Monday, March 23, 2015

South Georgia Newsletter, February 2015 (video)

 Penguin feather balls at St Andrew’s Bay. Photo Roland Gockel.

Penguin feather ball: Nature is ruled by mathematics and yet loves to play tricks and throw up surprises. A previously unseen phenomenon are these ‘penguin footballs’ that were found at St Andrews Bay. The bay is home to the world’s largest king penguin colony, and at his time of year many of the birds are up on the beach for a few weeks to moult their feathers. On close inspection the ‘penguin footballs’ are made up of the long tail feathers of the penguins. The balls were only seen at the river mouth, so perhaps the river water action, working in the opposite direction to the almost constant sea surf, resulted in the coagulation of the long moulted feathers, knitting them into the balls.

In the late summer the penguin chicks and seal pups are adventurous and investigating their
environment. Watch as newly fledged chicks peck at the boots and walking kit of two people who
sat down to watch them at a lake that looked like a penguin spa.


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