28 March 2011

Lonely Macaronis...SOUTH SHETLANDS (15 March)

In the afternoon of our final day we experienced the best landing yet. There were some concerns over the weather at this exposed landing site, and some long discussions between our Russian captain and expedition leader ensued before zodiacs were deployed and we were steaming our way to Deception Island in the South Shetlands. Before I had even got off the boat news came through that the earlier boat had found the star prize on the islands: Macaroni Penguins!

Macaroni Penguins are actually the most numerous penguin on the planet, with millions alone on the Falklands for example. However, you would never know it on Deception Island, where three lonely birds were found in among the Chinstrap Penguin colony, looking sheepish like they were intruders, trying to hide in amongst their well-dressed cousins! Being called Deception Island you even wondered if they had been deceived and had come to the wrong island! They may be the commonest penguins in the World but we were well happy to see them as this was our only short at the end of our short cruise into Antarctic waters. And how fantastic they were with their distinctive sulphur-yellow "hair-dos". A great fifth and final penguin for the trip.

More to come from Deception Island, with the ugliest seal on Earth...


Mary Howell Cromer said...

Oh my...I have heard of this species of Penquins, but alas, I guess I must have never seen them before. What beauties and love the hair thing they have going on. Will share with my oldest daughter...she loves all Penquins. I am enjoying your blog. Hope when you have time, you might take a look-see at mine~

Anonymous said...

Have enjoyed your pictures and blog posts on penguins and Antarctica. I was there (Ross I.) 45 years ago as navigator of an icebreaker, before I knew anything about birding. But, I remember visiting the Adelie Penguin rookery at Cape Royds and seeing Emperor penguins swimming around the ship. Hope we see you here in TX sometime soon.