(This pic will - I hope - be replaced by a video clip & spoken story later; there are too many users online at the moment for our limited bandwidth to cope with much more than a few jpgs for now.)
Heartening news - this lone Adele wandered purposefully off-track, heading inland for what must have been a good hour or so before stopping, re-assessing the situation and turning back. This sort of 'lost penguin' incident seems to happen fairly often. Mummified Adele penguins and Weddell seals are common sights hundreds of kilometres up the Dry Valleys. What is it that causes them to go so obviously wrong - does their ordinarily reliable instinctual 'navigation system' malfunction? Are they spurned by their waddle? (I just learned that a group of land-based penguins is aptly named a 'waddle.') Or are these rebel birds pushing the parameters of what it means to be 'penguin,' independent characters breaking the rules of their community group in a bid to assert their autonomy or forge their own route?
It's difficult not to anthropomorphize these endearing creatures.
Photograph: Steve Clabuesch