On Stepping Stones, there are a lot of giant petrels. Petrels are sea birds that are sort of related to gulls and skuas, and they look a lot like albatrosses (but they're in a different family). Giant petrels are the largest petrel species. Their wingspan is 3-4 feet. It was neat to be around such big birds, and we even got to see some babies! Giant petrels are scavengers, so they'll eat just about anything they can find like dead penguins and seals, but they aren't aggressive scavengers like skuas. They didn't bother us and we tried not to bother them! The two fluffy petrels on the ground are the juveniles, and we didn't want to accidentally scare them into trying to fly in the cold wind. It's best to let them stay on their nests where it's safe (even though they're bigger than the nest, at this point!).
The weather got even worse today, with 50 knot winds and quite a lot of rain. The weather forecast is for it to stay like this up until we leave, so we probably won't get to go back to Stepping Stones to sample. That means that yesterday's attempted sampling trip was probably the last one of the season. Here's the group selfie we took on the way back when we realized it might be our last zodiac trip:
|Dave, Connor, MT Tom, Kelli, Uffe and Becky|