Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
It is starting to warm up in McMurdo and that can only mean one thing... the skuas are starting to come out in full force. The skua is probably my least favorite thing about Antarctica, except for maybe reuben day in the galley.
I have attached some information about Skua's from the website http://www.antarcticconnection.com/
Description & Characteristics:
Large, heavily built birds, skuas are closely related to members of the gull family. In North America the coastal skuas are known as jaegers. Two species of skuas are found in the southern oceans: the Antarctic or the Brown, and the South Polar. Antarctic skuas breed on most of the southern islands and may be distributed as far north as the subtropics, while South Polar skuas occur primarily on the Antarctic continent, although sightings have been recorded as far north as Greenland and the Aleutian Islands. South Polar skuas are often seen following ships at sea. In winter after the breeding season, both skua species migrate northward spending most of their time at sea.
In appearance, skuas look like immature gulls, although heavier, more robust and menacing in mien. They have conspicuous white patches at the base of their flying feathers, wedge-shaped tails, and a black, short heavy bill. Their flight is heavy, with relatively little gliding and much flapping.
All skuas are fiercely predatory, and the species of the Southern Ocean, are no exception. During the summer South Polar skuas stake territories nearAdelie penguin rookeries on the coast, raiding them for eggs, chicks, and also cleaning up carrion. Thus, they have earned the nickname, 'raptor of the south'. The diet of Antarctic skuas is more broad depending on season and their locality. They may scavenge and predate upon other seabirds and their young and eggs, or they may roam the southern oceans feeding on fish, molluscs, squid, and crustaceans (mainly krill & copepods).
South Polar skuas arrive at their breeding colonies in late October to mid-December. They nest in sheltered areas adjacent to penguin colonies. The nests are shallow depressions on the ground and are often found on rocky outcrops, moss covered cliffsides or valley floors. South Polars will generally lay two mottled eggs which hatch in late December to late January after an incubation period of 24 to 34 days.
Antarctic skuas also breed during the summer months, typically laying two eggs in nests located on elevated grasslands or in sheltered rocky areas in close association with prey species. They will defend their territories vigorously against all intruders including other skuas and petrels. Some birds choose not to nest in the colonies, but will establish solitary nesting sites. Breeding skuas are highly territorial and will attack unwelcome intruders to their nests by flying straight for the head with claws outstretched.
The estimated lifespans of both South Polar and Antarctic skuas are approximately 11 years.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Thursday, November 8, 2007
One question I get a lot is..... "what do you do for fun down there?" There is a lot to do down here, but one thing I enjoy doing is knitting. As many of you know I can't cook and I despise cleaning, but I sure enjoy to knit. My lovely friends Christine & Nichole agreed to model some of my hats that I have made. So here are some of my creations.
Every season they have an Arts & Crafts show down here where I sell my knitted hats (& scarves) and handmade jewelry. I will post some pictures of my jewelry soon.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Friday, November 2, 2007
I got an email from my little sister today. It contained some facts on recycling that a few of her friends put together. I am very open about my thoughts on recycling and caring for our planet... so it was amazing to find one more thing my sister and I have in common. I thought you all would like to read it as well.
Ways to Save Our World
By: Emma and Audrey
The information is from this site
If we recycled our Sunday papers, we could save about 250 million trees a year
Every year the US produces 80 billion aluminum cans. And every can that you recycle saves enough energy to run a television for 3 hours
If you took the amount of solar power that hits the earth in just 1 hour, the entire earth could be powered for one year.
Did you know that 300 homes can be powered by one windmill
Every ton of paper you recycle can save 17 trees
Producing recycled paper causes 74% less air pollution, 35% less water pollution and creates 5 times the number of jobs than producing news paper.
If every one in the US conserved just one gallon of water per day, we could save over one billion gallons of water each year. That’s enough to fill Lake Superior 30 times.
A florescent light bulb lasts up to ten times as long as a conventional light bulb saving you over $30 dollars in the bulbs life time
Over 100,000 aluminum cans are recycled every minute in the US.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Antarctica is the coldest, windiest, harshest continent, and with little precipitation (roughly 2in per year) is the driest place on earth. It is roughly 14 million sq km (5.4 million sq mi), has an average elevation of more than 2,000 m (6,500 ft), and 98% of the landmass is covered by an ice sheet estimated to be 29 million cu km (7 million cu mi).
The average annual temperature at South Pole Station is -56°F. During the austral summer, temperatures at McMurdo Station may reach as high as 50°F, while at South Pole Station the summer temperature may reach 0°F. Palmer Station has a milder climate, with summer temperatures reaching as high as 55°F.
Temperature patterns vary so widely because the continent is covered in continuous darkness during the austral winter and continuous sunlight during the austral summer, with a few weeks of sunrises and sunsets in between seasons.
Plant life in Antarctica is limited, consisting of mostly algae, lichens, and mosses, and there are only a few known species of flowering plants. As far as animal life, only microscopic animals (such as mites and worms) and insects exist on the land; however, the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica is full of sea life, including phytoplankton, zooplankton, fish, squid, seals, whales, and seabirds.