Field session at Pointe Suzanne‏

Back from Cap Cotter, Max and I accompanied Nory and Pascal for a field session focused on fur seals in Pointe Suzanne. Our goal was to mark pups (new-borns). The transit to get there, with Fred and Pascal, Nory being on the tractor used for the provision of fresh supplies with Miguel, went well. The weather was beautiful. We saw lots of elephant seals, fur seals, Eaton's pintails, and a few giant petrels with their chicks. We knew that we were likely to be early for the birth of the fur seals, but since we had to go back to Cotter for our second field trip right after, we couldn't change our dates. So we took the chance to come early in case the fur seals decided to give birth at this time. In the end, it wasn't the case, and we only saw one new-born. But harems were starting to be in place, with males defending their territories and trying to get as many females as possible. After that, the females of the harem give birth, the male mates with them, they molt and go back to sea. Females will come back the following year to give birth on the same site. After all, the fact that there were no births wasn't all bad, since it allowed us to spend more time « visiting » this beautiful site, the weather being incredibly nice most of the time! We went on a few short walks near the hut, but also on a longer one to go see the cliffs two hours from the hut. We found light-mantled sooty albatrosses' nests; they are beautiful birds. Shags, on the colonies or resting platforms, elephant and fur seals, terns and other species were still there. I also went down to the base of the cliff to see the rockhopper penguins that live there and take photos (that was the first time I could see them!!!). They look a bit like the macaroni penguins from Cape Cotter we now knew pretty well. They are also amazing creatures. Following the path on the top of the crest, the view on the Isthme Bas and on the whole coast was beautiful. Except for that, we also did a few round trips to the « Top Hut », on top of the hill, 20 minutes from the hut where bird and marine mammals teams use to stay to bring back food and gas. Giant petrels were fighting for the remains of an elephant seals next to our hut (I doubt you can imagine the smell when the wind blew in the wrong direction!). The team was nice (thank you Nory for the tartiflette – a French dish made of cheese!- it was very nice and thanks for everything else!). We'll come back with pleasure!

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Light-mantled sooty albatros nesting on cliffs close to Pointe Suzanne

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Landscape near Pointe Suzanne

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Rockhopper penguins on Prince de Galles Peninsula

Kerguelen Pointe Suzanne puppies field sooty albatros fur seals

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