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The Falkland Islands – an Eldorado for bird photographers and nature lovers

23rd November – 7th December 2019

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Booking is closed for this tour

Some highlights of the tour:

  • Amazingly rich bird- and wildlife, with several species of marine mammals.
  • Completely unafraid animals.
  • Wild nature, seldom visited by humans.
  • Considerable freedom to move around and select your own photo angles.
  • Non-stop photography for those with the will and energy.
  • Four different species of penguins (more than on most islands in this zone).
  • Large colonies of Albatross.
  • Colonies of Little Pied Cormorants and Rockhopper Penguins.
  • Loads of action, almost non-stop in some colonies.
  • Short walking distances to most colonies, Jeep rides to others.
  • Visits to five islands apart from the main island. Saunders Island, Pebbles Island, Carcass Island and West Point Island.
  • We contribute economically to Birdlife International’s work in protecting Albatrosses.
  • The tour guide shows their best sites and provides photographic advice in a small like-minded group.

The Falkland Islands are the place for any photographer or nature lover who wants to go as far south as possible and experience the miracles of nature without having to put up with living onboard a ship.

This British island group with no more than 2200 inhabitants is about 500 km east of the Argentinian mainland. The islands are most well-known for the war that took place here in 1982. On 2nd April Argentinian forces invaded the islands. Following small-scale fighting with the British troops posted on the islands, the Argentinians took over the main town, Port Stanley. Before the war ended, Argentina had landed 10000 soldiers on the islands and captured the male population on several of the islands. Today, there is a permanent British military presence in order to defend the islands and inhabitants, who have been English-speaking since the British first colonized the islands in the 19th century.

For bird and nature lovers the islands are an ecological Eldorado. The rocky, partly mountainous landscape and the long coast are heaven for birds. The surrounding sea is a rich source of food for e.g. four penguin species and hundreds of thousands of Black-Browed Albatross, but also for marine mammals such as Sea Lions, Fur Seals and Elephant Seals. The animals and most of the birds on the Falkland Islands are quite unafraid of humans, and the islands are a paradise for bird photographers.

The Falkland Islands are grounds for ”classical” photography. Most of the landscape is ”wild”, mostly pristine. We can mostly move around freely, selecting our angle and background. We are not limited by landing times, and can go out when the lighting is best. Many colonies are just a short walk from our accommodation. Because there are so few limits to photography on the Falkland Islands, it is extra important that we are careful and respect birds and mammals.

On most days we will be able to photograph round the clock. If we have got the energy.

As it is summertime, it will be light almost all the time. Even at night it doesn’t get completely dark.

We ”air-hop” between islands and lodges/farms. Flying from one island to another can imply a couple of extra stops at isolated farms, where the pilot delivers post and medicine, or picks up residents to visit the doctor, or dogs to go to the vet in Port Stanley. A fifteen minute flight might take an hour.

As we take pictures round the clock there are always subjects to photograph. Bring enough memory cards and storage space! Electricity is available everywhere, but bring extra batteries.

There are only eight of us on the tour, including the tour leader. Everyone can choose their own spots, and we wont get in anyone’s way.

The four penguin species on the Falkland Islands are Gentoo, Magellanic, King and Rockhopper Penguins.

Many bird species are quite unafraid. Passing right next to a nesting Night-Heron on Pebbles, or photographing Turkey Vultures just a few meters away is an everyday experience. Caracaras and Vultures often fight over carcasses with the Skuas.

We will be walking amongst Penguins, Albatrosses, Cormorants, Caracaras, Skuas and other animals. However, we will keep a certain distance, although this is not always recognized by the birds. If you are lying down still, a bird might peck at you, or a caracara might examine your camera bag.

Visiting the Falkland Islands is experiencing a completely different way of life. Most islander are permanent residents, with often only one or two families per island. All year round.

Accommodation can be simple, but nowadays electricity, hot water and showers. Even in the cottages on Saunders.

We will be there when it’s summer, and temperatures range from 10 to 18 degrees C, sometimes but not often above 20 degrees C. This makes photography and moving around the islands and colonies quite comfortable.

Travel facts

Dates
23rd November – 7th December 2019

Price
6 870 € (Euro)
(Registration fee 1 350€)*

Tour leader
Brutus Östling

Number of participants
Minimum 3
Maximum 5

Last date to register
20th May 2019

Price includes
Shared twin bed room, meals according to the itinerary, domestic flights and local transportation, boat excursion to West Point Island, photo tutorials, tour leaders and local guides.

Single room
Very limited. Please contact us for more information.

Price does not include
Return flight to/from Port Stanley, Falklands Islands. Tips, insurance, cancellation insurance, beverages (other than those served with the food) and personal items.

Airport
Mount Pleasant, Port Stanley. The tour starts and ends here.

Photo equipment
The focus on this tour is to photograph penguins, albatrosses and other birds but also some mammals such as seals. It is good to bring everything from wide-angle to telephoto lenses. For some of the species we will photograph during the tour we will be able to get really close. This makes wide-angle zooms a perfect lens even for wildlife. Lenses from 70-200 mm up to 500 mm are excellent for the wildlife that we will encounter. To increase focal length you can use a teleconverter.
Rain might occur during the tour so bring some protections for your cameras and lenses. If you have two camera bodies, bring both in order not to have to change lenses as much. Tripods will be useful in many situations.

Clothing
Temperature are expected to be approx. +10-20 degrees C. Evenings and nights might be chilly. We can expect windy days so some wind proof closing is essential. The best option is to bring  clothing in layers which makes it easy to dress according to the weather. Proper rain clothes and a hat and gloves are good to bring.  Bring a pair of water proof boots and some trainers or sandals to wear on the boat and during transports.

Group and language
Our tours are open to all nationalities, so the group may be international. Our tour leaders speak Swedish and English.

*Terms of payment
Registration fee to be paid on registration. Remaining fees to be paid latest 90 days before the tour starts.

Additional information
Contact your insurance company about insurance, including cancellation insurance. Contact your doctor about vaccination requirements.

Terms and conditions

Itinerary

Day 1
Arrival by LAN from Santiago or Punta Arenas to Port Stanley (Mount Pleasant Airport) at lunch. From here we fly straight on to Saunders Island, about 30 mins flight. After landing will we be taken straight to “the Neck” were we going to stay for three nights.

Day 1–5
Photography on Saunders. Most nights will be spent at The Neck, with round the clock photography. We will cook food that we are provided with. The cottage has electricity, hot water and a shower, but is fairly simple standard. However, it was much more simple in 2005-2006 when I spent 10-11 days here.

On Saunders we move around freely. Once we are at our accommodation at The Neck and The Rookery there is no need for a Jeep. The Neck hosts all four penguin species (Gentoo, Magellanic, King and Rockhopper). Right close by there is a long mountain slope with colonies of Black-Browed Albatross and further on colonies of little Pied Cormorants. The King Penguin colony is smaller than the one at Volunteer Point, but this can sometimes be an advantage for photographers.

We will also visit The Rookery, getting there by Jeep. Rockhopper Penguins and Little Pied Cormorants crowd together at the colony.

On day 5 will we fly to Carcass Island. Departure time to be announced.

Day 6-7
Round the clock photography on Carcass Island.

Day 8 am
Early morning photography, followed by a flight to Pebble Island.

Day 8 pm – 11am
We will stay at Pebbles Island for three nights. Photography on Pebble Island all days. We will be driven to some colonies further away, taking us on a tour of the fairly large island. The Rockhopper colony is extra fun. By this time the young will have started to shed their downy feathers.

Day 11
Flight to Port Stanley. Transport to Malvina House in Port Stanley.

Day 12
We will be transported by Jeep to Volunteer Point. Here, there is a larger King Penguin colony, with a couple of thousand penguins. We will stay at Volunteer Point for nights.

Day 12-14
Round the clock photography at Volunteer Point.

Day 15
After an early photography session at Volunteer Point will we be picked up and driven to Mount Pleasant airport for out flights back home.

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The booking for this tour is closed