An Aerial View

Helo flight photos of the study area!
(Today's weather: 20 degrees HOT! NO WIND!)

McMurdo (not our study area...no seals there!).  Obs Hill to the left.  Scott Base (Kiwi base) below us, not in photo.  This photo is looking to the NW.

Hutton Cliffs...see all the black specks!  Seals!  Tent, Big Razorback, and Innaccessible Island can be seen in the upper right hand corner.

Approaching Turks Head seal colony to the right (Tent, Big Razorback, Little Razorback, and Inaccessible Island in background).  Erebus Ice Tongue shooting out into the bay (left side of photo)
Similar view, higher up.  This is the main area of our study area...seals haul out and give birth on all the edges of the islands and rocky outcrops, as well as other numerous random cracks.  The sea ice edge is seen to the right, about 10 miles away.  Can you tell which way the wind blows around here?


Crevasses bigger than your house.  Mt Erebus above.

Crevassed mess below Mt Erebus near the Turks Head seal colony.  Can you see the lobes of the ice tongue in the background?

Big Razorback!  The best island ever.  That's our camp, and those black blobs are the seals (many with pups next to them)

Pressure from ice moving down Mt Erebus and the ice tongue push ice into folds and breaks on the inner side of the island.  These folds and breaks (pressure ridges) are taller than me!

Photographer and crew member Jess in action!

Pro videographer and outreach specialist, Mary Lynn Price (who maintains weddellsealscience.com and the field blog)

Comments

  1. So the wind blows around/down from Erebus and out to sea? Appears to do this with some regularity. Is it the colder air moving down from the mountain ranges?

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    Replies
    1. Got your eyes on the wind shadow, nice! When the wind is blowing, which is pretty much always, it is blowing down Mt Erebus, or if there is a storm, its coming from the south. It's hard to say whether the air is colder coming down from Erebus...I bet it is!

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  2. Big Razorback colony: about 50 pairs, any crabeaters or male Weddells?

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    Replies
    1. No crabeaters in our study area, though we just found one yesterday (actually the same individual we see each year, but she moves to different areas each year) out on a crack between Inaccessible Island and the sea ice edge.

      And yes! Each colony has several males...after the females give birth they are receptive again, so there is a lot of battling under the ice (biting each others flippers and necks, and other personal parts). We see a lot of bloody males haul out on the ice.

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