At Auster, the emperor penguin chicks are growing fast as the intense business of producing the next generation is in its final stages. Along the Mawson coast, the Adélie penguins have returned and they are staking out their territory, posturing, constructing nests and mating.

Mawson penguins

After a week of sunshine with persistent gale force winds, the weather finally cleared enough for us to head out to Macey. Ian, Rob, Chris and Vicki headed out last Thursday and after a quick stop to see some seal pups we enjoyed a superior day at Auster with bright sunshine and some very curious emperors. The chicks have grown with some three quarters the size of the adults while others are much younger and smaller still. With the intense business of producing the next generation in its final stages there is a more relaxed atmosphere with penguins wandering everywhere and not being shy about investigating the humans or guarding the Hägglunds despite being told the AAD distance guidelines.

Rob continued to experiment with his GoPro on a stick, delighted when a whole group stopped by with one inquisitive penguin giving the camera a peck. Ian continues to collect Hägglunds photos, despite the occasional wildlife distraction, while Chris had success photographing leaping penguins at a nearby seal hole.

On returning to Macey hut, Chris carried out some repair work on the deck before sunbathing, Rob checked out some electrics and Ian concentrated on raising his tent, readying for another night camping out, to prove his scout-hood.

In the last week the Adélies have returned to Mawson and there were many campaigners around Macey Island staking out their territory, posturing, constructing nests and preparing for the breeding season. We sat on the deck enjoying our pre-dinner nibbles and drinks in the sunshine, entertained by the rock stealing antics of the Adélies.

After a scrumptious dinner of pies and curry we watched the colours changing in the sky as the sun set. The next morning the weather was back, with thick cloud, poor surface definition and expectations of increasing wind so we headed back to station.