Friday, December 11, 2009

Snow Petrels

Adelies and Snow Petreles rarely interact, but this one was interested in what the penguins were up to, for some reason.

This year there are a lot of Snow Petrels - every day we see at least 4, and sometimes more than 30 at once. Over the years they seem to be steadily increasing in numbers, at least as seen from Cape Crozier. But are they nesting here? We have tried several times to find them on Post Office Hill, Pat's Peak, and other seemingly likely cliff areas, with no luck.

Snow Petrels are the southernmost breeding birds, and except for humans (and humans' symbiots), the southernmost breeding animals, utilizing nunataks (snow free mountain tops and ridges exposed above the ice fields), sometimes many miles from the ocean. Apparently they project very stinky oil (i.e., they barf) at intruders to their nesting crevices, so perhaps it's just as well that we have not located them.


At 1:52 PM, Anonymous elissa san giovanni said...

Thank you as this is absolutely FABULOUS! Please excuse me as being a thorough beginner. Years ago I read a shelf of ice broke loose (the size of the Isle of Manhattan) and slammed into the coastline. A team was sent out to find out what happened to the penguins. They could not reach the open sea as this rogue ice slam created a chasm in which the penguins were found, dead,trying to reach the sea. It is wonderful for me to have found this Antarctic Journal. God Be with all of you. Elissa San Giovanni


Post a Comment

<< Home