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Bird Island, South Georgia & South Sandwich Islands
I work as a Zoological Field Assistant, and am the 2009 Winter Base Commander, at Bird Island Research Station, one of the British Antarctic Survey's five research bases in Antarctica. The main remit of my job is seal fieldwork as part of BAS' Long Term Monitoring and Survey programme. Science has been carried out on Bird Island since 1958. I work with Antarctic fur seals and leopard seals, as well as assisting with the seabird fieldwork programme. Contact me on: ewanedwards at gmail dot com

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

28.07.2009 - Sunshine at last

Sunshine recorder and wind instrument on top of the communications tower - recording some fine weather for a change!

Prince House, our main accommodation building

Stacey and Derren carry out some maintenance on the met instruments

Freshwater Inlet, with the base and mountain behind

A giant petrel taking off from the water

Northern giant petrel

Sleeping seals covered in wind-blown snow

A young blue-eyed shag on a rock

A female fur seal rejecting the males untimely advances

A young male seal enjoying the sun

When fur seals sleep they often tuck their flippers in around themselves

The fur seals seem much more relaxed when the sun shines!

It is incredible how the appearance of the sun can change ones mood. I for one feel a lot more cheery when the sun shines upon my pale skin - although being so fair of complexion I have to be careful to avoid being burnt! The fur seals too seem more relaxed, and generally of a better mood, when basking in the sunshine.

Thus far this winter the weather has been, in general, appalling. The not-insignificant amount of snow that has fallen has either thawed soon after, or has been blown away by southerly gales, over the cliff edge on the north side of the island, only to melt into nothingness when it lands upon the sea once again. We have had days of fog, more commonly associated with the summer.

Dreams of long cold spells with clear skies, like Derren, Fabrice, Flea and I experienced last winter, have led to weeks of frustration - skis staying in storage, snow shoes gathering dust... but in the last few days, as we approach August, we have seen signs of a change. A couple of days of sunshine and snow showers have left the place with a far more wintery feel.

Today, with temperatures well below freezing and the bright sun shining down on us, was hopefully the beginning of a memorable period of fine winter weather, which will allow us plenty chances to get out and ski and enjoy the place at its best.


Entre alacranes y mariposas amarillas... said...

I think not everyone can appreciate a sunny day, but being so far away gives you the time to think about it. Id like to think about it more often ;).

Silje-Kristin Jensen said...

The last picture of the fur seals is so fantastic. You can really see the peace in his/her face. Ah, enjoying the antarctic silence..

Ewan Edwards said...

They really do seem more relaxed in the sunshine! Like you say Silje, its obvious from their face. How could anyone dislike fur seals?!

Silje-Kristin Jensen said...

Hehe, you are such a seal geek Ewan. I like it :-) Same as me.