Category Archives: Falkland Photo Tour

Chicks Upend Adult Gentoos …

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Ben’s News from the Falkland Photo Tour:

(Photos: Peter Veryser and Michou von Beschwitz)

The next day we set off for Sea Lion island where we spent five nights. The island is a nature reserve, with large Gentoo colonies. Around nine thousand Gentoos live on the island.

The chicks have grown and there is plenty of interaction when the parents return from the ocean with krill.  Excuse the chicks are large and not in their nests any longer and wander about freely. When the adults return from their day in the ocean they have to locate and reunite with their chicks, and some adults actually get mobbed.

The adults verify which are their own chicks by running away, and the youngsters waddle after them. It is really hectic, and the sight of chicks pursuing adults, while the parents run as fast as they can is one of those sights in nature that one will never forget.

Occasionally an adult trips and falls causing the chicks to collide quite comically …

Another sight that remains with one is the adult Gentoos …

… as they return to the island after their day collecting krill in the open ocean.

As they return the Penguins leap out of the waves as they crash onto the beach.

This activity kept us busy and we never tired of the sight.

The island also has a good Elephant Seal population that we visited and photographed during the early morning and late evening hours.

In addition to the Penguins and seals,

we also saw Magellanic Snipes. They are beautiful and we saw then when we left or returned to our Lodge. The birds stuck to the grassy areas, and provided numerous photo opps each day.

One evening we concentrated on Imperial Shags that roost on a large flat-topped rocky cliff. Many thousand of birds inhabit that cliff, and we spent our evening photographing them as they flew back to their nests in quite stormy conditions.

Our time on the island flew by, and before we knew it the time had come to leave – with great reluctance!

Looking forward to our next adventure…

 

 

Albatross Photographic Extravaganza on Saunders Island …

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Ben’s News from the Falkland Photo Tour:

(Photos: Peter Veryser and Michou von Beschwitz)

Week Two of our trip turned out to be as exciting as our first.

The next step of this incredible adventure – after we left Bleaker Island – was to another island. Saunders island is the most ideal place to photograph Black-browed Albatross. They are large, beautiful birds and they nest on flat rocks many meters above the sea. The nests are made of mud, and the birds return to their individual nests year after year. They mate for life, and partners return together to breed.

When the chicks are large enough, they leave the nest and live at sea for six years. During this time they follow the wind and currents, and after six years they return to land for the first time to learn about adulthood.

The chicks find a lifelong mate and then breed in the nest where they hatched or within ten meters of that spot if the parents are still there. The lifespan of these albatrosses is around fifty years.

We had a full day to photograph the albatrosses and took advantage of each moment, especially when the adults returned to their nests to feed their chicks.

In addition we photographed a number of young adults interacting busily with each other … meeting, and deciding on their lifelong partners.

Even more in next post …

 

 

Inclement Weather Delays Us with Penguins, Penguins, Penguins   .

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Ben’s News from the Falkland Photo Tour:

(Photos: Peter Veryser and Michou von Beschwitz)

 

After everyone arrived at Stanley (Falkland Islands), and boarded our yacht we were ready to set sail for our four day journey through the Scotia Sea to reach the island of South Georgia for the best possible opportunities to photograph King Penguins. The scenery is magnificent – beyond mere words!

 

We spent four nights at Volunteer Point, photographing the King Penguins.

It was fabulous, with breathtaking sunrises and plenty of penguin action.

The breeding colony was very busy, and because hatching had occurred very recently, numerous penguin chicks nestled on their parents feet, where they were fed by parents.

The commute to and from the beach, where adults returned with food for their mates and for the chicks was busy, and we were able to point our cameras in almost any direction for amazing sightings, and TuskPhoto guests were delighted with their results.

Guests Peter Veryser and Michou von Beschwitz have shared their images here for you today.

 

Besides the King Penguins we photographed Magellanic Penguins with their distinctive stripes that contrasted with their white fronts. Gentoo Penguins were also easy to identify with their stark black and white outfits.

 

Our underwater photography also turned our well, and our images of successful. King Penguins swimming in a shallow lagoon were particularly successful.

 

We left Volunteer Point and returned to Stanley where we encountered some rather bad weather with strong winds that prevented our departure and we remained in Stanley for that night.

When the weather improved we were able to fly to our encounter with Rockhopper Penguins with their rather comical yellow hairstyles. We had to remain on the island as the weather turned again and we were unable to fly. We were delighted as Bleaker Island is rugged and beautiful and we relished the chance to spend more time with the Rockhoppers and also the Shags that abound there.

 

The photographic opportunities were almost nonstop and we made sure that every moment counted.

 

Everyone is in high spirits, delighted with all aspects of our photography and looking forward to the next exciting chapter of our amazing Falklands Photo Tour …

 

 

 

 

 

 

Awesome Facts About The Falkland Islands You Probably Didn’t Know

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The Falklands is a fascinating place situated in the south Atlantic Ocean, consisting of two main islands among several other hundred smaller ones (we’re taking around 740!). With an economy highly dependent on their fishing license fees, tourism and agriculture – it’s only natural to have a curiosity for what else goes on within the islands.

It also happens to be home to more than 5 species of penguin and the highest population of Black Browed Albatross, among many other kinds of animals which naturally makes it a popular destination for tours among avid wildlife fans.

Read on to find out some surprising and fun statistic all about The Falkland Islands –  share this with friends, family and keen wildlife enthusiasts!

Don’t forget to check out our Falkland Island Tours for your next photographic safari!

The Falkland Islands infographic

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A Large Pod of Orcas Delights …

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Wim’s News from the Tusk Falkland Photo Tour:

After lunch yesterday we returned to the Gentoo colony on the beach. On the way we stopped to set up our cameras for remote work. How this works is we arrive before the penguins come along and we set up along the path that they always follow. Then as they return to that path we are able to photograph them at eye level without getting too close and interrupting them.

Then we continued to the beach where we waited for the Gentoos to return from their day at sea to reach their roosting spots before dusk. We waited expectantly for the first to arrive in that fascinating way that they jump and surf through the waves to reach the shore. Some very large groups of the penguins emerged from the surf together, sometimes as many as forty at a time. The beach is about a hundred meters wide, affording us plenty of time for excellent photographs.

At one stage I wanted to return to the vehicle for a different lens, and when I looked behind me on the wide beach I had an incredible and somewhat heart wrenching surprise … some Giant Petrels had flown in and attacked one of the Gentoos that had returned to the shore. They killed it and started to feed. It was quite amazing to witness nature at its most raw on this serene, beautiful island.

We waited on the beach for sunset and were rewarded with an entire sky that was lit was those breathtaking, shining colours that gradually deepen and darken, and leave one quite speechless.

This morning we went to the shallow pond with the lovely reflections again. It has been such a rewarding and beautiful spot that we simply had to return for the sunrise. This morning was even more spectacular, with a sunrise that is impossible to describe.

Suffice to say that it even surpassed our previous experiences here. The morning was a little windy, so the reflections were not as perfect as the day before, but wow! Those iridescent, glowing colours were dazzling!

There were more penguins at the pond than before this morning and we spent a lot of time photographing them. We watched with delight as a large number of youngsters played in the shallow water and we were able to capture some really superb shots.

We returned to the Elephant Seals where some of the youngsters were play-fighting and rolling around in the surf. As we concentrated on photographing these antics, a pod of Killer Wales, or Orcas, arrived in the bay directly behind the playing seals.

They remained there for the entire morning. They swam in circles, hovered around, went back and forth, and we suspect that they are hunting, hoping to intercept a penguin or two.

We waited and waited, watching the Orcas until we simply had to return for lunch. It was beautiful to watch the beautiful Whales (actually in spite of the name they are not really Whales, but the largest dolphin species) and when they approached to within twenty meters of where we stood on a rock, our excitement rose to extreme heights. We could see them very clearly, and we noticed a massive male among the others. His immense size really made him stick out from the other members of his pod. And we counted nine or ten youngsters as well.

We are enjoying a quick lunch now, and plan to return to the Orcas as soon as we can. We already feel extremely privileged and excited to be able to see these magnificent creatures in this exquisite setting …

Reflections from a Pristine, Heavenly Island …

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Wim’s News from the Tusk Falkland Photo Tour:
Yesterday afternoon we piled into a LandRover and drove to a cliff from where we could watch Sea Lions down below.

They had a number of small pups that were frolicking in the shallow waters that lap the island. We walked through thickets of Tusset Grass that is really difficult to get through so that we could approach the beach and the Sea Lions. We arrived at a lovely sheltered area named Paradise Cove, where a single Sea Lion was surrounded by numerous Elephant Seals. We were able to approach them and spend quality time with them, photographing them all from very close.

 

We returned to the LandRover to visit the beach where the Gentoo Penguins return each afternoon after a day’s fishing in the ocean. We spent a fascinating and almost surreal afternoon watching the Penguins arrive. They ride the waves as they approach the shore, surfing or porpoising until the sea spits them gently onto the beach, from where they stroll up to the sandy beach.

It was thrilling and heart-stirring to watch and we sat quietly with our clicking cameras as more and more Penguins arrived and within moments surrounded us. That was such an amazingly special time … it is difficult to describe one’s feelings as you sit there on this beautiful, pristine beach, in the most glorious afternoon golden light watching the Gentoo Penguins porpoising and leaping through the waves right in front of you. It actually feels as though no man has trod this area before. This categorically is a nature-lovers dream! It is certainly a highlight of my life.

We enjoyed a fabulous sunset, with glorious, iridescent colours lighting the crystal clear sky and reflecting in the water.

This morning there was no wind at all so we visited a shallow pond where penguins sit and enjoy the sunrise each morning. The colours of the sunrise reflected in the pond around the penguins, creating yet another magical moment that touched one’s soul and provided fantastic photographic opportunities.

From there we went to the Elephant Seal beach and found a lone Sea Lion there as well. We managed to grab a few quick photos of him before he dashed off into the surf, all grumpy and noisily voicing his displeasure at our arrival.

A couple of young Elephant Seals were more welcoming and put on quite a show for us as they indulged in some boisterous play-fighting. They stood on their tails and tried to look as tall as possible while thrashing their heads and necks against each other. It looks really fearsome, but there is no damage and these youngsters actually seemed to look to us for approval from time to time.

Conditions here are really outstanding and we are enjoying lunch while we continue to marvel at the incredible experiences we have enjoyed thus far – while looking forward to another afternoon in this heavenly, unspoiled place …

Playful Elephant Seals, Penguins, and Albatrosses …

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Wim’s News from the Tusk Falkland Photo Tour:

Hooray! We have internet again and can catch up from this most awesome of places. This really is an area to be experienced! In fact, I am sending multiple pictures … they say so much more than words …

After arriving at Stanley we were ready to take off for Carcass Island when a heavy mist rolled in – and we were delayed yet again. We spent the night in Stanley, and left for Carcass Island very early the next morning where we arrived at around 10:00.

We immediately departed to Westpoint Island, where we spent a most wonderful day. There are large Black-browed Albatross colonies. In fact there are in almost five thousand nesting sites, (not as many as we saw last year, but still a very impressive number) and seeing the birds flying in and out, back and forth is quite mind-boggling. Photography conditions were excellent, and watching the birds fly in from the ocean and then back again in a nonstop parade kept us really busy with our cameras.

The next day we came to Seal Island where we are now. We have been here for two glorious days. Yesterday we spent the morning with the Gentoo colonies as they headed out to sea to feed, and then we moved on to the Elephant Seals. The Elephant Seals were great fun and entertained us. We able to approach very close for wide-angle shots.

 

The baleful looks they gave us, and one could almost imagine them asking each other what on earth these strange creatures were doing in their territory.

In the evening we visited the Rock-hopper colony, and although many of them have left already to fatten up at sea before they moult at the end of the season, there were enough there for us to get some great photographs. They really are photogenic. As the Rockhoppers moved away, a huge colony of Imperial Cormorants moved in to take their place.

We spent the late afternoon and early evening photographing the beautiful birds. We were able to use fast and slow shutter speeds, with and without flash as they arrived from the ocean.

This morning there was a magnificent sunrise that found us back at the Gentoo colony again.

The play of light with reflections in the water with the Gentoos sitting there, bathed all around by the iridescent colours looked truly breathtaking – and when the sun rose behind them, the dramatic results were all one could hope for. A few youngsters arrived to bathe in the water, and to play around in the shallow water. It was quite magnificent, and the kind of magical moment that one will remember forever.

We saw some massive Elephant Seals when we returned to their spot. They were extra active today, play fighting and enjoying themselves on the beach – much to our delight.

Right now we are having lunch – and taking advantage of the internet connection. We are having a spectacular time and you can expect to hear from us again whenever we another connection …

A Marathon Journey to Punta Arenas where there was No Room for us …

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Wim’s News from the Tusk Falkland Photo Tour:

We arrived in the Falklands an hour or two ago to meet with everyone who came from Europe and other areas of the globe. We had a marathon journey as we flew via Sao Paolo and Santiago and then all the way down the South American continent to Punta Arenas. But we touched down at Punta Arenas we were notified that high winds had stopped all flights to the Falklands, so we had to sit and wait for the winds to calm down … and we had to scurry around to find suitable accommodation.

So our tour kicked off with guests scattered around the town and some of us landed up in a youth hostel. (Can you believe!?). There was simply no extra lodging here! But on a journey to these very remote areas one has to improvise. Our accommodation was hilarious, but on the upside we had an excellent dinner on the coast. Our meal was amazing and everyone was (and they still are) in super high spirits, enjoying the adventure down here on the Straits of Magellan.


(WEB IMAGE)

We finally arrived in Stanley, and are about to board our flight to Carcass Island where we should arrive in time to photograph the Elephant seals as they gather on the beach …