3rd April: Falkland Islands (Barren Island)

In the afternoon the weather turned fine and we had a delightful visit to Barren Island. There was a group of elephant seals beside the sea, putting on a great show for us – biffo by the beach. In the breeding season, when the beachmasters compete for territory this can be bloody and serious. In this case, though, it was probably mainly the young ones practicing for the time they may need to do it for real. They also made prolonged burping sounds at very high volume as though they were practicing for potential roles as lead singers in death metal bands.

Teethmarks left behind ...

Maybe not so serious after all ...

The beachmaster's mate

The beachmaster slips into the water to try to ease the moulting torment including scraping against the rocks in the sea

There were also a large number of sea lions up on the grass about 50 metres from the shore. They were in pairs and the males are about twice as large as the females and have large “manes”. They seemed to have lots of scars on their faces, often quite fresh, from their tiffs. They can also move surprisingly fast, faster than we could run. They were giving good displays when I first turned up but I went to the elephant seals first and when I went to photograph the sea lions they were mainly lying down in the grass and quiescent. Ah well, you can’t be everywhere. No point going up to them and poking them with a stick. Still, I still got a couple of interesting images:

Sea lions on their veldt (except we're in the Falklands; ther'd be a different word there)

Sea lions with battle scars

There were still many things to see apart from the elephant seals and sea lions….

Upland geese in flight

Kelp is at hand, though too far south for a Mexican wave

Upland geese

Upland geese

Upland geese

3rd April: Falkland Islands (George Island)

In the morning we visited George Island, to the South of the main East Island in the Falklands group.  There was a farmhouse on the island but no-one was home.  The weather was bleak and windy, making it seem a rather uninviting place to live.  There was the prospect of sea lions on the other side of the island but they weren’t at home either.  What we did find though was some Magellanic penguins was also a variety of other birds along the coastline including tussock birds, upland geese and ducks.

Tussock bird. It's not lettuce; it's seaweed on the shore.

Magellanic penguin in burrow

Magellanic penguin in burrow

Falklands steamer ducks. They can be flying or flightless; these are the flightless variety.

Kelp goose

Blackish oystercatcher

Lifting a zodiac into the ship. The zodiac passengers had previously disembarked up the stairway.