Argentina, the Falkland Islands, Antarctica and Chile, January 2007

To see a list of birds seen on this trip click here

To see a list of mammals seen on this trip click here

Thursday 25th January, 2007

Post breakfast Walk from the Holiday Inn Express, 10 minutes, to Costanera Sur bird reserve. Arrived at 8:10am. Raining. Mild. Met Hugo Campos, the warden who kindly agreed to accompany us around the reserve. Dewar took two-and-a-half hours. An excellent site, close to the city and the river (Rio de la Plata) and the port and a hotel. We returned to the hotel at 12 noon. Which elected of bags and then got a taxi to the port. We embarked the Saga Rose at about 2:15pm and left Buenos Aires at 5:30.

A mild  showery day much of the day, but warm and mild. Hugo was excellent help.

In addition to the birds: -

Cuis (a guinea pig like mammal, dark-brown fur, one)

Friday 26th January 2007

At sea from Buenos Aires to the Falklands.

Saturday 27th January 2007

At sea from Buenos Aires to the Falklands. Mild at the start, but some rain. This clear at, then increasing wind and sea. Force 5-6, then eased a bit. Not on deck much of the time, as lectures and e-mails to sort out.

In addition to the birds: -

Whale (10-15 spouts seen)

Sunday 28th January, 2007

Falklands. Weather eased overnight to leave a clear, and sunny and relatively calm morning (about force two-to-three). Missed 30 plus Pilot Whales by having a lie in. We arrived at Stanley at about 12 noon. We had tended to the shore approximately one-and-a-half miles away. We met Bernadette (Barry in the UK for mum's funeral). She drove us in her Land-Rover a rounds to Stanley area. We had an excellent day, and she showed us a good number of birds well. We check Stanley at 6:15pm and departed the Falklands at 7pm. We went to Bernadette house for tea, in a lovely house set outside of town.

In addition to the birds: -

Peale's  Dolphin (10 plus)

Monday 29th January 2007

At sea, Drakes passage to Antarctica. Remarkably calm sea. Pretty well flat. Occasional fog/mist interspersed with crystal clear blue sky and sea. Increasingly cold. A quiet bird day.

In addition to these birds: -

Minke Whale (one very close to hitting the bow of the ship which surfaced twice), Dolphin sp.

Tuesday 30th January 2007

Early-morning start (five a m) one hour early by mistake! We arrived at Arctowski approx but he 7:30am and were off the saga rose by 8:30am. We spent all day on the shore with the rest of the expedition team. Dry landing but got fully wet wellies getting off the land to come back to the ship at 3pm. Grey, overcast, dull, sleet, cold all day. Not helped by not having the right gloves, but Peter Clarkson kindly loaned me a spare pair which were brilliant. The wind increased in the afternoon and a one point a Wilson's Petrel landed at my feet on two occasions and went to an obvious nest on the floor and the wooden floor boards near the small hut/souvenir shop.

I spent most of the day station near the hut but also had a walk to the base and had a cup of cold tea in the base port by a Polish female (short, young marine biologist).

we did not walk on the same beach as last time there were confined to between the big station and the small souvenir shop. Not many close penguins! The Polish people were very friendly .

Later at sea, force five to six, we heard that a ship had hit a rock in Deception Island and we went past close to see if help was needed. Fortunately not necessary therefore we cruised on after about 40 minutes of slow travel.

In addition to the birds: -

Southern Elephant Seal (one male close, several females. 10 plus in a wallow at the far end of the island), Humpback Whale (two-to-three )

Wednesday 31st January, 2007

To Paradise Harbour/Waterboat Point. a lovely calm but slightly grey day. Gentoo. Penguins all the way muddy, smelly. Made welcome by the Chileans - hot cup of coffee and a biscuit.

Later we cruised to Port Lockroy, where we dropped anchor for the night - to windy to land at Half Moon Island tomorrow.

In addition to the birds: -

Antarctic Fur Seal (1)

Thursday 1st February 2007

Due to the inclement weather, today we cruised the La Maire Straits. Fantastic scenery. Birds few. We stopped a few times to admire the view.

In addition to the bird seen: -

Humpback Whale (6-10 during the day), Minke Whale (3-6)

Friday 2nd February 2007

Mum's funeral.

Today we crossed the Drakes passage from the south to the north. Much more typical Drake weather than the mirror-like crossing going south. Swale up to seven metres. Some pitching and rolling, but th for e seasickness patches really helped stop

Chris rushed into the cabin in excitement and shouted to me "Light-mantled outside!" I was still in bed at this time and dozing. He disappeared before I had a chance to ask him any more information. I got out of bed as quickly as I could, and put on and the minimum of clothing and rushed outside to join him on deck, where was able to point out the bird drifting parallel to the stern of the ship. I got on to it for about 30 seconds when it disappeared from view was not seen again. I'm very grateful to him for this.

Saturday 3rd February 2007

Arrived Ushuaia about 7:30am. We learned that the Prince Dam cruise ship and three serious rolls on the way from Ushuaia to Antarctica. All the crockery was broken, and 30 passengers were injured. The captain last the passengers what to do with it turned back of carry on.

Anyway Chris and I joined David Wilson and Duncan in a taxi to the Tierra del Fuego National Park. We had three-and-a-half-hour as their walking around the river and beech forest trying to find Magellanic Woodpecker - a last no success. We then dropped David and Duncan at a restaurant while Chris and I continued by taxi to the rubbish tip - where we were refused entry! and on to the "Frigidaire" Meat factory on the coast. This was an awful place, with skeletons and skins of dead sheep and cows everywhere in the river to the sea. There were some piglets running around also. A most horrid place but it did have birds! Then a sudden wind with rain got up and brought birding to a premature end. We got the taxi driver to drop us off in the town for some shopping and went to an Irish pub for a beer and a hot dog. We rejoin the Saga Rose at 4:30pm and then departed at 6:30pm for the Magellan Strait.

Also seen: -

Rabbit or (lots including many black ones in the National Park)

Sunday 4th February 2007

Cruising the Magellan Strait/Pacific Ocean. It got a bit bumpy in the night which woke us up, and things were flying around the cabin. Got out of bed at 7:30am, a grey, cloudy day much of the day. Visited the Augustine glacier. Beautiful scenery but few birds.

In addition to the birds: -

South American Fur Seal (1)

Monday 5th February 2007

Continuing to cruise the Chilean fjords/canals. Visited Pope glacier. Two-and-a-half-mile wide, 150 ft deep. Later in the day, we passed out into the bumpy Pacific Ocean again . Grey, some drizzle.

In addition to the birds: -

Commerson's Dolphin (2), South American Fur Seal (10 plus)

Tuesday 6th February 2007

Another day cruising the fjords, to Puerto Montt. Cloudy/some drizzle. Again much bouncing in the night as we got into the Pacific. Very dramatic.

In addition to the birds: -

South American Fur Seal (10)

Wednesday 7th February 2007

Arrived Puerto Montt at 7am, and had a tender to the shore. Had a trip with Chris David Wilson and Duncan to Lago Verde, and then on to Palhoue for Torrent Duck. We arrived back at the port at 2pm and then had lunch in a seafood restaurant with the one-eyed waiter. Mainly dry. Some rain, occasional sun.

In addition to the birds: -

Dolphin sp. (unidentified, leaving the port, 1-2)

Thursday 8th February, 2007

Cruising at sea from Puerto Montt to Valparaiso. Sunny most of the day. Southerly wind and current (force 6-7 according to the captain) made sailing comfortable. My lecture at 9am on Wildlife of South America was poorly attended - only 21 people.

In addition to the birds: -

Whale (two big blows, one animal partially breached)

Friday 9th February 2007

From Valparaiso to Santiago and flight direct from Santiago to Paris then Paris to London, overnight. Air France. Chaos at Paris airport.