This entry is part 42 of 47 in the series British Antarctic Survey
Wandering Albatross chick stretching its wings

Wandering Albatross chick stretching its wings

Last month I made the short voyage up the coast of South Georgia to The Bay Of Isles and Prion Island to check up on the Wandering Albatross. These are the world’s largest seabird and they nest in numerous colonies around the South Georgia coastline.

Sitting tight

Sitting tight

Working the vocal cords

Working the vocal cords

A few years back when I saw my first ever albatross on The Galapagos, I put ‘seeing wanderers on the nest’ top of my bucket list.

Bucket list complete!

Bucket list complete! – me for size comparison

I didn’t think for a second that I would be able to cross it off so soon. To be allowed to get up close and personal with such incredible birds was a privilege and a pleasure, but now I need something else to take top spot …. maybe diving with leopard seals!

At this stage of the development adults are both out foraging so we were very lucky to see this adult paying the island a brief visit

At this stage of the development, adults are both out foraging so we were very lucky to see this adult paying the island a brief visit

Begging chick

Begging chick

Bracing from the snow

Bracing from the snow

The trip was a success but with the weather window being very narrow, there was much concern that we may not manage to get the work done. However, after a dawn wake-up, we managed to get landed.

Prion at sunrise

Prion at sunrise

Of the birds present, when I last monitored Prion back in April, 100% had successfully made it through the winter and all should hopefully be fledging before the end of the year.

Albatross on the snow

Albatross on the snow

Huge wingspan

Huge wingspan

Stretching its wings

Stretching its wings

Another chick

Another chick

The island is also home to a number of other species which have been able to thrive without the presence of rats. Two colonies of Gentoo penguins were all sitting on freshly laid eggs, Giant Petrels were courting and laying, Pipit chicks were calling from nests all over the island, Light Mantled Albatross were sitting on nest bowls and White Chin Petrels were singing from their underground burrows. Also, the first few male Fur Seals were taking up residence on the beach.

Light Mantled Albatross sitting tight on a cliff

Light Mantled Albatross sitting tight on a cliff

Gentoo colony

Gentoo colony

Male Fur Seal on the Prion Island beach

Male Fur Seal on the Prion Island beach

Our big red taxi behind a nesting Giant Petrel

Our big red taxi behind a nesting Giant Petrel

 

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3 thoughts on “Giant Birds!

  1. Kathy and I loved seeing the Southern Royals in NZ flying near our boat and through binocs nesting on shore. Not quite like this experience however. Truly amazing.

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