January 9, 2003
Belated Happy New Year to everyone there.
Extremely busy here constructing the new laboratory, so
have had little time for birding. Weather has been excellent
for the past week with clear blue skies and no wind so we
have been taking advantage of it by getting the roof on the
Wildlife wise, it's very quiet here compared to South Georgia.
We usually have a few Adelie Penguins around the base, but
none breed within easy reach. South Polar Skuas are the only
breeding birds which are obvious around the point, with several
pairs dotted around. A single Antarctic Skua also visits
the base and waits outside the front door hoping for scraps!
Wilson's Storm-Petrels are reported to have bred in the past,
but as yet I have only seen the occasional bird fly around
in the late evenings. Large flocks of Antarctic Fulmars can
be seen feeding offshore on most days and occasionally a
Southern Giant Petrel can be seen gliding by.
Antarctic Terns are quite common, but they breed on offshore
islands, along with several pairs of Kelp Gulls.
Most of the seals seen when we first
arrived have dispersed and only an odd one can now be seen
on a passing ice floe.
These can be either Leopard, Crabeater or Weddell Seals,
but a single Elephant Seal was noted last week and the
odd report of a Minke Whale or two passing offshore filters
too late to get a view. I will have to make a concerted
effort to spend some time up the hill scanning for them.
Life on base has been fairly quiet, despite there being
over a hundred people here at one time or another. Most
in transit to their respective field locations, but we
are due a visit from a tourist ship tomorrow, the only
season, being far to the South of their usual ports of
Fossil Bluff was a spectacular place
to visit for the end of December. I was there to help set
up a camp
of our team to carry out work there for six weeks.
way in and out is by Twin Otter planes which land on
a skiway. The hut itself is very small, so we had to
in our own,
self sufficient accomodation. This was in the form
of four large tents which are metal framed and the largest
15 foot by 12 foot. They are very comfortable to sleep
in and we even had a shower and washing machine set
tent, with a kitchen and dining room in another! Christmas
dinner was enjoyed by all who attended, kept warm by
ducted warm air heating!
I returned to Rothera in time for the New Year celebrations
and, as mentioned earlier, have been busy with the
new laboratory here since then.
Hope the winter's birding has been exciting for you
there, I'm sure most of you have a year list of
more than 8
species by now! Here's hoping I make it to double
figures by the
end of the month.
Cheerio for now.
Dutchess County, NY