Well, even though we are off Beche now, it appears penguins are still in hot demand… so here is some more news and pics. A small team of us headed out to some of the neighbouring islands by zodiac this week to service five Automated Penguin Nest Cameras and retrieve the images they had collected over the season. These cameras are set up at a number of locations near Mawson, Davis, Casey and now Commonwealth Bay to allow remote monitoring of penguin breeding success and nest occupancy, without having to be there constantly, and even better, with no disturbance to the birds. The Big Brother of the penguin world.
The chicks in the colonies are well developed now, with some already headed out into the big blue. There are lots of moulting birds all over the islands, as well as quite a number around station. At Peterson Island, Susan’s keen eye spotted an immature macaroni penguin, trying to fit in amongst the locals. This species is the most numerous of the penguins; however with population declines seen around the world, they are listed as vulnerable. The closest breeding colony to Mawson would be on Australia’s Heard Island.
On our way back to station, we were all treated to a special show as two minke whales cruised by. A great way to finish our last day of field work and a great treat for the boating team, who sat patiently in −7 degree weather while we completed our work (thankfully the sun was shining and the wind was non-existent).