Adelie Penguins

It's the Three Stooges! In their tuxes...
I was lucky to get two chances to spend some time around the penguins. You are prohibited from "molesting" them or doing anything that will affect their behavior. So we needed to walk slowly and wait for them to come to us. When they did, it was worth the wait.

The rookery smelled like a chicken yard. You can pick out a rookery from the air by the characteristic tan guano all over the rocks. I never got near those areas when I was there since the penguins were there already. But you can definitely tell there are a bunch of birds around!

The penguins were very laid back and docile. They must have thought we were just big blue penguins because they walked right up to us, begging for their picture to be taken. We were more than happy to oblige. Wherever the penguins went, they went with distinction, all suited up for a ball or affair of state.

This was a bad year for the Ross Island rookeries, with the giant iceberg B-15A blocking the routes in and out of the nesting area. So there were not many chicks. We did see a few little ones just starting to lose their down in favor of full blown feathers. Some had some interesting ruffs and tufts still over their tuxedos.

We thought this one looked cool in a turban, so we called it Mulah Penguin.

Everyday is a convention for these Adelies.

A penguin blue lagoon. Too bad it's in Antarctica.
I could just sit in a rookery and watch the penguins for hours, but the permits to operate in and around a penguin camp are very specific as to allowable time. So before long it was time to leave. Walking back to the helicopter was the same slow process, watching for the birds hidden in the rocks and moving past them once they seemed not to notice you.

The thing I liked the best about the penguins? Their feet.

Snow, rock & ice - nice place you've got here.

You'd look this bedraggled too if you'd been chasing fish all day!

[Penguins at Cape Royds, Antarctica]
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Hey, will you be my Valentine?

A penguin wonders what it is like to fly.

[Quicktime VR Panorama of Cape Bird]
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[Still Panorama]
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Page posted 01/26/2002