The seabird team of Louise, Colin, Lisa and Anna have had a busy first week on station, diving straight into our work program thanks to great support from the Mawson team.
Our first priority was to deploy satellite trackers on female Adélie penguins before they head back out to sea after laying their eggs, leaving the males doing the first incubation shift. We are trying to understand where the penguins forage during the breeding season. The trackers we deploy are attached to the feathers of the penguin, and they transmit location data to the satellite network throughout the breeding season, until the bird moults its feathers (and with them the tracker) in approximately March next year.
We deployed the satellite trackers at two breeding locations — to the west of Mawson near Forbes Glacier and to the east in the Macey Islands — both with stunning scenery surrounding them. When we got a moment to look up, we enjoyed a backdrop of spectacular icebergs, Forbes Glacier and the cliff edge of the Antarctic plateau where it meets the sea ice. We also counted several breeding colonies of adult Adélie penguins, with able assistance from Heidi and Eddie.
Before we arrived, the winter team started our Adélie penguin counts at nearby Bechervaise Island, so they had already honed their counting skills!
Thanks to all the winter crew for your help with that job — we hope you enjoyed being penguin biologists in Antarctica!
Until next time,
Anna and Lisa.