Thursday, June 21, 2012

South America and Antarctica 22 - More Cuverville Island

While there weren't as many penguins on Cuverville Island as on Paulet, the actual nesting areas were just as crowded.

Notice here, how pink the snow is from Penguin guano. The smell was pretty ripe. Notice also how much ice is floating in the bay. This is summer down there.

As you can see, penguins often get covered in their own guano. We watched several of them wash it off immediately upon entering the water to feed.

They will not nest on the snow, only on bare surfaces. But notice how each nest has been carefully built using a large number of smaller rocks.

As with the Adelie Penguins, the male and female Gentoos share nest sitting responsibilities.

Part of the penguin culture is that they all love small rocks. We watched one penguin walk all the way down from her nesting area to the water. Just before she was about to dive in, she found a rock she liked. She picked it up, turned around and carried it all the way back to her nest.

It turns out that coveting a neighbor's nest rocks is another penguin trait. Which means that there is a lot of stealing of neighbor's rocks that occurs. Here I managed to catch a perpetrator in the act. As you can see, the mother cannot leave her eggs unprotected. She can only make her displeasure known as he appropriates one of her rocks.

A wider view of the nesting area, and its proximity to the water.

Here is another one of our decidedly amateur videos that will give you an idea of the nesting area's noise and penguin behaviors.

Cuverville Island has a rather steep, 815 foot hill that some of our folks climbed. Melony and I chose to hang out with the penguins instead, which turned out to be a good decision for us as the summit was covered in clouds when those of our group who climbed the slope arrived at the top.

Here are a couple more shots of the island's inhabitants.

One fresh from the ocean, one on his way to take a bath.

The clouds dropped while we were on the island and it began snowing. Here Melony has just stepped out of the way for the penguin behind her to pass. That one liked our path better as well.

Then it was time to leave. This Zodiac driver is returning from the ship to pick up another group as we make our way back.

Continue on to Post 23: Torgersen Island, by clicking here.


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