Early landing this morning, where I spent a blissful morning listening to much quieter/calmer colonies of gentoo penguins with quite an extraordinary backdrop...... As before, i was fortunate enough to have about 30/60 minutes 'alone time' at the beginning of each landing, which really made the trip for me and of course made certain field recordings possible. Below is a tiny snippet from that time, but please note that the recording has been edited from quad to stereo. Interestingly you can hear the chicks much more clearly. Tragically, as you can also see in John's photo these chicks are much younger than the ones from further north. They are late, due to very late thawing of the snow. Without exposed rocks this species of penguin were not able to begin breeding, therefore breeding was delayed and it is unlikely that most of these chicks will survive. It is heartbreaking to watch, but somehow even more-so to hear their calls. Rest assured that this is down to us........
Not to get too much into this, as I'm not a scientist/researcher with extensive knowledge, but in speaking with those more qualified I hear a bit more about how this late thaw and more generally how the changing land and the receeding sea-ice is altering species native to this place. For example, I understand that there was a time when we would be seeing Adele penguins this far north in Antartica. But current conditions are better suited to the species of penguins breeding on rocks and the Adele move further south in search of ice mass to breed. (If you are interested and would like to read more here's an article that is worth a read: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/gentoo-penguins-thrive-while-adelies-and-chinstraps-falter-in-a-climate-changed-world/ )
With each landing or zodiac expedition it seems obvious that we are experiencing just some brief moments in the current life of this magnificent place. What we see and hear varies hugely you really get the sense of being present, right now, today and with this enormous place. I try to focus, to appreciate, to capture.....but so much of this place is overwhelming in its colour, its wildness, its vastness that I fear I will never fully comprehend the breath of the natural complex systems that tether us all, but which we seem unconnected to throughout most of our daily lives. Here, I feel connected. I know that sounds corny, but here you can feel the motion, the cause-and-effect of things that we share no place in yet we directly alter from the other side of the world. We catch a glimpse of the harshness of life here for its inhabitants, but also the natural flow of life. This year, with the late thaw the Gentoo penguin off-spring will fall. But perhaps next year will be very different, part of my point is that we are experiencing only a tiny fraction of what life is here. Compared even to The Arctic, this continent is vast and wild. Life shifts largely without our physical presence/interference......and yet we are very much felt in everything. We are the foreigners here, the strangers, which most of the natives are curious about.....so much so that we find it difficult to NOT get in the way as these little movers flit and purposefully wander everywhere. (see little video below!) These are penguin highways and you can see why. They are all over the place and help the penguins cut down on energy consumption as they move. You have to constantly be aware of your surroundings, as these little fellows get everywhere. And just listen to that sound......
Next up....back on the water.......
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A composer/sound artist whose compositions try to bring every day environments, how we hear every day sounds/places + how we are in the world into focus. At the root of this is a continued interest in blurring the distinction between what we consider ‘music’ and all other sound.