Falklands to South Georgia

7th to 10th November 2015. Falkland Islands to South Georgia.

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Black-browed albatross, Cape Petrel, Falkland Islands, Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Snow Petrel, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Before we left Stanley, we crowded on a lifeboat for a drill, all no doubt hoping we wouldn’t encounter the real-life situation, tossed on a wild sea like a can of sardines.

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Black-browed albatross, Cape Petrel, Falkland Islands, Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Snow Petrel, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

A last glimpse of the Falklands as we sail from Stanley, out of Blanco Bay.

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Black-browed albatross, Cape Petrel, Falkland Islands, Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Snow Petrel, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

There were huge numbers of birds sitting on the water (and here flying from the ship) but I can’t identify them.

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Black-browed albatross, Cape Petrel, Falkland Islands, Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Snow Petrel, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Snow Petrels.

Visibility was generally poor during the crossing so I didn’t chase images then and we are now near South Georgia, three days later.

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Black-browed albatross, Cape Petrel, Falkland Islands, Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Snow Petrel, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Black-browed albatross.

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Black-browed albatross, Cape Petrel, Falkland Islands, Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Snow Petrel, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Giant Petrel, South Georgia in the background.

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Black-browed albatross, Cape Petrel, Falkland Islands, Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Snow Petrel, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

The looming mountains of South Georgia.

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Black-browed albatross, Cape Petrel, Falkland Islands, Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Snow Petrel, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Map of journey.  Click to expand to large size (around 2,000 pixels wide).

The return route line is generally outside the incoming line and the landings are also numbered.

I have been on several tours but this one stands out for the quality of the company.  There was 48 of us almost all photographers, the vast majority of those of professional quality and specialising in wildlife.  They included Ole Jörgen Liodden and Roy Mangersnes of Wildphoto and Joshua Holko, Daniel BergmannEirik Grønningsæter and Bonnie Yap, with whom I journeyed from Spitzbergen to Iceland in 2013.

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Black-browed albatross, Cape Petrel, Falkland Islands, Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Snow Petrel, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Cape Petrel.

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Black-browed albatross, Cape Petrel, Falkland Islands, Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Snow Petrel, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Right Whale Bay, site of our first landing.

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Black-browed albatross, Cape Petrel, Falkland Islands, Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Snow Petrel, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Giant petrel.

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Black-browed albatross, Cape Petrel, Falkland Islands, Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Snow Petrel, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Black-browed albatross, flying towards land.

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King Cormorants (Pebble Island)

1st November 2015. Pebble Island, Falkland Islands.

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Dolphin Gull, Falkland Islands, Giant Petrel, Imperial Cormorant, King Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Pebble Island, Photography, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

A colony of King Cormorants, the Falklands Island subspecies of Imperial Cormorant, or alternatively there may be many separate species.  This is probably Sturgees Point, at the south west of Pebble Island.
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Dolphin Gull, Falkland Islands, Giant Petrel, Imperial Cormorant, King Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Pebble Island, Photography, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

This is their breeding plumage.  They are not always quite as spectacular.
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Dolphin Gull, Falkland Islands, Giant Petrel, Imperial Cormorant, King Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Pebble Island, Photography, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

A dolphin gull over the colony.
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Dolphin Gull, Falkland Islands, Giant Petrel, Imperial Cormorant, King Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Pebble Island, Photography, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

… and landed inside, probably on the lookout for an unattended egg.
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Dolphin Gull, Falkland Islands, Giant Petrel, Imperial Cormorant, King Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Pebble Island, Photography, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .
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Dolphin Gull, Falkland Islands, Giant Petrel, Imperial Cormorant, King Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Pebble Island, Photography, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

On the nest.
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Dolphin Gull, Falkland Islands, Giant Petrel, Imperial Cormorant, King Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Pebble Island, Photography, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Coming in to land.
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Dolphin Gull, Falkland Islands, Giant Petrel, Imperial Cormorant, King Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Pebble Island, Photography, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .
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Dolphin Gull, Falkland Islands, Giant Petrel, Imperial Cormorant, King Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Pebble Island, Photography, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .
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Dolphin Gull, Falkland Islands, Giant Petrel, Imperial Cormorant, King Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Pebble Island, Photography, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Bringing in the nesting materials….
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Birds of Prey

1st November 2015. Pebble Island, Falkland Islands.

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Beside the remains of an old wharf we came across a dead penguin that was attracting the attention of the birds of prey.  This was very fortunate as we were able to stay close by in our mobile bird hide (also known as a four wheel drive vehicle) and I was able to photograph them out the window with my long lens.

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Cara cara, Falkland Islands, Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Pebble Island, Photography, Rock Cormorant, seascape, Skua, Travel, Turkey vultures, Wilderness, Wildlife

A couple of striated cara caras inspecting and sampling the dead penguin.
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Cara cara, Falkland Islands, Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Pebble Island, Photography, Rock Cormorant, seascape, Skua, Travel, Turkey vultures, Wilderness, Wildlife

Striated cara cara.
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Cara cara, Falkland Islands, Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Pebble Island, Photography, Rock Cormorant, seascape, Skua, Travel, Turkey vultures, Wilderness, Wildlife .
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Cara cara, Falkland Islands, Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Pebble Island, Photography, Rock Cormorant, seascape, Skua, Travel, Turkey vultures, Wilderness, Wildlife .
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Cara cara, Falkland Islands, Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Pebble Island, Photography, Rock Cormorant, seascape, Skua, Travel, Turkey vultures, Wilderness, Wildlife

Turkey vulture.
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Cara cara, Falkland Islands, Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Pebble Island, Photography, Rock Cormorant, seascape, Skua, Travel, Turkey vultures, Wilderness, Wildlife .
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Cara cara, Falkland Islands, Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Pebble Island, Photography, Rock Cormorant, seascape, Skua, Travel, Turkey vultures, Wilderness, Wildlife

Rock cormorants (interested in fish, not the penguin).
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Cara cara, Falkland Islands, Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Pebble Island, Photography, Rock Cormorant, seascape, Skua, Travel, Turkey vultures, Wilderness, Wildlife

Striated cara cara.
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Cara cara, Falkland Islands, Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Pebble Island, Photography, Rock Cormorant, seascape, Skua, Travel, Turkey vultures, Wilderness, Wildlife .
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Cara cara, Falkland Islands, Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Pebble Island, Photography, Rock Cormorant, seascape, Skua, Travel, Turkey vultures, Wilderness, Wildlife

Giant petrel.
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South Georgia 1

9th to 11th November 2015. Right Whale Bay, Salisbury Plains and Prion Island, South Georgia Island. Temporary post. Images only. Minimal descriptions for images.

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Antarctica, Fur seal, Gentoo Penguins, Giant Petrel, Grey-headed albatross, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Grey-headed albatross, Scotia Sea.

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Antarctica, Fur seal, Gentoo Penguins, Giant Petrel, Grey-headed albatross, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Right Whale Bay.

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Antarctica, Fur seal, Gentoo Penguins, Giant Petrel, Grey-headed albatross, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

King Penguins.

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Antarctica, Fur seal, Gentoo Penguins, Giant Petrel, Grey-headed albatross, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Antarctica, Fur seal, Gentoo Penguins, Giant Petrel, Grey-headed albatross, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Antarctica, Fur seal, Gentoo Penguins, Giant Petrel, Grey-headed albatross, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Salisbury Plains.

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Antarctica, Fur seal, Gentoo Penguins, Giant Petrel, Grey-headed albatross, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Antarctica, Fur seal, Gentoo Penguins, Giant Petrel, Grey-headed albatross, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Antarctica, Fur seal, Gentoo Penguins, Giant Petrel, Grey-headed albatross, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Fur seal.

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Antarctica, Fur seal, Gentoo Penguins, Giant Petrel, Grey-headed albatross, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

 

Wandering Albatross chick, Prion Island.

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Antarctica, Fur seal, Gentoo Penguins, Giant Petrel, Grey-headed albatross, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

Pebble Island

31st October to 6th November 2015. Pebble Island, Falkland Islands. Temporary post. Images only. Minimal descriptions for images.

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Cara cara, Falklands War, Giant Petrel, Imperial Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, Skua, Travel, Turkey vultures, Wildlife

Striated caracara.

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Cara cara, Falklands War, Giant Petrel, Imperial Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, Skua, Travel, Turkey vultures, Wildlife

Turkey vulture.

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Cara cara, Falklands War, Giant Petrel, Imperial Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, Skua, Travel, Turkey vultures, Wildlife

Giant Petrel.

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Cara cara, Falklands War, Giant Petrel, Imperial Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, Skua, Travel, Turkey vultures, Wildlife

Rockhopper penguins.

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Cara cara, Falklands War, Giant Petrel, Imperial Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, Skua, Travel, Turkey vultures, Wildlife

Rockhopper penguins.

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Cara cara, Falklands War, Giant Petrel, Imperial Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, Skua, Travel, Turkey vultures, Wildlife

Caracara and stolen Rockhopper egg.

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Cara cara, Falklands War, Giant Petrel, Imperial Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, Skua, Travel, Turkey vultures, Wildlife

Imperial Cormorant.

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Cara cara, Falklands War, Giant Petrel, Imperial Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, Skua, Travel, Turkey vultures, Wildlife

Imperial Cormorants.

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Cara cara, Falklands War, Giant Petrel, Imperial Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, Skua, Travel, Turkey vultures, Wildlife

Imperial Cormorants.

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Cara cara, Falklands War, Giant Petrel, Imperial Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, Skua, Travel, Turkey vultures, Wildlife

Speckled Teals.

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Cara cara, Falklands War, Giant Petrel, Imperial Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, Skua, Travel, Turkey vultures, Wildlife

Wreckage of Argentinian fighter.

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Cara cara, Falklands War, Giant Petrel, Imperial Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, Skua, Travel, Turkey vultures, Wildlife

Striated Caracara.

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Cara cara, Falklands War, Giant Petrel, Imperial Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, Skua, Travel, Turkey vultures, Wildlife

Macaroni Penguins.

10th April: South Atlantic Ocean

Another day at sea, a little less calm but not wild like the Drake Passage. Having come further north, most of the albatrosses had dropped away but there were still giant petrels trailing after the ship. I’d seen quite a few of these on the trip but not got any good images so I decided to rectify this. It was much easier to get sharp images without the ship constantly rearing underfoot though not quite as exhilerating.

Some were able to see a sei whale that passed us by. I didn’t get any images of that though there are lots of images of whales in my Antarctic posts.

There were several tours of the ship’s engine room and I went on one of them. Above is the ship’s massive engine – one bank of cylinders to the left and you can just see the edge of the other to the right.

Being an engineer requires unusual dedication – the ship may be rolling in a heavy sea and you have to keep the engine going, watch out for the many things you can hit your head on and endure the deafening noise and the diesel fumes. Below is a workbench area where they can fix anything that breaks.

Then spectacular sunsets again, this time at sea.

6th April: Falkland Islands (Grand Jason and Steeple Jason Islands)

Today was our day to investigate the Jason Islands, a small group of islands at the north-west tip of the Falklands that is seldom visited, partly due to difficulty of landing.

We woke up to a fine day with some cloud but that didn’t mean it was calm.  35 knot winds prevented us from landing at our first intended landing place of Grand Jason Island so we proceeded to Steeple Jason Island, the most westerly island in the group.  In the afternoon the weather became more calm and we were able to land there.

Steeple Jason has the largest colony of black-browed albatrosses in the world, with 187,000 pairs and unusually, the numbers are increasing.

Grand Jason Island, a few minutes after dawn, a cormorant in the sky

Steeple Jason Island

Steeple Jason Island

There are many rookeries of albatrosses and penguins on bare rock near the coasts of the island. This is a closer view of one, lower mid island in the previous image, mainly penguins in this case with a few albatrosses. Click on the image for more detail.

The rough coastline

Island peaks in cloud

One corner of Steeple Jason Island

A vertical slice of the island near where we landed in the zodiacs

The horizontal panorama above does not fit any larger on this page.  There are very many birds in the air over the point, including a giant petrel trailing its wing in the water, and huge numbers of birds beyond the rocks on shore.

The vertical panorama at the right could fit larger on the page but would take up too much space.

To see either of them “properly”, click on them and a window will open with much more detail that you can zoom in and out of and scroll around in.

In that new window, first click the lower right icon for a full window, then use the mouse wheel or other icons to zoom in and out.  It’s also better to back off a little from the full resolution that you can get in these screens.