Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Snow Ghost - bigger, badder, biter!

[This is a diary of our life in Stanley, Falkland Islands, while living here for at least a couple of years.  No political rants this week.  (At least, not on here. UK papers are reporting more military aid will be sent to thwart any disruption of the Referendum in March.  Just what tourist want to know!).   For penguins and ponies, read on.....]

Our not-so-little pony friend, Snow Ghost, returned to help keep our garden tidy.  (See November's post - "Snow Ghost: my little lawnmower").  Only, he has grown since November, and his teeth have come through.  So, whereas before he would gently nuzzle me, he now has a tendency to bite.  His favourite spot is the back of the upper arm when you have your back turned to him....
Palamino colour beginning to show...
Luckily, after years of Nordic Walking, my triceps are fairly firm, but it is still a bit annoying, especially when I'm trying to clean up the mess he has made...Still, it'll be good for the garden!
The view from the sink.  He's removed his halter!?
He's also a bit more boisterous than previously, and it didn't help when we had a thunderstorm last week.
Excess energy
Luckily his mother is a very calm and unruffled personality.  She is either eating or disposing of her food at the other end, or both simulataneously.  However, she has sore legs, so doesn't enjoy it when Snow Ghost playfully nips her, as he does when  he wants a feed....
Horsewoman in training....
Blondes have more fun!
Digesting the dandelions....
All has been going well, and our new neighbours kindly offered their grass for fodder, too.  The foal has been a big attraction, with cars slowing down to have a peek, and even a local photographer popping in to capture some scenes.
Paparazzi...(note the fence)
So, it was a bit of a surprise to look out the window this morning and see the mother on her own.  Where's Snow Ghost??    We didn't have far to look, as he was now back in our garden, and it was obvious how he got there!

We're not sure what caused the horse to smash the fence, and he's not saying.  Was the grass greener on the other side?  Or did a local cat spook it? All we know is that it took about an hour to get Snow Ghost back with his mother, who was starting to fret.
Families come out in the evening
Meanwhile, the penguin chicks are growing up fast!  We're away next week, and by the time we return, I think these chicks will be on the beach and waiting to head out to sea, so I won't be able to get close to them until they return next September.
2 chicks, 1 adult
The nest beside the path has finally revealed 2 large chicks, one of whom is already gaining its adult plumage.
Down being replaced by adult plumage
The fluffy down is being cast off in favour of waterproof feathers.  In a few weeks, the adults will go through a similar moult, which means they will have to remain on land until their new feathers come through.  They must have enough food reserves on board to see them through this enforced fast, as they cannot swim to catch fish.  They starve until their feathers are replaced.
Chubby chicks, but a diet is approaching
In Stanley yesterday, it was quite warm and sunny, as is often the case when few tourists are around!  And on the jetty where the cruise ship passengers usually land there were a couple of seals basking in the warmth.
Sunbathers on the jetty at Stanley.  Almost 20C !
Later the same day, we spotted a lone King Penguin on the beach at Surf Bay.  This is very unusual, and it may be that he (or she) is moulting and needs to be ashore for a while.  He seemed relaxed, and not stressed that he was on his own, rather than in a large rookery.

For those who recall my reports of an amazing "lost" city near Lake Titicaca  (see the Bolivia blog, below), I hear there is a BBC4 documentary about Tiwanaku on the 21st January.  For details, see the BBC site, below.  I hope it conveys well the wonderful edifices that contain so many secrets.   Maybe one day, I'll work out an easy way to get BBC iPlayer here.....  (It's not the proxy server issue - it's the lack of bandwidth, plus the BBC doesn't allow it).

BBC4 Programme about Tiwanaku - Lost Kingdoms of South America

Blog about Bolivia -


I probably won't be doing a blog for a couple of weeks.  We're off to southern Chile to see the sights.

Hope you enjoy Burns Night - "Great Chieftain o the Puddin' Race"!  How many countries have a National Writer, whose day is commemorated around the world?



  1. Love Snow Ghost.
    Regarding BBC iPlayer - my son lives in rural NZ and has had his computer set up so that it is not possible to trace its position (he likes Antiques Roadshow on iPlayer) - and it works. They have limited bandwidth too - it just freezes, clicks and catches up occasionally.
    Do get an expert to show you how.
    If none available will send more info.

    1. Hi, and sorry it's taken so long to respond. Thanks for the suggestion. I know what you mean, but I was hoping to avoid the freezing issue, which I know I'll get here.