This entry is part 34 of 47 in the series British Antarctic Survey
South Georgia seas brimming with pelagic birds

South Georgia seas brimming with pelagic birds

South Georgia hosts some of the most spectacular wildlife colonies in the world. People pay thousands of pounds and travel from all over the world to visit. Our most famous inhabitants are the penguins (4 species), seals (2 species) and albatross (4 species). There is an abundance of less ‘sexy’ wildlife utilising South Georgia for its breeding habitats and proximity to rich foraging grounds. Many of these species can be very elusive on the islands, breeding down burrows, visiting nesting sites in the dark and living predominantly over open ocean. This has meant sightings have been few and far between from base. I have spent the last two weeks on board a vessel in the southern ocean and this opportunity has allowed me time to see some of these scarcer pelagic species

Cape Petrel

Cape Petrel spots something

Cape Petrel

Cape Petrel – Target identified

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Diving initiated

Target acquired

Target acquired

Dive commenced

Back to the surface

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Heading off after a successful hunt

Heading off after a successful hunt

Probably the most common of these pelagic species around boats are the cape petrels (seen above), often spotted cruising in the slipstream of ships in the southern hemisphere. As a result, I have a number of the same shots of capes in flight. However, it was a great surprise to see one diving and fishing alongside our ship. The bird must have unearthed a small quantity of krill since it wasn’t long before other species were investigating – like this Antarctic Petrel.

Atlantic Petrel in flight

Antarctic Petrel in flight

Atlantic P

Antarctic Petrel coming into land

Atlantic Petrel takes a deep breath

Antarctic Petrel takes a deep breath

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Antarctic Petrel Diving

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Antarctic petrel still diving

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Antarctic petrel still diving

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Back up to the surface

Successfully on the sea, he gains his composure

After a successful pursuit it enjoys its meal

Finally it was the turn of the most elusive of them all, the Blue Petrel. I have spent hours on board ships trying to get pictures of these guys. Although common around boats, they tend to keep their distance. They also move incredibly quickly, meaning previous attempts have been limited to blurry distant unidentifiable specs. When this bird came in close to take advantage of the easy krill meal, I was thrilled. Unfortunately, the sun decided it was a good time to hide away but you can’t have everything!

Blue Petrel

Blue Petrel

Blue Petrel coming in for a meal

Blue Petrel coming in for a meal

Can you see it?

Can you see it?

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Heading back away from the boat

Off for more!

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2 thoughts on “Feeding frenzy

  1. Very, very special. Those are great shots of some great birds getting on with life. Brilliant pictures.

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