Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Antarctica Part 5 - More Penguins, Up Close and Personal

Here are more pictures of Gentoo penguins going about their daily routine. Most of these pictures were taken in Paradise Bay. I had so much fun just watching these little birds! They look like they are wearing formal tuxedos and waddle so solemnly! One would think they are on their way to a debutante ball or a wedding. The pictures show one penguin in the snow. He/she looks like he/she is contemplating something.  Perhaps it is a male wondering when the snow will melt so he can build the nest and mate. Perhaps it is a female pausing to listen to the male’s mating calls and trying to decide which one to pick.  Or perhaps he/she is thinking about the skua birds that steal penguin eggs for food. We actually saw one skua circling a rookery, looking for an egg that was left unguarded. There is a picture of two penguins walking along the penguin highway. Their outstretched wings help them cool off when they are overheated. The undersides of the wings have no feathers, just skin, so that is one way they can lose heat. Then there is one bird squawking at another. This is Al’s favorite. He says the female is nagging the male, saying, “Bring more rocks!” Two penguins are checking out a tourist (the yellow color is the parka that was given to us as a souvenir of the trip). There are four birds that appear to be having a discussion. You can see how close they are to the humans by the boots at the top of the picture. Finally, there are five birds headed toward the water. There is an Antarctic kelp gull in the right side of the picture, at the water's edge.
               On this day of Christ’s birth, I constantly thank God for the gift of his son to mankind. We have received so much – forgiveness, healing, unconditional love, mercy, constant blessings…I could go on and on but I’ll just say

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