Penguin teaser

November 8, 2019 • 9:00 am

We were up early this morning for a trip to Orne Harbor, on the mainland of Antarctica (my last continent save Australia), followed by a brisk hike several hundred meters up a steep slope to where the chinstrap penguins (Pygoscelis antarcticus) nest. Every day these little buggers climb up and down that steep hill to go fishing, and I don’t know how they make it. I’ll have more pictures tomorrow morning, but here are two as a teaser. And remember, I have to reduce the quality of all images by at least 70% to be able to post them from the ship.

The rookery, high up over the harbor:


16 thoughts on “Penguin teaser

  1. How cool – these aren’t photos from the endless bin of the Internet. I am imagining showing these photos and being able to say _you_ took them _in_the_wild! Awesome conversation starter to say the least!

    1. But keep one as a pet by a Chicago swimming pool (No! Don’t!), and natural selection might tell it that this is awful, like the Euphrates when it’s 135 Farenheit for us!

  2. I’d caption the first as:
    “Ya? What are you lookin’ at?”
    The second:
    “Wait. Are we goin’ up or down? Can we get together on this?”

  3. Great pictures, if you are in the area, you can come by at The Mountains of Madness (it’s a big continent though, I understand if you can’t make it) 😉

  4. Antarctica. Now that’s exciting. Beats going to Benidorm. Great photos. Might I suggest you visit Australia while you’re down there; it’s not that far away.

  5. The Antarctic (and the Arctic for that matter) is an amazingly inhospitable niche that evolution has filled. Talk about a group of tough animals.

    I recently learned that seals and other diving mammals have high amounts of myoglobin in their muscles to allow for extended periods of underwater activity; the myoglobin allows for muscles to pack in large amounts of oxygen. Dr. Alec Jeffreys used myoglobin in grey seals as the protein to eventually discover DNA fingerprinting back in 1984; the rest is history.

    1. I have a big section on adaptations in Weddell seals in my upcoming lecture on adaptation in Antarctic animals. They not only have a ton more hemoglobin (scaled by body weight) than most other animals, but they have all kinds of adaptations for diving deep, including collapsing their lungs when they go deeper than 50 m so they won’t get the bends. And I saw one of them!

      1. I hope there is some way to hear your Antarctic lectures. I don’t know if you’ve mentioned whether they’ll be recorded or not.

        Alas, I don’t think I’ll ever see a Weddell seal in the wild. Must have been a joy to see.

  6. PCCE, I am greatly enjoying your posts on Antarctica. Makes me excited for my upcoming trip there in a few months.

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