Goodbye, macaroni penguins!

The day after the PO, Kéké, Gégé (responsible for sorting out the mail on base and selling stamps, postacards and so on) and I went back to Cape Cotter to see our friends macaroni penguins again! If my schedule stays as it is planned, this was my last field session in this site. The next ones will be done by my colleagues birders. To get there, we decided to do the transit in one day; it was long at the end but we were lucky enough to have a good weather (but we still haven't seen reindeers, that's so annoying....). When we arrived, the chicks of macaroni penguins were in creches, small groups that allow them to be more or less protected when their parents go to sea to find food. This doesn't prevent giant petrels and skuas from « stealing » and eating some of the smaller chicks unfortunately. There might even have been more of them than last time... There were far less birds in each colony and the space occupied by the birds had shrunk. The configuration of the colonies was thus quite different from last time. The goal of this field session was to get back the devices that had been deployed on males during the december field session. Unfortunately, those males didn't bother to come back on time. So we'll have to look for them during the next field sessions. The work load was thus lighter compared with last time. We continued monitoring one of the colonies 6 times a day to see which marked birds were there, but we also measured and weighed chicks to keep on learning about their growth rate.
We did the return transit in two parts; we stopped in Cataractes first. That was the occasion for me to get my first trout fishing lesson here in Kerguelen ky Kéké and Gégé, who were very patient with me, 'cause I'm not the most talented in that sort of things! But even though we put back most of the fish we'd caught 'cause they were too small, we kept one small and one medium trout so Kevin could show me how to prepare a carpaccio for diner! And finally, a message: thank you Gégé for your pleasant company, and your help! I hope you enjoyed this session as much as I did! 

macaroni-penguins-colony.jpg
 Study colony of macaroni penguins at the creche stage
macaroni-penguins-chicks.jpg
 Macaroni penguin's chicks in creche
macaroni-penguins-feeding.jpg
Macaroni penguin's chick being fed

Kerguelen chicks macaroni penguins Cape Cotter creches

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