This week Team Seabird got to work on the sea ice along the Mawson coastline; and a Sunday walk provided a humbling experience for new Antarctic expeditioners

Seabird team dives straight into work

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. 


A humbling Sunday walk

Joshua and Liesel are the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) technical operators staying at Mawson for a couple of weeks to undertake specialist maintenance to the radionuclide monitoring station. Here they reflect on a Sunday stroll off station.

'In the course of our project works we have been fortunate to see and do some amazing things, however standing on the vast ice plateau that envelops Antarctica is one of the most humbling experiences one can endure.  We did this last weekend.  Our five kilometre walk took us 140 metres above sea level over hard ice. We were told to expect icy winds at Mawson, instead the sun shone, the only breaths our own.'

Joshua and Liesel.