Sunday, May 25, 2008
Not much news to report at the station this week, other than the cloud layer appears to be thicker than remembered. The temperature hovers around freezing, which along with the added moisture, perfects the falling of a wet snow. Our gentle Gentoos are out there--somewhere where the ice is not slow or thick, but where krill and other abundant, small crustaceans spend their winters as well. They gain weight and prepare themselves for September, when it will be time to lay the eggs and raise the young.
Let us now continue with the adventure set before us two weeks ago, when a Gentoo chick was stolen from its parents' nest. The greedy skua took the chick to the other side of the rise, but an albatross stood to take the chick away from the original thief.
The skua appears frustrated, as the albatross tosses our little waif to and fro. But look! Out of right side of the third shot in panel #6, what is that? Why, it's a Gentoo and he/she's not too happy about seeing one of her kind as lunch.
The shoulders' hunch, the gait is stiff, and the head is low. One thing you don't want to see in any penguin is this stance. The penguin who shows these bodily signs is out to make their normal bite likened to a pair of needlenose pliers with strong torque into the jaws of a great white shark. Notice how the Gentoo immediately bites the albatross on the wing...
What happens next in this face off of 2 to 1 for the hapless chick? Stay tuned next week for the final battle. : 0
Posted by wiinterrr at 2:04 PM
Thursday, May 22, 2008
It's been a week and this penguin has had her flippers full, but with our eyes on a rapidly iced continent, we know that our new friends have left for better waters--less of a slurry of ice and bergy bits. I wish them well in their journey and that they would hurry back in late September.
Now, we turn our attention to the drama that began to unfold last week. The poor Gentoo chick has been lifted up and carried aloft towards the bad skua's nest. This week, two more panels are presented for your viewing. The situation does not bode well for our chick. In fact, it's a toenail biter, if I could reach my toenails. Penguins aren't designed for that, I'm afraid.
On with the storyboard and until next week, when I will show more of the predicament of the chick, I say, Ahay from Antarctica,
Posted by wiinterrr at 10:47 PM
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
It seems so empty now--this place that was full of life mere weeks ago. Now, snow drifts are so deep that they would bury our little Gentoos. I believe that the seasonal people of South Georgia Island have locked shop and moved on. From what I understand, there is no permanent colony established on the island. All I can see now is snow and a thin ribbon of water between land and mountain.
I received a nice email from National Geographic this week, and although they do not normally sponsor cams
But in the meantime, as promised, we will get to know more penguins and perhaps learn more about their biology. This week, I'm going to peek into the Gentoo lifestyle as much as possible; the Gentoos should take a few weeks for us to know better... and in the interim, I wish to present a day in the life of a Gentoo Penguin--a pictorial I found on a travel blog. First,I want to thank the folks who took these pictures and for staying with the same penguins for what must've seemed like ages until the drama played itself out.
Next, we begin the day that a mighty battle was fought over ownership of a chick.
The battle began with a hungry skua whose intentions were not compatible with those of the parent Gentoo. The skua wanted to draw the parent away from the chicks and by doing so, to also create havoc in the nest. Sure enough, a chick wanders away from the nest. As the chick returns to the nest, another skua arrives to work in tandem in order to procure the tender chick for their next meal.
Two skuas caused twice as much pandemonium, but not enough to separate the chicks from their parents. A desperate skua tugged at a chick in the nest while the parent was screaming at the two skuas....
And after the tag team's efforts, one of the skuas made a clean get-a-way with one of the healthy chicks.
Will the chick survive? Will a parent come to the rescue? What will happen next?
Stay tuned... more next week....
Ahay from Antarctica,
Posted by wiinterrr at 12:42 PM
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Of course, this day would come--when the last of the Gentoos would leave for other areas. The chicks are learning how to be penguins and the older ones are enjoying the freedom of eating without having to feed others. It is a time of feasting and growth.
But for us, it is a time of sadness. We so look forward to September, when once more, they will meet at Gars O'Higgins to raise their chicks.
In the meantime, I will provide pictures of the station so that we can see how winter treats the empty rookery. Even as I write, there is a nasty storm brewing. It will be very interesting monitoring weather conditions there.
But also, I will provide more information on other penguins so that throughout the year, there will always be penguins on your minds and my own.
First the pictures....
The sleeping mountain at night--see the stars?
And finally... a wallpaper for you of little blues... more to come on them later, as their nesting time approaches. (Click on any links and and you'll get the largest size image created).
For more information on the Little Blues:
Most importantly---want to help save these little guys?
Visit these nice folks and adopt a penguin. I did. It's an awesome feeling... :) Here is the link to a wonderful, new friendship...
Psst! Want to know which seafood to eat to help save penguin lives?
Until next time, Ahay from Antarctica
Posted by wiinterrr at 12:39 PM