I was recently lucky enough to go on holiday to the Barff Peninsula and revisit my angry friends, the Macaroni Penguins.
Macaroni penguins on the Barff
Before I even got close to the rookery, I spent a few hours down on the beach watching the conveyer belt of little penguins to-ing and fro-ing up the rocks.
Macaroni Penguins making their way down from the colonies to the water
Regular visitors to this blog won’t be surprised to hear that it wasn’t long before I was observing the first acts of aggression between these feisty penguins!
Dirty mac on his way out of the colonies, displaying at a clean mac on his way in.
Territorial macaroni penguin sorts out the locals
The colonies are very muddy places and so the first priority, once down, is to get clean.
They are even aggressive in the bath!
Within the largest group of macaroni penguins, there were three stunning chinstrap penguins trying to make friends
We seem to have chinstrap penguins popping up everywhere at the moment. One of three trying to blend in with the macaroni penguins
It didnt take long for the Macaroni Penguins to find and ‘welcome’ the chinstraps
And they were soon running away in search of a safe haven – just like watching Baywatch
Unfortunately, this only took them closer to the breaking surf and they were swept out – taking a good number of macaroni penguins with them.
The chinstraps shouldn’t feel too hard done by as the macs don’t discrimate. They are angry and aggressive towards everything!
Small packages of aggression. This one is chasing away a hungry, inquisitive Giant Petrel
Some of the macaroni penguins intentionally made for the sea. I observed various levels of ocean entrances, but considering the sea state, I was impressed that any of them made the plunge at all.
Tom Daley would be proud – macaroni penguins diving into the surf and heading out to sea
Three macs, opting to wait for the surf to sweep them out having attempted to dive into a puddle!
As I mentioned, penguins were both coming and going. Wave after wave was full of surfing penguins trying their hardest to dismount the wave at the perfect moment to avoid being smashed into the rocks below.
Several penguins surfing the white water into the rocks
Penguins within the waves
Bottom left shows how it should be done and top right shows a penguin dismounting from a substantial height
Once landed, it’s a matter of scrambling to your feet and away from the breaking waves, before starting the long scramble back up to the colony.
Successfully out of the surf, the penguins make a mad dash up the shore before the next wave breaks
Macaronis belong to the rockhopper family and are incredible over rocks. This one landed safely and headed up to the colonies
Having completed this very strenuous ordeal and successfully navigated to the rookery, the returning adults are greeted by these hungry, fluffy youngsters.