The emperor chicks are here!

Pingoos, Pengus and more Pengwins

At my last check in, it was Easter time and the birds were chirping, the grass was green and it was a balmy 26 degrees… Well, it was Easter but I may have manipulated the last few bits.

The sea ice season opened on 27 April and we got to drilling for sea ice thickness, proving trips, and updating the GPS routes. All to get us out and about on the sea ice safely.

For the crew here on station the last few months, there has been a big emphasis on getting out to the emperor penguin colony as much as is allowed, and of course weather permitting and always following the guidelines set out by the AAD:

  • visits are not on more than two consecutive days
  • there is at least a 3-day break between consecutive visits
  • the vehicle parking distance is at least 500 m

For me it’s been all about getting out to the Auster Rookery and watch the boys look after their eggs, see the chicks, and wait for the girls to come back fully fed, fluffy and ready to feed their babies. My dear old Nan was a volunteer penguin handler on Penguin Island in Western Australia for 20+ years and I bet she’d be more than proud that I’m getting this experience all the way down here on another continent.

I’ve been lucky enough to have gone out there three times so far with quite the audience from the boys that aren’t caring for eggs… they come to check us and the Hägglunds out (usually ten or more at once). Getting to sit quietly within metres of them, and the photos and footage that we are able to take back with us, is a truly incredible and humbling experience every time.

Those on last weekend’s trip got to spot the first of the newly hatched chicks (much to my envy). I’m sure I can speak for the station when I say that we all are looking forward to watching these new chicks grow over the next few months until the sea ice season closes and we return to looking back to the plateau for trips and excitement.

Until next time… your local friendly Dieso, Tom.