Fresh from the bottom of the world – Antarctica adventures of UAB’s Jim McClintock

Bham Now BOLD Lecturer and UAB explorer Dr. Jim McClintock is providing Bham Now blog posts from his Antarctica trip during the month of January 2017.

Below is week January 8-16 of his journey.

Enjoy Jim’s observations and photography from the bottom of the world!

Gentoo Penquins in Antarctica – Photo from Jim McClintock

Check out past Bham Now stories about Jim McClintock:

What Do Roosevelt (TR), Lindbergh, Armstrong and UAB’s McClintock Have in Common?

Bham Now Live Interview with BOLD Speaker Jim McClintock -discussing climate change, drought, President -elect Trump & Hand in Paw

 

January 8, 2017

Jim McClintock

This afternoon our jet settled (well bounced) to the windy tarmac of Ushuaia’s airport  – the most southern town in the world.  Now boarded we’ve sail on the beautiful ship Le Lyrial for Antarctica.  I’m excited about giving my lecture tomorrow morning on the impacts of climate change on Antarctica – lots of excitement among the 200 guests about my cautionary tale. 

January 10, 2017

The Drake Passage stretches 800 miles from the tip of South America to the Antarctic Peninsula.  We’ve been at sail two days now and we should begin to see some of the South Shetland Islands later tonight.  The Drake has been a lake…a rare crossing.  Now, albatross, cape petrels, and storm petrels circle the ship… icebergs beckon us on. 

January 11, 2017

First Antarctic landing – check

Greeted by Chinstrap and gentoo penguins colonies – check

Rare sighting of macaroni penguin amongst gentoos- check

Rare sighting of rockhopper penguin among chinstraps – check

leopard seal near shore capturing and eating penguin – check

skua carrying off penguin chick – check

laughing gulls nesting – check

sheathbills foraging – check

blue eyed shags and giant petrels flying overhead – check

rare white morph of giant petrel flying by – check

humpback whales breaching in distance -check

ship surrounded by feeding humpbacks at sunset – check

 Another day in Antarctica – check.
 

The glass-like sea and alpine glow on this late evening Antarctic sea are but sublime – as are the humpback whales surrounding our ship.  This morning we made our first landing on Livingston Island in the Shetland Islands  – greeted ashore by chinstrap, gentoo, and the very rare, macaroni penguin.  Skuas and giant petrels circled above and a leopard seal prowled.  How wondrous and rare this raw natural beauty.  How precious and how challenged by a warming climate is this amazing place – a glacial landscape sunk deeper in recess but two years since I visited. 

Humpback Whales – Photo by a fellow traveler
Photo by – Jim McClintock

January 13, 2017

This place that is Antarctica has an ethereal beauty that is impossible to capture in images or prose. Perhaps the only medium to paint its nature – outside of being here – is poetry.

Antarctica 2017 – Photo by Jim McClintock

January 16, 2017

Gentoo penguins are now everywhere here on the northern and central western Antarctic Peninsula.  As climate change brings a rapidly warming climate they are taking over nests left behind by Adelie penguins unable to adapt to a world without sea ice.  The rate of ecological change is stunning, the impacts largely negative.

Gentoos Penquins in Antarctica – Photo from Jim McClintock

  • Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.