Trip to Bleaker Island (Falkland Islands)

22/10/2006

Travel to Bleaker Island by FIGAS flights, spending three days on the island in a charming cottage provided by the local farm. Bleaker Island has a huge population of penguins (including rockhopper and gentoo) and other birds like the king cormorant.


Flying over Falkland islands Stanley, Falkland islands
Flying over Falkland islands Flying over Falkland islands
Flying over Falkland islands Falkland FIGAS Islander 9 seats aircraft
A FIGAS flight, operated with a 9 seats Islander, brings me from Stanley to Bleaker Island, where I will stay for three nights.

 

Settlement at Bleaker Island, Falkland islands Settlement at Bleaker Island, Falkland islands
Bleaker Island is about 16 miles long, but never wider than 2 miles. There is a still active farm and a nice cottage (right picture) for tourists.

 

The accommodation on Bleaker Island is very charming and has three bedrooms with two beds each, a bathroom with shower and hot water, a kitcken and a wide living room with library and TV / video recorder. The eletricity (220V) is available 24 hours on 24, so you will not have to worry about recharging the batteries. This is a very nice place to relax, after a full day outside.

 

Bleaker island, Falkland islands Bleaker island, Falkland islands
Bleaker island, Falkland islands Bleaker island, Falkland islands
Bleaker island, Falkland islands For the first day tour on Bleaker Island, I decide to visit the king cormorants and rockhopper penguins colony, which are just 20 minutes on foot from the cottage. The land where I hike is quite flat, with low shrubs and grass just everywhere.

 

King cormorant colony, Falkland islands King cormorant colony, Falkland islands
King cormorant colony, Falkland islands King cormorant colony, Falkland islands
King cormorant colony, Falkland islands King cormorant colony, Falkland islands
King cormorant colony, Falkland islands
Shortly, I reach an enormous colony of king cormorants.

 

Rockhopper penguin colony, Falkland islands Rockhopper penguin colony, Falkland islands
Rockhopper penguin colony, Falkland islands
And finally, a beautiful colony of about 700 rockhopper penguins. The rockhopper penguin is the world's third smallest penguin and the smallest penguin living in the Falklands. At the beginning of October, the males return from the ocean and start to buil a nest; several days later, also the females arrive. They are called "rockhopper" for their incredible ability to climb, jumping on their lovely pink feet, steep cliffs sometimes higher than 100 meters. Unfortunately this penguin is very vulnerable, nearly threatened, as the colonies were decimated by unknown factors during the last 20 years.

 

Rockhopper penguin colony, Falkland islands
Rockhopper penguin colony, Falkland islands Rockhopper penguin colony, Falkland islands
Rockhopper penguin colony, Falkland islands
Rockhopper penguin colony, Falkland islands Rockhopper penguin colony, Falkland islands
Pictures of rockhopper penguins on Bleaker Island.

 

Rockhopper penguins
Penguins taking care of their feathers.

 

Rockhopper penguins
The penguins recognize the partner by voice. There are two movies showing this behaviour of the penguins, click the links below to see them:

MOVIE 1 | MOVIE 2

 

Rockhopper penguins

 

Rockhopper penguins
Rockhopper penguins busy in nest building. There are two movies showing penguins busy in nest building at the beginning of the breeding season, click the links below to see them:

MOVIE 1 | MOVIE 2

 

The rockhoppers are probably the most aggressive of all penguins, they do not hesitate to attack everybody going too close to their nest or too close to their drinking pool.

 

Pictures of mating penguins.

 

Rockhopper penguins

 

Bleaker island, Falklands Bleaker island, Falklands
Bleaker island, Falklands Bleaker island, Falklands
The steep cliffs around the colony on Bleaker Island.

 

Rockhopper penguin, Falkland islands Rockhopper penguin, Falkland islands
Rockhopper penguin, Falkland islands Penguins evaluating the best path to climb up.

 

Rockhopper penguin, Falkland islands
Rockhopper penguin, Falkland islands Penguins descending from the colony to the sea.

There are three movies showing penguins climbing and descending a cliff, click the links below to see them:

MOVIE 1 | MOVIE 2 | MOVIE 3

 

Rockhopper penguin, Falkland islands Rockhopper penguin, Falkland islands

 

Rockhopper penguin, Falkland islands

 

Also the king cormorants were busy in nest building.

 

King cormorant
Photo of king cormorant.

 

Rock cormorant
Photos of more birds from Bleaker Island.

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