Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Birds strikes, whales and icebergs

A regular feature of working at night on the ship is birds coming onto the deck after being attracted to the lights. They are unfortunately sometimes injured in collisions but most of the time they are unhurt. The deck isn't the cleanest place and they try to find a dark corner so can pick up oil, grease, degreasing agent etc. Throwing them off normally results in them flying straight back into the ship so we tend to box them up in the lab and release them at dawn.

Me releasing a Thin-billed Prion a couple of weeks ago - there aren't any Thin-billed down here (I think) and the beard has grown since (photos courtesy of Steve Jones). The flash makes it look darker - they are released soon after the horizon is clear, which has got earlier as we have moved effectively two time zones east without changing clocks. Ideally photos shouldn't use flash - I gave it a bit of time to recover and it flew off fine.

We left the Antarctic Fulmars to it as we didn't have boxes big enough, they tend to squirt oil at you if the feel threatened and also because they seemed to be having a good time running around the deck.

One did however fly into the anemometer on the foremast and break it. This meant we had to stop while Mike the sparky went up to fit the spare (wind speed is an input to the dynamical positioning that keeps us on station to within a few metres, as well as being useful scientifically, though not critical for this cruise).

Mike up in the cage to replace it

Getting supplies

New sensor in and the birds seem interested in testing its strength - it got pecked but not hit.

While Mike was up there we were stopped to reduce the ship movement and four Humpbacks approached from ahead of the bow and hung around for a bit. In a break with the pattern the light was initially quite good as the whales came close, but soon returned to the normal snowy conditions.

Also, with autumn pushing on and the wind from the south we are seeing more Snow Petrels.

Also, several icebergs around as there normally are.

With a Southern Right Whale tail

Same one with a Southern Giant Petrel

Probably volcanic debris from the South Sandwich Islands, with a calving event creating the clean bit

An old blue bit of ice sheet. It had a couple of arches the other side but we only saw them in poor light
A very clear horizon

And finally, slightly uncouth but true to the cruise name of ANDREX...

No comments: