Friday, December 12, 2008

And yet again, penguins!

Just a quick hello to those of you who've found this blog from the "Happy Gentoo" video that I put on youtube :) I'm always surprised when people comment on this blog; I always assume that no one besides my grandmother reads this, so when people leave notes, it's a bit of a happy reminder that there's someone else in the world that thinks Antarctica is awesome. Hello world!

So, without further ado, I present you with what you undoubtably came here for; more pictures of penguins :)

I took these actually a day or two before I left station (a month and a half ago, or so), so in the commotion of getting packed, getting these sorted didn't take very high priority.

Sadly, penguins are not usually this clean and pretty. With summer coming, and the snow melting away, they spend most of their time on land lounging around on rocks, mud and piles of penguin poop. So most of them end up with fairly dirty bellies.

And, in the case of this guy, finding the tallest pile of rocks he could, so that he could stand on top of them and look sullen. Sort of reminds me of a grouchy old king or something.

God they're funny looking. These are the smaller Adelie penguins, they've got a slightly different head shape that gives them a sort of cross-eyed look when you're looking at you straight on. I happen to think they're a bit cuter then the Gentoos, at least up close.

It really is amazing just how many of them there were, and how they just seemed to come out of nowhere. One week, there were just a few, then the next, we had hoards.

There were no penguin babies yet, not nearly. This was still find-a-partner and build nests time. And while their version of a nest is just a pile of stones they've arranged into sort of a doughnut, they do take the most amazing care and put lots of precision in it. For creatures who on land seem so un-coordinated and goofy, the delicatness with which they select, pick up, and place the stones for the nests is very suprising, and in a way, very sweet.

Nomrally, when they're walking around, they waddle about at a slight-slower-the-frantic pace, bumping into things and falling over a lot. When they're carrying the little stones, though, it's like they're moving in slow motion. It's actually very neat to watch, just how important this next building seems to be to them.

Of course, occasionally this leads to fights. Probably over who's got the nicest-looking pile of rockts to lay on or something. Usually, these fights just involved them squaking and jawing at each other a bit, but sometimes they get really into it and start running around and smacking each other with their little wings. It's just about the funniest thing to watch ever.

Anyway, yeah. Penguins! More videos coming in a bit, so check by in a few days.


Aubrey said...

Yeah, the video was cute. I dunno if you know this, but, in addition to getting around 50,000 views on your version of the video, some reposted it for FailBlog ( and that version has another 60,000 views or so. I mention that so suggest that more people prolly find your stuff interesting that you realize. Anyways, I've really enjoyed your blog. I found it today and have been reading back for the last several months (though currently I've only made it back to Sept.). It's cool stuff. I do have two questions: you said "Waslo (not his real name, but . . . well more on that later)" but I don't think you ever explain that. Also, why did you quit early? Again, I've really enjoyed your blog so far and I definitely agree with your attitude in your post Monday (Dec. 8th). Hope to hear more from you and I'll definitely be back for more.

wiinterrr said...

Thank you so much for the adelie pics. I so enjoy them. I have reposted your video on my own blog and I'm sure it has received many other viewers. Simply must be the video of the year. :)

I'm glad that you are safely home, but please tell us more of your Antarctic adventures. You've got a great blog going here... keep up the great work. :)


Tori said...

They're very cute! How many species or penguin have you seen from the base? (Or nearby the base)

I love the Legolas outfit posts by the way!

Jen said...

My sis-in-law forwarded me the video. I've been a penguin freak since H.S. (and I'm OLD). Loved looking through your blog, and got quite the kick out of the Legolas costume. Brilliant. My fave pic might actually be of yours and Wally's (?) footprints. Go, Elfin powers.

Lara said...

LOVE your blog. I discovered it today through a link from the penguin video, and have just spent several hours reading from the beginning. Very recently I was in Tasmania, looking south, and was told that if I could see about 2,000 miles, I would have seen Antarctica. At the time I thought that was the closest I would ever get. Now I feel like I got to get quite a bit closer. Thanks! And I am also curious about why you cut your tour short. Do tell?

Carlos Adelante said...

Just finished you blog (or what there is of it), and I have but one question: will you ever go back?

Denise said...

Wow, I loved the Happy Gentoo video & I love your blog.

haphazzard said...

i loved the pictures and your blog.