Antarctic Wildlife

Waddling PenguinsAs I mentioned previously the two things that really stood out about Antarctica were landscapes and wildlife. The animals are all water based, or at least water feeders as there isn’t any real food source on land. On land there are birds and the occasional seal, but they all mainly feed on aquatic food sources with the exceptions of some of the skua birds that eat other birds and eggs. The draw for most people are of course the penguins. These cute, rotund, waddlers tug at your heart like uncoordinated comedy players. Incredibly svelte in the water, they can be hilariously clumsy on land as they stumble and often fall even on relatively flat terrain. They move pretty quickly though using their spread-footed waddle and the occasional belly slide. The latter isn’t just going downhill either as we witnessed a few penguins push themselves up slight grades on their stomachs using their wings as propulsion as shown in this photo. We visited during the nesting season, so the penguin females spent almost all their time sitting on the nests usually with a single egg. The males would tend to their mates and spent a lot time “improving” the nests by finding pebbles and rocks and depositing them next to their partners for incorporation into the nest. Of course there is only a finite supply of such rocks and so most of the rocks end up just being stolen from one nest and put onto another. This routine seemed to be endless and luckily the penguin males appeared to never tire of the activity. Some of our favorite penguin photos are posted here. Click on any photo to see it in a larger size and feel free to leave comments. I hope you enjoy them.