23 March 2011

More (Gross) Images of Port Lockroy...ANTARCTICA (12 March)

Here are some shots of the British post office in Port Lockroy just off the Peninsula, where I posted some postcards safe in the knowledge they would arrive just before Christmas! (we had just missed the last mail boat of the season). And with its attendant Snowy Sheathbills.

These mischievous birds scavenge or even kill anything they can. Athough with the main animal around Lockroy being Gentoo Penguins, the penguins are frequent prey for both skuas and sheathbills.

While I was there a sheathbill found a Gentoo nest with a dead chick inside (that it turned out was one of two killed by a Brown (Subantarctic) Skua that very morning. The skua had carried off with one of the chicks and left the other in the nest. So that was where the sheathbill stepped in, only problem was it had to get the chick away from an agitated parent Gentoo. Not sure of what exactly the penguin was thinking although I cannot help but think it had not really realized the chick was already dead.

All the same the sheathbill circled the nest trying a few exploratory pokes at the chick, only to initially be chased away by the angry Gentoo. However, the sheathbill is a master of persistence and pretty soon the Gentoo was dizzy and the sheathbill moved in and dragged the chick a few inches out of the nest, at which point the Gentoo seemed to have no idea it was even still there (even though it right under its nose!)

I also caught a lovely cute sheathbill later feeding on some form of faeces or regurgitated food. Not quite sure what it was but it was suitably gross for the sheathbill to gorge itself completely!

No comments: