Cuuuute Emperor penguin chicks.

This week at Mawson: 23 August 2013

Pete Layt, Pete Cubit and myself (Rowdy) headed off to Auster rookery on Saturday morning. We were hoping the weather would stay good and we’d get to see emperor penguin chicks. This is the time of year when they’d be hatching and we wanted to get pictures when they were still very young.

Lucky for us, we weren’t disappointed. Wow, wow, wow is about all I can think of to say about the time spent out there. Soon, as we pulled up in the Hagg, they came and checked us out. They are so elegant, regal, inquisitive and clumsy all at the same time. I could have sat there for hours being entertained by them. But we had come to see the chicks.

It was hard to tear ourselves away from our welcoming committee to get closer to the rookery. Then there they were, and nearly everywhere we looked there were chicks. Thank goodness for the zoom lens, otherwise they’d be almost impossible to see. There’s this gorgeous tiny black and white head peeking out from under a special fold of abdominal skin, which covers the chick to help keep it warm. I had to head back to the Hagg a few times to warm up my hands. It was getting so cold that even though I had power in the battery my camera just didn’t want to work.

So while we still had a bit of light we headed off to spend the night at Macey Hut. The weather for Sunday was looking good and we were planning to spend a few hours back at the rookery before heading back to station. Macey is about 10 kms away so it didn’t take to long to get there. Once we and the hut had warmed up a bit we settled in for a nice cosy evening with a nice red and lamb stew and rice. Most of the conversation that night was about how amazing our day had been.

The next morning was a repeat of Saturday. It didn’t take us long to have brekky, pack up and head back to the rookery. That, too, was a repeat of the previous day, absolutely awesome.

I can’t wait to get back in a couple of weeks to see how much more they’ve developed. We’ll make sure to keep you updated.

Chick tucked between one adult's legs while another bends down to look at it.
Could be time for a parent change
(Photo: Peter Layt)
Scores of chicks tucked between adults' legs
Everywhere we looked we saw chicks
(Photo: Peter Layt)
Emperor penguin chick between its dad's legs.
Get back in there, it's cold
(Photo: Peter Layt)
Very cute emperor chicks tucked betwee the legs of parents.
(Photo: Peter Layt)
Emperor Chick being checked by an adult
(Photo: Peter Layt)
Adult bends down with fodd in its beak which the chick is reaching for
I'm hungry
(Photo: Peter Layt)
Emperor penguins by the hundreds in a huddle with big ice formations in the background.
Emperor penguins line up metres behind the blue Hagg vehicle.
The welcoming committee
(Photo: Cliff Simpson Davis)
Emperor Chick has its whole head inside the adult bird's mouth to  get the food.
Ummm, yummy
(Photo: Peter Layt)