Return to the Wild South of Sea Lion Island

4th November 2015. Sea Lion Island, Falkland Islands.

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On Sea Lion Island I met up with a small group of Norwegian Photographers led by Ole Jørgen Liodden of Wildphoto.  I had previously met Ole on the plane from Santiago to Mount Pleasant Airport (East Falkland) and we were all due to join the ship on the voyage to South Georgia Island in a few days.

Ole asked me if I had seen anything interesting in my quick tour of the island and I told him of the wild conditions at the south end of the island so we all headed off there in two or three four wheel drives.

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Cara cara, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, King Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Juvenile King Cormorant.

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Cara cara, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, King Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

The sea was thundering into an inlet and throwing up spray high into the air as well as a rainbow.

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Cara cara, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, King Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Cara cara, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, King Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

And here is the King Cormorant colony in a rare moment with little spray, though the wind was no doubt unabated.

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Cara cara, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, King Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Cara cara, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, King Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

The sea was wild in the background, the spray carried for a long way and you had to be careful not to be blown over by the wind.

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Cara cara, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, King Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Cara cara, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, King Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

The birds in the sky are a mixture of the more drab juvenile King Cormorants and adults in their magnificent finery.

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Cara cara, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, King Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Cara cara, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, King Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Cara cara, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, King Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

A lone dolphin gull over the colony.  The birds stand with their heads tucked away due to the force of the winds.

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Cara cara, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, King Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

And the force of the waves is amazing.  The ocean is a long way down.

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Cara cara, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, King Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Cara cara, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, King Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Cara cara, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, King Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Cara cara, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, King Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Not a good place for swimming.  Awesome power in the waves.

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Cara cara, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, King Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Cara cara, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, King Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Cara cara, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, King Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

There were a few rockhopper penguins there too.

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Cara cara, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, King Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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A challenging environment for photography.  Cleaning of the front element would be happening here.

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Cara cara, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, King Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

This is Ole Jørgen Liodden.

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Cara cara, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, King Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Cara cara, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, King Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Cara cara, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, King Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

I must have walked a bit further north from Rockhopper Point and the HMS Sheffield Memorial (HMS Sheffield was a destroyer sunk near here by an Exocet missile in the Falklands War).  The point in middle distance is part of Sea lion Island but it must be Rum Island in the background.

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Cara cara, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, King Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Striated cara cara in the spray.

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Cara cara, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, King Cormorant, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Dolphin gulls over the cormorants and photographers in the background.

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Ole was using two Nikon D5s with Beta firmware during this trip and there is a review of the D5 on his blog which includes images from the Falklands and South Georgia.

Sea Lion Island – Quick Tour

3rd November 2015. Sea Lion Island, Falkland Islands.

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On arriving at Sea Lion Island, I opted for a quick tour of the island in a four-wheel vehicle.  There was just myself and a couple as well as the driver.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, King Cormorant, Landscape, Magellenic Penguin, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Silvery Grebe, Steamer duck, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

There were some wild seas.

 

Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, King Cormorant, Landscape, Magellenic Penguin, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Silvery Grebe, Steamer duck, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

… and they were washing in and out of the hole in the cliff.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, King Cormorant, Landscape, Magellenic Penguin, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Silvery Grebe, Steamer duck, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Silvery Grebe.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, King Cormorant, Landscape, Magellenic Penguin, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Silvery Grebe, Steamer duck, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

The south end of the island was receiving the brunt of the storm.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, King Cormorant, Landscape, Magellenic Penguin, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Silvery Grebe, Steamer duck, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

The King Cormorants had been washed out of their lower roosting position and had to take refuge further up.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, King Cormorant, Landscape, Magellenic Penguin, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Silvery Grebe, Steamer duck, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

There was a wild wind but I was able to photograph from the quiet and comfort of the passenger seat of the four wheel drive.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, King Cormorant, Landscape, Magellenic Penguin, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Silvery Grebe, Steamer duck, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Back at the Lodge in the east part of the island, I went for as walk before dinner.  This is an elephant seal arriving on the beach.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, King Cormorant, Landscape, Magellenic Penguin, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Silvery Grebe, Steamer duck, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

The seas were a bit wild at this end of the island too.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, King Cormorant, Landscape, Magellenic Penguin, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Silvery Grebe, Steamer duck, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Magellanic Penguin.

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This is the Gentoo Penguin Road.  Stretching from the beach in the far left distance…

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, King Cormorant, Landscape, Magellenic Penguin, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Silvery Grebe, Steamer duck, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

… past where I was standing to their colony.

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Here is the far point and the Penguin Road in the middle foreground.

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And a bit further on they cross some shallow water to get to the beach.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, King Cormorant, Landscape, Magellenic Penguin, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Silvery Grebe, Steamer duck, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Dominican Gull in front of the wild sea.

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Flightless steamer ducks.

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Gulls wheeling in the air.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, King Cormorant, Landscape, Magellenic Penguin, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Silvery Grebe, Steamer duck, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

An elephant seal coming in to shore and announcing his arrival.

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Probably the same one.  There were lots of elephant seals on Sea Lion Island but no sea lions at this time.

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A harem of elephant seals stretched out on the beach.

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A couple of young ones practicing for their adult contests.

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Snuggling in the seaweed.

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Peacefully sleeping on the beach.  Note the traces of blood though on the neck.  There have been some territorial contests going on.

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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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A dolphin gull over the colony.
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… 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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On the nest.
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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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