Archives

Dolphin Gulls~


Dolphin Gulls are sub-antarctic birds, living in the coastal regions of the southern ocean, and like most gulls can usually be found around boats and people, searching for hand-outs.

They are native to southern Patagonia, specifically Chile, Argentina and The Falkland Islands. Vagrants will visit the Sandwich and South Georgia Islands. They are quite beautiful snow-white birds and are smaller than most gull species, with much shorter, less lethal beaks.

This happy gull likes the freshly fallen rain water,

and drinks all he can the conventional way,

before turning his head almost completely upside down to guzzle more down!

Cheers to you from the Dolphin Gulls of the southern latitudes~

Nesting Magellanic Cormorants & Chicks~


Magellanic Cormorants are sea birds living in the frigid waters of the southern ocean and are found from southern Chile down through the Beagle Channel to Tierra del Fuego and Ushuaia Argentina.

I was thrilled to find a colony of nesting birds and settled in for some telephoto shooting.

I don’t believe in disturbing nesting birds, and always watch them from a non-intrusive distance.

And then this happened! These curious humans arrived by boat, got way too close, took photos with their cell phones, and panicked the birds.

All the parents understandably flew off in terror as soon as the humans got so close, exposing incubating eggs and unfledged chicks to the elements.

You can see one very brave parent remained, until even this last hold-out, got frightened by the persistent humans and flew away.

The fledglings scrambled together terrified,

as I watched all this, completely appalled.

I am however, very pleased to report a happy ending to this sad tale. The humans eventually left, the frightened parents cautiously returned, and the colony resumed peaceful functioning. You can see the mother’s settling back on their nests. The chicks were very lucky that hungry giant petrels, skuas or gulls didn’t find them in such a vulnerable state.

So thankfully, it’s cheers to you, from the very frightened birdies (and photographer)~

Southern Giant Petrels~


Southern Giant Petrels (SGP’s) are the largest birds in the pelagic petrel family with wingspans of up to 6.7 feet.

They live in the southern hemisphere and are circumpolar, distributed in the sub-antarctic to Antarctica.

They are bigger than Northern Giant Petrels and are rated one of the ten oddest looking birds in the world due to their unusual stacked bi-valve nostrils joined together on the top of their beaks.

This bivalve, in combination with a saline eliminating gland, helps them eliminate salt from the large quantities of saltwater they consume.

Like pelagic Albatrosses, SGP’s spend the first two to three years of their lives entirely at sea. White phase SGP’s, like the one flying here, are rare, constituting less than 5% of the SGP population.

It is incredible to watch them mid-ocean taking off, catching wind drafts and soaring like kites.

They are aggressive predators and scavengers, and incredibly skillful fliers, navigating the storms, waves and winds of the southern ocean with apparent ballet-like ease.

SGP’s were a vulnerable to near-threatened species for a long time, due mostly to fishing practices, but may be making a comeback.

It is also amazing to see them in the open ocean, resting in their pelagic home.

Cheers to you from the amazing birds of the southern hemisphere~

El Fin del Mundo~


We keep going back to ‘The End of the World.’

This poppy was as big as a salad plate!

This was our third visit, but this time we were joined by our adult children for the holidays, which made it the best ever.


Ushuaia Argentina is the southern-most city in the world,


and can be accessed via the stunning Beagle Channel and Tierra del Fuego.

The city is surrounded by the towering glacier-rich Andes cordillera (spine), which was shrouded with clouds on this visit.


This part of the world is a wildlife and birders paradise and I will post some critters next.

Not too many people come here, but those who do are rewarded with vast tracks of open spaces and pristine nature everywhere.


Cheers to you from The End of the World~

Big Gulp~


This cormorant seems to have caught,

more than he can swallow!

His mother obviously never taught him, not to gulp his food.

The Snowy Egrets,


also seem to bite off more than they can chew,

but there is lots of determination,


to eat what you catch,

no matter how hard it is,

to swallow!


Cheers to you from the very well fed Cormorants & Egrets~

Punto Tombo~


Punto Tumbo is a nature reserve located on Argentina’s central Patagonian coast.


It was set aside as a reserve in 1979,


and is home to the largest colony of Magellanic Penguins in the world.


It is also home to the Guanaco, the largest non-domesticated herbivore in South America.


Guanacos are members of the camel family and are undomesticated or wild llamas.


Adult Guanacos can weigh up to 310 pounds and are excellent swimmers.


They coexist happily with the penguins,


which is just a shameless lead-in to slip in a couple more penguin pics!


The final photo is from Gypsy Cove in The Falkland Islands which is an entirely different colony of Magellanic Penguins that I also couldn’t resist slipping in.

Cheers to you from the stunning wild creatures of the southern latitudes~

Happy Feet~

Are shouting out!

Wishing you,

the Happiest New Year!

They bring you,

quiet beaches,

to relax on,

oceans,

to swim in,

friendly compadres,

to hang out with,

and chicks,

to admire!

Cheers to you from the penguins & I~