Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Falkland/Malvinas bird paradise

 Birds, birds, birds...

And yet more fabulous, beautiful birds awaited us at our first landing today, at New Island. We landed at a small pier after a short boat ride from the ship, and were able to exercise a bit and stretch our legs, as we hiked to the bird colony located about one kilometre away, on the cliff overlooking the vast ocean where all the seabirds take their sustenance from.
 During the short hike, we came across the three types of geese on the island (kelp, upland and ruddy-headed), as well as some cotton-tail rabbits, which the whalers introduced to the island centuries ago.
 A breathtaking scene awaited us at the bird colony: a natural amphitheatre opening into the ocean, flanked by sheer cliffs on both sides - and hundreds of birds breeding there! We saw black-browed albatross, rockhopper penguins, blue-eyed cormorants - and of course, the birds that like to include them in their menus, such as skuas, striated caracaras, dolphin gulls and vultures.