Antarctica 2009 Trip

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Antarctica 2009 Trip

Bleaker Island

Bleaker Island is aptly named, at least for our visit. A flat, relatively featureless slab of rock, it is home to a small farm with cattle and sheep. The native tussock grass is all but gone, but in its favour are some wonderful sandy beaches and a mass of bird life.

We landed on the beach and walked across the paddocks to the far side where colonies of rockhopper penguins and Imperial shags are hidden.

A colony of Imperial Shags on a wintery day, Bleaker Island.

When we arrived the weather closed in and it began to snow. To emphasise the snowfall, I stopped down my aperture to produce a longer shutte speed, which in turn made it difficult to keep the camera still with the 300mm lens. The result above is an impressionistic record of a small section of the colony.

Imperial Shag on the wing.

David McGonigal suggested we stop a little short of the colony, leaving the birds room to fly in and out without feeling pressured. The position couldn't have been better for capturing the shags as they struggled against a strong headwind and flew out to sea.

Back towards the beach on a low cliff we found the rockhopper penguins.

Rockhopper penguin

Photographing them was very easy as long as you had a telephoto lens. And although the penguins were around five metres from where we sat and stood, from time to time they would venture closer to us, searching for stones or twigs with which to fortify their nests.

Watching and waiting on Bleaker Island. The round objects are abandoned nests, probably from the Imperial Shags who have moved around the island a few hundred metres further.

Next: King Haakon Bay

Peter Eastway Uses

Peter Uses

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