Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Falklands Seabirds and Dolphins

After a rather rather protracted process, we are finally at sea. We were initially delayed in Ascension by 14 hours, so I went for a couple of walks (weather was thankfully not too warm or sunny) and other people went for a swim. We then had to wait for the ship to be cleared of its previous crowd and then again to complete refueling and boat testing. In the end we left a day and a bit late but with all kit sorted and ready for work. The ship was docked in Mare Harbour which I hadn't been to before so a chance for new walks. The first had penguins and dolphins but quite a bit of rain and wind as well. the second was quite special.

Sooty Shearwater feeding frenzy
 Two parts of a huge feeding mass of Sooty Shearwaters. Conservative estimate was 20,000 birds but maybe many more. By far thelargest feeding aggregating of seabirds I've seen. They were initially close in but then moved further away from the beach.

The beach on the headland.

Commerson's Dolphins surfing
 Commerson's Dolphins in the surf. They were chasing small fish and using the waves to surf in at speed and surprise the fish.

Turkey Vulture on war memorial
 And finally a rather macabre reminder of the history of the islands.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Off again and Humpbacks

Off south again on 21st March. Arguably a silly date to be flying to the southern hemisphere but never mind. Post-breeding dispersal of seabirds actually makes autumn an interesting time to down there. Route is Falklands, South Orkneys, NW Weddell Sea (just before the ice gets there, hopefully), South Georgia (with base calls), Falklands and then holiday time on Ascension Island on way back. Getting back early May.

Below is some video of Humpback Whales feeding off Cape Cod in the summer. We were out there to learn about some new kit we have but this was on a day off.