Falkland Islands – Part II – The Albatross

The Falklands has extremely large breeding populations of Black-Browed Albatross. The Albatross in flight is an extremely graceful, majestic and agile bird in flight, the same cannot unfortunately be said for their landings – there I was, the intrepid wildlife photographer setting out to document the supreme skills of the Albatross in the fierce winds of the South Atlantic only to watch crash landing after crash landing with feet and albatross ass rolling around in the air with an indignant squawk… oh well, can’t have them all!

The albatross often share their space with penguins. On West Point island Rockhoppers ´hop´through the maze of tussac grass and tall albatross nests.

A black browed albatross at the ´Devil´s Nose´ on West Point Island

Albatross carpet even the steep cliff side areas of tussac grass on West Point.

An albatross nests on a luxuriant cliff face on Saunders Island.

Albatross construct their nests out of mud like giant eggcups. Over time, some can become several feet high.

Not all landings are crash landings! The albatross have impressive wingspan which is especially evident when back at the nest.

Against a sea of blue, green and gold the albatross wheel around gracefully.

Flying close to the surface they seem to be in complete control.

With some wind they can also make a pretty significant speed. Some species of albatross have been recorded flying at 130 kph!

Before landing they have to fold down their wings to reduce speed and lift - unexpected landings in someone else´s patch are not appreciated!

On Saunders Island, the albatross are mixed in with large cormorant and Rockhopper penguin colonies.

Albatross circle around the coast of Saunders in the evening light.


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