Wednesday, February 05, 2014

The Beagle Channel


So we set sail.  At this point one of my dilemmas surfaced, the conflict of listening to the highly informative and often entertaining lectures or staying top-side and bird and wildlife watching.

Thankfully on the first evening there was time for everything, so top-side it was, for some close flying birds, including this Northern Giant Petrel:


and this Southern Giant Petrel:


And my first ever Albatross, the Black-browed Albatross, magnificent birds and one of the principal reasons I wanted to do this trip in the first place:



Another delight was the Cape Petrel, know locally as the Pintado, but also called the Cape Pigeon due to the way it flies and its similarity with the feral pigeon in flight:


A real treat as we entered the open sea was this Northern Royal Albatross:


I took a snap of sea and sky before sunset:


One bird that is very hard to identify is the Prion, there are seven similar species in the clade, I believe this one to be the Slender-billed Prion based on the somewhat diffuse wing plumage, bill shape and the colour of the plumage on the neck, coupled with the white 'eyebrow':



A White-chinned Petrel:


It became clear very quickly how difficult it is photographing birds against the sea while they are moving, the boat is moving and the light is monochromatic...

This gets even harder when the bird is as small as a Wilson's Storm Petrel:


This is the best close-up I managed on the whole trip:


As we left the channel, day started to turn to night, one of the longest nights we were to experience on the voyage as we headed further South, to the land of midnight sun:





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