BIRD ISLAND…FINALLY!

Bird Island Wahoo!

After 10days at King Edward Point I was well and truly ready to set sail for Bird Island on my transport mark II, the Pharos Fisheries Patrol Vessel. As we headed North past the almighty snow covered scenery we were accompanied by some of South Georgia’s smaller breeders Cape Petrels and White Chinned Petrels.

Leaving Cumberland Bay
White Chinned Petrel against a snowy South Georgia
Cape Petrel in the bay of isles

With the weather still and flat we were confident of getting ashore but as we approached Bird Island visibility came in and engulfed our new home making launching conditions unsafe. 

Bird Island emerging from the fog finally!

It did eventually disappear and finally we made it ashore and it proved to be everything I had hoped for. In my first week as we frantically prepared for the arrival of a years worth of stock I managed to make it around the island in search of one of the islands most beautiful breeders, the light mantled albatross. I also got out to weigh and measure last years wandering albatross chicks as they made it to the 260 day year old mark and approached fledging age. 

Wandering Albatross chick strengthening its wings
Grounded iceberg offshore during the light mantled albatross survey

Here is a preview of my new amazing home and a taster of what is to come over the next few months

Its not often we get clear skies and sunsets so we have to get out and make use of them even if the sunsets after 2300
Gentoo penguin colonies can be found all over the island
We arrived just before the first fur seal pups but even without them the males left very little space for us on the beaches as they held their territories
View across to the Willis Islands from above the Big Mac, Macaroni colony
I have always wanted to see Grey Headed albatross on the nest and now I live on an island with thousands of them.
Brown Skuas are a predator and scavenger on the island but its hard not to respect these intelligent hunters
View down over base from Tonk. The peak in the top left is La Roche, the land in the top right is South Georgia which is separated from Bird Island by Bird Sound, the green buildings are my home and the black dots all over the beaches are Fur Seals!
There are four species of albatross that call this island home. Wandering, Grey Headed, Black Browed and Light Mantled
We didn’t have to wait long for our first Fur Seal pups and OMG they are ridiculously cute!

Leaving South Georgia 2 years ago there was a lot that I was worried about leaving behind but the thought of not seeing Antarctic fur seal pups was genuinely depressing so I am thrilled to be working with these charismatic mammals again!

Absolutely stunning birds! Light Mantled Albatross in the tussock grass
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8 thoughts on “BIRD ISLAND…FINALLY!

  1. This place seems to be heaven on Earth for you! I love all your pictures, but especially the Light Mantled Albatross ones!
    How long are you going to be there? How many people are you on the Base?

    1. Thank you! I am so happy here, working with a great team in a spectacular location! Hope you guys had a great Christmas!

  2. Thinking of you Jamie, and so happy you’re in a place you love. Thank you for sharing the magnificence of this place and your birds and sealions.

    1. Grace!!! So good to hear from you! This most definitely is a place I love! Hope youre well and having great holidays!

  3. Great blog Jamie with wonderful images,you just love those cold climates I thought the cold damp Farne islands would of put you off but I suppose the Farnes would be almost tropical to your home now.

    1. The weather on bird island was not what kept me there! I think over the 5 months we have had 2 still sunny days. And both of those we had ships in that we had to work with!

  4. Dear Jamie
    After hearing about you from my Great Uncle Eamon,I’d like to tell you that I’m also into wildlife.If you could choose 5 things to stop pollution what would they be?
    From Andrew Sarson

    1. Hi Andrew, Thats a great question
      I think we need to get much better at using less plastics and recycling what we use.
      Reduce the amount of energy we use – turn off lights, walk/cycle rather than drive.
      Plant more trees and stop laying concrete everywhere.
      Do beach cleans – millions of plastic floating around in the ocean that we need to collect and recycle
      Use local food and products that are not transferred so far
      Hope this is helpful!

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