Chick on the edge.

Following on from my recent posting on penguins…. a gentoo penguin chick sits at the edge of a colony on Weddell Island in the Falklands. I found when photographing a colony like this, it was worth looking around the edges of the group to try and isolate an individual. There are so many birds crowded together that a wider shot only really worked if it was part of a larger landscape.

A Gentoo Penguin chick sits at the edge of a colony. A Gentoo Penguin chick sits at the edge of a colony. Although a portrait of a single bird, the colony in the background completes the story.

Penguin rookery The same location but from a higher camera position shows the colony in the context of the landscape.

Weddell Island is one of the larger of the Falkland Islands (after East and West Falkland) and is a working sheep station. It’s perhaps a less obvious wildlife viewing destination compared to some others and there is an interesting dilemma faced by the owners. Whilst sheep raising for wool is the main business, the island has become well known for its population of Patagonian Grey Foxes and people visit in the hope of seeing them. The foxes are an introduced species and a pest in terms of the farming operation, attacking and maiming lambs, but have a potential tourism value. Fortunately, the foxes don’t appear to have impacted the penguin colonies greatly.

It also shows the importance of long term management plans for such places. Several years ago, the then owners implemented a determined fox eradication program and had the pests numbers down to an estimated 6 pairs. A change in ownership saw that program neglected and the fox numbers rebounded strongly.

I’m working my way through a large batch of images at present, there will be more from my Falkland Islands trip and more still! ~KD.