A Lost Nest
This Adelie penguin has been nesting this egg for over 40 days. The range of hatching time is 30-35 days. Today the adult has decided to no longer sit on the egg. Clearly it will not hatch. A few days ago, this penguin would fiercely protect the egg against predators. Now she has lost interest and will no longer defend her nest. It's a sad day.
The question for me as I watch is, how long will it take the Skuas to notice the egg and them come for it?
I watched to see what would happen. Within about 15 minutes, a Skua, with two chicks in her own nest to feed, flew off with the egg. If this egg had hatched now, it would have been difficult for the parents to get the chick to fledging weight before the sea ice started to close in.
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Postcards from the Field: Antarctica