Archive | January 2013

These Three Kings From Orient Aren’t……Maybe…..& Other Super Complicated Sciencey Stuff!

Attention class!! Here is your non-requested penguin tutorial. We learned a lot about penguins on our Antarctica trip. The best factoid I learned? If a penguin is not liking you, they will projectile vomit their stomach contents at you, which consists essentially of regurgitated fish and penguin bile.
Hence when visiting penguins, it is very important that they “be” liking you!
I am so good at super complicated sciencey stuff like this.
And sorry, I know this is putting a damper on all the cute penguin lore of late…..
These Kings are not supposed to be here.
Last time we were in the area we saw kings where they were not supposed to be also.
Maybe the Kings have decided they like the real estate just north of Antarctica better. Less predators, warmer weather, why not relocate to warmer climes? Smart kings.
Maybe they will make their way to the Orient after a while!
Kings are the second largest of the penguin species, next to the Emperors. They live in the northern Antarctic and breed on the subantarctic islands, and errrrr, where ever the heck else they please……..thank you.

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This is a Magellanic chick and it’s mother. The Magellanic is a South American Penguin.
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More chicks.
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Gentoos are large and hang out with the Kings. They have orange beaks and are native to the South Georgia Islands. Unless of course, you happen to spot them off the coast of Hawaii. If the Kings can move up in the world, why not the Gentoos? Fair is fair.

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Here is a shot of the colony. They like to live close by their neighbors just like in suburban American neighborhoods!
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Here is the penguin’s arch enemy, the Skua, who like to eat the chicks.

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An Upland Goose was hanging out with the penguins also! He probably wasn’t supposed to be here either…. silly goose!

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Okay, that is it for your penguin (and other critter) tutorial. This lesson has seriously taxed my limited brain circuitry. But you do have to admit it is true that traveling is very educational. Now we all know to NEVER piss off a penguin!

Penguin Opera!

Did you know penguins like to yell? I didn’t. It makes quite a startling racket, especially when done in harmony!

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They seem to do it for no good reason except maybe they like the sound!!! Just like my husband likes the sound of Wagnerian Opera.

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Come to think of it, they do sound kinda like Brunhilde with a sore throat!
(Google it!)

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Penguin Time For Me & You!

Today we traveled far and spent all day with Gentoo, Magellanic and King Penguins. There were thousands of these magnificent creatures and I have the penguin poop on my pants to prove it! They were nesting and raising their young all around us. If you sat still they came to investigate you, pick at your clothes, and seek a reaction. For me…..pure heaven! It is late now, but I could not resist posting a few photos. Tomorrow I will sort and organize and post more photos, but for now, take a peek….and be glad such lovely creatures are still in the world. To meet them up close and personal, is to fall in love with them completely.

Magellanic Parent & chick

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Magellanic

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Gentoo, Magellanic, Kings, AKA a crowd of thousands

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The Kings!

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Climbing Glaciar Martial Tierra del Fuego Patagonia!

Today was an alpine day as we climbed past the timberline to the Martial Glacier. First we had to past through The Haunted Twisted Lenga Forest. Take a peek:

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Next we had to cross some flimsy plank bridges…….

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Then we had the view to the Beagle Channel far below.

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And we joined the ant people climbing to the Glacier. Look for the tiny ant people climbing, it will give you perception of the mountains and their immensity.

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Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego Argentina!

Today we hiked all over Tierra del Fuego National Park. This park shares it’s border with Chile and contains the southern tip of the Andes. It is almost 70,000 hectares. The park is Sub-Antarctic forest filled with ancient peat bogs, lenga and evergreen Coihue de Magallanes forests. It is a visually distinctive park and forest. Check out some photos of this stunning southern end of Patagonia, el fin del mundo.

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Magallenic male Woodpecker

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Reflections on The Beagle Channel Today!

The view from our room this morning. We are in Argentina. The land across this narrow part of the channel is Chile.

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This bird is clearly quite vain, but if we looked like him, maybe we would be too!

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Ushuaia

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Even the sailboats reflect each other!

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El Fin del Mundo! Ushuauia & The Beagle Channel!

We are now in the southern-most city in the world, referred to as ‘The End of The world,’ and a very different part of Patagonia. We are staying on the glorious Beagle Channel near the entrance to Tierra Del Fuego National Park (Land of Fire.) Darwin named this area Tierra Del Fuego because as he sailed up the channel, he was amazed by the sight of the hundreds of fires the indigenous people had lit for warmth and survival in this harsh, but beautiful place. As of today the Tierra Del Fuegans are essentially wiped out due to their contact with explorers and settlers.
Ushuaia is a place we had been before, for a day, before crossing The Drake Passage into Antarctica. We always planned to return and spend more time and so we are. Take a peek at this stunning place & animal inhabitants :

Taken from out our hotel bedroom window!

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Adelie, Chinstrap & some King Penguins!

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The stunning Albatross. They spend the first few years of their life at sea and return to land when they are ready to breed. These are massive birds, with huge wingspans and they are incredible gliders!

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