Antarctica Adventure - 2002

Their nests are made of pebbles picked up on the beach and arranged in a circle and cemented loosely with guano and mud. The Gentoos lived in the smelliest rookeries of all the species we saw. They are such fetching little critters and it’s hard not to anthropomorphize them with their wonderful dignity even as they waddle along on land; guess it’s the tuxedos that lend them their formality. They also look so vulnerable in their harsh environment. But they are dogged in their many trips down to the sea to bathe or eat or swim and then back laboriously up the impossibly high slopes they live on. We learned that they preferentially choose the highest spots available because they are clear of snow first and because they are safer from predators, particularly the leopard seals, the orcas and from the sea itself which can wash away nests that are too close to water’s edge. This rookery was on snow with some bare patches containing the nests. So the penguins had regular deep trails from the nest area and the nursery down to the sea and then other trails back up. Penguins are very orderly in their marching and usually proceed back and forth between land and sea in little groups, sticking to the proper up and down routes. Surely it is much easier than breaking a new trail through the snow each trip. So they show some

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