Falkland Islands Wildlife Photography Trip – December 2019 (14 days)
The Falkland Islands located in the South Atlantic Ocean off South America are the perfect destination to experience the wonders of nature and wildlife; an unpolluted environment with fantastically clear blue skies, seamless horizons, vast open spaces and stunning white sand beaches. Wildlife is free to roam and many species have chosen the Islands as their home including gentoo and Magellanic penguins, Southern sea lions, Commerson’s and Peale’s dolphins and over 200 species of birds.
- Boutique tour group – Maximum 5 people plus 1 host.
- Unique up close and personal wildlife viewing including visits to penguin and seal colonies, bird watching opportunities and experiencing the natural beauty of the Islands.
- Expert photographic advice from an award-winning wildlife and nature photographer.
Dates: 30 Nov – 12 December, 2019
Duration: 14 days
Start: Santiago or Punta Arenas, Chile
Finish: Santiago or Punta Arenas, Chile
Included: Internal flights (Falklands), accommodation (14 days), all meals, expert award winning wildlife and nature photographer as guide/host.
Excluded: International flights to Mt Pleasant (Falklands), Overnight Accommodation Santiago prior to tour, Excess baggage costs on local flights
Scott Portelli is a Sydney based photographer who has traveled the world extensively photographing in some of the most remote destinations, including The Arctic, Antarctica, Falklands, Galapagos, Azores, Africa and the South Pacific.
Scott is an award winning wildlife, nature, aerial and underwater photographer. A member of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) he is regarded as a leading professional in his field.
He was awarded at the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the year in London in 2016 and announced National winner of the Sony World Photography awards 2016 and winner at Travel Photographer of the Year 2015 & 2018. His conservation documentary also took out 2 awards at the prestigious French Underwater Film Festival in Marseille in 2015. More recently he was awarded winner in the Animal Behaviour Category at the Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year ANZANG 2017 and Winner in the Underwater Category of the Asferico International Nature Photography awards 2018.
With his experience in the Sub-Antarctic and Antarctic regions, he brings a wealth of knowledge to every expedition and ensures that each trip optimizes photographers chances to capture the best that the wildlife in the region has to offer.
Day 1 – Darwin
Darwin is a settlement in East Falkland, named after famed naturalist Charles Darwin. Slightly north of the battlefield of Goose Green, it is not just historically interesting (with a reconstructed stone corral as well as the trail of the 1982 war) but also a great launching off point to see some of the famous Falklands wildlife including southern giant petrel, the Falklands flightless steamer duck, Magellanic oystercatchers, skuas & several species of geese (ruddy-headed, kelp & upland). East Falkland is separated by a large isthmus, creating a diverse geographical area with beautiful sandy beaches and the Falklands’ highest peak (Mount Usborne) in the “North Camp”, and vast plains & open skies to the south.
Day 2 – Darwin
Day 3 – Sea Lion Island
Sea Lion Island is home to elephant seals, gentoo penguins, magellenic penguins, rock hoppers, sea lions, birds of prey and cormorants. Beautiful tussac plantations cover one fifth of the island and provide a perfect habitat and protection for much of the island’s varied fauna. Opportunities for photography and wildlife watching are limitless and start literally steps away from the purpose-built lodge. Besides the tussac, there are sand beaches, cliffs, freshwater ponds and heathland, all with their own wildlife. Pods of killer whales may be seen between November and January circling the island in pursuit of the elephant seals and sea lions that breed there. Leopard seals and larger whales are also seen from time to time. A memorial to the HMS Sheffield, sunk in nearby waters, is also situated on the island.
You visit here includes a guided introductory tour of the island.
Day 4 – Sea Lion Island
Day 5 – Sea Lion Island
Day 6 – Carcass Island
Carcass Island is a haven for small bird species including Cobb’s wren, striated caracaras (known locally as “Johnny Rooks”), white bridled finches and short-eared owls. Elephant seals bask on the northern beaches, magellanic penguins reside close to the settlement, gentoo penguins and other marine mammals inhabit the southern end of the island. The scenery is varied with beautiful white sandy beaches, tussac paddocks, rocky hills and cliff tops.
Day 7 – Steeple Jason
The Jason islands are rarely visited and home to the largest colony of black-browed albatross in the world. This group of islands form a rocky chain in the extreme north-west of the Falklands, and with no landing strip are only reachable by boat. An unforgettable experience and a haven for bird lovers, it also hosts rockhopper penguins, king cormorants, striated caracaras, skuas, gentoo penguins & southern giant petrels. The rocky peaks of Steeple Jason are a nature reserve and birding paradise.
Day 8 – Steeple Jason
Day 9 – Carcass Island
Day 10 – Carcass Island
Day 11 – Stanley
Stanley is the tiny capital of the Falklands, village-sized but with a lot to explore along the sheltered harbour. Our visit includes a tour of the city and visit to the museum to discover more about the social and maritime history of the islands, along with natural history.
Day 12 – Volunteer Point
Volunteer Point is one of the most popular and important tourist destinations in the Falklands. There is an abundance of bird activity in the area and is home to the largest king penguin colony in the Islands, as well as gentoo and magellanic penguins, waterfowl and other birds. Volunteer Beach itself is a beautiful white sandy beach, approximately 2km long, and is where many of the penguins can be seen entering and leaving the ocean.
Day 13 – Volunteer Point
Day 14 – Volunteer Point
Day 15 – Stanley
There will be a private transfer from Stanley to Mount Pleasant Airport where you will catch your international flight.
The following dates are approximates and could vary +/- 3 weeks
|SEPT||Genttoo Penguins return to the Falkland Islands to begin building their nests||Magellanic Penguins return to the Falkland Islands to begin building their nests||Males return late september||Males arrive early in the month, females arrive approximately a week later|
|OCT||Gentoo’s lay their eggs around the middle of the month||Magellanic’s lay their eggs around the middle of the month||Males arrive early in the month, females arrive approximately a week later||Large and small chicks are present in the colony at the same time||Females return early October and lay eggs approximately the middle of the month||Pups are born late september & early october. Pups are suckled for 23 days. Female mate at the end of lactation period and return to sea|
|NOV||Eggs are incubated||Eggs are incubated||Eggs are laid at the beginning of November||1st peak adult moult. Previous year chicks depart early November/December||Incubation last 70 days||Female depart November. Males depart late November||Bulls establish their territories. Late November/Early December|
|DEC||Eggs hatch in early December||Eggs hatch in mid December||Eggs Hatch early December and parents Broodguard chicks for 25 days||2nd Peak Adult Moult. Eggs are laid mid November to Mid March||Eggs Hatch late December and parents Broodguard chicks for 25 days||Pups stay ashore for 45 days.||Cows arrive late December/early January. Pupping is late december/early January|
|JAN||Chicks start to creche early January||Chicks begin to creche||50 Day incubation||Brood guard continues until Mid January||Adults haul out late January/Early February to moult for 25 days||Females Mate 2-3 days after pupping. Female forage returning every few days to suckle pups.|
|FEB||Both parents forage to feed the chick. Some chicks will fledge||Chicks leave the burrow||Both adults feed the chick during February/March||Late January pups form mobs. Bull territories break up|
|MARCH||Chicks fledge early March, adults begin there annual Moult late March||Chicks fledge early March, adults begin their annual Moult||Chicks fledge early March, adults provision then return to the colony to moult||After breeding there is no segregation and mixed groups haul out|