Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Black-Tie Event in Patagonia

By Katharine

In Patagonia we saw penguins, not just one but half a million. We visited the biggest penguin colony in South America. It was a two-hour drive from Puerto Madryn to Punta Tombo. When we got there, we saw penguins walking everywhere. A guide said to us that we could not touch them.

The penguins were sitting on nests in holes that they had dug in the ground and also under bushes. Many of the nests were filled with chicks or eggs. The penguins are called Magellanic penguins because they were named after Ferdinand Magellan, the first man to sail around the world. They are small. They look like South African penguins. They have pink circles around their eyes, a black back, and a white face and chest. They reached a little bit above my knee.

After the nest is built, the mom lays 2 eggs at a time. It takes 5 to 6 weeks for an egg to hatch. The chicks stay in the nest for 1 month. After that, they leave the nest to grow adult feathers. The parents swim up to 600 km for food to give to the babies. They eat shrimp, fish, and krill. Both chicks are given equal care. Usually, they survive. The predators are the sea lion and petral.

We walked on gravel paths and over bridges through the reserve. The penguins were on there, too. We got about a foot away from them. They sing a crazy song that sounds like a car horn. They do it to attract a female. Two of them were fighting. They were pulling at each other and biting their tails.

When we were leaving mom was videotaping a penguin, when another penguin came up behind me and nipped my pants. It didn’t hurt, though. Penguins are cool birds.

Click image for larger view.

Penguin in nest with chicks.

Penguins at the Battle of Ypres.

Penguins view local wildlife (guanaco).

Penguin having trouble flossing.

You lookin' at me?

A gala event on the beach.

She can't swim 600 kms but she's a cutie.

Okay, okay, I'm short for my weight.


Anonymous said...

Muy interesante. A mi me gusta los pinguinos y me gista leer do los.

Abuela Rosa said...

Esto es de tu abuela . Anonymous es mi. No se porque no puedo mandar bien. Pero los cuentos son muy interesantes.

Therese Mageau said...

Katharine -- Could you just walk up to the penguins? Did they walk up to you? You give a very good account of these creatures -- I really learned a lot. I'm looking forward to more reports!