TRAVELLING NATURALIST TRIP REPORT

Fabulous Falkland Islands

5 - 19 January 2003


Leaders:
Tim Earl



Highlights:
  • Female Red-backed Hawk people-watching on our first afternoon at Darwin. Great views of the pair and their chick were had the following day.
  • Rockhopper Penguins coming up to investigate us as we sat watching them.
  • Five penguin species in a day on Pebble Island.
  • Black-necked Swans on Big Pond, Pebble Island.
  • Albatrosses with chicks on Saunders Island.
  • Being struck by an over-anxious Striated Caracara on Sea Lion Island.
  • Ground-tyrants looking like toffs in their top hats and spats.
  • A raft of 12 Silvery Grebe on Pebble Island.
  • Wandering Albatrosses coming up behind the boat surrounded by Black-browed Albatross, Sooty Shearwaters, White-chinned Petrels, a Common Diving-petrel and three Commerson’s Dolphins off Kidney Island on the boat trip.

DAILY DIARY


Sunday 5 January
We met at Brize Norton but were unable to eat at Gateway Refectory prior to the flight. Instead we went through to the departure lounge and waited for the flight which left 30 minutes late.

Monday 6 January
The short delay to the aircraft's departure from RAF Brize Norton was caught up and we arrived in Ascension about on time. This is a mixed blessing – delayed flights give better opportunities of seeing the frigatebirds. Arriving on time just after dawn meant that the birds were not yet aloft. However, after 45 minutes staring at distant views of the sea, dark shapes of Ascension Island Frigatebird were seen. Some even came close enough for us to glimpse their white bellies, but as a birding experience it left us hoping for better in the Falklands. Common (Indian) Mynah and Masked Booby were also seen.
The flight to the Falklands is one of the easiest (and most expensive) long-hauls in the world. Some of us had slept well overnight and after buying postcards and souvenirs in the NAAFI shop on Ascension we settled down for the day flight to the Falkland Islands.
After an uneventful journey we arrived at Mount Pleasant Airport, East Falkland, at 1.55pm. The weather was a chilly 5ºC with a cold, brisk, southerly wind. Our first birds on the scenic drive to Darwin were Upland Goose, few Turkey Vulture and a female Red-backed Hawk.
Some group members could not resist a walk around the enchanting settlement at Darwin before dinner with the result that a creditable total of 20 species was recorded at the call-over afterwards. These included Antarctic (Southern) Giant Petrel, South American Tern, Rock Shag breeding precariously on the piles of an old jetty, Black-crowned Night-heron, the endemic Falkland Fightless Steamer-duck, Magellanic and Blackish Oystercatchers, Falkland (Austral) Thrush and Long-tailed Meadowlark.
Ken and Bonny Greenland gave us a fabulous welcome, not only in their friendly and homely hospitality but also in the form of meal of devilled chicken followed by lasagne and a vast mixed-fruit pavlova.

Ascension Island birds:


GANNETS & BOOBIES
Masked booby
FRIGATEBIRDS
Ascension Island frigatebird
STARLINGS
Common mynah Tuesday 7 January

We awoke to bright sunshine but as often happens on islands, this was replaced by greyer overcast weather. The wind had dropped a little and the temperature was higher as a result.
Guests were soon out exploring the area around the lodge and enjoying new birds. Dark-faced Ground-tyrant turned out to be a favourite, described as a dandy with black topper, spats and a jaunty gait. Later in the trip we were to learn that one was identified as Fire-eyed Diucon by Liz and Wenda.
Some had good views of Black-chinned Siskin and Kelp Goose. European Hare was seen on the green behind the lodge.
The nest site of yesterday’s Red-backed Hawk was found and the female again repeated her close examination of Travelling Naturalists.
Ken and your author drove us out to San Carlos in the morning, stopping to admire Two-banded Plover, Rufous-chested Dotterel and lots of Long-tailed Meadowlark. We visited the British war cemetery, always a moving experience, and a little museum which allowed ken to start his gripping narrative about the battle of Darwin and Goose Green.
We stopped at the Argentinean war cemetery on the way back to the lodge. Three White-rumped Sandpiper were found picking around on a beach close to the road on the way back.
Lunch back at the lodge was followed by a tour of the battlefield in which the events leading up to the Argentinean surrender of Goose Green were charted in detail. It was an illuminating and somewhat chilling experience, widely appreciated by the group.
As ever in the Falklands we watched birds here and there but things really got under way as we walked back to the lodge from Goose Green in the late afternoon sunshine.
Our first find was a party of Magellanic Penguin waddling ashore on a tussock island giving us distant but good ‘scope views. A couple of juvenile Black-crowned Night-heron were seen in an old wreck while a Brown Skua, both oystercatchers and the resident steamerducks were also studied.
Walking across the golf course we found many Puff-balls, a confusing fungus for golfers to cope with. A tail-less Feral cat followed us as far as a bridge across an inlet refusing all advice and encouragement to return to Goose Green.
Rising up a small cliff as we approached Darwin Lodge, the adult Red-backed Hawks came up to investigate us but settled down of their ledges again to largely ignore us. Several pictures of the male were obtained.
The local name for Dark-faced Ground-tyrant is Newsbird and as we approached the settlement a pair came out to whisper in your leader’s ear. He followed advice and checked a pool behind the lodge to discover three beautiful Chiloe (Southern) Wigeon and a dozen Speckled Teal.
We slipped in to the lodge at 7.30pm, a late day indeed, but in time for a shower before dinner.



Birds of Darwin:
PENGUINS
Magellanic penguin
SHEARWATERS & PETRELS
Antarctic (Southern) giant petrel
CORMORANTS
Rock shag
King cormorant (Blue-eyed shag)
HERONS, EGRETS & BITTERNS
Black-crowned night-heron
SWANS, GEESE & DUCKS
Upland (Magellanic) goose
Kelp goose
Ruddy-headed goose
Falkland steamerduck
Chiloe wigeon
Speckled teal
Mallard
Crested duck
NEW WORLD VULTURES
Turkey vulture
HAWKS, EAGLES & KITES
Variable (Red-backed) hawk
OYSTERCATCHERS
Magellanic oystercatcher
Blackish oystercatcher
PLOVERS & LAPWINGS
Two-banded plover
SANDPIPERS
White-rumped sandpiper
JAEGERS & SKUAS
Brown (Sub-Antarctic or Southern) skua
GULLS
Kelp gull
TERNS
South American tern
PIGEONS & DOVES
Rock dove (Feral pigeon)
TYRANT FLYCATCHERS
Fire-eyed diucon
Dark-faced ground-tyrant
WAGTAILS & PIPITS
Correndera pipit
THRUSHES
Austral thrush
OLD WORLD SPARROWS
House sparrow
FINCHES
Black-chinned siskin
TRUE BUNTINGS
Canary-winged finch
TROUPIALS & ALLIES
Long-tailed meadowlark
Mammals of Darwin:
RABBITS & HARES
European hare

Wednesday 8 January

The weather dawned calm and sunny – a perfect Falkland Island summer’s day. And a late departure gave us another opportunity to explore a line of gorse bushes which marches off over the horizon and down to a pond about a mile and a half from the lodge.
We saw many of the usual species which were becoming so familiar – Correndera Pipit, Long-tailed Meadowlark, Austral Thrush and Turkey Vulture.
It was soon time to leave and with some sadness we said our goodbyes to Bonnie and Ken. A telephone call told us that the two aircraft we were to leave on were arriving with only a few minutes between them and we scrambled for Darwin International Airport where our cases were unloaded from the baggage cart (Ken’s pick-up truck), the wind-sock was put up by the assistant airport maintenance man (your author) and the air-traffic controller called up the pilots from the control tower (Ken calling on the radio in his minibus).
After a 25-minute flight we arrived at Pebble Island where Karen Taylor and Russell Evans met us and took us down to the lodge. After sorting ourselves out we set off on a walk to the island’s jetty, onwards to the nearest of the duck lakes and back along Elephant Beach.
It was a super afternoon and within a few minutes we were watching a mammal- and bird-tick in the ‘scope at the same time. A female South American Sea Lion was sunning herself on the jetty in the company of five Snowy Sheathbill. In the background we could see our first Black-browed Albatross while a couple of Brown Skua buzzed the area regularly looking for an easy meal.
There were lots of the expected ducks on the lake – Speckled Teal, Crested Duck and the usual range of geese.
The tide-line of Elephant beach was marked with the dried out husks of Krill, known locally as Whalefood. The sea was clearly teeming with the pelagic crustaceans as a small flock of Kelp Gull with about five Dolphin Gull, picked over the masses coming ashore. Magellanic Penguin, Falklands Flightless Steamerduck and South American Tern were all recorded. Perhaps the most spectacular view was of hundreds of Black-browed Albatross wheeling over the distant ocean.
We crossed over old peat workings where countless islanders had chopped out millions of turfs for their fires. Karen promised us a peat fire before we left.
After dinner some of us went outside where we added Jupiter with two moons, Saturn and its ring, the Southern Cross and the Orion nebula to our list of heavenly bodies.

Thursday 9 January
Our first full day on pebble Island was a cracker. After being dropped at Big Pond we set about teasing out its birds. Silvery and White-tufted Grebe needed little teasing. As we sat watching them they came up for a better view of us. The former were delightful, their bright red eyes gazing out from delicate golden tufts. White-tufted Grebe demonstrated the wonder of black-and-white birds. Their only colour was an orange rump and bright red eye.
Black-necked Swan was another first on the pond and close examination revealed one pair with quite large cygnets and another whose young were so small they were hitching a ride on the male’s back.
A passing duck in flight turned out to be one half of a pair of Silver Teal. Their white cheeks and black caps contrasted with the versicoloured flanks. Chiloe Wigeon, Speckled Teal and the usual range of geese made up the wildfowl cast.
Setting off for Long Pond we were able to study the beak of Black-throated Finch which is really a true bunting. Sitting in the warm sun later we listened to their song which is clearly that of a bunting too.
A juvenile Red-backed Hawk had clearly been told to remain on a high mound of sand dune as it just watched us inscrutably. Its father approached the dune but sheared off when it saw us admiring his offspring.
Our hopes of seeing flocks of waders were dashed when Long Pond produced little more than a Crested Duck and a few Upland Goose. Two Rufous-chested Dotterel were found perched on diddle-dee bushes and a small flock of White-rumped Sandpiper flew over.
After being picked up by two vehicles we headed off to the base of the Tamar Peninsular where, after driving past many Magellanic Penguin nests and Brown Skua chicks, we arrived at our first mixed colonies of Rockhopper Penguin and King Cormorant.
The boast that the Falkland Islands can rival the Galapagos as a wildlife destination was seen as truth by many in this fantastic place.
Moving carefully around the colonies we were able to watch Rockhoppers torpedoing through the kelp, jump ashore onto rock ledges and start their two-footed-hopping journey to the colony at least 100ft above the sea.
They hopped, jumped, fell, levered using their beaks, and scratched their way up the steep cliff. A few, often soiled from time in the colonies, were making their way down.
And as we sat watching all this going on we were constantly visited by penguins and cormorants which were inquisitive about us.
The colonies were in constant motion as breeding birds came to and fro, and patrols were mounted by Dolphin Gulls and Brown Skuas. An unguarded moment resulted in a cormorant losing one of its eggs to a skua and a careless penguin, regurgitating a large squid, allowed others to snatch its chick’s food. Two skuas then took part in a tug-of-food competition, both getting a reward.
A few Brown Skua nests surrounded the colonies, each with a couple of light coffee-coloured chicks and an aggressive-looking adult on guard.
It was with reluctance that we left the site and drove back along the Tamar Peninsular to Bett’s Pond where we spent time looking for ducks. Our reward was a fine Flying Steamerduck, or Logger in local parlance, one of the more difficult Falkland birds to pin down.
Driving out onto the far end on the five-mile Elephant Beach we were amazed to be greeted by the sight of hundreds of waders running around the sand banks exposed by a very low tide. The majority were Two-banded Plover with White-rumped Sandpiper coming a close second. A few Magellanic Oystercatcher had joined the party.


Friday 10 January

Five penguin species in a day can be achieved in only one place in the world, Pebble Island – to the best of our knowledge – and we hit that target with King, Gentoo, Magellanic, Rockhopper and Macaroni seen by all the group.
The day started with a bimble down to Elephant Beach to look unsuccessfully for dolphins. Several Magellanic Penguin were seen along the beach but it was not until we had been sitting in a sheltered spot for a few minutes that Joanna drew our attention to a King Penguin sitting hunched in a sheltered rock crevice at the top of the beach. The bird was moulting and occasionally picked at particularly itchy feathers to give their replacements a helping beak.
A number of Magellanic Penguin were seen on Elephant Beach, keeping Flightless Steamerduck and Kelp Gull company.
The next penguins we saw were in a colony of Gentoo, at least two miles from the nearest beach, way up on the slopes of Middle Mountain. These were entertaining as some pointed their beaks to the sky and brayed, while the newly returned birds were chased around and through the rookery by hungry chicks.
The luck of spotting a King Penguin earlier in the day was blessed as a bird normally seen at the colony had gone.
We drove on to a Rockhopper rookery near Marble Mountain where we had a picnic lunch (which included a Penguin biscuit). Unlike yesterday’s, this was a pure rookery with no King cormorants and a lower Brown Skua population possibly as a result.
Our fifth penguin species was among the Rockies – a splendid Macaroni Penguin which posed for the camera-women in the group. It was larger than the Rockhoppers and had beautiful orange, pasta-like plumes.
An Erect-crested Penguin which had been seen among the birds was not found although a close substitute was making its way up a cliff from the sea.
Not to worry. We enjoyed terrific views of penguins coming ashore out of waves which appeared to dash them on the rocks.
It was with reluctance that we finally set off back for home, finding a second King Penguin on the way to Green Rincon where we stopped for a cuppa and views of the Southern Giant Petrel colony.
Closer views were obtained from a headland about 150m away but we were upwind of the birds which are terribly timid. When one or two started to leave we turned around and left the colony in peace.
The vehicles became silent as we bumped our way across the moorland. People were deep in thought about the wonderful day, our wildlife experience and the achievement of seeing five penguin species in a day.
The peat fire was lit in Pebble Lodge lounge to mark our last evening on the island and we roasted in front of it after dinner, well pleased with the day and sad to be leaving.



Birds of Pebble Island:
PENGUINS
King penguin
Gentoo penguin
Rockhopper penguin
Macaroni penguin
Magellanic penguin
GREBES
White-tufted grebe
Silvery grebe
ALBATROSSES
Black-browed albatross
SHEARWATERS & PETRELS
Antarctic (Southern) giant petrel
CORMORANTS
Rock shag
Imperial shag (King or Blue-eyed cormorant)
HERONS, EGRETS & BITTERNS
Black-crowned night-heron
SWANS, GEESE & DUCKS
Black-necked swan
Upland (Magellanic) goose
Kelp goose
Ruddy-headed goose
Falkland steamerduck
Flying steamerduck
Chiloe wigeon
Speckled teal
Crested duck
Silver teal
NEW WORLD VULTURES
Turkey vulture
HAWKS, EAGLES & KITES
Variable (Red-backed) hawk


FALCONS & CARACARAS
Peregrine falcon
OYSTERCATCHERS
Magellanic oystercatcher
Blackish oystercatcher
PLOVERS & LAPWINGS
Two-banded plover
Rufous-chested dotterel
SANDPIPERS
South American snipe
Fuegian snipe
White-rumped sandpiper
SHEATHBILLS
Snowy sheathbill
JAEGERS & SKUAS
Brown (Sub-Antarctic or Southern) skua
GULLS
Dolphin gull
Kelp gull
TERNS
South American tern
Common tern
TYRANT FLYCATCHERS
Dark-faced ground-tyrant
PIPITS
Correndera pipit
THRUSHES
Austral thrush
OLD WORLD SPARROWS
House sparrow
FINCHES
Black-chinned siskin
TRUE BUNTINGS
Canary-winged finch
TROUPIALS & ALLIES
Long-tailed meadowlark

Mammals of Pebble Island:
CATS
Wild Cat (Feral cat)
EARED SEALS
South American sea-lion


Saturday 11 January

A day trip to Saunders and our introduction to Sea Lion Island is always a great treat. There is something about the gentle way in which Black-browed Albatross go through their domestic arrangements which is particularly endearing. Sadly, this is the last we will do as the flight schedules give only a bare hour at the colony.
Sitting next to the albatross colony, watching birds come in from the sea, greet their mates with intricate tail-fanning, bill clapping and mutual preening is a great wildlife experience. The birds appear to accept their human visitors as rather odd-looking albatrosses and ignore us as we wonder at their activities. We were greeted by the harsh calls of two Crested Caracara high on the hill above us. They obligingly allowed good ‘scope views.
Some of us went off to examine the Rockhopper Penguin colonies – made fearful by predictions of doom due to poisoning from a red algae bloom – and found them in good shape. There were plenty of chicks and adults were busily coming to and from feeding trips at sea. Five Turkey Vultures were tearing at a dead penguin when a Striated Caracara flew in and chased them off. Only one of the group saw the young juvenile but more were promised for later in the day.
We were driven back to the settlement on Saunders to catch our planes after an all too short stay on the albatross cliffs. On the way, two Brown-hooded Gull were spotted bathing in a stream before flying off over a pristine white-sand beach.
The first FIGAS (Falkland Island Government Air Service) Islander arrived as we were eating a packed lunch and half the group left for Sea Lion Island while the remainder enjoyed a tour of the settlement and tales of derring-do from our hostesses Biffo Evans and Suzan Pole-Evans.
Sea Lion is a great contrast to the other sites we visit on this amazing trip. Manager Jenny Luxton met the two flights of Travelling Naturalists as they swooped down onto the all-weather strip on Sea Lion. We were soon reunited and enjoying ‘smoko’ – tea and cakes – in the lodge lounge.
Sea Lion Lodge is the most popular site in the Falklands and was busy as a result, quite a contrast to the tour to date on which we had seen only five other guests.
We left on a quick familiarisation tour which turned into a wildlife bonanza. Up on the Rockhopper Penguin colony we watched out first Blackish Cinclodes (Tussock-birds) as they picked up sand-hopper like insects from under stones turned over for them. Snowy Sheathbill and Dolphin Gull were working the colonies of penguins and King Cormorants looking for dropped food, smashed eggs or dead chicks, accompanied by a few ever-present Brown Skua.
The sea seems to boil at the base of a steep ramp which leads up the cliff making the attempts of Rockhoppers to get up to the cliff-top colonies all the more impressive. We watched small groups appear to take several poundings before gaining a toe-hold and finally emerging at the cliff top some minutes later. These truly are extraordinary birds.
A memorial to HMS Sheffield also sits on the cliff top and we took a few minutes to think of those who died in her. Our thoughts were quickly dragged back to reality and wildlife when a Striated Caracara flew up onto the memorial cross. Several more were sitting on the Land Rover roof racks to greet us as we set off for the Gulch.
Several surprises awaited us. Jenny had found a Great Grebe on the sea some weeks earlier and the bird was still there waiting to be admired. This is a rare species for the Falklands: the first your author has seen there.
Cobb’s Wren, an endemic species closely related to House wren, was found picking among the stones and kelp fronds. They and the ubiquitous Blackish Cinclodes were sent scurrying by a juvenile bull South American Sea Lion which had been hiding among huge sleeping South American Elephant Seal groups. He showed the wisdom of advice to treat sea lions with caution by getting aggressive towards our leader who was too casual in his disregard of the animal.
We were watching more sea lions at the base of cliffs closer to the lodge when a fin was spotted in the kelp beds. After some searching two Peale’s Dolphin were seen briefly. They were large and grey with a fairly gentle curve on the dorsal fin.

After admiring the huge ‘beachmaster’ bull sea lions we drove off past the lodge to see the Southern Giant Petrel colony at the neck, on the other side of the island. To our amazement two more dolphins were seen. Their dorsal fins had the more sharply curved shape of the smaller, darker Dusky Dolphin, a rare animal in the Falklands and a fitting end to what had been a great day.


Birds of Saunders Island:
PENGUINS
Gentoo penguin
Rockhopper penguin
Magellanic penguin
ALBATROSSES
Black-browed albatross
SHEARWATERS & PETRELS
Antarctic (Southern) giant petrel
CORMORANTS
Rock shag
Imperial shag (King or Blue-eyed cormorant)
SWANS, GEESE & DUCKS
Upland (Magellanic) goose
Kelp goose
Falkland steamerduck
NEW WORLD VULTURES
Turkey vulture
HAWKS, EAGLES & KITES
Variable (Red-backed) hawk
FALCONS & CARACARAS
Striated caracara
Crested caracara
OYSTERCATCHERS
Magellanic oystercatcher
PLOVERS & LAPWINGS
Two-banded plover
Rufous-chested dotterel
SANDPIPERS
South American snipe
JAEGERS & SKUAS
Brown (Sub-Antarctic or Southern) skua
GULLS
Dolphin gull
Kelp gull
Brown-hooded gull
TERNS
South American tern
TYRANT FLYCATCHERS
Dark-faced ground-tyrant
WAGTAILS & PIPITS
Correndera pipit
THRUSHES
Austral thrush
TRUE BUNTINGS
Canary-winged finch
TROUPIALS & ALLIES
Long-tailed meadowlark
Sunday 12 January

A walk to see breeding Southern Giant Petrel was marred when many the birds suddenly deserted the colony and settled on the sea. A couple had wandered ‘innocently’ past their colony causing major disturbance.
It was short lived and after pointing out the error of their ways to the couple we were pleased to see the birds returning. Giant Petrels are a nervous species and, although people are warned when they visit the island, the colony is at constant risk.
We returned to the lodge for smoko before being driven to Beaver Pond from where we walked back across the island. A big female Peregrine was seen crossing one of the paddocks, apparently unmated since the death of the tiercel last year.
An attempt at seawatching was unsuccessful in two respects. None of our target birds was seen at sea and the great and glorious leader sank his right leg into an evil black peat sump up to his knee.
A juvenile South American Sea Lion was sunning himself in the tussock nearby and rose onto his forelegs to investigate the kafuffle.
Happily, the weather was improving all the time – we had a few drops of rain early on – and the walk was glorious. Packed lunches were eaten by the old airport fire-hut and people were warm enough for a snooze afterwards.
The Rockhopper Penguin colony was visited again with most folk taking the opportunity to get a few pictures.
We walked along a fence which has protected one of the island’s precious tussock stands and were fortunate to get good views of Sedge Wren which responded to a little pishing by sitting on a post and watching us.
Many of the now familiar birds were seen on the way back and we commented on how the experience was a little like walking through a David Attenborough set.

Monday 13 January
This was a go as you please day although a group of six decided to spend the morning together watching sea lions, wildfowl and shearwaters.
Doreen and James went off photographing Gentoo Penguin colonies, South American Elephant Seal groups, obtaining great views of South American Tern and Brown-hooded Gull in the process.
The drama of young male South American Sea Lion attempting to approach the breeding beach where 11 dominant males were in residence, witnessing the attempts of a pup to find its mother and the midwife-like ministrations of a Dolphin Gull cleaning up after a birth, occupied us for much of the morning.
The need for exercise set in and we left the colony to its continuing dramas and headed off in search of ducks on the Long Pond. Silvery Grebe families were watched instead, however. Surprisingly, as the chicks sat on one bird’s back two more adults were feeding them.
We crossed the island to look for birds of prey, finding a tiny Rufous-chested Dotterel chick sheltering among the diddle-dee, and settled in the warm shelter of a stand of tussock. Huge waves were calmed by massive kelp beds and we considered the protection afforded to the islands from these two plants.
A short sea-watch produced several Sooty Shearwater, some close enough for good binocular views. And as we set off for the lodge and lunch, a sea lion carrying a huge squid was found in a rock pool below us. Cobb’s Wren were numerous on a storm beach we crossed, as were Patagonian Crested Duck, Kelp Goose and Blackish Oystercatcher, all of which had unfledged chicks.
Sedge Wren was seen in the sand-dunes on our way back to the lodge and we arrived pleased with our day. Wenda had taken a packed lunch and enjoyed an afternoon of solitude during which she had two great views of Crested Caracara.
Reports of a fur seal among the elephant seals turned out to be false – it was a lone female sea lion. But as we watched one of the younger males appeared and decided she could be a potential partner.
His attentions were rejected and a somewhat violent struggle took place as he pinned her to the sand with his great weight. Life as a female sea lion was not that good, we decided.
An immature Peregrine whizzed through over the sleeping elephants seals and away around the cliff.
The afternoon ended with a party to mark Liz and Terry’s 40th wedding anniversary. The group and other guests celebrated with delightful but potent Chilean cocktails and a super cake cooked for the occasion.


Tuesday 14 January
We went out to the landing area where all the island’s stores come ashore on the six-weekly visit of the supply ship. A near-gale was blowing and we were pleased to get down out of the wind. The wind was working in our favour as we were soon watching shearwaters passing fairly close to the island. They were all Sooty Shearwater with the exception of a lone White-chinned Petrel which went past far more slowly.
Moving off, we looked for a pair of Crested Caracara which Wenda had discovered the previous day but could find only one. A Sedge Wren picking food from the underside of our Land Rover distracted the photographers for a short while as did a Fuegian Snipe which posed in the grass.
A check was made of Long Pond but no new birds were found and we returned to the lodge for lunch after which the loan of a vehicle in the morning was repaid by airport duties by your author.
Once the ‘planes were seen to we met at Cow Point to resume the seawatching activities, although an eye had to be kept on the Striated Caracara which had taken over the tussock nearby to raise a chick. They occasionally dive-bombed us, twice hitting hats. We would normally have moved away under such circumstances but it was the only sheltered spot around to conduct a seawatch and the nest site was some distance away with no sign of the chick.
The seawatching produced plenty of Sooty Shearwater but persistence paid off later in the afternoon when a huge white albatross went past, probably a Wandering Albatross. Sadly, some of the group had left for afternoon tea at the lodge by this time.
A trip out to an area of tussock to look for nesting shearwaters returning to their burrows on dusk proved unproductive although snipe were drumming overhead.

Wednesday 15 January
It was raining at 6am when we left the lodge to watch South American Elephant Seal as they sparred in the cool of the morning. We enjoyed seeing the young bulls slapping into each other, lifting their great weight onto front flippers and arching their supple backs into graceful curves.
A few Snowy Sheathbill were around demonstrating their somewhat disgusting eating preferences.
The rain stopped by breakfast and soon after we were waiting for the aircraft to take us off to Port Stanley. Juan Carlos drove his moped down the airstrip to chase off roosting Kelp Gulls and a few Upland Goose. He need not have bothered for a young Peregrine dashed through shortly afterwards.
The flight to Stanley was uneventful and we were soon reeling from the presence of roads and vehicles for the first time since arriving in the islands.
After a fine lunch at the Malvinas House Hotel we set off for the museum, seeing our first flocks of House Sparrow since Pebble Island.
People spread out to explore the most southerly city in the world later in the afternoon and experiences were swapped over a drink in the bar later in the evening.
Among the places visited were Christ Church Cathedral, the Sheltered Accommodation garden, which had recently been the subject of a BBC TV Groundforce makeover, the Pink Shop which has changed from its second colour of green back to the original, and A & E Knitwear, run by Anne and Eddie Chandler who joined us for a pleasant and interesting supper.







Birds of Sea Lion Island
:
PENGUINS
King penguin
Gentoo penguin
Rockhopper penguin
Magellanic penguin
GREBES
Great grebe
Silvery grebe
ALBATROSSES
Wandering albatross
Black-browed albatross
SHEARWATERS & PETRELS
Antarctic (Southern) giant petrel
White-chinned petrel
Sooty shearwater
CORMORANTS
Rock shag
Imperial shag (King or Blue-eyed cormorant)
HERONS, EGRETS & BITTERNS
Black-crowned night-heron
SWANS, GEESE & DUCKS
Upland (Magellanic) goose
Kelp goose
Ruddy-headed goose
Falkland steamerduck
Chiloe wigeon
Speckled teal
Crested duck
Silver teal
NEW WORLD VULTURES
Turkey vulture
FALCONS & CARACARAS
Striated caracara
Crested caracara
Peregrine falcon
OYSTERCATCHERS
Magellanic oystercatcher
Blackish oystercatcher
PLOVERS & LAPWINGS
Two-banded plover
Rufous-chested dotterel
SANDPIPERS
South American snipe
Fuegian snipe
White-rumped sandpiper
SHEATHBILLS
Snowy sheathbill
JAEGERS & SKUAS
Brown (Sub-Antarctic or Southern) skua
GULLS
Dolphin gull
Kelp gull
Brown-hooded gull
TERNS
South American tern
OVENBIRDS
Blackish cinclodes
TYRANT FLYCATCHERS
Dark-faced ground-tyrant
WAGTAILS & PIPITS
Correndera pipit
WRENS
Cobb's wren
Sedge wren
THRUSHES
Austral thrush
FINCHES
Black-chinned siskin
TRUE BUNTINGS
Canary-winged finch

Mammals of Sea Lion Island:
EARED SEALS
South American sea-lion
EARLESS SEALS
Southern elephant seal
MARINE DOLPHINS
Peale's dolphin
Dusky dolphin


Thursday 16 January

Volunteer Point is home to 700 pairs of King Penguin besides being one of the most beautiful headlands in the Falkland Islands. Getting there used to be a long cross country marathon but with new roads built out to Johnston’s Harbour access involves only a short section off-road. Nevertheless, we were pleased when our two Land Rovers pulled up at the isthmus, within sight of the enormous colony of Kings.
We had seen lots of birds on the way, of course: Speckled and Silvery Teal in a boggy pool, Red-backed Hawk and Peregrine, the latter an immature bird sitting obligingly on a fence post close to the road.
Fishing South American Tern indicated that the lake-like waters of Berkley Sound were indeed a sea-water inlet, as did the Falklands Flightless Steamer-duck, Patagonian Crested Duck and Kelp Goose families along the beaches.
But the object of our wildlife desires was the King Penguin colony. Warden Jim Woodward met us and explained the various activities going on among the enormous birds.
Some were moulting prior to their nuptials, others might be mating and, if we were lucky, we might see a female lay an egg and catch it on her feet before pushing it into a pouch of skin for incubation.
‘It is a long process,’ he warned.
Off we set to study the colony, quickly picking up chicks from last season which looked like Guardsmen’s busbies. Moulting birds were sitting separate from the colony, looking forlorn, like the bird we had seen on Pebble Island a few days earlier – was it really only a few days? We had done and seen so much it seemed like ages.
Kings are dramatic looking penguins but more gentle and placid than raucous Rockhoppers, slower than the galloping Gentoo. Occasionally a male would point its beak to the sky and call loudly, allowing its head to flop forward onto the chest afterwards. Sometimes jabbing pecks would be thrown at some poor bird attempting to reach its mate deep in the colony, but otherwise activity was a slow.
So it was a story of high drama when a brown chick from last year suddenly set off from the colony across the dunes towards the sea.
Where is it going?’ Jim was asked.
‘It will bathe in the stream there,’ he replied. ‘Watch it jump in.’
Jump in it did, but then crossed the stream and carried on walking towards the sea. Your author was looking for White-rumped Sandpipers, without success, when he noticed the runaway heading down the beach.
Several of us watched as the bird reached the edge of the sea and threw itself into the remains of a wave. Flapping its flippers did no good – the water was too shallow – so up it stood and deeper the bird went.
Finally, floating at last, it proceeded to bathe. Then swim, then dive, and finally disappear.
This was terrible news. The fluffy down could not be waterproof while the sea was cold and patrolled by hungry sea lions.
All we could do was worry.
After watching the penguins – for not quite long enough in some cases – we set off back to the ‘Rovers and gathered for departure.
The disappearing chick was our main topic of conversation. How could it have survived?
Wenda was last back and brought the good news that, as she was watching the colony for the final moments, an extremely bedraggled chick had appeared, soaking wet, as if having been for a swim. It was a happy ending.
Driving back to the hotel we stopped again at the head of Berkley Sound, this time to investigate a seal on the beach. Its shorter forelimbs, thick coat and pointed nose indicated that we were watching our first and only South American Fur Seal.



Birds of Volunteer Point and Port Stanley:
PENGUINS
King penguin
Gentoo penguin
Magellanic penguin
SWANS, GEESE & DUCKS
Kelp goose
Ruddy-headed goose
Falkland steamerduck
Speckled teal
Crested duck
Silver teal
NEW WORLD VULTURES
Turkey vulture
HAWKS, EAGLES & KITES
Variable (Red-backed) hawk
FALCONS & CARACARAS
Peregrine falcon
OYSTERCATCHERS
Magellanic oystercatcher
PLOVERS & LAPWINGS
Two-banded plover
Rufous-chested dotterel
JAEGERS & SKUAS
Brown (Sub-Antarctic or Southern) skua
GULLS
Dolphin gull
Kelp gull
Brown-hooded gull
TERNS
South American tern
WAGTAILS & PIPITS
Correndera pipit
THRUSHES
Austral thrush
TRUE BUNTINGS
Canary-winged finch
TROUPIALS & ALLIES
Long-tailed meadowlark


Mammals of Volunteer Point:
EARED SEALS
South American fur seal

Friday 17 January

The day dawned windier than we hoped. This was the day of our long-awaited seabird special boat trip.
The launch turned out to be 50ft long, equipped with all modern safety gear and occasionally was pressed into service as a lifeboat. A barrel of thawed sardines was on the back and the G&GL had five boxes of Rice Krispies under his arm.
All was set.
The weather was breezy and as we left the shelter of Falkland Sound white caps were appearing on the waves. We were approaching the trip with trepidation.
The seabirds were not, however. This was their element and soon we were watching hundreds of Sooty Shearwater, South American Tern and several Brown-hooded Gull.
To the wild, excited delight of the leader an adult Wandering Albatross cut across the stern…
This was getting interesting.
We motored out past Kidney Island, nesting site for the Sooties, and started to mash up the sardines, throwing the chum over the side with Rice Krispies to attract seabirds.
They appeared in droves and we soon had a huge flock of Black-browed Albatross, Southern Giant Petrel and White-chinned Petrel zooming around the launch.
A Common Diving-petrel, almost certainly of the Falklands’ race, and a Common Tern in winter plumage, were seen briefly before first the adult wanderer appeared and then an immature bird joined the throng.
It was fantastic.
We eventually, too soon really, ran out of chum and headed back towards Kidney Island. Throngs of Sooty Shearwater sped past the boat, King Cormorant and Rock Shag hung on the air over our heads while Magellanic and Rockhopper Penguin popped up to watch us.
About seven Southern Sea Lion were on the beach and in the tussock grass of the island, getting our attention when a splash close to the boat revealed a pod of Commerson’s Dolphin which proceeded to surf the bow-wave. One even had the cheek to splash us several times as it popped out of the water to the sound of our cheers.
Dolphins are the only wild creature your author knows that are attracted to excited people. They seem to play to an audience and these were no exception. We shouted and cheered each time they surfaced.
As if to repay us, the animals escorted us back into Stanley Sound and were last seen rolling and leaping from our wake as we headed towards the harbour.
A short detour was made to see the bay in which HMS Great Britain had been beached and from which she was eventually rescued to be transported back to her home port of Bristol, and the trip was over.
It was a fitting end to a wonderful visit to the fantastic Falklands.



Seabirds seen on the pelagic trip:
PENGUINS
Rockhopper penguin
Magellanic penguin
ALBATROSSES
Wandering albatross
Black-browed albatross
SHEARWATERS & PETRELS
Antarctic (Southern) giant petrel
White-chinned petrel
Sooty shearwater
DIVING-PETRELS
Common diving-petrel

CORMORANTS
Rock shag
Imperial shag (King or Blue-eyed cormorant)
JAEGERS & SKUAS
Brown (Sub-Antarctic or Southern) skua
GULLS
Dolphin gull
Kelp gull
Brown-hooded gull
TERNS
South American tern
Common tern
Mammals of the pelagic trip:
EARED SEALS MARINE DOLPHINS
South American sea lion Commerson’s dolphin

ANNOTATED LIST OF SPECIES


BIRDS


PENGUINS Sphenisciformes Spheniscidae

King penguin Aptenodytes patagonicus
Pebble Island, singles on Elephant Beach and Green Rinco on 10th; Sea Lion Island, two on 11th onwards with a third appearing in the sand dunes on 13th; Volunteer Point, colony of 700 pairs on 16th.

Gentoo penguin Pygoscelis papua
Pebble Island, two on Elephant Beach (8th), colony on Middle Mountain 10th; Saunders Island, a few on the beaches on 11th; Sea Lion Island, three colonies of about 500 pairs; Volunteer Point, colony of 500 pairs on 16th.

Rockhopper penguin Eudyptes chrysocome
Tamar Point, Pebble Island, three mixed rookeries on 9th, Green Rinco pure Rockhopper colony with one Macaroni penguin on 10th; Saunders Island, three small rookeries on 11th; Sea Lion Island, one rookery; pelagic trip, six on 17th.

Macaroni penguin Eudyptes chrysolophus
Pebble Island, Green Rinco, one in a pure Rockhopper colony on 10th.

Magellanic penguin Spheniscus magellanicus
Darwin, 15 on 6th, Pebble Island, 30 on Elephant Beach (8th), Tamar Point, 00s on 9th, similar numbers west end on 10th; Saunders Island, good numbers on 11th; Sea Lion Island, lots; Volunteer Point, good numbers on 16th; pelagic trip, 40 on 17th.

GREBES Podicipediformes Podicipedidae

White-tufted grebe Rollandia rolland
Big Pond, Pebble Island, 40 on 9th.

Great grebe Podiceps major
Sea Lion Island, one on 11th.

Silvery grebe Podiceps occipitalis
Big Pond, Pebble Island, 12 on 9th; Sea Lion Island, six with their chicks;

ALBATROSSES Procellariiformes Diomedeidae

Wandering albatross Diomedea exulans
Sea Lion Island, one on a seawatch 14th; pelagic trip, adult and immature on 17th.

Black-browed albatross Thalassarche melanophris
Pebble Island, 200 off Elephant Beach 8th, Tamar Point, 30 on 9th, a few west end on 10th; Saunders Island, huge six-mile colony on 11th; Sea Lion Island, a few daily; pelagic trip, 120 on 17th.

SHEARWATERS & PETRELS Procellariiformes Procellariidae


Antarctic (Southern) giant petrel Macronectes giganteus
Common daily Darwin; Pebble Island (colony of 63 pairs); Saunders Island; Sea Lion Island (colony of 32 pairs); pelagic trip, 60 on 17th.

White-chinned petrel Procellaria aequinoctialis
Sea Lion Island, one on seawatch on 14th; pelagic trip, five on 17th.


Sooty shearwater
Puffinus griseus
Sea Lion Island, eight on 13th; pelagic trip, hundreds, many close to the boat, on 17th.

DIVING-PETRELS Procellariiformes Pelecanoididae


Common diving-petrel Pelecanoides urinatrix
Pelagic trip, one probably of the Falklands’ race P.u. berard on 17th.

GANNETS & BOOBIES Pelecaniformes Sulidae


Masked booby Sula dactylatra
Several seen from the 'cage' on Ascension 5th;

CORMORANTS Pelecaniformes Phalacrocoracidae


Rock shag Phalacrocorax magellanicus
Darwin, 20 on 6th and 7th; Pebble Island, two on 8th, small rookery Tamar Point, on 9th, west end on 10th; Saunders Island, a few small colonies on 11th; Sea Lion Island, one colony on 11th; pelagic trip, 30 on 17th.

King cormorant Phalacrocorax atriceps
(Imperial or Blue-eyed shag)

Darwin, five, San Carlos four, on 7th; Pebble Island, one on 8th, Tamar Point, three big rookeries on 9th; Saunders Island, one small colony on 11th; Sea Lion Island, one large colony; pelagic trip, 20 on 17th.

FRIGATEBIRDS Pelecaniformes Fregatidae


Ascension Island frigatebird Fregata aquila
Distant views of about five from the 'cage' on Ascension 5th.

HERONS, EGRETS & BITTERNS Ciconiiformes Ardeidae


Black-crowned night-heron Nycticorax nycticorax
Darwin, one under the jetty on 6th, 10 on 7th; Pebble Island, two under the jetty on 10th; Sea Lion Island, one out on kelp raft, one other on 11th.

SWANS, GEESE & DUCKS Anseriformes Anatidae


Black-necked swan Cygnus melanocorypha
Big Pond, Pebble Island, 11 plus four cygnets, Bett's Pond eight on 9th.

Upland (Magellanic) goose Chloephaga picta
Abundant daily

Kelp goose Chloephaga hybrida
Darwin, 30 on 7th; Pebble Island, two on 8th, Tamar Point, one on 9th, west end a few on 10th; Saunders Island, 30 on 11th; Sea Lion Island, six on 11th; Volunteer Point,10 on 16th.

Ruddy-headed goose Chloephaga rubidiceps
Darwin, 60 on 6th, 7th; Pebble Island, 12 on 8th, 25 on 9th, west end a few 10th; Sea Lion Island, 10 on 11th; Volunteer Point,10 on 16th.

Falkland steamerduck Tachyeres brachypterus
Common daily Darwin; Pebble Island; Saunders Island; Sea Lion Island; Port Stanley and Volunteer Point.

Flying steamerduck Tachyeres patachonicus
Betts Pond, Pebble Island, one on 9th.


Chiloe wigeon
Anas sibilatrix
Darwin, three on 7th; Pebble Island, Big Pond, 25 on 9th; Sea Lion Island, four + six ducklings on 11th.

Speckled teal Anas flavirostris
Darwin, 12 on 7th; Pebble Island, Big Pond, 30 on 8th, 50 on 9th; Sea Lion Island, 10 on 11th; Volunteer Point,10 on 16th.

Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
Darwin, 12 feral birds on 7th.

Crested duck Anas specularioides
Darwin, 30 on 7th; Pebble Island, 50 on 8th, various sites 40 on 9th and 10th; Sea Lion Island, 10 daily; Volunteer Point, five on 16th.

Silver teal Anas versicolor
Pebble Island, Big Pond two, Bett's Pond two, on 9th; Sea Lion Island, two on 11th; Volunteer Point, pair with three ducklings on 16th.

NEW WORLD VULTURES Falconiformes Cathartidae


Turkey vulture Cathartes aura
Darwin, eight on 6th, 50 on 7th; Pebble Island, four on 8th, 40 on 9th, 10 on 10th; Saunders Island, a few on 11th; Sea Lion Island, a few on 11th; Volunteer Point,10 on 16th; pelagic trip, five over Kidney Island on 17th.

HAWKS, EAGLES & KITES Falconiformes Accipitridae


Variable (Red-backed) hawk Buteo polyosoma
Darwin, one feeding chick on 6th, pair + chick on 7th plus another four elsewhere; Pebble Island, Big Pond, juvenile, two males and two females plus one immature on 9th, pair at Elephant Beach, one immature west end on 10th; Saunders Island, an immature on 11th; Volunteer Point, two on 16th.

FALCONS & CARACARAS Falconiformes Falconidae


Striated caracara Phalcoboenus australis
Saunders Island, one immature on 11th; Sea Lion Island, 15 daily.

Crested caracara Caracara plancus
Saunders Island, two on 11th; Sea Lion Island, two on 13th.

Peregrine falcon Falco peregrinus
Pebble Island, Tamar Point, one adult and one juvenile on 9th; Sea Lion Island, one female on 12th, immature on 13th and 15th; Volunteer Point, one on 16th.


OYSTERCATCHERS Charadriiformes Haematopodidae


Magellanic oystercatcher Haematopus leucopodus
Darwin, one on 6th, 15 on 7th; Pebble Island, 30 on 8th, 70 on 9th, 50 on 10th; Saunders Island and Sea Lion Island, a few on 11th; Volunteer Point,10 on 16th; pelagic trip, two on 17th.

Blackish oystercatcher Haematopus ater
Darwin, eight on 6th, 25 on 7th, Pebble Island, two on 8th, two at the settlement beach on 9th and 10th; Sea Lion Island, maximum six plus two chicks on 13th.




PLOVERS & LAPWINGS Charadriiformes Charadriidae


Two-banded plover Charadrius falklandicus
Darwin, 10 on 6th, 20 on 7th; Pebble Island, 300 on 9th, 20 on 10th; Saunders Island, 15 on 11th; Sea Lion Island, 25 on 11th; Volunteer Point, 30 in the sand dunes on 16th.

Rufous-chested dotterel Charadrius modestus
Darwin, - San Carlos nine on 7th; Pebble Island, 20 on 9th and 10th; Saunders Island, 15 on 11th; Sea Lion Island, 15 on 11th; Volunteer Point,10 on 16th.

SANDPIPERS Charadriiformes Scolopacidae


South American snipe Gallinago paraguaiae
Pebble Island, singles on 9th and 10th; Saunders Island, two on 11th; Sea Lion Island, five on 11th, birds drumming on night of 14th.

Fuegian snipe Gallinago stricklandii
Pebble Island, one on 8th and 9th; Seal Lion Island, maximum of four on 14th.

White-rumped sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis
Darwin, three on 7th; Pebble Island, 200 on 9th.

SHEATHBILLS Charadriiformes Chionididae


Snowy sheathbill Chionis alba
Pebble Island, five roosting on the jetty on 8th; Sea Lion Island, 20 around the Rockhopper penguin colonies.

SKUAS Charadriiformes Stercorariidae


Brown (Southern) skua Catharacta antarctica
Darwin, four on 6th, 15 on 7th; Pebble Island, five on 8th, 40 on 9th; 10 on 10th; Saunders Island, 15 on 11th; Sea Lion Island, 15 daily; Volunteer Point, six on 16th; pelagic trip, six on 17th.

GULLS Charadriiformes Laridae


Dolphin gull Larus scoresbii
Pebble Island, five on 8th, 25 on 9th, two on 10th; Saunders Island, five on 11th; Sea Lion Island, 30 on 11th; Volunteer Point, 10 on 16th; pelagic trip, six on 17th.

Kelp gull Larus dominicanus
Common daily

Brown-hooded gull Larus maculipennis
Saunders Island, two on 11th; Sea Lion Island maximum six on 14th; Volunteer Point, 30 on 16th; pelagic trip, 20 on 17th.

TERNS Charadriiformes Sternidae


South American tern Sterna hirundinacea
Darwin, two on 6th, 20 on 7th; Pebble Island, 20 on 8th, five on 10th; Saunders Island, 25 on 11th; Sea Lion Island, 25 on 11th; Volunteer Point, 30 on 16th; pelagic trip, 50 on 17th.

Common tern Sterna hirundo
Pebble Island, one on 8th, (leader only); pelagic trip, one close to the boat on 17th.

PIGEONS & DOVES Columbiformes Columbidae


Rock dove Columba livia
Darwin, three on 7th (Goose Green)

OVENBIRDS Passeriformes Furnariidae


Blackish cinclodes Cinclodes antarcticus
Sea Lion Island, 200 island wide, reflecting the absence of rats and cats.

TYRANT FLYCATCHERS Passeriformes Tyrannidae


Fire-eyed diucon Xolmis pyrope
Darwin, Falkland Islands, one on 6th.

Dark-faced ground-tyrant Muscisaxicola macloviana
Darwin, three on 7th; Pebble Island, two on 9th, 10 on 10th; Saunders Island, 10 on 11th; Sea Lion Island, 30 daily; Volunteer Point, one on 16th.

WAGTAILS & PIPITS Passeriformes Motacillidae


Correndera pipit Anthus correndera
Darwin, 50 on 7th; Pebble Island, 30 on 9th, 10 on 10th; Saunders Island, 10 on 11th; Sea Lion Island, 10 on 11th; Volunteer Point, 20 on 16th.

WRENS Passeriformes Troglodytidae


Cobb's wren Troglodytes cobbi
Sea Lion Island, common on the beaches daily, reflecting the absence of rats and cats.

Sedge wren Cistothorus platensis
Sea Lion Island, maximum of six daily, reflecting the absence of rats and cats.

THRUSHES Passeriformes Turdidae


Austral thrush Turdus falcklandii
Darwin, two or three pairs with young on 6th, common on 7th; Pebble Island, four on 9th, 25 on 10th; Saunders Island, 10 on 11th; Sea Lion Island, 15 on 11th; Volunteer Point, 10 on 16th.


STARLINGS Passeriformes Sturnidae


Common mynah Acridotheres tristis
Several flying around the base on Ascension 5th.

OLD WORLD SPARROWS Passeriformes Passeridae


House sparrow Passer domesticus
Common at Darwin, on 6th, San Carlos on 7th; Pebble Island, 12 on 9th, six on 10th; Port Stanley, abundant.

FINCHES Passeriformes Fringillidae


Black-chinned siskin Carduelis barbata
Darwin, eight on 6th and 7th; Pebble Island 15 daily close to the lodge; Sea Lion Island, common in tussock stands; Port Stanley, common daily.


TRUE BUNTINGS Passeriformes Emberizidae


Canary-winged finch Melanodera melanodera
Darwin, 20 on 7th; Pebble Island, 30 on 9th, 20 on 10th; Saunders Island, 20 on 11th; Sea Lion Island, 20 on 11th; Volunteer Point, 50 on 16th.

TROUPIALS & ALLIES Passeriformes Icteridae


Long-tailed meadowlark Sturnella loyca
Darwin, 20 on 6th, abundant on 7th; Pebble Island, 12 on 8th, 100 on 9th; Saunders Island, 50 on 11th; Volunteer Point, 60 on 16th.

MAMMALS


RABBITS & HARES Lagomorpha Leporidae


European hare Lepus europaeus
Daily Darwin, max nine on 7th; Volunteer Point, two on 16th.

MICE & RATS Rodentia Muridae


House mouse Mus musculus
Darwin, one killed by Red-backed hawk on 8th.

CATS Carnivora Felidae


Wild Cat (Feral cat) Felis silvestris
Pebble Island, several daily 8th to 11th.

EARED SEALS Carnivora Otariidae


South American fur seal Arctocephalus australis
West end of Berkley Sound, female on 16th.

South American sea-lion Otaria byronia
Pebble Island, female sleeping on the jetty, 8th and 9th, male at Tamar Point, 9th; Sea Lion Island, colony of 56; Kidney Island, eight immatures on 17th.

EARLESS SEALS Carnivora Phocidae


Southern elephant seal Mirounga leonine
Sea Lion Island, more than 100 in total around the beaches.


APES Primates Hominidae


Human
Homo sapiens
A few daily in most sites. Many more when we arrived in Port Stanley.

MARINE DOLPHINS Cetacea Delphinidae


Peale's dolphin Lagenorhynchus australis
Sea Lion Island, two off the sea lion colony on 11th.

Dusky Dolphin Lagenorhynchus obscurus
Sea Lion Island, two off the giant petrel colony on 11th.

Commerson's dolphin Cephalorhynchus commersonii
Pelagic trip, 6 on 17th.


SELECTED PLANTS
(Our thanks to Wenda Janes who worked hard on this list)

DARWIN

Gorse Ulex europea (introduced)
Fachine Chiliotrichum diffusum
Sundew Drosera uniflora
Scurvy grass Oxalis enneaphylla
Common daisy Bellis perennis (introduced)
Prickly burr Acaena magellanica
Christmas bush Baccharis magellanica
Sheep’s sorrel Rumex acetosella
White grass Cortaderia pilosa

PEBBLE ISLAND

Gorse Ulex europea (introduced)
Tall fern Blechnum magellanicum
Cotula scariasa
Thrift Armeria macloviana
Pig vine Gunnera magellanica
Diddle-dee (some in berry). Empetrum rubrum
Azorella caespitosa
Pratia repens
Christmas bush Baccharis magellanica
White grass Cortaderia pilosa
Scurvy grass Oxalis enneaphylla
Cotula scariosa
Sea cabbage Senecio candicans
Groundsel Senecio vulgaris
Vanilla daisy Leuceria suaveolens
Falkland lavender Perezia recurvata
Sheep’s sorrel Rumex acetosella
Orange hawkweed Hieracium aurantiacum

SEA LION ISLAND

Wild celery Apium graveolens
Arrow-leaved marigold Caltha sagittata
Mouse-eared chickweed Cerastium arvense
Native box Hebe elliptica

VOLUNTEER POINT

Sea cabbage Senecio candicans
Sundew Drosera uniflora


HEAVENLY BODIES


MOON
The trip coincided with a full moon on the 18th.

JUPITER
Seen, complete with moons, from Pebble Island on 9th.

SATURN
Seen, complete with rings and moon, from Pebble Island on 9th.

ORION’S BELT
Seen, with sword pointing upwards, from Pebble Island on 9th and Sea Lion Island on 12th. The Orion Nebula was seen in the sword.

SOUTHERN CROSS
Perhaps the most sought after heavenly body, this was seen from Pebble on 9th and Sea Lion Island on 12th. The bottom star of the cross was always indistinct.


Tim Earl
Principal Leader

© The Travelling Naturalist 2003