Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Image of the Day and it's a Beaut!

(click on image for wallpaper size)
(Image: Michael Lohmann/GDT)
THE sand is still whipping through the air as the penguins come into view.

The Gentoo penguins emerge from the haze, their red-orange beaks and peachy feet flaring against the dreary beach of Sea Lion Island in the Falklands. The birds are hurrying home after a long day feeding at sea.

Penguins usually conjure up images of snow blizzards or ice sheets, but not these ones. The Gentoo penguins set up house on sandy or shingle beaches, with good open access to the sea.

Adults spend nearly the whole day hunting. Their diet consists mainly of krill or fish and occasionally squid. And they certainly seem to be thriving in the Falklands as Gentoo numbers are on the rise while other species have declined. Awkward waddlers on land, these are the fastest birds underwater, swimming at speeds of up to 36 kilometres per hour.

"After a big sandstorm I was waiting near by the beach until afternoon when the penguins usually come back from their daily trip to the ocean to feed themselves," says photographer Michael Lohmann. He took this shot, Returning from the Hunt, after an assignment in the South Atlantic. The image bagged him the runner-up place in the bird category of the GDT Nature Photographer of the Year 2013 prize.

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