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14 January, 2000

I spotted some interesting wildlife today. As we tracked radio transmitters on Adelies, a lone Leopard seal prowled the waters and pack ice just offshore. I watched patiently but the leopard apparently was not hungry just yet. Farther offshore a pod of 6 Orcas passed through while travelling north. It seems we are never bored here, even spending 8 or 10 hours working with the various tasks for the penguin project. One of the tasks is the diet sampling. We would like to know what exactly these birds are feeding on when they disappear for two or three days. To determine this,we must flush their stomachs (also known as barfing). The task is quite simple. We pump a little sea water through a tube, into their stomach, then gently massage their throat and, voila ! Actually the penguin barf is not too bad. The food has typically not been digested, so all of the material is basically intact. This makes identification easy. We found that the Adelies were feeding on primarily krill with just a few fish, and some amphipods here and there. We thought about taking some back to the hut for shrimp coctails but we didn't want to violate the Antarctic Treaty or compromise our sampling. To find out more about krill, amphipods and the penguins favorite fish (pleuragramma), visit the following link:


Weddell Seals are one of the regular beach visitors.

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