Friday, May 11, 2012

Penguin Kite Aerial Photography II

Here are some more aerial photos taken with my kite set up. This is one of my all time favorite photos I have taken with the kite rig, mostly because of all the Antarctic elements found in the photo. Along the left side of the frame, running top to bottom is the upper reaches of the nearby beach of Admiralty Bay on King George Island. There you can see the scattered whale bones left over from the whaling days of the last century. The penguin colony in the center of the photo is an Adelie Penguin colony. Above this colony is the scattered nests of a group of Gentoo Penguins. Notice the much tighter density of the Adelie Penguins - probably an adaptation to nesting where there is usually much less exposed rocks to nest on with the rest of the area around the nesting colony usually covered in snow. I suspect that this colony is no longer even active given the declines in Adelie Penguins this far north. Just to the right of center is a skua flying over the colonies, most likely a Brown Skua (Stercorarius antarcticus) or Catharacta skua, C. lonnbergi, C. antarctica and C. maccormicki - take your pick (skua taxonomy is rather scattered).

I am standing in the snow in the lower right portion of the photo.  The numbers written into the photo denote where I had markers place for GPS locations to be taken later.

The photo below is a much larger Adelie Penguin colony at the same complex of penguin colonies on King George Island near the small U.S. Research base called Copa.This colony was never able to be accurately counted prior to my work because it was so large. Any guesses as to how many nests are in this colony?

Another photo of a couple of smaller colonies at Copa. I am standing just in the photo on the lower left.

One day we dropped the camera low over a Gentoo colony to observe the reaction of the birds. As you can see from the photo, they did not appear to even notice the kite and camera over them. I like the patterns radiating from the nest sites.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

More Sage-Grouse videos

Here are a couple more videos of sage-grouse displaying and fighting. This time I am trying Vimeo to see if the video quality is a bit better.

The bonus question is "how many species of birds can be identified in the first video clip?"