Through the Looking Glass of Val Lee – Penguins (Magellanic and Gentoo)

Magellanic Penguin © Val J. Lee

Magellanic Penguin © Val J. Lee

 

Penguins (Juvenile)

Seeing the Penguins of Patagonia in South America was a dream come true. The LORD God was completely gracious to allow my husband, Al, and I, this blessed experience. We departed from Ushuaia, Argentina, in an enclosed, water tour craft to see the wonders of the Beagle Channel, within the Straights of Magellan. This is called the “End of the World.” The Beagle Channel, or Beagle Canal, is 150 miles long, encompassing both Argentina and Chile. It runs from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, east to west or visa versa. In this area of the end of the world, you round the cape (Cape Horn) by ship,

Cape Horn © Val J. Lee

Cape Horn © Val J. Lee

And later view the Andes Mountains in the Strait of Magellan.

Strait of Magellan © Val J. Lee

Strait of Magellan © Val J. Lee

Magellanic Penguin © Val J. Lee

Magellanic Penguin © Val J. Lee

These little Penguin guys are just all too cute.

Video: 

Jesus Christ certainly blessed mankind when He created these multifunctional bird/fish creatures. He gave us countless animals who own captivating attributes that thrill our hearts.

Magellanic Penguins © Val J. Lee

Magellanic Penguins © Val J. Lee

It was such a joy to have a Penguin jumping in and out of the water next to our boat like a dolphin for a short period, as we traveled the Beagle Channel.

Magellanic Penguin © Val J. Lee

Magellanic Penguin © Val J. Lee

Magellanic is strictly a South American Penguin, breeding in coastal Argentina, Chile and the Falkland Islands. A few do migrate to Brazil. The Magellanic Penguin breed was named after the Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Magellan who first spotted this bird in 1520. Of course, the Strait of Magellan was named after him as well.

Magellanic Penguin © Val J. Lee

Magellanic Penguin © Val J. Lee

These bird/fish travel in flocks when merging with ocean waters when on the hunt. They swim like fish as perfect underwater divers who love to catch and eat their fill of petite sea-creatures in God’s life-springing blue waters that provide them with cuttlefish, squid, krill and crustaceans. Great things to munch on. Bon-appetit.

There are 12 types of Penguins. They all ingest salt water with their prey food, their salt excreting glands cleanses the salt from their bodies. No one who has common sense, can absolutely declare that absolutely nothing created these magnificently crafted creatures. Evolution is the god of the foolish. As the Bible states, the fool says in his heart there is no God. (Psalm 14:1)

The Magellanic swimming birds are 24 to 30 inches in length and can weigh up to 14 pounds—weight can vary. The weight of both parents drops significantly during the feeding of their young.

Magellanic Penguins are migratory, some birds traveling as far north as Peru and Brazil to winter.

Parents feed their chicks by regurgitating partially digested food; this is the way of all Penguins. As we note often in wildlife, the males are larger than the females.

You can view from the photos the fact the adults have black backs and white abdomens. They possess a black stripe that runs from their beak upward. It then travels down the back on their heads, and then, wraps like a necklace about their throat.

Penguins (Juvenile)

Chicks and juveniles display grey-blue backs, with a more faded grey-blue color upon their chest. (See photo above)

Magellanic Penguins can live up to 25 years in the wild; however, as long as 30 years in captivity. God is gracious with the years of life He grants them.

Akin to other Penguin species, the Magellanic, has very rigid wings, implemented to cruise under water, as if in flight. They also own the best manufactured eyes for hunting in water and living on land … an amazingly crafted bird for land and sea; though not for air flight as they are a non-soaring bird.

Magellanic Penguins are faithful for life in union. They have been utilized for illustration, to explain how people should be faithful in marriage for life, including one European, secular news source: “Nature’s most loyal lovers: Magellanic Penguins always return to same mate after solo journeys totaling 200,000 miles.” One unique couple remained faithful for 16 years.  This was remarkable as Penguins can easily perish due to the many hazards they encounter.  Many Penguins have to locate new mates as many do not survive the year.

Penguins are equipped by God with locating apparatus within. Among hundreds of thousands of birds, a male or female can home in on their special someone through their one of a kind, distinct call. And parents and their young can locate each other through voice recognition. Penguins can appear alike to us, but they recognize their differences. It is slightly similar to a racial group all appearing the same to a person of a different nationality, though they well distinguish themselves among themselves. Just as no two snowflakes are alike, no animal is totally like another. God is not known to make copycats in His animal kingdom and human kingdom.

We all know there will never be another Abraham Lincoln nor Bobbie the Wonder Dog. In 1923, Bobbie traveled with his family from Silverton, Oregon to Indiana for the family’s vacation. He was a two year-old Scotch Collie/English Shepherd mix. Sadly, during the vacation, Bobbie was separated from his owners. The family engaged in an exhaustive search. Unfortunately, they could not locate their beloved canine. They were forced to return to Oregon. Six months later, February of 1924, Bobbie appeared on the doorstep of his home in Silverton. He was extremely thin, dirty, and weak. His feet were worn to the bone. Bobbie had walked 2,551 miles (4,105 km) across the United States to return home. God was gracious to this family and dog.

Animals and mankind are handcrafted by God Almighty. God says of man that he is fearfully and wonderfully created from the time of conception in Psalm 139, within the Bible. Man is different from animals as man has an eternal soul. Animals do not. This is why Christ came and died for you that you might be saved from your sins and live eternally in heaven. Please click here to learn of God’s personal love for you: letter-to-bird-enthusiast

When Penguins are attracted to each other for a lifetime commitment, they will woo each other by performing a display stretch with their necks, point their beaks skywards, while spreading their wings and making a braying (donkey-like) noise. This is performed repetitively, over periods of an hour or more. Magellanic Penguins also perform allopreening (preening or grooming each other with their beaks). This serves a dual purpose, it reinforces bonds between Penguins and removes parasites; though the later is not romantic at all.

 

Nesting burrows of Magellanic Penguins © Val J. Lee

Nesting burrows of Magellanic Penguins © Val J. Lee

An Attached Penguin male will reclaim his nesting burrow (They dig holes with a mound at the top) from the previous year and await to reconnect with his lifetime mate—the mother of all their chicks.

The Penguins nest in communities, being most social.

Their nests are constructed under bushes if not burrowed. Two eggs are generally laid. God created them to lay the perfect eggs, which do not fall on ledges, they spin because they own one narrow end and balance themselves. The incubation period is 39–42 days. Mom and Dad take turns guarding the nest. While one takes the sentry position, the other sets out to sea for food. Eggs and young chicks can fall victim to various types of Seagulls so parents must always be on guard duty.

After hatching, Mom and Dad share in their task of chick care. Chicks are fed daily, with one of their parents leaving the colony in early morning and returning with food later the same day. Fledging (departing the nest) occurs at 9 to 17 weeks of age. The offspring are raised through adulthood.

Magellanic Penguins, at the Patagonian coastal areas, are classified as a threatened species due to the vulnerability of large breeding colonies to oil tanker discharges. Sea lions and Giant Petrels also prey on the young.

Sea Lions of South America © Val J. Lee

Sea Lions of South America © Val J. Lee

Petrels with Seagulls, Magellanic enemies © Val J. Lee

Petrels with Seagulls, Magellanic enemies © Val J. Lee

Additionally, heavy rain can lead to the flooding of burrows and killing of chicks, which have yet to develop waterproof plumage. And burrows can collapse when trampled on by guanacos (family of Lamas) or cattle. These aves also can be plagued by Penguin fleas, though this is not life-threatening.

Magellanic Penguins are considered relatively aggressive and can inflict a strong bite if handled. Although they can be approached, they are wary of unfamiliar people.

Magellanic Penguins with Guanay Cormorant © Val J. Lee

Magellanic Penguins with Guanay Cormorant © Val J. Lee

Guanay Cormorants were everywhere. They appear to be Penguins, when amongst the Penguins. You have to peer and observe to see the difference. (See photo above)

Gentoo Penguin © Val J. Lee

Gentoo Penguin in need of a bath © Val J. Lee

The Gentoo Penguins live amongst the Magellanic as if they were of the same family of Penguin. The Gentoo Penguin is easily recognized by the wide white stripe extending like a hat bonnet across the top of its head and its red bill. Also they display pale-pink webbed feet, and a fairly long tail—the most prominent tail of all Penguins.

Nests for their offspring consist of a roughly, circular pile of stones and can be on the large side. The stones are jealously guarded! Their acquired ownership can be the subject of noisy disputes between individual Penguins. The stones are prized by the female Gentoos. A male Penguin knows he can strand in good favor of a female by offering her a nice stone. Needless to say, a great deal of theft takes place during nesting season. They lay two eggs and both parents care for the young, same as the Magellanic.

Gentoo Penguin © Val J. Lee

Gentoo Penguin © Val J. Lee

As the Gentoo Penguin waddles along on land, its extended tail sweeps from side to side like a broom. This visualization explains their scientific name “Pygoscelis,” which translates—”rump-tailed.”

The Gentoo Penguin can reach speeds up to 22 miles per hour, swimming under water. (The Magellanic can reach speeds of 15 mph.) They are not tortoises when it comes to motoring through the oceans. Top Olympian swimmers can swim in the ocean at 2 miles per hour.

Gentoos are also jumping Penguins. God masterfully created them to jump and run quickly over the rocks where they live. They can even outrun people.

Side note: Sailors discovered Penguin eggs could be kept 6 months when rubbed with oil and placed in sand for a future food source.

*Info gratefully gathered from various web sources.

Please click on blue to view my South American slide video:  South America – Beautiful Scenery Slide Show

Please click on blue to view my Sea Lion video: Sea Lions at the end of the world in Ushuaia

*Advertisements are not placed by me, they are placed on the post by Word Press. I apologize for anything inappropriate. 

Through the Looking Glass of Val Lee – Yellow-legged Seagulls

Yellow-legged Seagull @ Val J. Lee

I enjoyed observing these aves moving about the Rock of Gibraltar where Mediterranean Sea intersects with Atlantic Ocean … becoming one. You can view Africa from Gibraltar, specifically Morocco, and ferries run between. It is a famed limestone peak that was once a fortress.

Rock of Gibraltar @ Val J. Lee

It is richly historical with an inner being that possesses 150 caves and one still holds ancient cannons that are focused on the sea straits.

Gibraltar west side cannon @ Val J. Lee

The City of Gibraltar, holding within the Rock of Gibraltar, is a territory of Britain though it is surrounded by Spain and Spain would like to re-seize it. Spain lost Gibraltar to Britain in the war of 1704.

The highlighted cave of Saint Michael’s, (named after Michael the Archangel in the Bible) was magnificently designed by Jesus Christ. It lodges many deep cavities and a crystal clear lake. The Greeks believed this cave led to Hades.

Barbary or Rock Monkeys freely roam about the Rock. No one knows for sure how these Moroccan monkeys came to Gibraltar; though one couple could have snuck aboard a cargo ship headed for Gibraltar, and over time, propagated  a colony of apes.

Rock Apes on Rock of Gibraltar @ Val J. Lee

Here is my photo of a Barbary Monkey at the summit of Gibraltar and link to my video:

Monkeys (Barbary Macaque) Atop Gibraltar

Barbary Monkey on Rock of Gibraltar @ Val J. Lee

Both the Barbary Monkeys and the Yellow-legged Seagulls (Larus michahellis) love leftovers and handouts. We saw the Seagulls fighting the monkeys for food. Surprisingly, the yellow legs won. It appears these seagulls and monkeys rule Gibraltar in a bi-partisan manner.

Yellow-legged Seagulls on Rock of Gibraltar @ Val J. Lee

Gibraltar is quite the scene and I must say it was the monkeys I enjoyed the most even though they are an aggressive species of monkey.

@ Val J. Lee

This is my husband feeding a friendly rock ape from our car window with some bird seed I brought to feed flyers. A huge, baboon-like ape, noticed this happening, and seeming to come out of nowhere, came right through this window to rob us. I cried, “No” at him, as I do my cats on the rare occasions when they misbehave. But he didn’t care that I pleaded for him to reconsider. He grabbed the bird food bag forcibly from my hand. He knew he was far stronger and faster than I. My husband found it quite the joke, but I was infuriated.

Barbary Monkeys enjoying view on Rock of Gibraltar @ Val J. Lee

You do have to walk cautiously, knowing these apes can bite hard if you do not let them have their way. You can end up spending your vacation in the hospital. They will even check your pockets for food. I must say I enjoyed the Green Monkeys of Barbados better, as they are sweet, shy and kind.

The Yellow-legged Gulls can be mistaken for the European Herring Gull that also displays a red mark on the beak during breeding season. This mark is the target that yellow-legged Gull chicks tap to incite their parents to regurgitate partly digested victuals. (See first photo) Now, who told them where to tap for food and who made that red mark? Yes, the LORD God! He cares for baby birds and makes sure they are wondrously provided for.

Can you imagine the lifelessness of our domain if God had created a black and white world with only black and white birds? Psalm 8, in the Bible, is a song of praise to God whose name is excellent in all the earth! In this song, the LORD proclaims men’s glory, honor and dominion over our prismatic earth, including the multihued birds of the air.

Yellow-legged Seagulls @ Val J. Lee

Both the Yellow-legged and Herring gull, peer with yellow eyes that are surrounded with an orbital eye-ring. When researching the species, I thought the yellow-legs were Herrings. One distinguishing characteristic, of course, is their skinny yellow legs. The Herring’s are dark grey with pink overtones. Outside of the limbs, I find them difficult to distinguish. Their eye-rings I cannot distinguish in photos, though God crafted the Yellow-legged Seagulls to have red eye-rings that match the mark on their beak during breeding; and the Herrings, a deep yellow ring. Yellow-legs also display a whiter head in autumn and disperse a deeper call that is nasal.

Yellow-legged Seagull at Rock of Gibraltar @ Val J. Lee

The yellow legs breeding range is centered around the Mediterranean Sea. Here is my video with them flying about Rock of Gibraltar with a view of the Mediterranean/Atlantic:

In North Africa, the yellow legs are common in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. “Recent breeding has occurred in Libya and Egypt. In the Middle East a few breed in Israel and Syria with larger numbers in Cyprus and Turkey.” European colonies run along the Mediterranean coast and have spread north into central and Western Europe.

Yellow-legged Gulls courtship is similar to many birds. The damsel will beg food from her wooing suitor. The skinny yellow-legged gal will plead in a hunched-posture. She will toss her bright pretty head and move her bill up and down so her guy gets the message. These gulls mate for life by Jesus Christ’s design. Couples normally breed in colonies and females will lay three eggs from mid March to early May.

There have been reports of gulls attacking people who come to close too their nesting areas. In one area of London, postal deliveries had to be suspended. They are strong birds. I can testify to this from observing them war with apes.

Yellow leg nests are a sparse mound of vegetation built on the ground or on cliff ledges. Their eggs are incubated for 27–31 days and the hatched fledge or fly at 35–40 days. Nests are defended vigorously. This is true with most bird families.

If a couple makes a successful home, they will return the following season.

Seagulls start breeding when age three and can live for 40 years.

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Seagulls do like to be stationed near fast food suppliers and recent studies reveal many now prefer city-life to sea-life. A few will attack people for the delectables in their hands.

Here is a video of a Seagull robbing a store of its Cheese Doritos:

Yellow legs are omnivores (eating whatever is available). Of course, we all know they are a scavenger bird … I must be blunt. They love rubbish and hunting suitable prey in fields or in coastal areas. They will rob smaller gulls and other seabirds of their catches.

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Please click here to learn of God’s personal love for you:  letter-to-bird-enthusiast

My video of Gibraltar, France and Spain: Gibraltar, Paris and Spain:

Gibraltar, Paris and Spain

*Info gratefully gathered from various web sources.