I often get asked what wildlife I’ve seen here. In the many times (about 10) I’ve been down here, I’ve seen a total of five types of animals.
First, the most common – the skua. This is a bird that is much like a seagull, and is not afraid of humans. We’re cautioned to not carry food outside in a way that will attract them, as they will work hard to steal it! I can certainly sympathize, given the lack of other things to eat in this barren desert.
The next is, of course, the Weddell seal, of which I’ve posted pictures previously – they’re quite common, lying on the annual sea ice near the holes they use to slip into the water to hunt.
Everyone wants to know, of course, whether I’ve seen a penguin. I can happily say now, that yes, I’ve finally seen one on this trip. In fact, I saw my first-ever Emperor penguin just last week – here he is:
As the caption says, I didn’t get very close (he was well off the road), but some of my work mates saw him much closer, later, and posted great photos… see http://jegudmunds.wordpress.com/#jp-carousel-443 , for example.
To round things out… I haven’t seen them this year, but in the past I’ve seen Adelie penguins (they’re smaller than Emperors) and, the first time I came here, killer whales! That was after the icebreaker broke open a channel to the sea so the resupply ship could dock and deliver supplies to the station. That happens in late January, so I won’t be here for that this trip!