Falkland Islands Scouting Tour
Dates: December 7-21, 2019
Fee: $5,995 (includes lodging, private air charters and ground transportation in the Falklands)
Deposit: $1,200 (balance due by July 2019)
Limit: 7 clients (spouses or non-photographers are also welcome)
Activity level: Easy to Moderate
The Falklands are a wildlife magnet. Sometimes referred to as the Galapagos of the South Atlantic, the Falklands are one of the best locations in the world for bird photography. Five species of penguins, many species of song birds, water birds, and birds of prey, and all are approachable and easy to photograph. Think of the excitement of sitting next to a lively penguin colony, waves crashing against rocky cliffs, while envisioning compositions galore—with no time pressure. Action photography is outstanding as penguins launch themselves from breaking waves and scramble ashore. And just when you think it can’t get any better, you find yourself engulfed—point blank—by these curious and feisty birds!
We'll be visiting the top photography sites that are appropriate for the season. Penguins will either be sitting on eggs or hatching small chicks. Black-browed Albatrosses will be sitting on eggs, although some eggs will be hatching and small chicks may be visible. Elephant Seal pups are weaned, and may be going to sea, attracting Orcas. Songbirds and many shorebirds will be nesting, and most ducks and geese will be raising young.
Since this is a scouting trip Nikhil we be photographing alongside you. This tour is ideal for photographers who have traveled with Nikhil before or any intermediate to advanced photographers who are comfrotable with their gear. Nikhil will provide ideas and instruction in the field but there will be no formal presentations.
Dec. 7 and 8 - Stanley Island
We will arrive on the 7th. Soak up the sights, sounds and scents as you sit alongside a penguin colony watching gentoos steal nesting materials from their neighbors, rockhoppers scale impossibly steep cliffs or young, fluffy kings behaving like petulant teenagers making whistling noises and stomping their feet! Seals and sea lions are also found at many locations. Our stay includes a day visit to volunteer point for King Penguins on the 8th.
Dec. 9 and 10 - Saunders Island (The Neck)
This is a remote location where we will be right at the beach where several Penguins go in and out of the water. This is the only place we will have to share 2 rooms amongst our group. There are 2 sets of bunk beds in each room. This is a very popular location because of the photographic opportunities being excellent.
The isthmus of the Neck is flanked on both sides with sandy beaches. The long stretch of white sand to the north is irresistible. The whole area is crowded with birds. Magellanic penguins make their way ashore, gentoos congregate and there is a small colony of king penguins.
Dec. 11 and 12 - Saunders Island (the rookeries)
Saunders Island is one of the few places where visitors can see black-browed albatross. The bird is graceful in flight, but amusingly clumsy in landing. Nests are small stacks, somewhat precariously balanced on the cliffs, with fluffy grey chicks, once hatched, atop waiting patiently for food. It’s easy to while away an hour on more just watching the activity. Close by are rockhopper penguins and another birdwatching treat awaits. Along the coast is the “rockhopper shower” where the birds wait for their turn under the refreshing falling stream. Imperial cormorants breed noisily alongside. The striated caracara is always on the look-out for a meal of any sort. Take care of your packed lunch! Also around the island you’ll find water-birds and endemic plants. There are many walking opportunities with the highest point, Mount Richards 457 metres (1,462 feet) providing great views across this unusually shaped island.
Dec. 13,14,15 - Bleaker Island
Being a long thin island, it has a very extensive coastline that attracts a multitude of wildlife. The island hosts a massive imperial cormorant colony, three types of breeding penguins, wildfowl, and sea lions haul out on the rocks and offshore tussac islands. The wildlife is conveniently located close to the settlement where two of the four houses accommodate visitors.
Dec. 16, 17, 18 - Sea Lion Island
A true natural paradise located in the south-east of the Falklands’ group, this beautiful island has no steep hills to climb but does have high, rocky cliffs and spectacular wildlife. On lower lying land, white sand beaches and large areas of tall, tussac grass create alternative habitats and sheltered areas.
Sea Lion Island has the largest colony of the world’s largest pinniped, the elephant seal, with almost two thousand individuals at the height of the breeding season in October. These huge animals bask lazily on the beach, idly flipping sand, making grunting noises and occasionally opening an eye. Periodically the peace is shattered as males rear up for a fight!
This is one of the best places to look for orcas which roam offshore, hopeful for prey, throughout the summer. Their best chances for sea lion pups are from mid-November to the end of December.
Dec. 19 and 20 - Stanley Island
We return to Stanley for a couple of more nights. This will include another day visit to volunteer point for King Penguins on the 20th. This has been arranged because this is the only location to get a good look at the largest King Penguin colony and a second visit maximizes our chances of good weather, good photos and hopefully different opportunities as well.
Dec. 21 Flight out
- All lodging (based on double occupancy; single supplement $750*)
- Ground transportation and private air charter to go from island to island
- Most meals at the lodges/camps
- All necessary permits and fees
- All in field guiding and instruction
- Comprehensive and detailed information packet including logistics details, packing and equipment lists, and more
Itinerary Does Not Include:
- Airfare to the Falklands
- Travel insurance - insuremytrip.com
- Extra activities not specified in the itinerary
- A few meals
- Tips for guides/drivers and hotel/lodge staff
*Single supplement may be required if we cannot pair you with a roommate; we will inform you of the rooming arrangements as the trip fills.
A deposit of $1,200 is required for registration. The balance amount should be paid by check by July 2019. This is done to keep the fees down and pass on the benefit to you.
Please contact Nikhil if you have any questions.
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