Tim Melling – Rockhoppers on the march
Tim writes: these are all Southern Rockhopper Penguins (Eudyptes chrysocome) returning from a foraging trip to their noisy nesting colony in the Falklands. Arthur Cobb, after whom Cobb’s Wren is named, once described the noise of a Rockhopper colony “as if thousands of wheelbarrows, all badly in need of greasing, are being pushed at full speed”. They feed mainly on krill, and go hunting for them in a big group, probably because it reduces their chances of being eaten by South American Sea-lions, Fur Seals and Orcas.
They return from the sea en masse too, so it is like the end of a triathlon swimming event as they make their way back to the colony. When their “hair” is wet, the beautiful yellow head plumes just look thin and straggly. The closer photo shows why they got the name Rockhopper as they move like this over uneven ground.