A birding trip to
ANTARCTICA
with South Georgia and the Falkland Islands

with
'ORNITHOLIDAYS' & 'CRUISES FOR NATURE'

ABOARD THE
‘Explorer’
21 January to 13 February 2001

 This is an abridged version of the full report written by
 and sent to those who came on this cruise
Below are two highlights of South Georgia

(1) King Penguin - the incredible sight of 100,000 together at Salisbury Plain
The group saw nine species of penguin on this trip.
More penguin shots, plus sound files,
can be found at:
and (2) Below - Light-mantled Albatrosses displaying
DIARY
22 - 26 January
Birding pretours in Chile and Argentina - Humboldt Penguin, Austral Pygmy Owl, Diademed Sandpiper-Plover, Andean Condor, Moustached Turca and Crag Chilia being seen
Saturday 27 January
….The Explorer could be seen alongside the quay. At 1700 it was time for us to board the ship
….There was a welcoming presentation from the ship’s Cruise Director and at 2000 we set sail along the Beagle Channel. For some, birding was paramount as there were new birds to be seen. Two species of the Beagle Channel, Magellanic Diving-Petrel and Chilean Skua were both seen on our route.
Sunday 28 January
….During the night there was quite a swell. We were now outside the channel and into the Drake Passage. There were not strong winds or tall waves but there was a swell. Some of the passengers, and a few from within our group, did not feel too well.
….Our first Wandering Albatrosses joined the ship and effortlessly glided by. We could compare these with the first Royal Albatrosses, the first two identified as Northern Royal Albatrosses. Wilson's Storm-petrels crossed our wake and could be seen feeding with wings fluttering and legs dangling. White-chinned Petrels and Giant Petrels cruised alongside us.
…. we were some distance from Cape Horn yet even here we saw two Magellanic Penguins. Blue Petrels were seen regularly, some zigzagging in their characteristic erratic flight. These were not in great numbers but one could be seen every hour or so.
Monday 29 January
…. We had been lucky as the Drake Passage had been relatively calm (although maybe not appearing so for some!) Our latitude meant we were now in the 'political' Antarctic, and as we had crossed the Antarctic convergence during the night we were also in the 'ecological' Antarctic.
….During the morning there was a build-up of Cape Petrels, and Black-bellied Storm-petrels became more common today than the Wilson's Storm-petrels. Good views were had of Grey-headed Albatrosses and Blue Petrels as they flew close to the ship.