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.

Sunday, 17 January 2016


In the summer, Signy benefits from long hours of daylight.  This means that to get a nice sunset, you have to wait til quite late in the evening.  As the season wears on however, the sunrises and sunsets start occuring at more civilised times of day!  We were treated to a beautiful evening of pink pastel colours a few weeks ago.

We have also been lucky to have some lovely weather this season.  The view from Signy is second to none when the sun is shining and the sea is full of ice.

January is always a busy time at Signy, both for myself and for the wildlife.  The chinstrap penguin chicks are busy hatching, and the Adelie penguins are busy rearing their chicks, some of which are now very large.  It will only be a few more weeks til the Adelie chicks leave the colonies and head for the sea.  Already the most advanced of these are starting to lose their grey fluffy down to reveal their feathers underneath.  When it is cold they huddle together for warmth and protection.

On a hot day the chicks overheat in their thick fluffy jackets, and can often be seen sprawled out flat in the colonies panting, trying to keep cool.

The Giant petrel chick have just started hatching too.  These birds can be either white or grey with the percentage of white birds increasing the further south you are.  This adult is waiting for its egg to hatch.

The sea ice brings in the Weddell seals.  When fully grown they can look rather odd- as if their head and flippers aren't quite large enough for their body.

But when they are youngsters, they have to be one of the most endearing creatures around, with their smiling cat-like faces and soft spotty grey fur.



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