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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And there was at least two inches of water….

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

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.

Elephant Seal Romance and Combat

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

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

The beachmaster arrives.

Southern elephant seals can dive for more than twenty minutes and have been recorded more than 2,000 metres down.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

I found a remote sheltered stony cove populated by elephant seals.  From my vantage point maybe ten feet above them, I was able to observe their interactions much more successfully than had I been at the same level.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Here he is, fresh from an elephant seal beauty contest in Mar-a-Lago, Florida.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Whether his overtures are appreciated is not perhaps the point as far as he is concerned.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

The pup looks on seemingly with curiosity and concern.

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An illusory moment of domestic bliss, perhaps.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

As one can see here, the beachmaster and a female are very different in size.  Adult male southern elephant seals weigh up to five tonnes and are up to seven metres long.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife9

Hmm.  I had assumed those wounds on his nose were scars of combat.  Maybe there’s another explanation.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Two’s company…

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

I will resist the temptation to add an anthropomorphic label on this occasion.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

… but maybe not this one:  “Always look on the bright side of life”…

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

One may indeed contend whether “romance” and elephant seals should be mentioned in the same sentence.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

It’s possible that Donald Trump aspires to be a male elephant seal, though that’s perhaps being unfair to the elephant seals.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Beachmasters control a harem of up to several dozen females but need to be constantly on the lookout for interlopers trying to muscle in.

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Being big is an advantage.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

These contests are serious and they can carry many scars.

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The interloper retreats.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

And the contest continues in the sea.

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Elephant seals, Falkland Islands, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

But eventually he gives up and leaves the harem to the beachmaster.

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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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Silvery Grebe.

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

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

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

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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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… 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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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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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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Pebble Island to Sea Lion Island

3rd November 2015. Falkland Islands.

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At 11am I flew from Pebble Island to Sea Lion Island in the same light plane that previously took me to Pebble Island.

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If you look carefully you may be able to see the airfield, both along the isthmus and across it.  This is where a SAS raid destroyed the Argentine aircraft on the ground in 1982.

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Moving a bit to the right, there is the edge of the settlement at bottom right under the watermark.

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The large building is the main house where I stayed.

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Moving further along, this is the wharf and the old farm buildings.

The following five images are islets between Pebble Island and West Falkland.

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Brocken Island and subsidiary islets.

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At the east end of East Island.

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Aerial Photography, Falkland Islands, Landscape, Pebble Island, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel

Same location, different view.

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Aerial Photography, Falkland Islands, Landscape, Pebble Island, Photography, Sea Lion Island, seascape, Travel

Small islands off River Island.

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Probably the east coast of River Island.

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Flying over the barren hinterlands of West Falkland.

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On the east coast of West Falkland, this is Port Howard, the most massive metropolis in West Falkland, with twenty inhabitants and centre of a farm with over 40,000 sheep.

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Still Port Howard, from a different perspective as we fly south west.

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Falkland Sound in the foreground and the cliffs that protest Port Howard from the East.

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Further back and now we can see the Hornby Mountains behind and the weather is closing in.

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Now we can see the entrance to Port Howard Inlet.

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This is now the west coast of East Falkland, Long Point from over Egg Harbour.

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A bit further on, looking back towards the southern edge of Egg Harbour.

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A river in the centre of East Falkland.

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There are many small lakes in the centre of East Falkland.  I know where this is, but can’t supply a name.

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At the far end of Adventure Sound.

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This is at the Bay of Harbours, at the south coast of East Falkland, just to the east of Cow Point.  I don’t have a shot coming in to Sea Lion Island, further south.  It must have been too cloudy there.

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