Adélie Penguins

20 miles north of McMurdo station, at Cape Royds, is the southernmost adélie penguin rookery on Earth. At the start of most of my seasons, I have done a shakedown run for the snowmobiles out to the rookery. Already by early November the penguins have walked in many miles from the ice front and have staked out their space in the rookery, built a nest of stone pebbles and laid an egg, or rarely two. Where the penguins reside is off limits to everyone except for the odd biologist that might be doing research there. However, it is possible to get quite close and still be outside the boundary. By late November or early December the chicks are hatched and the parents become a tag team walking to and from the ice edge to catch food to feed the chick. As the summer progresses the sea ice breaks up and travel across it ceases. Only once did I visit the rookery in mid January, flown there by helicopter. By then the chicks had grown to the size of their parents, but still had not lost their gray down. What follows are several of my favorite adélie penguin shots.

Adelie penguins mingle at the Cape Royds rookery. The ice edge appears in the middle distance, stretching across McMurdo Sound.

Snow drift spots the rookery after a storm.

Proud parent.

Doubly proud parent, or did I detect a note of concern?

Adelies have the ability to shoot poop out from the nest without ever leaving the egg.

"Where's Fred? I know I saw him back there a little while ago."

"Now how do I get down from here?"

Adelie on pancake ice near Hut Point

Work it!

Nearly full grown chicks in the Cape Royds rookery await the molt of their down before learning to swim and hunt.

Gallery – Sastrugi 2.0

A second Gallery featuring sastrugi (windblown patterns in snow.)