Glenn Welch Photography: Blog https://www.glennwelchphotography.co.uk/blog en-us (C) Glenn Welch Photography (Glenn Welch Photography) Sat, 04 Jun 2022 20:13:00 GMT Sat, 04 Jun 2022 20:13:00 GMT https://www.glennwelchphotography.co.uk/img/s/v-12/u66375373-o63686931-50.jpg Glenn Welch Photography: Blog https://www.glennwelchphotography.co.uk/blog 120 119 Time Flies! https://www.glennwelchphotography.co.uk/blog/2022/6/time-flys I can't believe it has been 5 months since we arrived in the Falklands! They say time flies when you are having fun - it certainly does! We are well and truly settled in now. My wife and I are both still loving our jobs and now we have a car we are able to explore a little bit more. We have made lots of friends and always seem to be busy (in a good way!). And of course there is the wildlife which continues to amaze me at how tame it is. There is not a huge number of species compared to other places but what there is is very photogenic. I have done so much since my last blog post that I couldn't possibly write about it all so I thought I would talk about some of the highlights since I last posted.

Our eldest son came to stay back in March and during that time we visited a number of places. The first was an Island called Sea Lion Island. Despite the name the Sea Lions are quite hard to photograph there as they can only be viewed from a high cliff. There is however a large number of species there including Striated Caracaras - birds of prey that a)are very tame and b) will try and fly off with your stuff! (Madeleine had one try to fly off with her hood but fortunately it was attached to her coat!)

Striated Caracara Striated Caracara Another highlight of Sea Lion Island are the Elephant Seals which battle it out on the beaches. In Spring the males will have fierce fights over the females. We went in late summer so although there were not any full on fights the young males were practicing their technique.

Elephant Seals Elephant Seals One bird that was fairly common on Sea Lion Island is the Cobb's Wren. Although locally common this is one of the rarest birds I have ever seen as it is only found on the Falkland Islands and even here mainly only on the outer islands. 

Cobb's Wren There were many other species that we saw on Sea Lion Island and I will upload photos to the main section of my website soon however I couldn't talk about an Island in the Falklands without some penguin photos! There are 5 breeding species of penguins in the Falklands and on Sea Lion Island we were lucky enough to see all 5. Although common in the Falklands the Gentoos are very photogenic:

Gentoo Penguin Gentoo Penguin The next place we visited with my son was a beach called Volunteer Beach at a place called Volunteer Point. We were driven there and the drive is a real experience! About half the drive is on gravel roads and then the rest is over land / off road to the beach. The drive itself is quite an experience but on arrival the sheer number of king penguins took my breath away. There were lots of other birds there too but it was the king penguins that were the stars of the show. King Penguins King Penguins King Penguins King Penguins Another place we went during my son's visit was an Island called Saunders Island. Unlike Sea Lion Island we were not hoping to see a wide range of species. In fact we had just one main target species for while we were there - the Black-Browed Albatross. We were not disappointed!

Black-Browed Albatross Black-Browed Albatross Black-Browed Albatross Black-Browed Albatross As well as the Albatross we did see a number of other species as well. One of the other species was the Rockhopper penguin. Now at Saunders there is a stream that flows off the cliffs creating a shower. This has become known as the Rockhopper shower as the local birds like to wash in it and drink the freshwater. It was a bit of a scramble down the cliff to get to it but it was worth the effort.

Rockhopper Shower

My final highlight of the last few months was a pelagic trip from Stanley. Organised by a work colleague we went out on a boat a few miles off shore and chummed the water to hopefully see some seabirds that could not be photographed from the shore. It was a fantastic trip and we were rewarded with sightings of 3 different Albatross species (Black-Browed, Grey-Headed and Southern Royal) as well as a number of other seabirds I had not seen before including Southern Fulmars and Cape Petrels.

Albatross Albatross Albatross Albatross Albatross Southern Fulmar Southern Fulmar Cape Petrel Cape Petrel I hope you enjoyed reading this and seeing a small selection of my photos from the last few months. If you got this far do leave a comment in the guestbook or on the blog to let me know your thoughts. I will try not to leave it so long until I update again!

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(Glenn Welch Photography) albatross birds elephant Seals Falkland islands falklands Grey Headed Albatross nature penguin Penguins Saunders Island Sea Lion Sea Lion Island Southern Royal Albatross striated caracara Volunteer Point wildlife https://www.glennwelchphotography.co.uk/blog/2022/6/time-flys Sat, 04 Jun 2022 19:19:09 GMT
The first couple of months https://www.glennwelchphotography.co.uk/blog/2022/2/the-first-couple-of-months I can't believe we have been in the Falkland Islands nearly two months already! Not sure where the time has gone.

I guess the first thing to say is that we are absolutely loving it here. We are both so happy and enjoying the way of life here. Both of us have settled into our jobs and are both loving them. Yesterday someone said my job was the "best job on the islands" and I can't really disagree at the moment. Everyone I work with has been amazingly friendly and supportive and the same is true for Madeleine.

When we first arrived and got out of quarantine we went into Stanley to explore. I popped into the office where I would be starting work a few days later to introduce myself. My boss said she would not be around when I started as she would be off counting penguins (as part of a seabird monitoring programme). She then asked if I would like to go along - so the first few days out of quarantine were spent counting penguins! It was a great experience, especially as it was our first time seeing penguins, and meant that we got to see parts of the islands that we might not have seen otherwise (and I say we as Madeleine also came penguin counting)

A small selection of the MANY Gentoo penguin photos I took while doing the counts:

Gentoo Penguin with Chick Gentoo Penguin with Chick Gentoo Penguin with Chick Gentoo Penguin with Chick

Close to our house (about 90 mins walk although we are often able to get a lift - no car yet) is a beach called Yorke Bay. It is absolutely magical and on sunny days looks tropical. A couple of weeks ago it felt tropical too as we had a nice sunny weekend during which we took a visit there with our cameras. Rarely for the Falkland Islands it was also nice and calm. The beach is home to loads of different penguin species and we were able to see 3 different species there (Gentoo, King and Megallanic)

So I said that I was enjoying my job. A couple of weeks into the job I was invited to take part in some fieldwork doing surveys on various deserted islands around East Falkland. Couldn't really say no to four days on a yacht travelling around visiting deserted islands. It was AMAZING!! I can't believe I get to experience things that others would pay lots money for and I get paid for it!! I do keep thinking I will wake up from a dream at some point! We saw so much wildlife I can't put all my photos here (but will upload them to website soon!) so here are just a few:

One thing that has been noticeable since we arrived is how busy we have been! We bought lots of books and things to do with us thinking we would have loads of spare time. As it is we have met lots of lovely people and always seem to be doing things. There is lots going on here and loads of different activities to get involved in. Most weekends there is something going on and we generally go out at least two evenings a week with friends we have met. Because Stanley is not that big everyone is within walking distance meaning that it is easy to arrange meeting up. Anyway I'm sure there are loads of things I have missed out and I really need to post here more often as there is so much more to say about this wonderful place! In summary we are both REALLY happy here. One last picture of a penguin - this time a rockhopper penguin. Bye for now and if you enjoyed reading (or didn't!) please do leave comments.

 

 

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(Glenn Welch Photography) albatross birds Falkland islands falklands nature penguin Penguins Sea Lion wildlife https://www.glennwelchphotography.co.uk/blog/2022/2/the-first-couple-of-months Mon, 28 Feb 2022 20:40:46 GMT
Falkland Islands - The Journey https://www.glennwelchphotography.co.uk/blog/2022/1/falkland-islands---the-journey After months of preparation on 3rd January we were finally ready to leave home. With the taxi booked for 4.30 (allowing us just enough time to watch Brighton beat Everton first!) we had a short journey to Brize Norton followed by a long flight to the Falkland Islands. 

We got to Brize Norton ok and checked in all our luggage (we had a lot!). About an hour before boarding we got the message that our flight would be delayed for 24 hours! We were told that we would be put up for free at Gateway House at Brize Norton. I only had my hand luggage with me - most people had washbags and overnight stuff in their hand luggage - my hand luggage however was basically camera gear. Not the best for an overnight stay on a hotel! Fortunately there was a shop selling toothpaste and a toothbrush so I had the essentials!

Staying at Brize Norton was stange. We were not allowed to walk anywhere and had to stay in our rooms except for at meal times when we were escorted to the mess hall. The food was good but with no tv or wi fi and stuck in a basic room it was quite dull. Fortunately I had my laptop and thousands of unedited photos from Spain to sort so I cracked on with that (nearly done now). Around 4pm on the 4th we were told (or rather found out from rumours   - we were not told very much!) that our flight had been postponed for another 24 hours. Apart from the fact that my feet were now starting to get rather smelly having been unable to change socks for a couple of days this presented another problem. Our PCR test that we had on 31st Dec would run out at 11am on 5th Jan. If the flight was delayed again we would have to somehow need to travel to get another PCR test. It would also need to be a same day test. The only test centre near to Brize Norton was charging £350 for same day tests! We decided not to spend £700 "just in case" so kept our fingers crossed!!

Fortunately the next day our flight did leave ok and we were finally on our way to the Falkland Islands - just 55 hours after leaving home! The flight was long and as I cannot sleep on planes exhausting. On arrival in the Falkland Islands we were driven to our new home where we are now quarantining. I'm using the time to finish my photo editing from Spain and looking forward to getting out and exploring in a few days time.

No photos yet as I obviously haven't been out with my camera yet. Only picture I have is of our new home :)

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(Glenn Welch Photography) https://www.glennwelchphotography.co.uk/blog/2022/1/falkland-islands---the-journey Fri, 07 Jan 2022 18:38:40 GMT
Azores Pelagic https://www.glennwelchphotography.co.uk/blog/2020/8/azores-pelagic A trip to the azores allowed me to undertake some photography at sea.

We started with a trip looking for whales and dolphins and weren't disappointed. We manged to see Sowerby's beaked whales, Northern Bottlenose whales and Sperm Whales. 

The Sperm Whale below had a small (!) baby - you can just see it in front of the adult below:

The Northern Bottlenose Whale was a real treat - we got very lucky as it was the first time it had been seen in the azores for 2 years and our guide hadn't seen one for 5 years - right place right time!

The biggest problem I had with the dolphins was fitting them into the frame when photographing them! (That and focussing on them when they popped up before they went back down again). They were very close to the boat and great to watch.

As well as looking for Cetaceans we also were hopeful of seeing shearwaters and petrels. We weren't disappointed - there were Cory's Shearwaters everywhere: 

Whilst the Shearwater's were relatively easy to photograph the Petrel's were not. Someone asked me recently what my favourite photo I had taken was. I was unsure at the time. Now it is this photo that I took of a Bullwer’s petrel. Nothing special about it at first glance but it is the hardest photo I’ve ever taken. It was taken from a speeding RIB doing 30 knots (35mph) and we were being bounced all over the place. The bird was flying full speed and darting around unpredictably. Of the 60+ shots I took the bird wasn’t even in the picture for half of them! (Got some nice floor and sky shots!). Added to this challenge was the fact that I was wearig a face mask that kept making my viewer steam up and the button on my camera that allows you to change focus points is broken meaning I had to rely on one single focus point! Like I said it won’t win any awards but to get a shot in focus of a bird I’d never seen before under those conditions made me so happy
 

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(Glenn Welch Photography) Atlantic Spotted Dolphin Bottlenose Whale Bullwer's Petrel Cetaceans Cory's Shearwater Dolphins Pelagic Seabirds Whales https://www.glennwelchphotography.co.uk/blog/2020/8/azores-pelagic Thu, 06 Aug 2020 16:51:48 GMT