Monday, 7 January 2013

A Taste of the Falklands

king penguins

By popular request, the first talk of 2013 was given by the chairman, Margaret Vernon.  A year ago, in January 2012, she was invited by friends to go to the Falkland Islands, where she was promised exceptional experiences of the amazing wildlife there. The collection of photographs and videos shared was truly stunning.

After an 18 hour flight from Brize Norton with the RAF, she landed at Mount Pleasant Airport and immediately started exploring. The bird life is the main attraction of the islands and at that time of the year the resident penguins are joined by many summer visitors including black-browed albatrosses. The white-rumped sandpipers had travelled all the way there from the Arctic, and two-banded plovers, steamer ducks, imperial shags and South American terns were in abundance. 

The penguins are the stars of the show however and there were many amusing close-up pictures of them daring each other to swim, jumping the rocks, feeding their chicks and running around on the white sand beaches. 

rockhopper penguin
A helicopter trip to Bleaker Island led to an encounter with enormous sea lions; dolphins and elephant seals were spotted playing in the sea around Carcass Island. 

Life on the Falklands is tough and basic and the wind howls ceaselessly across the landscape. The San Carlos cemetery is a moving reminder of the war of 1982. Let us hope that the residents of the islands, including the wildlife, will be forever left in peace.

The next talk will be at 7.30 pm on February 7th at Malvern Evangelical Church. John Tilt will talk about Searching for British Orchids (a change to the published programme). 

Alison, Malvern Local Group

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