Bleaker Island – Friday

So far my island hopping has taken me northwest, but this week’s visit to Bleaker Island has me travelling southwards for the first time. The flight is only 25 minutes but we took a small detour, first dropping off some passengers on Sea Lion Island before heading back to Bleaker. We had some lovely views of the gentoos from the air and it was great to get an overview of the colonies.

Once we landed I had a small drive around the part of the island around the settlement and the landing strip so that I would have an idea where to head out to see the wildlife. The main attractions here are the large gentoo and rockhopper colonies as well as some magellanic penguins. If you get lucky there are also the occasional king and macaroni penguins to be seen.

After getting myself settled into the accommodation, which I have to myself for the weekend, and having some lunch I headed back toward Sandy Bay with my cameras. The wind had got up quite a bit and there were occasional showers of rain. For the first time I wished that I had my hat with me, I’d debated bringing it but left it at Kay’s since I hadn’t needed it yet. I’d also been lazy and left my waterproofs in the house. Although I never got properly soaked I could have done with them, if only to keep me a bit warmer.

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Although I did wander down to the far end of the beach and spend some time with the gentoos, I spent most of my time watching the other birds. There were quite a few pools of water which were teeming with birdlife, including huge numbers of two-banded plovers and white-rumped sandpipers.There were also quite a few types of gull, mainly kelp gulls and dolphin gulls, both juvenile and adult, and also some brown-hooded gulls in their winter plumage. From the duck family there were both falkland steamer ducks and crested ducks. Closer to the water’s edge were the magellanic oystercatchers. Last but not least, there were plenty of falkland skuas hanging around. For the most part all of the birds were busy feeding, but every now and again they would get into small arguments and chase each other around.

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Magellanic oystercatcher

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Falkland steamer duck

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Brown-hooded gull (winter plumage)

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Two-banded plover

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White-rumped sandpiper

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Falkland Skua

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Immature dolphin gull

Heading back to the house I saw what was probably the most impressive double rainbow I’ve ever seen, sadly too wide to get the whole rainbow in shot.

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