At our last recap on the ship, the expedition leader jokingly suggested that we limit our showing of photos to five penguin pictures and five iceberg pictures. She said that if we showed every picture, we’d be three hours into it and our audience would realize we were only on day one. We all laughed but knew what she was talking about.
Limiting penguin pictures is a challenge, though! I was entranced by them. They were so endearing and interesting and cute/beautiful. I could have watched them for hours and days on end. Of all the animals and birds I’ve been privileged to see in my travels, they were the ones I was most tempted to anthropomorphize, partly because their behaviors looked so human sometimes.
I couldn’t limit my pictures to five, but I’ve exercised some restraint!
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My first penguins—rockhopper chicks in the midst of black-browed albatross nests.
Magellanic penguins exit the water.
King penguin chicks. Sealers called them ‘oakum boys’ because they resembled oakum, the fibers used to caulk ships. Some of us thought they looked like the pictures from the 1920s of men wearing raccoon coats to football games!
Astonishing that the fuzzy brown chicks grow into such beautiful adults.
It was worth the 5:00 a.m. wake-up call to see macaroni penguins. Our viewpoint was from the water in the Zodiacs.
Macaroni penguins were named by 19th century English sailors who thought they resembled the young men who wore showy feathers in their hats.
Penguins ‘porpoising.’ This mode of swimming helps them conserve energy in their long trips to find food.
This king penguin has raised its feet as a temperature-regulating measure. Given there was ice in the water, I assume it was to keep its feet warm! I was impressed by the fact that it could do that AND turn its head to groom its feathers!
When we got off the Zodiac at St. Andrews Bay, the four penguins left of center were walking around, vocalizing, and slapping each other. They were so funny, we all stopped to watch them.
Molting king penguins line the river in St. Andrews Bay. They need to stay close to fresh water during the molt as they won’t be eating for several weeks.
It’s called ‘catastrophic molt’. During this time, they are not ‘waterproof’, so can’t feed in the water. Instead, they gorge themselves in preparation. We were warned to not disturb them so as to not trigger an expenditure of energy.
Adult penguins balanced on their fronts. They had to use their beaks to keep from falling completely forward as they got into position.
Did you know a group of penguins in the water is called a raft of penguins?!
Gentoo chicks, too large to fit under their parents, huddle against them for protection from the weather.
An Adélie penguin makes its way from the beach to the rookery. This part was flat, but it had a hill to climb to reach the rookery.
On Danco Island, a penguin ‘swims’ downhill. The path we humans were using was slippery and slushy and I wish I could have done the same thing!
A gentoo chick being fed.
Gentoo penguins following their ‘highway’ up a hill.
These chinstraps are setting up a racket to scare away a skua. Skuas will steal their eggs and attack chicks.
The texture of the feathers and feet, and the long talons, were fascinating.
We were cautioned to stay several meters away from the penguins and to stick to the paths marked by the red flags. Sometimes, these instructions were hard to follow, as when this chinstrap perched near a flag.
These gentoo chicks were running around crazily!
When the chicks wore themselves out (temporarily), they flopped. Unlike the adults, they could lie flat on the ground!
A last look at chinstrap penguins before heading down to the Zodiacs and the end of our shore excursions.
Images © Melissa Corcoran.