Hey, where you're goin'?

The field session in Ratmanoff was focused on learning more about the energetic cost of walking in king penguins. It had been done in captivity, but in those conditions, the birds are stressed out, so the data are biased. Yves wanted to have an idea of the cost in field conditions. And for those results to be validated, we wanted penguins who walked without stopping for at least 5 minutes. After watching them walk on the beach, we chose a few penguins that were walking towards the Guetteur's colony (next to the hut) and fitted them with different devices to get the data we wanted. The weather wasn't great most of the time, and the rain prevented us to deploy all the devices we had planned on deploying. The other field assistants and I will take care of that during another field session in February in Ratmanoff. Our stay there was also the occasion for us to learn how to recognize the reproductive status of the birds, as well as to tell males and females apart. We learned how to catch those curious birds (they're really different from macaroni penguins, first of all as far as size goes since king penguins are bigger, but also as far as temper goes!). In the colony, there were a lot of big chicks molting, and a lot of penguins, in rows, separated by the length their wings and beaks can reach, incubating. Some penguins were also mating. It was nice to see the colony again, in a configuration totally different from the first time I had seen it, after my arrival in October. We also had a nice diner with another research team studying ethology applied to king penguins. And time flew by since we only spent three days in Ratmanoff. To return on base, we first stopped in Pointe Morne, where we arrived after sunset, and where we spent the night. Then, from Morne, we came back to Port-aux-Français. We stopped at the Pointe de l'Ornithologue, among others, where there are nice colonies of Kerguelen shags and kelp gulls. Some shags had up to three chicks (which is pretty rare and proves that this is a good year as far as food availability goes). Max and Thibaut stopped to fish at Albatros river, where we had lunch and at Norvegienne River as well. 


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King penguins displaying

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King penguins incubating

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King penguin and its egg

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King penguin's chick

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King penguins on the beach towards Estacade

Kerguelen Ratmanoff king penguins walking Estacade

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