Aitcho Islands

Tags: Aitcho Islands, Antarctica

Date: December 12, 2022

At the Aitcho Islands, we were part of a small group that went out in one of Fram's tenders to get a demonstration of what kind of investigations scientists might make in Antarctica. We used a hydrophone to listen for animal sounds under water and tried to get a measure of what the water visibility was to estimate the amount of plankton. Finally we used an underwater drone and were lucky enough to film a few penguins swimming around under water.

Ashore on Barrientos Island, we found lots of nesting gentoo penguins:

Gentoos build nests of hundreds of small pebbles that they carry one by one in their beaks from the water's edge to better protected sites further up the shore.

Penguins are not exactly the cleanliest of animals:

Some chicks have hatced:

This is a chinstrap penguin (named for the black line under its chin):

Another one on the beach:

A snowy sheathbill:

The sheathbills are usually found around the penguin rookeries where they live off the bits and pieces dropped by the penguin parents as they feed their chicks as well as penguin eggs or dead chicks. They eat just about anything.

Here is a gentoo in the water:

Going back to Fram: