Readers’ wildlife photos

We have a rare batch of photos from reader Russell Collins today, as they show the Antarctic—the place I most want to visit. (If anybody wants to comp a scientist a trip in return for four lectures on Antarctica and biology, I’m game.) Russell’s notes and IDs are indented:

I’m heeding your call for more wildlife photos. I recently returned from a spectacular 22-day sailing adventure to the Antarctic Peninsula where the was an abundance of wildlife. We often didn’t have the best weather for photography, but nothing can be done about that except to work as best as you can with the conditions you’ve been given. Apologies if I have sent too many.

Chinstrap penguin (Pygoscelis antarcticus):

Chinstrap penguin and chick:

Chinstrap penguin colony:

 Gentoo penguin (Pygoscelis papua):

Gentoo penguin and chick:

Gentoo penguin colony:

Adelie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae):

Adelie penguin and chicks:

Adelie penguin rookery:

We spent several hours one day slow circling around Paradise Bay while watching several groups of Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) feeding. It was an amazing show, as they would dive, slap the water with their fins and surfaced while gulping mouths full of krill – at times only a few meters from the ship. The cloudy and snowy weather that day was, however, not ideal for photography.

Humpback whales:

Antarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella):

Crabeater seals (Lobodon carcinophaga):

Weddell seal (Leptonychotes weddellii):

Weddell seal:

And a couple of gratuitous non-wildlife photos: first, a panorama shot of Neko Harbour, our only landing on the actual continent (the other landings were on islands).

And finally a photo of our ship the Bark Europa, she’s registered as a sail training vessel so everyone signs on as voyage crew and is expected to participate in sailing the ship. It is, I think, the best possible way to travel to Antarctica – though sailing a tall ship across the Drake Passage is, perhaps, not for the faint of heart (or weak of stomach).

JAC: I am extremely jealous. Will I see a penguin in Antarctica before I die? If I know a song of Antarctica, of the plump seals plastered on the ice and the glaciers calving blue offspring and the fishy faces of the penguins, does Antarctica know a song of me? Will the air over the snow quiver with a color that I have on, or the Adelies invent a game in which my name is, or the masts of a bark throw a shadow on the water that is like me, or will the gentoos of Palmer Land watch out for me?


  1. GBJames
    Posted February 26, 2018 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Great photos!

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted February 26, 2018 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Adventure of a lifetime that very few get to experience. What a trip.

  3. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted February 26, 2018 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    Linux animals in 3 … 2… 1….

  4. Jake Sevins
    Posted February 26, 2018 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Jerry: why don’t you put up a donation page for “Send PCC(E) to Antarctica?” With all the readers you have, you’d probably get enough to make a trip!

    • Posted February 26, 2018 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      Naah, that’s e-begging and I don’t do that. I want someone to give me a trip in return for lectures, which is how I did the Galapagos.

      • Hempenstein
        Posted February 26, 2018 at 11:58 am | Permalink

        You could probably get the Discovery Inst or Templeton Fdn to produce a ticket in short order, but they’d probably insist you leave soon, to ensure your arrival in June.

      • Posted February 26, 2018 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        Unfortunately there are no universities in Antarctica to sponsor your visit. 🙂

  5. David Duncan
    Posted February 26, 2018 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    I’m envious. I’d like to go, and have a picture of myself in a tux “speaking” to an Emperor Penguin.

  6. Terry Sheldon
    Posted February 26, 2018 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much for the lovely photos! Penguins rule!!

  7. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted February 26, 2018 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    That was some lovely poetry at the end.
    There are Antarctic cruises, and I know there are sciencey cruises with speakers on board…

    • MarkMyWords
      Posted February 26, 2018 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      What a wonderful paraphrase of the lines from “Out of Africa”. Entirely appropriate here – now if only the “appropriation police” will leave well enough alone.

      • Mark Sturtevant
        Posted February 26, 2018 at 9:40 am | Permalink

        I was going to see if I could find it. Thanks!

    • Posted February 26, 2018 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      Yes, I know, and I plumped to be on one. For a while things looked good, and I was very happy, but then nothing seems to have happened. They don’t want me, I guess. 😦

  8. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted February 26, 2018 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Wonderful pictures! The wildlife and the scenery.
    I suppose the red stuff in the Adele penguin rookery is red ocher. At least I hope it is.

  9. Posted February 26, 2018 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    As long as I didn’t have to climb the masts, I would be game for sailing in Antartic waters.

    As far as penguin color schemes go, I am partial to the simple elegance of the Adelie penguin.

    Great pics!

    • Brian Davis
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 1:30 am | Permalink

      I’ve made two trips on Europa. Sadly, never to the antarctic. Their motto was “There’s nothing you have to do, and there’s nothing you can’t do.” Want to climb the masts? Go for it. Want to sleep in instead of standing watches in the middle of the night? That’s fine too.

  10. Posted February 26, 2018 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Spectacular! Utterly spectacular.

    • Glenda Palmer
      Posted February 26, 2018 at 11:24 am | Permalink


  11. rickflick
    Posted February 26, 2018 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Nice lineup of polar critters. The parade of species gives me that sense of wonder at life’s diversity.

  12. nicky
    Posted February 26, 2018 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    We have a large colony of Jackass penguins (I think they are called African penguins now) at Boulders, next to Simonstown, about two dozen km south of Cape Town. Maybe not Antarctica, but still penguins.

  13. Posted February 26, 2018 at 11:42 am | Permalink


  14. Posted February 26, 2018 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    I had an Inuk friend who wanted to see the Antarctic – so much like the Arctic yet also so different (penguins, for one). Shame she never made it.

  15. Heather Hastie
    Posted February 26, 2018 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful pics. Thanks so much for sharing!

  16. Posted February 26, 2018 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    Spectacular photos! Someday, I will make it to both Antarctica and the High Arctic….

  17. Andrea Kenner
    Posted February 26, 2018 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful photos! Thank you!!

  18. Posted February 26, 2018 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    These are gorgeous! Thanks, Russel.

  19. Posted March 10, 2018 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    I was fascinated both by the penguins and the ship!

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