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A white southern giant petrel on Macquarie Island.
A southern giant petrel on Macquarie Island. (Photo: Meg McKeown)
Meg on Macquarie Island.

Meg McKeown works as an Antarctic Medical Practitioner for the Polar Medicine Unit at the Australian Antarctic Division. She was a small animal veterinary surgeon for 12 years before graduating from human medicine in 2009. She is currently completing her Fellowship with the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine. Since 2012 Meg has worked as the doctor at Casey and Macquarie Island, as ship’s doctor on several voyages on board Government ships, and at the Polar Medicine Head Office during resupply.

Meg says of this photo... 

There are many opportunities for landscape photos on Macquarie Island but the real thrill for me is to photograph the wildlife in action. This photo was taken on West Beach, about 15 minutes walk south from the station along the coast. I happened across a recently deceased mature male elephant seal in the water and the giant petrels were in great numbers as they took on their role as vultures of the island. This southern giant petrel was one of almost 100 birds that were on the beach or close by in the water, working on cleaning the carcase. It was a brutal scene, but mesmerising and I realise part of the cycle of nature here on Macquarie Island.