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 (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~
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.
The city is surrounded by the towering glacier-rich Andes cordillera (spine), which was shrouded with clouds on this visit.
Not too many people come here, but those who do are rewarded with vast tracks of open spaces and pristine nature everywhere.
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~
Meet the Inca Tern!
Even the females wear their mustaches with pride.
Inca Tern’s occupy the territories of Chile and Peru once occupied by the Incas, hence their name.
They are considered one of the world’s most unique bird species.
In the 1850’s there were millions of them.
Their population is now estimated at 150,000.
I had no idea there would be such limited access to wifi on this trip, but I have never taken an entirely ship based trip before. Maritime wifi is extremely slow and expensive preventing me from responding to comments or commenting on your posts. Shore visits are intensive with limited time.
I so miss your comments and talking with you. I miss the feeling of traveling together virtually.
We are heading further south now towards Torres de Paine, Tierra del Fuego, and Cape Horn.
Our adult children have joined us for the holidays.
In about two weeks, we will return to terra firma, and I so look forward to catching up with you!
Until then, the gorgeous Inca Terns and I wish you Feliz Navidad y Prospero Ano Nuevo!