Unusually for Antarctic birds, snow petrels seem
to apply some thought to the practicalities of a nest site.
This pair are at the entrance to their nest which has been made
in a natural crevice amongst some large broken-up rocks. This is
a frequent choice for a nest site though not always available or
in plentiful supply as snow petrels nest very far south and such
crevices are frequently snowed or iced up.
Attempting to approach a nest (as I did on many occasions
when helping in a long term programme on nesting success) brings
out the worst in snow petrels. A well aimed stream of foul smelling,
bright pink, oily, semi-digested krill mixed with oily stomach secretions
would come in your direction in their (admirably unpleasant) defence
Snow petrels have been known to nest far inland
on the Antarctic continent, nearly 200km. from the nearest sea that
they must travel to in order to feed. They must nest on rock and
in these cases choose "nunataks" isolated outcrops of tall rock
ridges and mountains that protrude above the surrounding ice from
the bed rock.
Paul Ward - Pentax equipment, 100mm
lens, 35mm film, K64.
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