Zach asked: Are you by yourself when you are out collecting? Is it dangerous? No, I am not by myself while working in the Antarctic. And no, it is not very dangerous. The snow can be deep and the ice slick, but in general if you are careful it is a safe place to conduct research. I am always with my Oceanites partner and we have radios and special "survival" kits just in case.
|Taking a short break from counting penguins with my|
Oceanites partner Paula.
|Handy penguin counter!|
We also conduct nest counts of blue-eyed shags and note the presence of any other bird species and seals at the site. We photograph several lichens at each site as well for Paula's research. We often have 2-3 hours to conduct our counts and need every minute as some sites have 1000's of penguin nests!
Michael asks: Do the penguins mind when you are around them picking up feathers and eggshells? Do they ever bite you? Ha! Good question! In general, the penguins do not mind when we walk around them.
|Gentoo penguin with a newly hatched chick|
|Counting Adelie penguin nests (ok, so this is a photo from|
last year...no good counting photos yet this year!)
We try our best not to disturb the penguins. When counting we try to keep a few feet away, though sometimes we need to enter large colonies to get an accurate count. We have special permits that allow us to do so.
Well, it is time to get back to the ship. I am leaving in a few hours for the second trip of the season. I am hopeful that we will get to some great sites and have good weather...and as always, here's hoping for a Drake Lake!