The Rookery, Saunders Island – Penguins
I saw three types of penguin at The Rookery – rockhoppers, gentoos and magellanic penguins. The gentoos and magellanic penguins can be found at the beach and in the green areas close by, with the magellanics forming their nests in burrows. I found both the gentoos and the magellanics here very nervous, unlike previous times when I’ve seen penguins (I’m not familiar with the magellanics but I’ve seen a lot of gentoos and they’ve always been very relaxed), so I didn’t spend as much time with them as I didn’t want to cause stress. Obviously having to keep quite a large distance from them, the photo opportunities were also less!
These are mostly gentoo penguins. The smaller, blacker one at the front is a magellanic.
This hungry gentoo chick is asking for its food. The parents feed their chicks by regurgitating their food into the chick’s gullet. This behaviour is common to the penguins and also the albatrosses and cormorants.
There was a large group of magellanic penguins huddled by this little river, but when they saw me approaching the scuttled away, with quite a few of them jumping in and swimming.
The rockhoppers are found at the cliffs, as their name suggesting hopping up the rocks, sometimes to quite a height. Given how strong the waves were whilst I was their I have no idea how they manage to get out of the surf onto the rocks without being dashed to pieces. The biggest challenge in photographing the rockhoppers was getting down to them, as only a few were right at the top of the cliffs. Unfortunately I couldn’t get right down to see level to watch them coming in from the water.
I was very lucky that it stayed dry the whole weekend, as I didn’t have my waterproofs. This penguin shower was the only place they would have come in handy for keeping my jeans dry!
The adult rockhoppers are beginning to moult now, and looking rather miserable as a result!