Since 2011, I have been spending November to April each year working for the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) on Signy Island in the South Orkney Islands, Antarctica. I work as a Zoological Field Assistant on the penguin and seal long-term monitoring programme. Before this, I spent 2.5 years on the sub-Antarctic island of Bird Island, South Georgia, in the South Atlantic.

This blog gives readers an insight into my day-to-day life in the Antarctic, from my first trip south in 2008 to the present day.

Monday, 9 March 2009

End of February

Yet again the weeks seem to have passed without me noticing and it's been another month since I last wrote anything… I'm not quite sure where all my time is going!

Since I wrote anything last month, there's been quite a lot going on with the wildlife here. The wandering Albatross chicks have just started to hatch. It is lovely to walk through the meadows and see the tiny chicks sitting in their huge nests, being guarded by their enormous parents. It takes 5 days for some of them to hatch fully; they have been incubated for 2.5 months before hatching. It will be a while yet before the parents leave them unguarded.

The fur seal pups are moulting their black puppy fur for gorgeous soft silvery grey coats. There are still lots of them playing/sleeping/lying around the base, growling in their funny little puppy ways when you walk past them.

The Macaroni penguin chicks have all just finished moulting their fluffy down for smart new coats of feathers. Last week, fully ready to face the big wide world, they left the colonies and jumped into the sea. They were very funny to watch- it took a few seconds for them to realise they were able to swim and dive. It will be a full year before we see any of them again, when they return to Bird Island for their annual moult.

The Northern Giant petrels are also coming along nicely- last week we ringed all of the chicks in the study area. We can expect to see some of them back in about 3 years time (well, not me- I shall have left by then, but whoever takes over from me) when they will return to think about breeding themselves. We will then be able to tell who they are/who their parents are etc by the ring number. The first chicks are just starting to fledge now.

I will try and get some pictures of all of that up on here sometime soon.

On base it's been fairly quiet… a couple of birthdays, but no major celebrations, as everyone has been busy working. We're expecting the Pharos (ship) next weekend, to bring us a new supply of fresh fruit and vegetables. This will be very welcome. We are looking forward to things like lettuce and bananas! The Pharos will take away three of our summer visiting scientists, and bring in two new visitors (technicians). We will then be 9 on base, with only 1 month to go until the JCR's last call, and the start of our winter isolation.

No comments: