Ice and Medicine at the end of the earth

Return of the Animals: PENGUIN VS. SKUA!

As the temperature warms and the ice edge moves closer to McMurdo, there have been more Penguin, Seal and Skua sightings.  It is awesome to see wildlife again!!  I saw my first penguin at Pegasus runway with T.J.   It was great to experience seeing my favorite animal in Antarctica with T.J.  Last night, I saw my second penguin.  This time, I hiked to hut point with warm clothes, my camera and my telephoto lens.  When I arrived to hut point, I saw a lone sleeping penguin. 

It was resting on the pressure ridges off hut point.  I sat in the sun to wait for the penguin to wake up.  After 30 minutes of the view above, I was getting ready to leave.  I noticed a Skua circling, but I did not expect to see the penguin woken by a hungry Skua.


I luckily had my camera ready as the following scene unfolded:

The Skua flew away.  The penguin wandered aimlessly and then found another resting spot.

Hope you enjoyed the photos!!

5 responses

  1. michele

    so is it normal for penguins to be hanging out all alone? and those birds eat penguins? and i see this guy is banded? who’s keeping track? awesome!

    January 11, 2011 at 11:31 AM

    • Usually they travel in larger groups. But, this one is not too far from its colony. As the edge of the sea ice continues to move in, more penguins will join him. We also have the icebreaker coming in to town in a couple of days to clear the way for our supply ship. Penguins, whales and seals should all arrive in larger numbers once the icebreaker comes through. The Skua’s do eat penguins, although usually eat the chicks and eggs. My guess is that this skua was looking for a chick. It pretty much left the penguin alone after the initial surprise. The penguins are tagged by different research projects. Cape Royds is nearby, so I assume this Penguin was tagged by Dr. Ainley’s group. One of his research assistants, Jean Pennycook, share the website which has pictures and info on their Adelie science. Thanks for following!! Can’t wait to meet the little one. I bet he is as cute as a penguin!

      January 11, 2011 at 3:08 PM

  2. Kristin

    Penguins RULE and will always emerge triumphant over dumb ol’ birds that can fly and stuff. Think they’re so cool and can push around all the flightless birds… the big bullies.

    Seriously, that must’ve been a seriously cool stand-off to witness first hand.

    January 11, 2011 at 11:35 AM

  3. marisa lord

    so cool!!!!

    January 11, 2011 at 11:49 AM

  4. dana

    This one of my favorite posts. So amazing!!

    January 11, 2011 at 2:26 PM

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