Berkeley Sound

6th November 2015. Berkeley Sound, East Falkland, Falkland Islands.

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Falkland Islands, Landscape, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

A final view of Sea Lion Island as we fly away.  looking towards the south end of the island, I think.

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Falkland Islands, Landscape, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

And this is Stanley, only town in the Falklands.

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Falkland Islands, Landscape, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

One of the ships in Stanley Harbour.  Fortunately, not the one we travelled on to South Georgia.

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Falkland Islands, Landscape, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

We headed off overland in four wheel drive vehicles to the southern shores of Berkely Sound, north of Stanley, in response to a reported sighting of a stray Northern Rockhopper penguin. The northern variety has much longer yellow head plumes and its most numerous location is at Gough Island in the Tristan da Cunha group.  However, the penguins we saw were the more common Southern Rockhoppers, though someone else in our party caught a brief glimpse of a northern one.

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Falkland Islands, Landscape, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Falkland Islands, Landscape, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Southern rockhopper, as for all following penguins.

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Falkland Islands, Landscape, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Falkland Islands, Landscape, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Falkland Islands, Landscape, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Falkland Islands, Landscape, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Falkland Islands, Landscape, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Falkland Islands, Landscape, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Falkland Islands, Landscape, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Falkland Islands, Landscape, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Falkland Islands, Landscape, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Falkland Islands, Landscape, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Falkland Islands, Landscape, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Cochon Island.

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Falkland Islands, Landscape, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Looking north, across Berkeley Sound.

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Falkland Islands, Landscape, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Distant sea view with Cochon Island.

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Last Day at Sea Lion Island

5th to 6th November 2015. Sea Lion Island, Falkland Islands.

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On my last day in Sea Lion Island, I wandered around in the middle of the island, where there is a variety of wildlife, then returned to the Northern end.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Nature, Patagonian Crested Duck, Penguins, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Speckled Teal, Steamer duck, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Speckled Teal.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Nature, Patagonian Crested Duck, Penguins, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Speckled Teal, Steamer duck, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Upland Goose.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Nature, Patagonian Crested Duck, Penguins, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Speckled Teal, Steamer duck, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Flightless Steamer Duck (Male).

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Nature, Patagonian Crested Duck, Penguins, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Speckled Teal, Steamer duck, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Kelp Geese.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Nature, Patagonian Crested Duck, Penguins, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Speckled Teal, Steamer duck, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Patagonian Crested Duck.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Nature, Patagonian Crested Duck, Penguins, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Speckled Teal, Steamer duck, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Kelp and rocks.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Nature, Patagonian Crested Duck, Penguins, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Speckled Teal, Steamer duck, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

The waves were still breaking through the tunnel in the rocks though the sea was much quieter than the first two days.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Nature, Patagonian Crested Duck, Penguins, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Speckled Teal, Steamer duck, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Patagonian Crested Ducks.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Nature, Patagonian Crested Duck, Penguins, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Speckled Teal, Steamer duck, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Kelp Goose.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Nature, Patagonian Crested Duck, Penguins, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Speckled Teal, Steamer duck, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Elephant Seal.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Nature, Patagonian Crested Duck, Penguins, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Speckled Teal, Steamer duck, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Kelp Goose.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Nature, Patagonian Crested Duck, Penguins, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Speckled Teal, Steamer duck, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Gentoo penguins on the northern beach.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Nature, Patagonian Crested Duck, Penguins, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Speckled Teal, Steamer duck, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Flightless Steamer Ducks.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Nature, Patagonian Crested Duck, Penguins, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Speckled Teal, Steamer duck, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Elephant Seal with scars.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Nature, Patagonian Crested Duck, Penguins, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Speckled Teal, Steamer duck, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Getting up close…

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Nature, Patagonian Crested Duck, Penguins, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Speckled Teal, Steamer duck, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Sand blowing along the beach.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Nature, Patagonian Crested Duck, Penguins, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Speckled Teal, Steamer duck, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Elephant Seals.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Nature, Patagonian Crested Duck, Penguins, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Speckled Teal, Steamer duck, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Nature, Patagonian Crested Duck, Penguins, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Speckled Teal, Steamer duck, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Nature, Patagonian Crested Duck, Penguins, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Speckled Teal, Steamer duck, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Nature, Patagonian Crested Duck, Penguins, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Speckled Teal, Steamer duck, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Nature, Patagonian Crested Duck, Penguins, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Speckled Teal, Steamer duck, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Nature, Patagonian Crested Duck, Penguins, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Speckled Teal, Steamer duck, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Sand and Kelp.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Nature, Patagonian Crested Duck, Penguins, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Speckled Teal, Steamer duck, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Looking towards the Lodge.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Nature, Patagonian Crested Duck, Penguins, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Speckled Teal, Steamer duck, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Flying Steamer Ducks.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Nature, Patagonian Crested Duck, Penguins, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Speckled Teal, Steamer duck, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Gentoo Penguin Road including a water crossing.

Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Nature, Patagonian Crested Duck, Penguins, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Speckled Teal, Steamer duck, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

They’d bank up at the edge of the water and when there was enough numbers, they’d dash across as quickly as possible.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Nature, Patagonian Crested Duck, Penguins, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Speckled Teal, Steamer duck, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

After all, you never know when there might be an orca or a leopard seal.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Nature, Patagonian Crested Duck, Penguins, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Speckled Teal, Steamer duck, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

And there was at least two inches of water….

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Nature, Patagonian Crested Duck, Penguins, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Speckled Teal, Steamer duck, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

This is now the morning of the next day.  There was a little extra time before we were due to fly out.

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Pebble Island Penguins and Skuas

1st November 2015. Pebble Island, Falkland Islands.

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I’m about to start posting on wildlife in the Falklands but first a brief account of some computer misadventures that has delayed this post. Feel free to skip this bit if you’re not interested or it’s too technical.

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Computer Issues and Solutions

Ten days ago, my computer died, suddenly and completely. The CPU (the chip that powers it) was dead. The computer was six years old and replacing the chip didn’t seem enticing. New ones are no longer available for that motherboard and a second hand chip from EBay might prove to not work. The motherboard was also incompatible with Windows 10, so an upgrade to a modern machine was in order.

As it happens, I wrote an article on that for the Canberra Photographic Society. so it was fairly easy to work out what I needed. Some of my files may be 50MB out of the camera and when I combine multiple images for panoramas, focus stacking or HDR, the files get very large. Taking the images is just the start. The processing task is not to be underestimated and since I process a lot of images I don’t want to be forever sitting round waiting for something to happen. So my requirement is for pretty heavy-duty image processing and this is not a typical PC.

I retained the case, power supply and hard drives. I purchased new motherboard (Gigabyte Z170X – Gaming 7), CPU (Intel Core i7 6700K), CPU cooler (Thermaltake Riing Silent), video card (Gigabyte Geforce GTX 1060) and 32GB RAM (GSkills Ripjaws V DDR4). This is actually a previous generation motherboard and CPU (from about six months ago) so I was able to save a bit of money with little loss in processing speed. I had also bought a new 30 inch NEC professional monitor a couple of months previously (at half price) and may in due course get a couple of M.2 SSDs (3 to 5 times faster than normal SSDs) to speed up the machine further for bootup and for the Lightroom catalogue and cache.

I ordered the PC components and ended up with a new working PC except with one “minor” problem – no access to my images because when the CPU died, it took out my data drive. Even without buying two more M.2 SSDs, my PC has six hard drives – an SSD for startup and applications, an extra drive for non-photographic storage and a RAID 10 array of four drives (i.e. my data drive). The RAID array has two pairs of drives that mirror each other for safety and each pair simultaneously writes across each drive (called striping). This makes it both fast and easy to recover when a drive fails. The problem was that when the CPU died, it knocked two of the drives out of the RAID.   I was unable to rebuild it, even after a clean reinstall of Windows.

So I’m starting again from a data drive with no images.  All my files should be backed up on my Drobo (a five-disk RAID-like backup system), so I should be able to restore them.  I restored the Falkland Images to a local drive a few days ago to use in generating this post and I’ve just started recovering all images from backup to my data drive.  This will take another day or so.

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Pebble Island

OK, back to the Falklands.

I haven’t had any problems with jet lag in the past. Partly this may be sleeping on the plane to key my metabolism to the destination. But the 55-hour transfer was just too much to end up fresh at the other end. So I was very lucky that I had personalised tours of the island awaiting me with Montana Short and his four wheel drive vehicle. These images are from the morning after I arrived on the plane.

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Aerial Photography, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, Landscape, Magellenic Penguin, Pebble Island, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, seascape, Skua, Travel

Montana driving over a boggy stream.

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Aerial Photography, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, Landscape, Magellenic Penguin, Pebble Island, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, seascape, Skua, Travel

We were heading towards the South of the island.  I think this must be Elephant Bay.  No elephants so they had probably all swum out to sea.  And what you see is typical Falkland islands rainforest, often several inches high.  If you click on it you go to a larger than usual image.

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Aerial Photography, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, Landscape, Magellenic Penguin, Pebble Island, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, seascape, Skua, Travel

Magellanic Penguin peeking out of its burrow with upland geese in the background.

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A pair of Magellanic Penguins from the same burrow.

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Aerial Photography, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, Landscape, Magellenic Penguin, Pebble Island, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, seascape, Skua, Travel

Gentoo Penguin calling out to the gods beyond the sky. … Or perhaps advertising for a mate.

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… Or maybe calling for the skuas to stay away.

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Aerial Photography, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, Landscape, Magellenic Penguin, Pebble Island, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, seascape, Skua, Travel

Here’s a Skua, hovering over the penguins, looking for an unattended egg.

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This egg is safe.

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Perhaps returning after a fishing expedition.

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Now this is a colony of Rockhopper Penguins, again with a Skua patrolling overhead.

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Let’s do the time warp again…

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A rockhopper on a cliff.

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It can get quite territorial when someone wanders close to a nest, even if they have to do so to get to theirs.

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Aerial Photography, Falkland Islands, Gentoo Penguins, Landscape, Magellenic Penguin, Pebble Island, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, seascape, Skua, Travel

… and then it can be on for young and old….
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Cara cara, Falkland Islands, Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Pebble Island, Photography, Rock Cormorant, seascape, Skua, Travel, Turkey vultures, Wilderness, Wildlife

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

The last laugh? Two skuas with a stolen egg.
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Sea Lion Island

6th to 10th November 2015. Sea Lion Island, Falkland Islands. Temporary post. Images only. Minimal descriptions for images.

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Dolphin Gulls, Elephant seals, Imperial Cormorant, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Magellenic Penguin, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, Silvery Grebe, Steamer duck, Travel, Wildlife

Silvery Grebe.

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Dolphin Gulls, Elephant seals, Imperial Cormorant, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Magellenic Penguin, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, Silvery Grebe, Steamer duck, Travel, Wildlife

Magellanic Penguin.

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Dolphin Gulls, Elephant seals, Imperial Cormorant, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Magellenic Penguin, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, Silvery Grebe, Steamer duck, Travel, Wildlife

Kelp Geese.

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Dolphin Gulls, Elephant seals, Imperial Cormorant, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Magellenic Penguin, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, Silvery Grebe, Steamer duck, Travel, Wildlife

Elephant Seals.

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Dolphin Gulls, Elephant seals, Imperial Cormorant, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Magellenic Penguin, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, Silvery Grebe, Steamer duck, Travel, Wildlife

Elephant Seals.

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Dolphin Gulls, Elephant seals, Imperial Cormorant, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Magellenic Penguin, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, Silvery Grebe, Steamer duck, Travel, Wildlife

Elephant Seals.

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Dolphin Gulls, Elephant seals, Imperial Cormorant, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Magellenic Penguin, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, Silvery Grebe, Steamer duck, Travel, Wildlife

Imperial Cormorants.

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Dolphin Gulls, Elephant seals, Imperial Cormorant, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Magellenic Penguin, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, Silvery Grebe, Steamer duck, Travel, Wildlife

Imperial Cormorants.

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Dolphin Gulls, Elephant seals, Imperial Cormorant, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Magellenic Penguin, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, Silvery Grebe, Steamer duck, Travel, Wildlife

Dolphin Gulls, Imperial Cormorants and photographers.

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Dolphin Gulls, Elephant seals, Imperial Cormorant, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Magellenic Penguin, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, Silvery Grebe, Steamer duck, Travel, Wildlife

 

Steamer ducks, probably flightless Falklands variety.

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Dolphin Gulls, Elephant seals, Imperial Cormorant, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Magellenic Penguin, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, Silvery Grebe, Steamer duck, Travel, Wildlife

Kelp and rocks.

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Dolphin Gulls, Elephant seals, Imperial Cormorant, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Magellenic Penguin, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, Silvery Grebe, Steamer duck, Travel, Wildlife

Rockhopper penguins.

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Dolphin Gulls, Elephant seals, Imperial Cormorant, Kelp Geese, Landscape, Magellenic Penguin, Nature, Penguins, Photography, Rockhopper Penguins, Silvery Grebe, Steamer duck, Travel, Wildlife

Rockhopper Penguin.

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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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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.

6th April: Falkland Islands (leaving Steeple Jason Island)

Late in the afternoon we headed off for the coast of Patagonia, slowly leaving Steeple Jason behind us as the afternoon turned into sunset. There were many albatrosses and giant petrels in the air and some cara caras turned up to farewell us on the ship.

Steeple Jason Island

(Click on image above for much larger version. In the new window, click the button at the bottom right for full screen then use mouse wheel or buttons to zoom in and out).

Cara caras on the ship's mast

A lone black-browed albatross against the late afternoon sun

A cara cara and the Russian flag

Steeple Jason Island

A city of black-browed atbatrosses and possibly gentoo penguins

A giant petrel (above) and a black-browed albatross (skimming the sea) as the afternoon turns into sunset

A black-browed albatross against Steeple Jason Island as sunset comes on.

A giant petrel in front of Steeple Jason Island at sunset

Two giant petrels in the sky as the Falklands recede and the sunset starts to fade away

6th April: Falkland Islands (Steeple Jason Island)

In the early afternoon we landed on Steeple Jason island, a somewhat precarious scramble from the zodiac to the rocks in a small cove.  There were traces of farming activity from long ago but the island has been uninhabited for some time.

Many went off to try to find the albatrosses in their colonies but few managed to find their way through the very high tussock grass.  Perhaps fortunately, I had noticed the great sea highway of gentoo penguins near where we landed and settled in to photograph them.  At the end, I just had time to snatch a few landscapes before we were summoned to an early departure.

I settled down in a nice comfortable position and opposite me was a large rock on which penguins were coming in out of the water and being washed on and off by the waves.

Most of these penguins have yellow beaks except the bottom one who has an orange one (there were also a few others).  The gentoo penguins at Vernadsky Station had orange beaks so perhaps this is a stray from Antarctica.

I was particularly looking to get gentoos porpoising so I was very pleased to catch the shot above.  This is not easy to do because they suddenly bounce up out of the water and then disappear again and it’s difficult to predict where it might happen.

As I was observing the penguins from my elevated vantage point I observed very fast white shapes zooming around in the water.  At first I thought, wow, those fish can move really fast.  Then I realised it was the penguins.  These little fellows are speed demons, underwater racing cars, twisting and turning below the waves.

On the left above, an immature rock cormorant, on the right a gentoo penguin

Not drowning, waving.

Steeple Jason Island with gentoo penguins in foreground