December 10, 2007, Monday McMurdo Station, Antarctica 11:00pm High: +32F wind chill: +21F Low: +18F wind chill +7F Winds: S8- 12 knts; Station Pressure: 28.7800” Present Conditions: Partly cloudy, mild temperatures, prevailing low pressure system
A Day at the Beach!! On Monday we were finally able to fly out to Cape Bird. Cape Bird is on the edge of where the sea ice is breaking up. The beach area is a perfect nesting place for the Adelie penguin. We flew out to the cape in a helicopter- my first time in a helo. The flight was relatively short- about 45 minutes each way, just skimming over the top of the glaciers and the ridges of the mountains. The view was spectacular since the skies were clear and the sun to the east. Our purpose was to collect 12 soil samples that are the control samples for the terrestrial monitoring. We made quick work of this task since we were only allotted 3 hours of ground time. After collecting the samples, I went and asked the Kiwi researchers working at the penguin rookery if it was ok to walk along the beach through the rookery. Of course!!
Sea Ice breaking up
There were 100’s of penguins. Most were sitting on rock nests protecting eggs or thinking they were protecting eggs. In every nesting site there were around 30-50 penguins and each nesting area seemed to have 2 penguins who functioned as nesting guards, as they were the first to comment when I would walk by. In many cases, they were maybe 5ft from me.
Nesting Adelie Penguins
Happy Feet… this was not. Not only did it smell worse then a barn that had been closed for the winter, there were dead birds and skeletal remains all over. The Adelie is one of the smaller of the penguin species and apparently quite easy to work with. But they are more skittish then curious. They did allow me to walk around their beach and many would stand up and show off their eggs.
Moe,Larry, Curly and ... Bob
Slip-n-slide Antarctic Style
Any day is a great day at the Beach!!! Any Beach!!!