This week at Mawson we watch seals on station and find out what is happening on Becherviase Island.

The latest from Béchervaise Island

Matt and Lisa departed station for Béchervaise Island on the 17th December, just before the fast ice off Mawson station finally broke up luckily. Since then they have been using every opportunity to study the various species of sea bird that breed on the island — primarily Adélie penguins, snow petrels and Antarctic skuas.

They are in touch with Mawson station every day, just like any other field party. This week Matt tells us they in full swing monitoring the breeding success of the sea bird populations on the island.

They have also deployed a number of trial GLS tags on adult Adélie penguins during the guard period. The tags will be monitored to determine how well the new attachment technique works. If successful they will be able to monitor where the penguins travel and forage after the moult for the first time.

Seals on station

For more than a month now an increasing number of Weddell seals have been congregating on the ice in a small cove along the east side of East Arm. In this area the last vestiges of the fast ice still exist covering the rocks and the shoreline.

As the warm summer temperatures persist the ice decreases in volume daily. Our temperatures so far this year have not dropped below zero during the day. If previous years are anything to go by this will continue for the rest of January.

The seals, all shapes and sizes, are possibly non–breeders or feeding adults hauled out for a break before heading back to their pups.