Its all very well taking photos of beautiful landscapes with blue skies and wonderful black and white penguins with fluffy chicks but this doesn’t really show the reality of living on a tiny island with thousands of birds and animals. The paths out of base are in reality a litter of sharp rocks interspersed with moss banks and patches of old snow. On the rare cold, dry days the air is crisp and the ground hard though more often you’re squelching through penguin guano in the sleat with the smell of the colony getting stronger as you approach. So with that in mind heres a collection of the less lovely side of getting to live with these animals day in and day out. Fairly standard look for a Chinstrap penguin. Probably off to wonder aimlessly around or steal rocks from another birds nestAdelie chicks are not lovely and fluffy – usually they are rather bedraggled looking and covered in each others poo.
The best mullet I’ve seen in a while. Many of the Adelie chicks are getting close to fledging.
Chinstrap penguin creating Art. Land of life and death. Two skuas pulling apart a chinstrap chick. Tim and a Skua eyeing each other up. It can be hard to spot the Skua nests but you know when you’re getting close as they start to dive on you.
Skua nest with chick. Skuas are fairly brutal in their persecution of the penguins but they remain one of my favourite birds reminding me a lot of the Ravens you see in the mountains.
Lovely day to be a penguin. We walk down to the Gourlay peninsular every two days to count the Adelie and Chinstrap chicks and eggs. Some days are nicer than others!
Lovely day to to be a BAS employee. As well as counting the eggs and chicks every two days, Tim and I diet sample six penguins every four to five days. The pinky orange stream flowing down the slope is penguin guano from the few thousand birds in the colony above us as we wait for some volunteers to come ashore to diet sample.
Prawns tonight anyone? We aren’t meant to share anything about the diet sampling – its not a particularly pleasant process but currently the only way to record how penguins diets are changing as the world changes around them. The penguins mainly eat Krill – this is a sample from one bird.
Antarctic Tern on a blue sky day. Along with the Skuas these are another of my favourite birds though they are really hard to photograph especially when its cloudy. Along with these super fast fliers are the Prions and the Wilsons Storm Petrels which all love zipping around base in the evening. Hopefully more photos of these soon.