Next to polar in the Antarctic penguins lived tropical ibises and European starlings, it must be a Macquarie Island birds.
Number of bird species recorded on the island dates back hundreds. But these nesting is much less. Species because they do not quantified. Penguin is about 850 thousand. King penguins – about a hundred thousand.
The island in July 1810 was discovered by Frederick Hasselborough British sailor, looking for new places where one could hunt seals. He named the island after the name of his boss, Governor of New South Wales, Lachlan Macquarie, and joined to the UK. And that seal was a lot, right on the island came to hunters. When in 1820 the Russian landed on the island of Germany’s Fabian Bellingshausen, as both seals and penguins were nearly exterminated. Bellingshausen examined the island, described exactly the situation and drew up a map. Throughout the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth island was an important center for the hunting of penguins and elephant seals.
Macquarie is a small, 128 square kilometers. It has a very elongated shape, long and 42 wide and 5 km. Nearby are two groups of islets, Judge and Clerk (0.2 sq km) 14 miles north, and Bishop and Clerk (0.6 sq km) 33 miles south. The two archipelagos are similar environment and belong to the reserve. For some time the maps south of the Macquarie was still an island, Emerald. In 1821 was described with a precise map indicating the position by the crew of the ship “Emerald”, who christened her as his unit. But subsequent expeditions in this place only see the ocean.
Island, although narrow, is quite high. It is constructed from two terraces with a height of 150-200 meters connected to the lower passage. On the northern plateau, the highest point is Mt Elder (385 m) and the southern Mt Hamilton and Mt Fletcher (after 410 m). The island is the highest point of the undersea Macquarie Ridge, which runs along the junction of two plates of the lithosphere, the Indo-Australian and Pacific.
The island lies in a seismic zone. In recent years, there was some severe shock (23 December 2004 recorded 8.1 on the Richter scale – one of the strongest tremors in the earth), but because of the lack of buildings (with the exception of a scientific station), the losses were minimal. Recall that the tragic earthquake in China’s Tangshan in 1976, when he died nearly a quarter of a million people, had the power of 8.2 degree …
Weather on the island, as befits the Antarctic zone, to not be pleasant. The whole year is cold (3.2 degree in the winter and 7 degrees in the summer. Feeling cold winds intensify, the Howling, after all, fifty (Furious Fifties in English, the zone between 50 and 60 parallel of south latitude), perhaps the strongest winds zone on earth. In this zone, among others, are shrouded in the notorious Cape Horn and Strait of Drake `a.
Flora of the island is scarce. This treeless tundra. Under such conditions, especially due to the hurricane-force winds, not to continue any tree. Only a few species of shrubs is doing something, but they are twisted and bent to the ground. But temperature does not drop below zero too, is the ubiquitous influence of the ocean. Seasons practically do not exist; temperature differences are minimal, after all.
Mammals represent subantarktyczna fur seals (Arctocephalus tropicalis) fur seals antarctic (Arctocephalus Gazella), Kotik New Zealand (Arctocephalus forsteri), southern sea elephant (Mirounga leonina), in an ocean of many cetacean species, but also “familiar” rabbits, cats, mice and rats. Rabbits were brought as food for the hunters of seals and penguins. In the seventies there were 130,000, a per hectare. Did enormous damage, zgryzając vegetation and destroying the nest. Digging holes, causing landslides, destroying entire colonies of birds. When brought to the island myksomatozy virus, the disease has virtually decimated the population to about 10,000. But when in 2005, knocked out all the cats, the number of rabbits jumped again, to hundred thousand.
Rats and mice are stowaways from numerous catching vessels. They also proliferated beyond measure, especially in giving the characters a hunter, wyżerając them food, but also birds, which wyjadały eggs and killing chicks. To combat them brought cats. These, however, instead of the rodents, they preferred to hunt birds. Cats annually kill 60 thousand. birds and kept in check the population of rabbits. Ultimately, the island has no right to be a single rabbit, rat and mouse. Because cats in 2000, managed to knock out. The number of birds began to grow. Number of rabbits, mice and rats – growing at a frightening pace. $ 24 million at the expense of the other four-legged Australian unwanted visitors in May to disappear by 2014.
Among birds, penguins dominate. Krótkoczubych penguins (Eudyptes schlegeli) is 850000, king penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus) one hundred thousand (the third largest colony in the world), also rock penguin (Eudyptes chrysocome) białobrewy penguin (Pygoscelis papua).
Wandering albatross nest here (Diomedea exulans – just a few pairs), czarnobrewy albatross (Diomedea melanophris) szarogłowy albatross (Thalassarche Chrysostome) and albatross (Phoebetria palpebrata – two thousand pairs). For the eight species of Petre, three species of gulls, gray shearwater, idiot Australian, endemic subspecies of blue-eyed cormorants (Phalacrocorax atriceps purpurascens), an endemic species of parrots (Cyanoramphus erythrocytes). To make things even stranger, it’ll also assume jack our starling and redpoll honest. What are they doing here? Were introduced into Australia and New Zealand, and winds up zagnały them here.
And among the arriving accidentally get even tropical species, among others. herons, ibises and ducks, backed into the wind here in Australia.
The first two species of penguins were fiercely repressed in the past. Smelted from them fat. But I survived. Not so lucky were endemic parrot (Cyanoramphus erythrotis) and the endemic subspecies białobrewego anhydride (Gallirallus macquariensis philippensis). Extinct, exterminated by cats.
Macquarie is protected twice, once as a reserve, two, by typing on the UNESCO World Heritage Site.