Dinosaur of the week: Adélie penguin

Recent news about Pygoscelis adeliae hasn’t been very good (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/oct/12/penguin-catastrophe-leads-to-demands-for-protection-in-east-antarctica). It’s down to us human animals to protect what we haven’t destroyed and killed off yet.

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Petermann Island

We reached the southernmost point of our journey at 65°10′S 64°10′W on Petermann Island. It was sunny, foggy and sunny again, almost no wind. Hence ideal conditions for our last landing to visit the, at the moment, also southernmost colony of Gentoo penguins. Gentoos marching

I’m saying at the moment, because in the wake of global warming Gentoos are moving further south, while Adelies and Chinstrap penguins lose out. Their numbers are apparently falling. More information can be found here: http://www.penguinlifelines.org/ and of course you can help by identifying and counting penguins here: http://www.penguinwatch.org/. The rookery on Petermann is also part of the Zooniverse project! gentoo with pebble

There is still a number of Adelie penguins on the island yet, and they were also very active, bringing pebbles or trying to steal them and then running away.adelie thief

Proudly presenting their eggs.adelie egg

But not always paying attention, to the Skua’s delight. skua egg

Some of the eggs, to the tourists’ delight, had already hatched. adelie with young

Blue-eyed shags also breed on Petermann, and this time their nests were right amongst the penguins.

Shag callingThe shag chick seemed quite active, but the parent kept on sleeping.shag young

Well, sadly, we had to say goodbye.gentoo mountain I’d dearly love to come again.

King George Island

mapshetlandsFirst of all, here is an overview of our landing sites on the South Shetland Islands. The first stop was at King George Island, where there are a number of research stations. We visited this one:Arctowski station

Its official name is sign stationthis.

For everyone who does not speak Polish, it is Arctowski Station, named after a Polish geologist. People there must think a lot about home. signs

If one follows some simple rules, even the ordinary tourist is welcome. signI found the station very exciting, but had forgotten to cover my camera lens – condensation – no pictures. Sorry. Their penguin origami and DVD-collection were both impressive, but best of all was how warmly the researchers welcomed us!

Outside, I experienced a few ‘firsts’. My first Weddell Seal.Weddell Seal Peaceful.

My first Adelie penguin. The rookery there is also study ground, so we had to stay a bit away. Which is fine, Adelie penguins are in decline on the Antarctic Peninsula, so as little disturbance as possible is very good as far as I’m concerned!Adelie

I also saw my first Chinstrap penguins. Both species feature often on www.penguinwatch.org, but I don’t know if this particular project on King George Island is part of the Zooniverse one. ChinstrapThe Chinstraps here were looking for pebbles for their nests.

The last of my firsts was, well, a reminder that the station is manned by humans.Mary and Skua