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!)
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.
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.
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:
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. 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!
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.
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.
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!