West Point

Our first stop was West Point Island, in the Falklands. The landscape was very familiar for Scottish tourists:

gorse

 

The main attraction was the colony of black-browed albatrosses and rockhopper penguins. The first sign that we were approaching was the increase in air traffic:

bbatraffic

 

Soon we found ourselves up close (so close that it was hard to avoid getting an albatross wing in the face) with hundreds of these fellows:

bbaportrait

 

The albatrosses were brooding:

bbaegg

 

Though some were still courting or renewing their vows:

bbabilling

 

The rockhoppers tended to be literally overshadowed by the albatrosses, which build raised nests, with unfortunate consequences for the penguins’ hygiene:

overshadowed

 

At their best however, they are very well turned-out:

rockportrait

 

And they have their own families to look after:

rockegg

 

The social life of the colony is pretty raucous:

bbascream

 

bbarockhopperspat

 

There were plenty of other birds around too. Magellanic Oystercatchers were eyecatching:

magellanicoystercatcher

 

As was the Long-tail Meadowlark:

longtailmeadowlark

 

The Striated Caracara is a falcon, but fills the ecological role of a crow on the Falklands, hopping around in search of worms or carrion:

striatedcaracara

 

There were lots of geese, many with goslings in tow:

goslings

 

The Falkland Thrush:

falklandthrush

 

We had our first encounter of the trip with Magellanic Penguins. One thing which I hadn’t properly appreciated about penguins is that most of them live around the latitude of the Falklands rather than in Antarctica; the sight of them standing and lying around in green fields was at first rather surprising:

magellanicpenguin

 

Our last surprise before we went back aboard the Fram was a small gang of dolphins (Peale’s Dolphins, I think), playing just off the beach:

pealesdolphin

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1 Response to West Point

  1. Flora Alexander says:

    These birds are amazing!

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