Thursday, February 7, 2008

Spot the birdie...

The sun is back, and with it the possibility to escape Dumont d'Urville base for a few hours. Today JY and I tagged along with two friendly ornithologists who had work to do on Lamarck island. We helped them count Adélie chicks, and put id tags on Snow Petrel and Cape Petrel chicks. The Snow Petrel nests are particularly difficult to find, as these birds hide in crevices in the rocks. We spent a very pleasant morning clambering over the island looking for them.

One thing I learned about Petrel chicks of both species is they projectile vomit in self-defense. Our friendly ornithologists got covered in the stuff, with one receiving a direct hit in the face... yum. My job was to help locate nests and write down the tag numbers. Even though I did not have to reach into the rocks to extract the chicks (I would not have known how to do so without hurting them) I still managed to get vomited upon.

Other notable events today: first sighting of Emperor Penguins in the archipelago and a partial solar eclipse.

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