Posts Tagged ‘Adelie penguins’

The Traveling Richters in The Bonaire Reporter

March 18th, 2010 at 9:19 am (AST) by Jake Richter

Our local English-language newspaper on Bonaire, published every two weeks, is The Bonaire Reporter. The paper has a regular feature which shows a photo of a Bonaire Reporter reader holding a copy of the newspaper in an exotic location.

In the current issue (March 19 – April 9, 2010), The Traveling Richters are the featured readers of The Bonaire Reporter.

We’re pretty sure no one else has ever taken a Bonaire Reporter as far south on the globe as we have.

The clip from the newspaper is below:

The Traveling Richters with The Bonaire Reporter on the Antarctic Peninsula

The Traveling Richters with The Bonaire Reporter on the Antarctic Peninsula

 

Visiting Pourquoi Pas Island in the Antarctic

February 19th, 2010 at 11:19 am (AST) by Jake Richter

Monday, February 15th – It was the second day on the Antarctic Peninsula so far, and we had an early start as Bud, our expedition leader, decided we should visit Pourquoi Pas Island as we headed back north.

In addition to both the regular shore visit and a Zodiac tour, we were also given the option of kayaking in the area, so that’s what we all did.

The National Geographic Explorer includes an easy to assemble kayaking platform which floats in the ocean

The National Geographic Explorer includes an easy to assemble kayaking platform which floats in the ocean

We were in the Group B kayak group, meaning we left the National Geographic Explorer at 9:15am by Zodiac, getting to a special floating kayak launch platform in the open seas, and then getting in two-person kayaks. Bas and I were in one kayak, and Linda and Krystyana in another.

Krystyana and Linda in a kayak at Pourquoi Pas island

Krystyana and Linda in a kayak at Pourquoi Pas island

We spent about an hour paddling around, looking at the floating chunks of ice, the glacier cliff, and various critters on bits of land (and a penguin on one of the ice floes too).

Another gorgeously colored glacial ice berg

Another gorgeously colored glacial ice berg

The bits of ice in the water ranged in size from the size of a pack of cards to larger than our house. We were warned during our briefing to stay away from anything taller than us because they were dangerous and unstable.

One small iceberg had an Adelie (pronounced “Ah-Dell-Ee”) penguin on it, and on a nearby rock outcropping we found a group of fur seals.

Fur seals line the rock outcroppings at Pourquoi Pas Island

Fur seals line the rock outcroppings at Pourquoi Pas Island

I also took the opportunity to approach a smaller “berg bit” and break off a chunk of ice to taste it. I was surprised to find that it tasted pure – not a bit of salt. Apparently, with glacial ice, even floating in the water, the saline of ocean water does not penetrate beyond the surface of the ice.

After our kayak workout, we were taken to shore at nearby Bongrain Point, a landing on Pourquoi Pas Island, where we found numerous small groups of Adelie penguins on a broad expanse of rock rubble and a glacial moraine (deposits of rock left by receding glaciers).

Adelie penguins observing the National Geographic Explorer

Adelie penguins observing the National Geographic Explorer

Penguins prefer to enter the water in groups to reduce the risk of predation of any one particular penguin

Penguins prefer to enter the water in groups to reduce the risk of predation of any one particular penguin

Adelie penguins leaping into the water to go feed

Adelie penguins leaping into the water to go feed

A swimming Adelie penguin

A swimming Adelie penguin

We found many of the rocks on shore covered by lichen, a fungal spore “plant” which can be hundreds of years old and grows very slowly. Lichen are the most populous plant family found in Antarctica, as regular tall plants simply cannot survive the climate. There’s a rare specie of grass, two flower plants, and several mosses that grow in the Antarctic, but not much else that will grow on land.

Lichen grow surprisingly abundantly in the Antarctic

Lichen grow surprisingly abundantly in the Antarctic

Close-up of the same lichens seen previously

Close-up of the same lichens seen previously

A different set of lichens on a rock at Pourquoi Pas Island

A different set of lichens on a rock at Pourquoi Pas Island

Later in the day our progress was interrupted by a pod of over twenty killer whales, and we got to spend nearly an hour following them around.

Six orcas swim together in the frigid waters of Antarctica

Six orcas swim together in the frigid waters of Antarctica

We stumbled across some crabeater seals relaxing on an ice floe while watching the orcas nearby

We stumbled across some crabeater seals relaxing on an ice floe while watching the orcas nearby

Two orcas with a glacier in the distance

Two orcas with a glacier in the distance

Our cetacean mammal researcher, Stephanie Martin, went out on a Zodiac in order to use her special crossbow and quarrels to try an obtain a DNA sample from one of the orcas, but after a half hour was forced to return to the Explorer, unsuccessful in her efforts.

Our cetacean specialist Stephanie pursues a bull killer whale with a crossbow to get a DNA sample

Our cetacean specialist Stephanie pursues a bull killer whale with a crossbow to get a DNA sample

Our day ended with what is likely to be our only passage through an ice pack. The ice pack was loose, composed of countless chunks of varying size of ice. But what was thoroughly impressive was the loud grinding noise that accompanied our ten minute passage through the ice pack.

Linda and I watched the forward progress of the Explorer through the ice pack on the TV in our cabin, and the trailing progress from our balcony at the rear of the ship. Pretty amazing.

Each cabin on the National Geographic Explorer has a TV on which the view from a forward mounted camera can be seen - here we are in a loose ice pack

Each cabin on the National Geographic Explorer has a TV on which the view from a forward mounted camera can be seen - here we are in a loose ice pack

This is what the loose ice pack looks like - it was not cold enough to freeze solid while we were there

This is what the loose ice pack looks like - it was not cold enough to freeze solid while we were there

The National Geographic Explorer's wake through the ice pack it is breaking through

The National Geographic Explorer's wake through the ice pack it is breaking through

 

A Few More Penguins From Red Rocks Ridge, Antarctica

February 16th, 2010 at 8:27 am (AST) by Jake Richter

A few more penguin pictures to share – they are just such beautiful (and cute) creatures.

An adult Adelie penguin

An adult Adelie penguin

The same Adelie adult with wings srpread out while waddling along

The same Adelie adult with wings srpread out while waddling along

An Adelie penguin giving me the 'eye'

An Adelie penguin giving me the 'eye'

The Bas and Krystyana penguins with their buddies

The Bas and Krystyana penguins with their buddies

Another adult Adelie penguin view

Another adult Adelie penguin view

Nesting Adelie penguins have great views of the glaciers

Nesting Adelie penguins have great views of the glaciers

 

Penguins Build Nests Too

February 16th, 2010 at 8:04 am (AST) by Jake Richter

Penguins, just like most birds, build nests. However, since there are few if any plants large enough to harvest for nest building materials here in the Antarctic, penguins have resorted to a more practical material – rocks. Penguins collect small stones, rocks, and pebbles and use those to build an elevated rise upon which to nest. The stones serve the purpose of allowing any glacial or snow melt to drain through and under the nest, thus hopefully avoiding freezing the eggs or chicks after they have hatched.

A young adult Adelie penguin picks up a rock to build its nest - a bit late in the season

A young adult Adelie penguin picks up a rock to build its nest - a bit late in the season

The young adult Adelie penguin carries its pebble or rock to its nesting site

The young adult Adelie penguin carries its pebble or rock to its nesting site

An abandoned Adelie penguin nest

An abandoned Adelie penguin nest

 

Video Clip – Adelie Penguin Chick Chasing Adult

February 16th, 2010 at 6:28 am (AST) by Jake Richter

The video upload seemed to work pretty well, so here’s a longer clip of an Adelie penguin chick chasing an adult to get fed. Never knew penguins could run so fast and be so nimble.

 

Video Clip of an Adelie Penguin Chick Feeding

February 16th, 2010 at 6:18 am (AST) by Jake Richter

I was brave and decided to try and make a short YouTube video with a clip of an Adelie penguin chick feeding. See below.

This was shot with the video mode of my Nikon D300s camera.