Posted by Cricket
Ernest Shackleton’s hut from the Nimrod expedition at Cape Royds sits on the coast of Ross Island beside an Adelie penguin rookery. In contrast to the quiet and elegant beauty of Captain R.F. Scott’s hut at Cape Evans, Royds seems more intimate and personable, partly due to it being nestled in a cove amongst rolling hills, but also because of our penguin neighbors. I think Royds might be my favorite, and this is because we’re so close to the penguins, which we can watch across Pony Lake and hear chattering all day long as we work in and around the hut. It’s fantastic to be so close to these funny little birds which seem to be constantly busy and fidgeting.
Last night we had a special treat. After dinner we heard a different bird call like a low trilled honk. It was the sound of Emperor penguins. We spotted about a dozen coming along the coast from the north, slowing making their way south across the ice. In contrast to the quick and sometimes random Adelies, the Emperors appear calm and methodical. They are a stately bird. They moved in a straight line, stopping at times for twenty to thirty minutes, before continuing on their way. We sat on the cliff for almost two hours, eager for them to get closer and willing them to hurry. They finally made it to the edge of the Adelie rookery where they paused for a time before carrying on.