Saturday, December 26, 2009

December 25rd - Art at Palmer Station, Chinstraps and Giant Petrel birds...

I'd like to take you to the Art world of Palmer Station and the surrounding areas. We have such a rich abundance of artists down here.  Sometimes people don't know they are artists until they put pen to paper, brush to canvas, fingers to strings, lips to horns or let their inner voices burst through and let all hear their sweetness. 

When you are in a remote place like Antarctica or other places in the world where there is no T.V. or malls or movie theatres or amusement parks, people find other ways to entertain themselves.   This past week we had our annual "Art in the Bar - The Show". 
We had many displays of photographs taken in greener pastures, of doggies and wonderous places others had visited.

This is a photo of the Grand Canyon in beautiful morning light taken by Stacie Murray one of our cooks.

There was jewlery, paintings, a homemade knife, Black & White tinted photographs (and yes, the old fashioned way!).

This photo of Torgersen Island and pancake ice was tinted by Tina Haskins of the Rutgers Glider group.

The following two pictures were painted and drawn by our maintenance guy, Bill Burns.  The first is a Chinstrap penguin, followed by the "Giant Petrel" and I'll tell you more about the with other please keep reading....

Let me tell you about the Chinstrap. They are a sub-antarctic bird, but have been migrating further south.  We are seeing more and more Chinstrap penguins down here around the Palmer Station area.  They are the second largest penguin species, Macaroni being number one.  There is a research field camp called Cape Shirreff on Livingston Island where they are studying the penguins.
I was able to put in a field came there one year.
Here's a picture of the field camp...

This is located just next to a Chinstrap colony.

  If you go to Wikepedia and get the description, it says that the Chinstrap is about 27" long.  Now why would you describe it as long instead of tall?  Don't you see them standing all the time??  Well, not always, they are usually on their tummies pressing onwards over snow and swimming horizontal in the water. 

They build thier nests out of rock just like the Adelie penguins. 

Here's an Adelie who is grabbing rocks to make his nest. 

The Chinstrap eat krill and small fish.  Antarctic krill is the lifeblood of many birds, fish and whales.  Without krill, the wildlife around here would go other places.  There are studies out there that show that the krill population is declining.  Life is changing down here. 

Here's the Giant Petrel and her little chick...

It's the Southern Giant Petrel to be exact.  It's almost as big as an albatross, but has a more of a humpback when it's flying.  They are a scavenger having a beak that is made for opening up carcasses of dead animals, usually dead penguins and seals. 
Even though their beaks are different looking, they are a most beautiful gentle bird.  I have had the opportunity to assist the scientists that go out and do studies on them.  I've even held a petrel chick in my hands.  The are so warm and soft, almost like a baby chicken chick, but very docile.  
That is all for now...Christmas just got over, hope you all had a good holiday!


  1. Merry ho ho ZeeBear and happy new year! miss you dear:) This is my first chance to get a look at your blog---love it---you are brill as always. And I bet you can guess what I liked best, and in this order: the Gentoo, the juvie elephant, the frisbee golf map, and, inimitably you, wanting to kiss Neil Armstrong's foot! I'm going to send the link to people finally:)

  2. Hello Zee,
    Wonderful to see your blog of life at the Palmer Station---I love the penguins--and the Fur seal!---and also the "Art Bar"!!--I hope you have time for your own painting too.