This week at Macquarie Island: 12 April 2019
Skies filled with auroras and persistent petrels
Predatory persistence of the Giant Petrel
On the weekend, Stella and I went walking in the extended station limits to visit the small King Penguin colony in Gadget Gully. Sitting on the opposite side of the gully from the birds, we were able to watch the drama unfold as the King Penguins and their chicks battled against the hungry forces of the Northern and Southern Giant Petrels.
On Macca there is an abundance of life, but with that comes an abundance of death as all the animals need to eat. The King Penguin chicks, wrapped in their brown woollen coats, are guarded in creches by the adult penguins. The chicks can’t yet go into the water because their coat only becomes waterproof once they grow their adult feathers. They must wait in creches on the land until their parents return, bringing them food.
These creches are a significant source of food for the many carnivorous birds inhabiting the island.
It is a daily battle of the penguins versus the flying carnivorous birds. Sometimes the chicks win, sometimes the Giant Petrels.
Kate (Station Doctor)
This week at Macca has seen the night skies light up with the Aurora Australis, or Southern Lights. This phenomena occurs when solar wind and particles erupt from the sun into space and interact with the earth’s magnetic field.
Being fairly new to the station, some of us scrambled to work out the right settings on new cameras. Others were more prepared, capturing these great shots (thanks Mark Baker and Kate!).
Whether we had a camera nearby, or not, most of us were content to absorb the spectacular light show above. We look forward to many aurora-filled nights and sharing the magic with you.
Kat (Station Leader)