With the sea ice depth now making Hägglunds travel possible, trips to Macey hut and Auster rookery have commenced. The station was given a presentation on emperor penguins regarding approach distances and penguin behaviour to prepare for the visits. The route to Macey and Auster was then tested for sea ice depth, location of waypoints and hazards. A number of waypoints were adjusted to take into account icebergs and rafted ice.
During the first trip to Auster, the group had some problems locating the rookery but when they tried again on the next day the penguins were found further to the north. The emperor penguins were still in one main group with courting and mating observed.
It is a privilege for Mawson expeditioners to have the ability to visit an emperor penguin colony. It will be interesting to see the changes in the rookery over the winter.
More Auster stories (and photos) will appear in the station news in weeks to come.