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)