This week at Mawson: 2 November 2018

Second census trip to Taylor Rookery successfully completed.

Taylor Rookery second census trip

A group of intrepid budding 'scientists' successfully completed the second Emperor penguin photo census at Taylor Rookery last week.

The group - consisting of Mark (lead boffin) and associates Pat, Nick, Matt and Brilly, plus the newly vetted intern Eugene, (aka Nate) - departed station Monday morning full of nervous excitement and lofty expectations, hoping to reach Colbeck hut by nightfall.

The group was blessed with some beautiful, warm weather, signalling the arrival of summer and the return of the Adèlie penguins, marching across the sea ice in search of their breeding homes.

After negotiating the 90km of sea ice, this motley crew of loosely titled scientists and their intern arrived at Colbeck Island. Straight away Brilly busily commenced his own science project: better understanding outhouse habits. The rest of the team unpacked the deck chairs and hammocks, readying themselves for some well-earned R&R before the night’s meal.

The second day of this epic adventure greeted our Shackleton-esque explorers with overcast skies and strengthening winds - a wintry reminder of where they are! Brilly continued with his personal science project while the others prepared themselves for the true science task ahead.

On reaching Taylor Rookery, four people entered the protected area: Matt and Eugene were tasked to inspect and maintain the two timelapse cameras while Pat and Brilly were to photograph the penguins for the census. Mark and Nick ventured to a nearby island and photographed a small group of penguins who had settled nearby. The group headed back to Colbeck Island after successfully completing the project, and some hours later, Brilly continued his project... again.

Day three welcomed the weary yet jubilant group with clear skies. The sun, in all its unhinged fury, warmed the chilled explorers as they packed up camp and embarked on the trip back to Mawson. Ever heard of Stibbs Bay or Low Tongue? Turns out that these were old fuel cache locations back in the day when dogs and sledging were the best form of transport. Our 'scientists' detoured to Stibbs Bay and Low Tongue to investigate the possibility of old caches being left: nothing was found except breathtaking views!

Like peak hour on Melbourne’s Flinders street, jaywalking Adèlie penguins slowed travel somewhat and they do have the right of way! Returning to station, Brilly continued his research, just in time!

To maintain station harmony, the author will remain unknown!

A view looking west from Colbeck Island
Looking west from Colbeck Island
(Photo: Michael Brill)
View of the Emperor penguins at Taylor Rookery from one of the camera positions
View of the Emperor penguins at Taylor Rookery from one of the…
(Photo: Nate Payne)
A men services one of the penguin monitoring cameras
Matt services a camera in the ASPA
(Photo: Nate Payne)
A view looking back at the plateau from Stibbs Bay
Looking back at the plateau from Stibbs Bay
(Photo: Michael Brill)
A view looking out over to the sea ice from Low Tongue
Looking out over to the sea ice from Low Tongue
(Photo: Michael Brill)
A group of five men stand in front of a Hagg
Census team group shot minus photographer: L-R Matt, Pat, Nick, Nate and…
(Photo: Michael Brill)