A Travellerspoint blog

Day 5: The Ocean is Alive

Atlantic Ocean off Argentina

semi-overcast 52 °F

The luck of the Irish was on my side again, as little did I know this morning, but I was in for yet another AMAZING day of seabirding from the MS Emerald Princess as we trek towards our next stop: the Falkland Islands in the southern Atlantic.

I was birding with the Irish birders again today, and we were watching from deck 10 of the ship by the time the clock hit 7am. Immediately, we noticed a profusion of albatross, the most noteworthy of which was the SOOTY ALBATROSS, an internationally-endangered species (due in part by long-line fishing, and by pollution in the sea). Luckily, we were treated to multiple individuals of the species throughout the day, allowing for some of my favorite albatross pictures ever:

And here is one of many SOUTHERN GIANT-PETRELS that were trailing the ship today:

Then, one of the Irish birders shouted “storm petrel” and we rushed over to observe my life bird BLACK-BELLIED STORM-PETREL! A tiny and wonderfully handsome bird!

Soon enough, we found its close relative, my life bird WHITE-BELLIED STORM-PETREL as well, notice the major difference of the coloration of their underparts:

Next, we were treated to a new albatross for this trip: SOUTHERN ROYAL ALBATROSS, one I haven’t seen since New Zealand in 2014! It is SO, SO, unbelievably awesome to be able to just glance out your ship’s window and happen to casually see an albatross — I count myself lucky to be among the few who get to have an unbelievably magical experience like this. Here are multiple individuals of the species we saw today:

Its similar and larger cousin, the WANDERING ALBATROSS, also made appearances throughout the day! Largest wingspan in the WORLD! Seeing them fly is just like seeing a pair of white wings gliding through the air, and their brilliant white can be seen from miles away, even over an ocean with whitecaps.

Here is an immature Wandering:

Lifer #3 for the day was a GRAY PETREL! I was afforded decent views of it but only one very sub-par photo, as again, taking photos of fast-moving birds from a moving ship is challenging.

GREAT SHEARWATERS were out in force today — we must have seen close to 500 of them!


And my fourth and final life bird of the day was a hugely unexpected surprise: WHITE-HEADED PETREL, a very very uncommon find for this far west in the Atlantic! So awesome! Unfortunately, like many of the birds today, it was moving fast so only allowed for one identification photo, allowing one to observe its pale underside & head white a slight tern-like patch around its eye.

BLACK-BROWED ALBATROSS were also seen today:

Here is an immature of the species:

Bird-of-the-day to the White-headed Petrel with runners-up to the Black-bellied & White-bellied Storm-Petrels! AMAZING DAY! Stay tuned — tomorrow, the ship stops at the Falkland Islands near the southern tip of South America, and I am in for a guided birding tour!

Good birding,
World Life List: 1042 Species (4 life birds today)

Posted by skwclar 17:52 Archived in Argentina

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