Birding – 19th January 2018

An excellent evening birding between Rookery Bay and Phillips Point (see figure 1). Conditions were generally warm, but with a reasonably strong breeze. From the photography perspective, when the light broke through the clouds, the light was sensational. Overall, 25 bird species observed and identified, with 5 of these having young. This was my baseline walk and will be interesting to compare observations and identification over time and with seasons. In addition 3 mammal species were seen.

Figure 1 – Birding route

Bird species identified and numbers
  1. Magellanic Penguin – Spheniscus magellanicus – >25 Young
  2. Silvery Grebe – Podiceps occipitalis – 4
  3. Black-browed Albatross – Thalassarche melanophrys – >25 (fair distance from land)
  4. Southern Giant Petrel – Macronectes giganteus – 3
  5. Sooty Shearwater – Puffinus griseus – >25 (fair distance from land)
  6. Rock Shag – Phalacrocorax magellanicus – 11
  7. Upland Goose – Chloephaga picta leucoptera – >25 Young
  8. Kelp Goose – Chloephaga hybrida malvinarum – >25
  9. Falkland Steamer Duck – Tachyeres brachypterus – >25 Young
  10. Speckled Teal – Anas flavirostris – 8 Young
  11. Crested Duck-Laphonetta specularioides – 7
  12. Turkey Vulture – Cathartes aura jota – 2
  13. Southern Caracara – Caracara plancus – 1
  14. Magellanic Oystercatcher – Haematopus leucopodus – 4
  15. Blackish Oystercatcher – Haematopus ater – 3
  16. Two-banded Plover – Charadriius falklandicus – 5 Young
  17. Rufous-chested Dotterel – Charaadrius modestus – 1
  18. Magellanic Snipe – Gallinago paraguaiae magellanica – 1
  19. Falkland Skua – Catharacta antarctica – 3
  20. Dolphin Gull – Leucophaeus scoresbii – 1
  21. Kelp Gull – Larus dominicanus – 5
  22. South American Tern – Sterna hirundinacea – 9
  23. Dark-faced Ground-tyrant – Muscisaxicola maclovianus maclovianus – 1
  24. Falkland Pipit – Anthus correndera grayi – 3
  25. Black-thoated / Canary-winged Finch- Melanodera melanodera melanodera – 4
Mammal Species identified and numbers
  1. Sea Lion – Bull, female, pulp and another female – 4
  2. Brown Hare – 1
  3. Feral Cat – 1



Falkland Islands Photos 2018 – Week 2

Week two was fairly active with the camera.

Monday and Tuesday I spent the early mornings at the lighthouse, highlights being the Grass Wrens and Falkland Steamer Ducklings. Wednesday i went to Goose Green and North Arm and photographed a Variable ‘ Red Backed’ Hawk and also a Barn Owl, however, with the latter i need to work on the quality as the light was poor.

Thursday and Friday early mornings i explored the south coast west of Hookers Point. This is a great place to see lots of songbirds who were feeding on diddle-dee berries. I also managed to see a South American Tern returning from a successful fishing trip. On Sunday i explored another new area recently opened up after the removal of landmines. This was Phillips Point and Rookery Bay. The highlights in this area was another Variable Hawk, 2 Bull Sea Lions, Magellanic Penguins and four stunning silvery grebes. Along the way a few mushrooms were also picked.


Throughout the week i have shared many of the images on Facebook and Twitter. I am grateful for the feedback that i have received and have used that to determine what i think are the twelve best photographs from the second week of the new year.

Photographs Week 2
A – Variable ‘Red’ Backed’ Hawk (Buteo polyosoma) this pale, female form was photographed Sunday afternoon at Phillips Point

B – Southern Sea Lion (Otaria flavescens) this bull was one of two on the rocks at the end of Phillips Point on Sunday afternon

C – Black-throated (Canary-winged) Finch (Melanodera melanodera melanodera) this male bird was feeding on the diddle-dee berries on the south coast, west of Hookers Point. It does look like it went ‘over the top’ on the lippie!

D – Silvery Grebe (podiceps occipitalis) one of my favourite Falkland Island native birds. In summer the adult birds have a frill of dull gold plumes either side of the face. The red eye is not a photographic error! Photographed at Phillips Point.

E – Long-tailed Meadowlark (Sturnella loyca falklanica) Photographed amongst the sheep’s sorrel along from Hookers Point.

F – Falkland Grass Wren (Cistothorus platensis falklandicus) photographed at the lighthouse, Cape Pembroke, doing the splits.

G – Black-chinned Siskin (Carduelis barbata) male bird photographed in the sand grass at Hookers Point

H – Falkland Thrush (Turdus falcklandii falcklandii) feasting on the diddle-dee berries

I – South American tern (Sterna hiruninacea) Adult bird returning after a successful fishing trip at Hookers Point

J – Falkland Steamer Duck or Logger Duck (Tachyeres brachypterus) One of the three endemic bird species. This female and 3 ducklings was photgraphed at Cape Pembroke

K – Falkland Grass Wren (Cistothorus platensis falklandicus) photographed at the lighthouse, Cape Pembroke, twerking with the best of them.

L – Falkland Pipit (Anthus correndera grayi) A normally well camouflaged bird, posed nicely for me at the lighthouse.

As always i hope you have enjoyed the photographs!

Falkland Islands Photography 2018 – Week 1

With the new year underway, I have been fairly active with the camera during the first week. All photographs where taken on the Cape Pembroke Peninsula in the Falkland Islands. At this time of the year day-length is close to it’s longest. A relatively early start most days at 6 am (before work) is not early enough to hit the ‘golden hours’. I did manage to enjoy one late evening on Thursday the 4th January, which was the most productive shoot of the week. Normally i spend one to two hours out with the camera on week days, however, on Sunday i managed a 5 hour shoot, as i walked the south coast of Cape Pembroke from Surf Bay to the Lighthouse and then back through the peninsula’s centre via the ponds.

Throughout the week i have shared many of the images on Facebook and Twitter. I am grateful for the feedback that i have received and have used that to determine what i think are the twelve best photographs from the first week of the new year.

Photographs Week 1

A – Two-banded Plover reflection at Surf Bay – captured early morning on Tuesday

B – Two-banded Plover chick on the run at Surf Bay – captured early morning on Wednesday

C – Magellanic ‘Jackass’ Penguins in Tall Fern at Gypsy Cove – Shot during that golden hour period on Thursday evening

D – Falkland Grass Wren at Gypsy Cove – captured during that golden hour period on Thursday evening

E – Vanilla Daisies at Gypsy Cove – captured that golden hour period on Thursday evening

F – 5 Black-chinned Siskin’s at Gypsy Cove – captured during that golden hour period on Thursday evening

G – 5 Black-chinned Siskin’s at Gypsy Cove – captured during that golden hour period on Thursday evening

F – Variable ‘Red Backed’ Hawk on Cape Pembroke – captured early evening on Thursday

G – Black-crowned Night-heron at the Lighthouse – captured early evening on Thursday

H – Pale Yellow Orchid at Yorke Bay Pond – captured early evening on Thursday

I – Cape Pembroke lighthouse – captured late evening on Saturday

J – Feral (Wild) Cat at Christina Bay – captured midday on Sunday – this picture has been added as until this moment i wasn’t sure that cats could swim!



Birding in the Falkland Islands – 16 Dec 2017

Overall a surprisingly good day out birding on Cape Pembroke and Gypsy Cove. Photographs of birds include Brown-hooded Gull, Two-banded Plover, Rock Shag, Magellanic Oystercatcher, Magellanic Snipe, Magellanic Penguin, Upland Goose, Falkland Pipit, Black-crowned Night-heron as well as Rufous-chested Dotterel.

Brown-hooded Gull – Larus maculipennis

A resident species, that is also the smallest and without a doubt the least common Falkland gull. The estimated population of birds in 1997 was 1400 to 2600 pairs.The adult bird is pearly grey above with a  characteristic white leading edge to the wing. Four birds altogether were observed, all adults in breeding plumage (August – February). Underparts are white with a variable pink suffusion; head chocolate-brown with a partial white eye ring; slender bill and also crimson legs.


Two-banded Plover – Charadrius falklandicus

Following a census in 1997, the estimated population of these resident and widely distributed birds was 7000-13000 pairs. The birds feed chiefly on small invertebrates picked from heaps of rotted kelp, from mussel beds exposed at low tide or from short grass.

The birds Breed during September and December. Afterwards, adult plumage fades during the summer. During the observations two plovers flew in and landed 3-4 meters away from me, whilst simultaneously, i was laying on the beach photographing the gulls.


Rock Shag – Phalacrocorax magellanicus

Resident and widely distributed around coasts, nesting on cliff edges.This is the smaller shag of the Falklands species. The bright orange-red facial skin of the adults is a distinctive feature. Adults are glossy black above and on the neck, with white underparts and during the breeding season, a white cheek patch; many have irregular patches on the neck. All photographs taken whilst birding on the cliffs east of Surf Bay.


Magellanic OystercatcherHaematopus lecopodus

A bird species that is resident, common and widespread around low lying coasts and their adjacent slopes. The estimated population in 1997 was estimated to be 7000-13000 pairs. The Magellanic Oystercatcher is handsomely patterned shiny black on head, breast and back with white beneath. The long, bright orange-red bill, striking deep yellow eye and yellow eye ring contrast sharply with the stout pink legs. There was two young with the adults, they nest between September and December.


Magellanic Snipe – Gallinago paraguaiae magellanica

Resident, widespread in varied habitats from wet moorland, dry slopes with diddle-dee, open coastal tussac paddocks and beaches with rotted kelp. Estimated population in 1997 was 5000 to 9000 pairs. A small, ground loving shorebird with a very long bill, the snipe appears sandy-buff with dark brown markings as it runs through low vegetation. The head has broad black and buff stripes from bill to nape and a large dark eye set high; back and wings are speckled with chestnut and buff with two broad buff lines either side of the back; underparts white, heavily mottled with dark brown on neck, breast and flanks. Photograph taken whilst birding on Cape Pembroke. I was looking for orchids as they like similar habitats, i could hear the ‘harsh skerp’ call of a pair of snipe.


Rufous-chested Dotterel – Charadrius modestus

Widespread, resident, though probably partially migratory. Estimated population in 1997 11000 to 21000 pairs. A beautiful long-legged bird has a blue-grey face, and throat, chestnut breast with a heavy black crescent separating it from the white belly; crown, nape and back are dark brown. In breeding plumage August to December, this is set off by a  startling broad white head stripe round the forehead, extending above and behind the eye. These two birds followed me for half an hour, whilst i was looking for orchids.


Falkland Pipit – Anthus correndera grayi

Resident endemic subspecies that is widespread inland. Estimated population in 1997 was 8000 to 15000 pairs. Inconspicuous; buff heavily streaked dark brown above, paler below streaked with black on breast and flanks; tail brown with clear white outer edges; bill broad-based, tapering sharply, horn coloured and the legs and feet are pale pink, with a long, almost straight hind claw. . It took a fair effort to get close enough to take this image.


Magellanic Penguin – Spheniscus magellanicus

Summer resident penguin. Locally called a ‘Jackass’ penguin, with the name derived from its loud mournful braying call, a typical sound of the Falklands summer. The Jackass is the only species in the Islands that lays its eggs in burrows. Adults have a conspicuous black and white bands on head, neck and breast, a stout black and grey bill and pink skin around the eye. Legs and feet are blackish flecked with white. Immatures have a greyish throat and foreneck and lack the striking head pattern.

Black-crowned Night-heron – Nycticorax nycticorax falklandicus

A resident species, that is widespread around the coasts. The estimated population following a census in 1997 was estimated at 1900 to 3600 pairs. Heavily built and short necked, this is the only Falkland heron. The adult has dark grey wings and tail and grey underparts while the back and cap are shiny black with one to three thin white plumes up to 20cm long, at the nape.


Upland GooseChloephaga picta leucoptera

This endemic subspecies is resident, but very widely distributed. The Upland Goose nests during August and November.


To conclude that most of the text supplied in this blog has been taken from Birds and Mammals of the Falkland Islands by Robin and Anne Woods with photographs by Alan Henry

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