Monday 10 April 2023

Falklands - Sea Lion Island, day 3 - Orcas!

We only had until about 3pm before we were due to fly back to Stanley. We decided to spend the time we had on the two main beaches closest to the lodge, enjoying the penguins and seeing what else we could find.   

To get to the north beach we had to walk through a mixed colony of Gentoo and Magellanic penguins. The Gentoos are particularly inquisitive and will come up and say hi.

Once at the beach we plotted up somewhere comfortable and just enjoyed our surroundings for a couple of hours. I managed really good views of a number of Snowy Sheathbill, a weird pigeon type looking seabird. There were hundreds of penguins, mostly Gentoo, on the beach, plus lots of Black Browed Albatross and Giant Petrels.  

Snowy Sheathbill

Gentoos in the surf

Black Footed Albatross

We then gave south beach a go, said hi to the Elephant Seals again, and it was then we stumbled across a large skeleton on the beach. Initially we thought it was a cetacean and said we'd take some fellow guests to the beach to show them after lunch.    

It was actually an Elephant Seal skeleton, minus the skull

Back at the lodge, we were informed that Lars, a Danish guest, had seen an Orca distantly off south beach this morning. Damn! We'd already planned to go back to look at the skeleton so the plan was to plot up in the dunes with a great view of the sea and keep out fingers crossed. Julia sat up in the dunes and I went to show the skeleton. I left the other guests looking at it and headed back to Julia. As soon as I got back Julia says that she thinks she's seen a large fin distantly. We keep scanning and boom!

Initially there were distant 

Two orcas initially distantly (1/2 mile) off shore. Over the next 20-30 minutes they steadily appeared to be getting closer to the shore, and as they got closer more fins appeared, there were 5 of them. They cruised just off shore, around 50 metres out providing superb views for the next hour.   


We we having so much fun that time had ran away with us and we had to make a hasty retreat back to the lodge as our plane was due in 30 minutes to take us back to Stanley. Our short stop over on Sea Lion Island had been truly magical. A must be anyone visiting The Falklands. 

Birds added to the trip list on Sea Lion Island were: 45. Snowy Sheathbill; 46. Magellanic Snipe;       47. Sooty Shearwater; 48. South American Tern and 49. Brown Hooded Gull  

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