This week at Macquarie Island: 18 October 2019

Nature abounds at Macca

In the air and on the ground

With the Elephant seals giving birth to their pups, there is much activity on the beach and in the air.

Thousands of young seal pups and mothers can now be heard calling to each other. Lessons learnt and tummies fattening.

Already some pups have grown enough to wean from their mothers, allowing the mothers to return to the water to feed once again.

We start to see those weaned pups now commence moulting before their big first swim. During this time, they are able to explore a little. Find a quiet spot far from the madding crowd. They are a delight to watch and see where they wriggle to.

The massive male ‘beach-master’ bulls are busy defending their harems, not all can be winners.

A large bull thought it might be safer in the Met enclosure this week. Fortunately, I happened to see him attempting to get over the fence. I flew out the Met office door, doing my best with flailing arms as high in the air as I could, to encourage him to back off.  

With the sound of splintering of wood I remained confident that I mustn’t give up.

Fortunately, he retreated and there wasn’t the larger challenge of removing him from inside instrument enclosure.

Here are a few more photos of what we see every day here. It is truly a delight to be here and witness the amazing nature that abounds.

Best wishes to all at home from the Macquarie Island crew.

Ashleigh Met Observer

A brown elephant seal pup lays on its back sleeping
Tummies are fattening
(Photo: Ashleigh Wilson)
A small speckled bellied ele seal weaner lays on the yellow deck of a boat shed protected from the elements
Little weaner finds the boat shed porch
(Photo: Ashleigh Wilson)
A speckled bellied elephant seal weaner lays on the yellow deck of a boat shed
All to myself!
(Photo: Ashleigh Wilson)
A large elephant seal bull lays on the beach with bull kelp draped over its body
Macquarie Island bling
(Photo: Ashleigh Wilson)
A group of Northern giant petrels and skuas stand in a circle on the beach
Avian toolbox meeting
(Photo: Ashleigh Wilson)
white feathers are inverted and covered with small grey pebbles
Inverted gentoo penguin skin after tug-o-war between skuas
(Photo: Ashleigh Wilson)
A alrge male elephant seal is leaning up against a wooden fence
"I really want to to come in!"
(Photo: Ashleigh Wilson)
A large male elephant seal is leaning, spread across a fence
Ele on a fence
(Photo: Ashleigh Wilson)
A skua is pecking at the bleeding nose of an elephant seal bull
Not all bulls can be winners
(Photo: Ashleigh Wilson)
A white and grey Antarctic tern with red beak and feet stands on a  rock
Antarctic tern
(Photo: Ashleigh Wilson)