Friday 5 November 2010

A good day to watch seabirds

Life onboard today was as typical as a seaday can be. We had plenty of interesting lectures again and Donald Lamont continued sharing his passionating memories of Falkland Islands with us. Our passengers will know everything they need to know when we arrive to the Falkland Islands early Saturday morning.

The weather, although overcast, was perfect for birdwatching- very calm, almost glassy conditions provided a stable platform from which to make our observations and take pictures. The flat sea also meant that if there had been whales out there to see, we would have seen them!!! In the afternoon, we did indeed see one or more Minke Whales on their way south for the summer feast of krill.

As we moved into cooler waters, we started to pick up more seabird species typical of these latitudes including the amazing Wandering Albatross, and also Black-browed Albatross, Cape Petrel, Atlantic Petrel, and Southern and Northern Giant Petrels. After getting used to seeing Black-browed Albatrosses, we were pleasantly surprised to spot a couple of Grey-headed Albatrosses flying amongst the birds at the stern of the vessel.

The other treat of we had was seeing both Northern and Southern Giant Petrels flying together, which allowed us to carefully note the subtle differences between the two.

The seabird species we saw today rely on the wind to be able to fly, and because of the very calm conditions, many we saw were sitting on the water, waiting for the wind to pick up. Despite this, we had lots of opportunity to put into practice our newly learned photographic techniques to capture our flying friends.