Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Antarctica X.

1-26-17 CARCASS ISLAND, FALKLANDS: Our second outing of the day was in late afternoon. The wind had picked up to about forty knots, and it felt colder even though the temps were about the same, it was still sunny. The island was similar in composition and geography to the previous one. We again walked across a narrow neck from one beach to the other.

The new penguins are Magellanic, our sixth species. They nest in burrows that they dig near the beach. We also saw dolphin gulls, brown skuas, Gentoo penguins, Falkland steamer ducks, upland geese, a yellow/grey finch, and another tussacbird. After dinner we had another sunset. There were whales and dolphins in the afternoon.

Carcass Island has similar sandstone bedrock with 'stone' river flowing downhill and tussac grass near the beach.

Carcass Island. Two geese flying out of the tussac grass.

Weathered sandstone. Some of the layers show 'cross-bedding'.

Sandstone leaves a nice sandy beach for the ducks and penguins as it weathers.

Falkland steamer ducks are flightless. A local, identical duck is not flightless.

Magellanic penguin, species number six, has white stripes on the head and chest, black bills and a pink eye ring.

Magellanic penguins dig burrows like this on to raise chicks. This strategy wouldn't work on the Antarctic peninsula.

Magellanic penguin at its burrow.

Tussacbird flirting with us again.

Upland goose, male, showing green feathers. The female is napping.

White-bridled finch, one of several small birds on this island.  With no trees available, they all nest on the ground or in the grass. They survive because there are no introduced rats or cats.

Falkland Brown Skua is very hard to tell from other brown skuas.

Another nice sunset, it gets dark earlier now that we're further north.

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