Monday, 21 March 2011

Seabird problems

Firstly, the albatrosses and petrels on Midway got hit badly by the Japanese tsunami, many thousands of chicks lost and, more seriously for such  long lived species, many adults washed away with their plumage waterlogged. Fortunately seabirds can go long periods without food (due to sitting on eggs and small chicks while their partners go on long foraging trips) so they are still being pulled out of the debris healthy. More at

Also, something which would (should) be a big story if it wasn't for the way the world is at the moment, a bulk carrier has run aground on Nightingale Island (near Tristan da Cunha), details at Latest updates show some badly oiled Northern Rockhopper Penguins (which are very cool creatures, when not oiled) but hopefully the majority of the population is away from the island by now. Fingers crossed for seabird species such as Spectacled Petrel (endemic) and Great Shearwater (most of the world population nest there).

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Rothera camping (part of base training)

  Putting the tent up after digging down to some more solid snow

The Snow-cat that got us there, each bag of the roof is an individal set of sleeping equipment (ground mats, huge sleeping bags and liners).
 The caboose

 Selecting a dehydrated meal in the caboose

 The tilley lamp

Playing on a skidoo someone came up in (slightly staged, I put a coat on to drive the skidoo, but not for putting the tents up)

 The view down to the tents from the top of the slope

 The tents in the morning

The skidoo tracks in the morning

Sorry... I mean the unspoilt wilderness of Antarctica

Saturday, 19 February 2011


The pod of Orcas that has been around for a while are still making appearances once or twice a day, to the frustration of the dive team. They can't dive if there are Orcas or Leopard Seals around, though they did get a very good view a couple of days ago when the whales turned up just after they set off for a dive. Another pod that was around earlier are now off the Falklands (one of them was satellite tagged). I sat up by the memorials on Sunday morning, watching them come in from the south before they headed reasonably close past the wharf. Since then I have set up in the Bonner lab and can see them approaching the wharf from the office window, giving enough time to grab the camera and run out to get photos. The brown wash to their colouring is algae (diatoms) which often stain whales in the Southern Ocean and around Antarctica.


UK to Antarctica

Set off from the UK on 8th Feb and made it to Rothera on 12th after a couple of days delay in Punta Arenas due to bad weather at Rothera. Route is Heathrow to Madrid, Madrid to Santiago, Santiago to Punta Arenas and then the BAS Dash 7 from Punta.

 Madrid airport

 The Gould (an American research ship/icebreaker) in Punta

The Gould being dwarfed by a cruise ship

 Since my first visit in 2007 the seafront has been developed into a very pleasant area.

 But the stray dogs are still around

As are the broken jetties, which are inaccessible to the dogs so good for the birds

On the first day of delay we went to the local penguin colony, big business round here.
 On the second day of being stuck in Punta we went out to a forest reserve just out of town

 Glacier in Tierra del Fuego

 More of Tierra del Fuego

 The Dash 7 props

 The inside

On the apron in Rothera

Monday, 7 February 2011

Falklands in late January

A few days on the Falklands before flying home (this post is a bit late, only just before I go south again to the Antarctic Peninsula)

The Falklands does...


 With heads, normally

 Even in the right place on occasion


An edible berry, Diddle-dee:

Geese, Kelp:



 Military history:

Military present: