Thursday, June 21, 2012

South America and Antarctica 19 - More Paulet Island

As mentioned before, we were asked to keep a distance of at least 15 feet from the penguins. That turned out to be easier said than done with all those birds confined to such a small space.

Everywhere we looked were penguins.

Nesting spaces close to shore were obviously the most coveted.

You can see above that the overcrowding has forced many of the birds to nest all the way up the slopes of the local hillside--a long walk each day for the moms and dads to reach the ocean in order to feed.

Bob Burton, a zoologist, and the expedition's historian, takes in the activities of our outing.

A few Zodiac drivers were always in their boats in case the weather changed and they had to get us off the island in a hurry. Notice the one, seemingly empty, Zodiac on the right of the picture. That boat and the one next to it have emergency tents and food, in case we get stranded on the island over night.

Some of the penguins were even nesting on the steep hillside to the left.

For some reason, this part of the beach wasn't has heavily nested as the area beyond.

One can never be sure, but I suspected that the barren areas could be popular places for the ever present seals to hang out during the day. Here are a couple of seals on an ice flow near shore, but others lay on the rocks next to the water's edge.

Seals feed on penguins mostly at night. However, this mother risks losing her egg from another predator whenever she allows it to become exposed, as in the image above.

She risks losing her egg to these guys, who are always on the lookout, and ready at a moments notice to swoop down and steal her egg to feed themselves and their young.

These Petrels and the ones above are nesting rocks near where the last landscape shot was taken.

It's a tough world out here for the penguins. Every day when they switch egg sitting duty with their partner, they risk losing their precious offspring. Every day and evening when they head out to sea to feed on Krill, they risk being eaten by a seal.

Still, a mother has to stand up and stretch now and then. If she thinks about it, she might take a bit of comfort knowing that safety for her lies in being part of a very large number.
 Here is another of our very amateur videos of penguins going in the water to feed.

Continue on to Post 20: Enterprise Island, by clicking here.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home