Saturday, 7 November 2009

New Island and West Point Island, Falklands

After three glorious days at sea we have arrived in the West Falklands. Overnight, seas were rough but as we approached land, the sea calmed down and our landings were easy.

In the morning we visited New Island, which run as a reserve under the New Island Conservation Trust (, and is being rehabilitated back to its former glory. Sheep have been removed from the island, which allows the tussock grass to grow back. Tussock is an important habitat for several species of birds. We walked across a narrow point of the island and along the way we saw several landbirds including the Long-tailed Meadowlark, before arriving at the Settlement Rookery where Black-browed Albatross, Rockhopper Penguin, and Imperial Shags breed. Through the morning, Turkey Vultures and Striated Caracaras (called Johnny Rooks in the Falklands) flew above the colony.

After a short cruise to West Point Island we landed at the jetty there and were greeted by the island residents and owners, the Napiers. A long walk to the "Devil's Nose" brought to another seabird colony with Black-browed Albatross and Rockhopper Penguins sitting on their eggs. At this colony we walked through head-height tussock grass which shields the birds from us and allows us to approach closely.