Today is the beginning of the ten-day countdown to my trip down south to the Antarctic. I can’t believe how fast time has gone! It seems that I was only just accepted into the program, and feels like I should still be fundraising. In reality I am all set for Antarctica (with a HUGE thanks to everyone who supported me!), and am now just waiting and counting down the days. Going all the way to the other side of the planet is a daunting idea, and it’s hard to actually imagine it. I have a feeling that the whole thing is going to feel a bit surreal.
In preparation, I have been going through a lot of reading material with Antarctic subject-matter. That includes researching the birds that we will most likely be seeing and memorizing the id characteristics. It’ll be a lot more fun to actually have an idea of what I’m looking at when I’m down there, rather than having to constantly ask “what is that”?
Here is a list of the coastal and sea-based birds I will be most likely to see from the time we all set sail from Ushuaia, Argentina, and return from Antarctica:
Cape (Pintado) Petrel (Cannot wait to see this one!)
(Arctic and Antarctic Terns look identical in their breeding plumage… fortunately, when I’m there the Antarctic Tern will be in breeding plumage, while the Arctic Tern – which nests here in the Yukon – will be in non-breeding plumage.)
Below is a list of ‘maybes’ I’ll cross my fingers for. Most of these are pretty unlikely, but you never know what will turn up!
Elegant Crested Tinamou (Really want to see one, just because it is so foreign-sounding!)
Mottled Petrel (They are so pretty and distinctive!)
Andean Condor (a major ‘want!! Basically a vulture with a 3+ metre wingspan.)
Southern Lapwing (another big ‘want’)
Magellanic Oystercatcher (!!!)
(The two most likely owls)
During the expedition none of us will have access to internet, so I will not be able to write on my blog. We will be allowed to post daily updates in the Students on Ice blog though. It will be our (the students) only way of contacting the outside world. My Mom will be sharing my daily updates on this blog while I am gone. You will definitely hear about every bird, fish, and mammal I see!
Ten days to go and counting….