I am norwegian doctor who worked as expedition doc on the Antarctic research station Troll for the summer season 2007-2008. NB: This blog is intended as a personal and ecological account from The Ice Planet - fully independent of the Norwegian Polar Institute, their official web page being: npweb.npolar.no

16 Nov 2007

Lifeless wasteland?

Looking up the hillside right next to the main station building (where we eat, sleep, shower and browse the internet) it didn't take long before I saw a brief white flapping movement behind a rock. A short scramble later I found these two (love)birds. In an apparently lifeless landscape, in 15 degrees minus, we have neighbours managing without food, water or a diesel-fueled powerstation, and they even have energy left to flirt, fight and flap around.

These are snow petrels, one of 3 bird species found in the area. No penguins here, 235 km inland from the ice edge - only good fliers get to these mountains, willing to make the long journey to court, nest, and eventually raise their chicks. Also found here are the antarctic petrel, and the southern polar skua, the skua preying on the eggs and chicks of the other two (more about skuas another time!)

The snow petrels above arrived ca 1 week before my arrival, are now courting, and will hopefully lay their eggs under the stone by the end of november. Being here the whole antarctic summer, and already something of a twitcher, I'll certainly follow them closely.

No comments: