Sunday, October 3, 2010


On the 5th of August, I awoke to prepare our packed lunches and rucksacks for a trip to Volunteer yet again with Jayne and her kids. I headed out to the shed to get some juice and saw this display.
What a wonderful way to start the day off. We had a bumpy helicopter ride out to the settlement which was the Smyths first trip on a heli. It was fun to watch her children's faces as we banked, lifted off and touched down.

There are King, Gentoo and Magellanic Colonies at Volunteer but at the time of this visit the Magellanic were still away. The Kings breed most of the year around and at this particular visit there were hundreds of 6-8 month old chicks. Euan thinks they look like Chewbacca from Star Wars. I reckon they look like fluffed out turkey vultures in some respects.

It was a really windy day and they were all huddled together in a large group. The odd one came across to see what we were about but they mostly slept while we were there. Friends of ours had been the week before and her husband had been led down on the ground when one of the babies jumped up and sat on his back!!

We spent some time sat watching the babies and I tried desperately hard to get some close up photos of eyes and beaks. Unfortunately my photographty was terrible that day and out of 400 odd photos these were the best I could get. I was not a happy camper when I came home and looked at them on the computer.

The beach was rather blustery and we had to move around to keep ourselves warm. Thankfully we have learnt our lesson now and were all wearing several layers which kept us toasty.

Miss Muppet managed to talk Alex into letting her borrow his camera and she spent a happy 10 minutes clicking away.

She then progressed to my camera on the proviso that she took a shot of me in front of the colony.
When you take shots of the adult Kings they look like you have cut them out and stuck them on a separate background it is truely bizarre. They are rather noisey creatures to and the adults can mostly be found either asleep or with their heads thrown up in the air calling out to mates and youngsters.

Usually this is answered by a baby running over and demanding their breakfast, lunch or dinner!
I returned to Volunteer with John just last week and will post those slightly better photos in the not to distant future.

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