Sunday, December 2, 2007

Penguins aren't the only birds......

Sure, sure, I've been all about the penguins.....everyone who thinks of Antarctica is all about the penguins. I mentioned the albatrosses, but they were seen only on open water out in the Drake Passage. So what other birds did I see pretty much daily? Here they are:

Cape Petrels followed our ship all the time. They were nesting on Deception Island and we could hear their mooing calls coming from the cliffs. This species is about the size of a small gull. On the top of the bill is the "tube" that all petrels, albatrosses, fulmars, shearwaters and prions share.

South Polar Skuas look like gulls but they're not. They are badass predators and nest next to penguin colonies to take advantage of neglected eggs or chicks. We also saw Chilean Skuas near Ushuaia.

Antarctic Shags are in the cormorant family. They're pretty neat looking birds.

Antarctic Terns wheel overhead and squawk and scream and are hypnotically fun to watch.

Pale-faced Sheathbills are odd, pigeon-like birds that nest around
penguin colonies to feast on eggs. This one caught a ride on the ship.

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