Saturday, 27 October 2012

A trio of Penguin; and Sunsets


Welcome to some observations on living in the Falkland Islands, and watching the penguins.....



video
Click arrow to play short video of Jackass penguin

Sorry about the fence, but it's there for a reason.  If it hadn't been there, there was a good chance the penguin would have dived down its burrow, so it seems to give it some security.  Certainly it was braying away happily....

The penguins are coming ashore in greater numbers, and setting up nests.
Magellans outside their burrow


The Magellanic penguins near Stanley are nesting in quite a public and accessible area, with a car park and path nearby. (Presumably, these sites have been used for centuries, long before Man appeared in the south Atlantic).   Whereas most of the other penguin species in the Falklands choose remote beaches and cliffs, often on uninhabited islands.
Gentoo wading ashore on the wrong beach
However, occasionally, the homing radar goes awry and some penguins pop up on "busy" beaches near Stanley.  But they usually quickly realise they are in the wrong place, and head back into the waves.  This gentoo penguin appeared as my small group of Nordic Walkers were passing.   ("Busy" is relative.  Except for the Midwinter dip,  (see  its-fixmas ) there are rarely more than 5 people on the beach at the same time.)
"Where's the others"?
And to complete the hat-trick of penguins, here are some photos taken about 200 yards from my house, where oiled Rockhopper penguins are being treated before being released back into the wild.  These guys were found on Saunders Island, and then flown on the government air service - FIGAS - where penguins, like cats, are charged at 90p per kilo....
Rescued Rockhoppers
Wishing he was on the beach...
Penguins aren't the only birds in Stanley, though....   Many people keep chickens for the eggs, and some are seen wandering the streets.
Anyone know why chickens cross roads?
And this thrush was taken in our front garden, after I had recently cut it with a lawn-mower with an old engine - me!
Falklands Thrush, and worm
We're hoping a friend will lend us their horse to deal with the bigger back garden......
Dandelion conservation area, chez nous.

As you can tell, Spring is bringing on plant and animal activity, although we had a small blizzard last night, and awoke to a dusting of snow.   The weather has been variable and the photo below was taken from the end of our road on 21st October - Trafalgar Day: the day when Nelson signalled:  "England expects every man to do his duty".   One admiral  replied:  'please stop signalling - we know what to do!'

Photo courtesy of Annie and meteorological conditions


And as well as the daffodils, the flags have been out to greet a new season of visitors.....

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Last week, we joined the Ramblers group on their monthly walk.  Now that the days are longer and the weather better, we are venturing further afield.  The route was a large circle, just north of Mount Pleasant,  where the British garrison and international airport are located.
Colorado Pond and Wickham Heights
It's about 35 miles south-west of Stanley, and then, once through the security checks, another 10 miles inside the complex, with the road skirting the runway and climbing over Mt Pleasant towards the shooting ranges.

The views as we gained height just got better and better.  The highest peak in the Falklands, Mt Usborne, was about 5 miles away with snow nestling on its slopes.  To the north we could see the sea where it encroaches on the huge farms around Teal Inlet.  To the west, we could make out houses in Fitzroy, about 12 miles away.  This is where, during the 1982 war, the Welsh Guards were attacked while they were onboard troop carriers, Sir Tristram and Sir Galahad.  It is thought enemy spotters were concealed in these hills and could relay British troop movements to bring in air strikes.  But it's not till you see the view on a clear day that you understand how exposed the British forces were.
The Wineglass
The walk was UP Mounts Wickham and Mustard, but some of us found it quite slow-going and were quite happy to leave Mt Mustard to another day.  After a picnic lunch, we watched the keen yompers head off along the ridge to bag another peak, while we descended and crossed more rough ground to an eye-catching geological feature - The Wineglass.
Bringing some scale to the rock
From there, it was about another hour across ankle-twisting stone runs to the cars.  We'd walked about 14kms in 6 hours, over rough ground, so were happy to head home for a long soak in the bath.  The other half of the group were about an hour behind us, and all got back OK, if slightly envious of our shorter and more interesting route!

And yet another lovely sunset.....



Yesterday, I had a great walk to the easternmost point of the Falklands, with Richard,  the friend of a friend, who was visiting the islands.  Photos and details in the next blog.  As snow fell in the gardens last night, we had a delicious meal of local dishes, including chilli squid and roast toothfish.  Today (Saturday), he is heading to the UK, and will get there late on Monday.   Hope he enjoyed the trip!
Cheers

Peter

4 comments:

  1. Loving your photo's Peter. Your weather seems to be improving as ours deteriorates. Hope you had a good trip to Chile. I am off to see John in Paris at the end of the month. Looking forward to that. Hope you are both well. xx

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    1. Thanks, Janette. Weather lovely. Chile great - must post some photos. Enjoy Paris. We're trying a (team) Triathlon on Sunday, so that will indicate if we are well or not....!

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  2. Look forward to the photo's of Chile. Good luck with the triathlon. Glad your weather is good, it's blowing a gale and raining sideways here!! xx

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  3. Survived the Triathlon! Blew a gale, which helped slow down the younger, fitter cyclists. Older and wiser cyclist used old-fashioned bike with drop handlebars which allowed low profile into the 30mph head-wind. "Tortoise and Hare"!

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