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Quite a lot of penguins

It’s still hot in Phoenix, although less hot than formerly, so here’s a cooling black-and-white-and-gray vista to cool the eye.

These King penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus) are amassed on South Georgia Island, located at 54〫S in the fearsome southern Atlantic ocean.  There are tens of thousands of them on this breeding beach.  Most of the individuals in this photo are adults — males are larger than females, but the sexes are similar in plumage — but note the so-called “oakum-boys” in their shaggy browny downy chicky plumage standing around waiting for semi-digested krill to be delivered by mom or dad. (Photo A.Shock)


According to this site the term “oakum boy”, referring to King penguin chicks, is explained this way:

“The old sealers called them the oakum boys as they looked like the rolls of oakum used for caulking ships. Oakum was a loose fibre got by picking old rope to bits, sometimes, even rope that had been used to hang criminals. Convicts or paupers often did this work. (Ever heard the expression money for old rope?). The word oakum comes from the old english (before 1150 AD) acumbe, literally off combing. The word comb comes from old saxon. Caulking was the stopping up of the seams of ships using oakum and a waterproofing material like tar.”

Posted by Allison on Sep 30th 2010 07:54 pm | No Comments yet
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