March 04: Fabrice Schmitt and Steve Howell on the second part of their just-concluded round Cape Horn sea and land cruise, Valparaiso to Buenos Aires
All in all this was a remarkable trip. Where else can you bird comfortably from an open deck in 40-knots winds! The primary focus of this trip is, of course, the true seabirds, and this year we found a record 36 species of tubenoses and 4 penguins.
As we headed into the South Atlantic, seabirds changed subtly from those in the Pacific, first with Great Shearwaters, and later with numbers of the handsome Yellow-nosed Albatross, here an adult.
Many Manx Shearwaters were fattening up ready for their spring migration, often in feeding groups alongside Magellanic Penguins!
Our last day at sea produced a new species for the tour—the poorly known Cape Verde Shearwater, which winters mainly off Brazil but sometimes reaches northern Argentina.
Landings along this section of our route included the Falkland Islands,
Where we had excellent views of migrant White-rumped Sandpipers on the beach (foreground, along with some larger species in the background...).
A more conventional picture of the ever-popular King Penguin, commuting from the colony.
As well as great birds we encountered a good selection of marine mammals, including some very acrobatic Peale’s Dolphins.
This image epitomizes well the seabird diversity on our cruise—can you identify the eight tubenose species present? A Southern Royal Albatross is holding its own against Salvin’s, Buller’s, and Black-browed Albatrosses, with a Pink-footed Shearwater coming in from the left, a Fuegian [Wilson’s] Storm-Petrel behind, and a wave-obscured Sooty Shearwater and a Stejneger’s Petrel off to the right!
And just to prove it wasn’t all shades of gray seabirds, here’s a trio of Chilean Flamingos we found at a windswept Patagonian lake.
Posted: March 04, 2017