, but it took us over an hour to get there due to the conditions of the road. Deep ruts in some areas, and very sandy tracks throughout. Once at the lake's parking lot, we hopped out of the car and noticed a Lace Monitor right next to the lot. We waded into the lake a little and then I noticed two dark blobs a couple hundred meters down the shore. With a hinting suspicion, I ran down the beach and was happy to see two Musk Ducks preening near the shore. A bird I truthfully did not think I'd get. After exploring by the lake for a bit more, seeing another Lewin's Honeyeater and some Bar-shouldered Doves, we headed back to the beach. Backlit Lewin's Honeyeater On the way, we made multiple stops to listen for birds, seeing Eastern Yellow Robins, a Rufous Fantail, Golden Whistlers, Large-billed Scrubwrens, and a Brown Gerygone. The forest itself was very cool too: super tall trees, and with the lushness and thick vines we all agreed it looked very South American. I'll spare you the true awfulness of the shots of the other species, but here's the Brown Gerygone. I somehow managed to get the best shot of a Brown Gerygone out of all, which is fortunate as I would be seeing the rest in a couple days and getting better photos of them, but this would be the only gerygone. Back at the ocean, we quickly headed up the beach, allowed to drive along quite quickly. First time any of us had driven on a sandy beach before! Along the way, we saw Great Crested Terns and two Red-capped Plovers. We also saw a few more man-o-war jellies, but unfortunately no dingos. They have a population on the island, of which may have some of the purest individuals left, but we couldn't find any. Welcome Swallow We headed back to the "airport" (an area on the beach between two sets of cones) and returned to the mainland. Upon landing, we passed by a kangaroo and what looked suspiciously like a spoonbill. We agreed to drive back this way tomorrow to see if we could photograph the kangaroos and refind any spoonbills/waders. After dinner, I got my first "decent" photo of one of the Grey-headed Flying-foxes flying over. Missed part of the wing though.
  10. Australia!

    Day 9: This morning I went on a walk around the neighbourhood surrounding the house. I found some more Little Wattlebirds, a Brown Honeyeater, Blue-faced Honeyeaters, a Spotted Dove, some Common Mynas, a Crested Pigeon, and more magpies, currawongs, and lorikeets. At a park down the street, I came across three Grey Butcherbirds, including a male eating a lizard. It was quite humid out, so I returned to the house for breakfast. After having breakfast, we headed out in hopes of exploring Noosa National Park. However, we didn't anticipate it being as busy as it was, and the parking lots and nearby streets were all completely full, so we headed out. Instead, my dad and I wandered around a different park while my sister and mom went shopping. At the other park, we saw more Australasian Figbirds, a White-faced Heron, Noisy Friarbirds, Little Wattlebirds, Great Crested Terns, Pied Cormorants, brushturkeys, Rainbow Lorikeets, Noisy Miners, and a large number of Common Terns. I also spotted three Sacred Kingfishers, improved looks at a Whistling Kite, and an Olive-backed Oriole nearby. After we picked up my sister and mom we headed to Noosaville for lunch, spotting a few Australian Pelicans on the way. From the restaurant a distant Pacific Heron flew over a river. After that, we returned to the house and I went on a walk. It was rather quiet out as it was midday by now, but I still managed the regular birds, another Brown Honeyeater, and a Brahminy Kite. Non-bird highlights included hundreds of tadpoles and tiny frogs in a creek by the beach and tons of Bluebottle "Jellyfish" (Portuguese Man-o-war) washing up on shore. Little Wattlebird Brown Honeyeater Willie-wagtail After resting inside for a bit, I went on another walk, not wanting to waste the afternoon. Along the beach, I looked more closely in some of the bluebottle groups and realized that there were also a number of Blue Glaucuses mixed in. These are endangered, pelagic nudibranches which feed on the Man-o-wars, and can give a nasty sting to humans. Pretty cool to see! Unfortunately, as they were washed up, they weren't in the nice shapes that you might find online. Back to the birds, another Brahminy Kite flew over and more Little Wattlebirds were about. I followed a trail up from the beach and soon came across a pair of White-browed Scrubwrens and at least three Red-backed Fairywrens! I had seen eBird reports for the fairywrens in this habitat for the hotspot, and had hoped to find some of my own. When I returned to the house, I told my sister about the Blue Glaucuses and we were preparing to go look for them when we could suddenly hear a very loud noise outside. Looking out, we realized it had begun pouring rain. Absolutely pouring. We decided to stay inside, and although the downpour was brief, by the time it finished it was dusky out. We had dinner in, went out for ice cream, and I gave a halfhearted effort into finding a frogmouth outside the house once it was dark. No luck there, but two Laughing Kookaburras were cuddled up on a wire outside (they gave me a little hope for a frogmouth at first when I initially saw something sitting there).
  11. Australia!

    Day 8: Now that we're back on the mainland, the birding will pick up again. This morning, I headed out on a walk to a park near our Brisbane hotel. Very quickly came across some Australian Brushturkeys, Welcome Swallows, Australian White Ibises, Australasian Figbirds, and Pacific Black Ducks. Then, walking near a grassy lawn, I looked to my side and spotted a bunch of Bush Thick-Knees. 9, in total, plus 3 more in a nearby park. Very cool birds! Quite tall, but super cute. Overhead, more Welcome Swallows flew about, with Tree Martins mixed in. Down by a lake, I found more Pacific Black Ducks, Maned Ducks, Dusky Moorhens, Rainbow Lorikeets, a Magpie-lark, and Blue-faced Honeyeaters. Somehow all my Torresian Crow photos were taken in the worst lighting. Blue-faced Honeyeater Eastern Water Dragon I continued wandering around the park, finding much of the same, before heading back. My family then grabbed breakfast, picked up our rental car, and headed off. Before heading to our next destination, we stopped at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary at my sister's request. I wasn't complaining, as in the parking lot a few Scaly-breasted Lorikeets were feeding in the trees, and we also got to pet and feed emus and kangaroos. After that, we made the two hour drive up to Noosa. On the way, I picked up a White-bellied Sea-Eagle, a Whistling Kite, and Australasian Pelican. My sister also saw some wild Kangaroos but I missed them. White-bellied Sea-Eagle from out the car window. Once in Noosa, three Little Wattlebirds were chasing each other near the restaurant we chose for a late lunch. We made our way to the house we would be staying at, and I quickly noticed Crested Pigeons, Rainbow Lorikeets, Australasian Figbirds, and a good number of Noisy Friarbirds. I went on a short walk before it got dark, and found all of those mentioned above, plus Australian Magpies, a Pied Butcherbird, more Little Wattlebirds, and more Blue-faced Honeyeaters. Noisy Friarbird Little Wattlebird After it got dark, we went to a grocery store for snacks for the next few days, and in the parking lot a group of Laughing Kookaburras were huddled next to each other, sleeping on an exposed branch.
  12. Australia!

    Day 6: Today was quite similar to yesterday, with snorkelling, photographing noddies, and walking on the beach. One of the main differences is that when snorkelling we came across a group of 15 or so adult Black-tipped Reef Sharks feeding in the shallows. It was super cool to swim alongside them, with some a lot tamer than others. I actually touched the tail of one as it swam in front of me, while others would appear out of the cloudiness and turn away as soon as they saw me. Swimming with sharks was one of the goals of this portion of the trip, so we were super excited to be able to experience this! We also saw at least 7 or 8 large turtles in the water, including a few that were tagged on the flippers. As you can probably tell, I also love the noddies. That's why it's heartbreaking to see what's happening in the second photo. That bird just had too many seeds for us to take off. We didn't even try, as it would just cause the bird unnecessary stress. The Silver-eye are fun birds as well. The ones in Heron Island are of the Capricorn subspecies, the only subspecies of bird endemic to the Great Barrier Reef (to my knowledge). I saw one that was banded while on the island, almost certainly from the research station on the island. I noticed that, compared to the mainland birds, they had a lot less colour on the flanks. After dinner, we walked along the beach looking for baby turtles. We ended up finding 10 making their way to the beach, and a couple of Epaulette Sharks feeding in the shallows. My dad actually picked one up and brought it closer to shore where we could watch it in the very shallow water for a bit before it swam further out and disappeared in the blackness. Day 7: This morning we went snorkelling before breakfast, getting stung by some small jellyfish, and then I went on a walk after breakfast. It got quite warm though, and I didn't see anything too unusual. However, I did stop at a shearwater burrow and got improved photos of a baby muppet, and photographed some terns by the water. Begging Great Crested Tern. The little thing would not shut up. Black-naped Tern We soon left Heron Island and headed back to Gladstone, saying farewell to the hundreds of noddies. At the airport, I spotted an Australian Kestrel before boarding the plane and heading to Brisbane for the night.
  13. Australia!

    As the island is pretty small, and it was quite windy while we were there due to Tropical Cyclone Nora in northern Queensland, I didn't pick up many other new species in the next two days, so the write-ups for them are shorter and consist of fewer species. Day 5: This morning it was sunny out, and my sister and I had promised to head out as early as possible (6am) to look for baby turtle "eruptions". We had no luck finding baby turtles, but we did see an adult turtle, more of the same terns and shorebirds, more Brown Boobies, more Silver-eye, and an awkward baby Pacific Reef-Heron pestering its parent. After breakfast, my sister and I went snorkelling again. This time we saw a lot more, including a young Eagle Ray, three Cowtail Rays, four Pink Whiprays, two turtles, a moray eel, and some more baby Black-tipped Reef Sharks. After getting out, I went on another walk hoping for some more songbird/forest species. No luck there, but did save another noddy from the pisonia seeds. We had read that we could actually get fined for doing this, but as I was quite a ways from other people and the bird was only stuck with one branch, I decided to try. However, some subsequent research showed that some seabird populations are actually being harmed more than previously thought by the trees, and the percentage of nesting seabirds being killed is higher. So I'm quite happy that we did save a few of the noddies, even if they aren't a species being significantly impacted. Apologies in advance for filming vertically - I wasn't thinking. The remainder of the day consisted of walking along the beach, snorkelling, and photographing other marine life. The only other bird of note was a flyover White-bellied Sea-Eagle. [ Me with a Cowtail Stingray:
  14. Australia!

    Day 4: This morning, we woke up to pouring rain and wind. My sister and I still decided to go on a walk, and as soon as we opened our door a noddy flew down from the ceiling over the porch and crashed into a wall. I was able to pick it up and then brought it down the stair and it flew out of my hand and into a tree. Continuing on, we noticed some more noddies on the ground. We had been told that we would likely see grounded noddies covered in sticky pisonia seeds, but to let them be as it's a mechanism from the tree to disperse seeds and provide nutrients, and it's a natural process. As the noddies nest in the pisonia trees, it does benefit them in the long run. Still, we came across two noddies that only had seeds in their tails, not covering their wings and backs, and decided that we could save them. I was able to pull off the majority of the seeds, and then walked them down to the beach where I let go and they flew off. After that, we walked over to the dock where a Sacred Kingfisher flushed. Overlooking the dock, a stingray swam through the water. By now, it was pouring even more than earlier, and after waiting undercover for a bit we made a break for it back to our room. Once we reached our room, we collected our parents and headed to the restaurant for breakfast. Miraculously the sun came out as we were eating, so we finished quickly and headed back out. On the beach, Black-naped Terns and a Pied Oystercatcher were by the waves, and two Black-tipped Reef Sharks cruised by, over a number of Shovel-nosed Rays. A large Lemon Shark also thrashed in the water which was very cool. Soon, it was darkening again and we could tell another storm was upon us. We began to sprint down the beach in the rain, only stopping to photograph some Grey-tailed Tattlers, a flyover Little Tern, and a nice Lesser Sand-Plover. After waiting undercover and doing some mad dashes through the rain, we made it back to our room. We cleaned up and dried off in the room for a bit, before deciding to go snorkelling once the rain stopped. We didn't see too much of interest, but did find a bunch more Reef Sharks and could see a couple of Lesser Crested Terns. We returned to our room again and then decided to go on a walk as a family. On the way we saw another Wedge-tailed Shearwater chick and a bunch of baby Buff-banded Rails. As we made our way to the beach, we noticed a Silver Gull on a roof with something in its bill. Recognizing the flippers, we realized that it was a baby sea turtle… my sister was prepared to climb on the roof to grab it, but it was too high and we definitely would not be allowed to be climbing on other peoples' roofs to "harass" wildlife. Quite sad to see. At the dock, we saw two large turtles and Spotted Eagle-Rays leaping out of the water. Super strange to see the rays propel themselves out of the water, slapping the surface as they land. Suddenly it began to pour again so we took cover under by the dock, watching a Brown Booby in the distance and hoping to wait out the rain. After a little, our dad spotted a Silver Gull fly over with another baby turtle in its bill. As we could see where it landed, we raced after it, and scooped it up from where it had been dropped. So. Adorable. We carried it over to the beach and covered it from the gulls as it travelled to the water and then entered in, swimming into the distance. After more waiting for the rain to stop, we decided to head back quickly, but we spotted another turtle being preyed upon by the gulls so we picked it up as well and also brought it to the beach. It took a lot longer to make it to the water and once in the water, was weaker than the first, but it still swam a ways out and we are hopeful that both survived. After having lunch, I went on another walk on the opposite side of the island. I spotted a number of Little Terns, a Lesser Crested Tern, Lesser Sand-Plovers and Ruddy Turnstones. Continuing down the beach, a Bridled Tern flew over and landed on a snag next to a noddy. It soon started to rain again so I turned around and began running down the beach once again, not wanting to get my camera too wet. By the time I had reached back to the buildings it had stopped, so I wandered into the national park a little, only seeing more rails, noddies, and reef-herons. Little Terns and Lesser Sand-Plovers Lesser Crested Tern Lesser Sand-Plovers Young Buff-banded Rail Returning to our room, we decided to walk around the island with our dad, in just our bathing suits in case it began to rain. It started pouring pretty quickly, and we were absolutely soaked by the end. However, midway throughout, we spotted another gull with a turtle so we raced over and brought it to a sandier part of the beach and watched as it made its way down and into the water, and then swam further out. We didn't see much more of interest, but back by our room I decided to film some of the noddies and stitched together a short video. Eventually it was dark again and we went to dinner. After dinner, I got improved photos of the Wedge-tailed Shearwaters sitting on the path.
  15. Australia!

    Finally, finally we could see the island, and then I began noticing the birds. Flocks of Black Noddies swarmed the boat and Wedge-tailed Shearwaters soared alongside in small groups. A Brown Booby, a long overdue lifer for me, also passed by my window as a dolphin breached underneath. As we pulled into the dock, Pacific Reef-Herons littered the exposed rocks, and after disembarking from the boat, Buff-banded Rails were everywhere, scurrying along the paths, and a single Bar-shouldered Dove was feeding in the grass. My sister and I quickly made our ways up to our room, passing under hundreds of noddies and their nests. Probably my new favourite bird. We went on a short walk along the beach, photographing the common species and watching the noddies as they made their ways to the nests for the night. Noddies… noddies everywhere. Buff-banded Rail Pacific Reef-Heron We headed back for dinner, and after leaving dinner we could hear the haunting call of a Wedge-tailed Shearwater next to the path. We shone our flashlight and could just see the bill peeping out from a burrow. Something moved in the leaves behind it, so we moved the flashlight to see a large bug crawling away. When we moved the flashlight back to the burrow, two shearwaters were out and sitting next to it! Another was a short distance behind too. We quickly headed back to grab my camera, meaning to head back to the restaurant to photograph those individuals, when one ran right across the path in front of our room. I grabbed the camera and followed that individual to a burrow, where 6 or so more were on the ground around each other. Super cool to see these pelagic species sitting around on the ground, and I looked forward to spending more time with them in the next nights.