Thursday, 6 November 2014

Birds galore!

Your faithful blogger is a bird nut so today, with no apologies we are going to feature some birds we saw during our first landing in the Falkland Islands- New Island. And what better place to do this?! The Falkland Islands is “crawling” with birds and New Island is especially so. It is a nature sanctuary, and a variety of management practices are in place to bring the island back to its natural Falkland state. It will take a while but it will happen.

But first, a few details about our day. We were due to land at West Point Island in the northwest part of the Falklands, in the early afternoon. However, very strong winds would have prevented a landing so we detoured farther south to our "plan B" of New Island. Winds were still strong when we arrived but they were blowing off the land and a visit to this marvellous place was possible. Our target was a seabird colony which was a short hike across a narrow portion of the island. Some of us, however, made a hike up a nearby mountain before visiting the colony.

After 5 days at sea being on dry land is such a treat, especially when you can stretch your legs on a hike. And this was our first landing too so there was lots of excitement using our Polarcirkel boats.

For our mountain hikers shown here, the view from the top was truly spectacular!

Those hiking to the colony were treated with various species of birds along the way, and then the icing on the cake- breeding Rockhopper Penguins, King Shags and Black-browed Albatrosses. I hope these images give you a flavour of the place and in particular impress upon you how important for wildlife New Island is.
Rockhopper Penguin pair
Black-browed Albatross coming in for landing
King Shag
Rock Shag
Long-tailed Meadowlark
Ruddy-headed Geese
Crested Duck
Female Upland Goose
A pair of breeding Striated Caracaras
Dark-faced Ground-Tyrant feeding chicks