Antarctica Wildlife

In the last post, I shared my favorite landscape captures from my Antarctica trip. This week, I’m sharing my favorite wildlife photos. 

Spring in Antarctica is an incredible time. Not only is everything still pristine from the winter snow and ice, but it’s when the whole food web springs to life. As the ice recedes, light can reach the plankton. As the plankton grows, it supports the many animals reliant on it for food, including krill. The large quantity of krill is what supports much sea life, including whales*. The increased food supply is what also supports the extra food needs for nesting and young offspring.

We were fortunate to have seen many species of penguins, seals, and birds, plus a few whales. We saw penguins on two different shore landings and saw seals while cruising around in the zodiac boats. Birds were everywhere, from the Drake Passage to the harbours we sailed into.

Here are just a fraction of the photos that I took :).

* This is why whales often arrive later in the summer season, once their enough food to support them. We did see some whales, though it was too early in the season to see them in great numbers.

All photos from November 2023. Locations include Portal Point, Freud Passage, Danco Island, Neko Harbour, Orne Harbour, and the Southern Ocean.

This is one of my favorite seal images of the trip as you can see not only the seal in the broader landscape, but you can see the path they took out of the water to their resting spot. 
A photographer-pleasing seal. He really seemed to be posing for us. Most seals we saw were lying flat on the ice resting, only seldom looking up. Seals have no land-based predators so can feel very safe relaxing on land. 
A Gentoo penguin coming over a rise. All photos posted here are Gentoos, though we also saw and photographed Chinstrap and Adélie penguins. 
Falling snow blurs the boundary between land, air, and the sea beyond. 
Penguins really do head up and away from the water. Here, a group hangs out on a ridge in the falling snow.
Whenever you can make eye contact in your wildlife photography you’re likely going to come away with a good photo. 
A favorite of mine from this trip. As soon as I saw these two in the blowing snow I knew I had to try and capture it.
Gentoo penguins and a calving glacier in the background. 
It’s easy to anthropomorphize animals, but it’s hard to not think they’re taking in the view just as we were. In reality, they were probably scoping a safe place to mate, or perhaps a path back to the water. 
Preparing for launch. 
I wasn’t prepared for how cool it would be to see penguins swimming. They’re like speedy little darts piercing through the water. A complete contrast to their slow lumbering nature on land. 
Antarctic Tern.
A longer exposure of a Southern Fulmar about to take flight. 
Antarctic Tern. 
A Black-browed Albatross in the Southern Ocean. Taken on the journey across the Drake Passage.
Black-browed Albatross.

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