Falkland islands wildlife


This video says about itself:

After Years of War, Nature is Flourishing on These Tiny Islands | National Geographic

30 January 2018

In the Falkland Islands, the resiliency of nature is everywhere. National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen, who recently traveled to the Falkland Islands, said that he’s “rarely encountered such an intact ecosystem in almost three decades.”

Albatrosses eat jellyfish, new research


This video says about itself:

8 April 2014

Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic guests land at Steeple Jason Island in the Falklands to see the impressive wildlife, including the world’s largest colony of black-browed albatross. Video by Mark Coger.

From the University of Tasmania – Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies in Australia:

DNA tests on albatross excrement reveal secret diet of top predator

October 18, 2017

A study that used DNA tests to analyse the scats of one of the world’s most numerous albatrosses has revealed surprising results about the top predator’s diet.

DNA analysis of 1460 scats from breeding sites around the Southern Ocean has shown that the diet of black-browed albatrosses contains a much higher proportion of jellyfish than previously thought.

The finding, in a study led by IMAS researcher Julie McInnes and published in the journal Molecular Ecology, is important because top predators such as the albatross are used as indicators of the health of the broader marine ecosystem.

Ms McInnes said jellyfish have traditionally been regarded as an unlikely food source due to their poor nutritional value, although sightings of albatross eating jellyfish are occasionally made.

“We need to understand what albatross eat so we can identify how marine ecosystems might be changing in response to pressures such as climate change or fishing,” Ms McInnes said.

“Past studies of albatross diets relied largely on analysis of their stomach contents, with jellyfish found in less than one in five samples and then only in low volumes of around 5 per cent of the total.

“In contrast, our study found that in fact jellyfish are a common prey of black-browed albatrosses and the closely related Campbell albatross.

“While there was large variation between breeding colonies, jellyfish were present at seven of the eight sites sampled and in 37 per cent of the scats tested, comprising 20 per cent of the DNA sequences identified.

“We were also surprised to find jellyfish in the diet of chicks, as we had expected adults would prefer fish to low energy value jellyfish when feeding their offspring.

“The failure of previous studies to detect jellyfish in albatross stomach contents can be explained by the speed with which they are digested and the lack of hard parts, such as fish bones or squid beaks, that might be retained in the birds’ stomachs for days or weeks.

Ms McInnes said the study showed the value of new DNA metabarcoding technology in the study of seabird diets.

“Ongoing monitoring of the diet and foraging behaviour of top marine predators will help scientists to understand the future impacts of environmental change and fisheries, with climate change predicted to have a significant impact on the abundance and distribution of species across the world’s oceans,” she said.

The research was in collaboration with the Australian Antarctic Division and DPIPWE, as well as a number of international researchers. The work was funded by an Australian Antarctic Science grant and the Winifred Violet Scott Charitable Trust.

Here’s the real story on jellyfish taking over the world. ‘Spineless’ searches for the truth about these enigmatic creatures. ByErika Engelhaupt, 12:18pm, October 30, 2017.

World’s largest albatross colony


This video says about itself:

World’s Largest Albatross Colony – Blue Planet – BBC Earth

30 January 2017

Black browed Albatross feast on the fish that live in the nutrient rich and stormy South Atlantic seas off the coast of the Falklands.

Estimates are in: 25,000 seabirds die in southern cone fisheries every year. Unsettling new seabird bycatch data from Chile and Argentina urges BirdLife’s Albatross Task Force and fisheries observers to act immediately to get new rules enforced: here.

Argentinian Falklands war veterans won’t march with dictatorship’s torturers


This video says about itself:

Argentina: Former President Fernandez Slams Judicial Harassment Against Her

12 July 2016

In Argentina, former president Cristina Fernandez flew to Buenos Aires last weekend to make a court appearance in an investigation for allegedly harming the finances of the Argentine state through her economic policies. Many have denounced the court case as trying to turn a routine political measure into a crime. TeleSUR‘s Laureano Ponce explains.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Argentina: Falklands veterans refuse to march with torturers

Tuesday 12th July 2016

ARGENTINIAN Falklands war veterans refused to march beside “those who tortured” during the dictatorships of the 70s and 80s during Sunday’s 200th independence day celebrations.

“Today they’ve called us to march all together, together with those who tortured,” the Association of Malvinas Combatants for Human Rights said in a statement.

“With those who humiliated soldiers in the war for being Jewish, for being indigenous, or simply for the colour of their skin, together with those responsible for famine and those who fled from combat.”

The association also called for its government to investigate the “terrible human-rights violations committed in the Malvinas against soldiers,” saying they still hope for justice after 34 years.

About 1,000 military personnel marched in the capital Buenos Aires on Sunday, along with military delegations from 11 countries including the US, Telesur reported.

Washington backed Argentina’s “dirty war” against leftwingers as part of the continent-wide Operation Condor campaign of political repression and state terror.

Argentinian poem on Falklands/Malvinas war


This music video by British anarchist punk rock band Crass says about itself:

Crass – Sheep Farming In The Falklands

28 jun. 2007

Some images and footage from the Falklands War… just as stupid and needless as the current Iraq war… Politicians take note… 1 2 3 4 We Don’t Want Your Fuckin’ War.

The lyrics of this song are here.

Poem by Argentinian Leo Boix, living in England:

Archipelago

Saturday 2nd April 2016

I was seven

when the teacher

unfurled the map

for us all to see:

“The Malvinas are Argentine.”

And I so little,

imagined those islets,

as savage beasts

as swimming dogs

facing that immensity,

of all the oceanic

blue.

So small

the lost islands,

a war

we watched as a family

on a 22 inch

Hitachi

television,

in full colour

illuminating the dining room

and the armchairs made of cane.

Little lead soldiers

in a frozen landscape,

bombs fell,

ships sunk,

we played

a battle

inanimate

of the opposing sides,

under the shadow of the flowerless

rubber trees.

“The Malvinas are Argentine,”and nearby

the neighbours

put together

a rag doll

of the Iron Lady,

filled with paper and dry straw,

with old high-heel shoes

and buttons sawn to the head.

She had a stitched

bag, and was tied to a stick

to keep her

so imposing.

But still

the fire

ended up consuming

rapidly

the effigy

Thatcher.

And we the children danced

in a circle singing

while the soldiers fell

on the road to Port Stanley,

flashes in the sky,

wounded,

the battle

Goose Green,

the general announcing: “We are winning.”

But the dead kept coming

upon us

as if unearthing shame.

And when the deceit

ended,

the screen announced

Argies go home.”

Nobody won,

we all lost,

and they did not come back from the South Atlantic.

It’s hard to believe,

I was seven

and still remember

that freezing April,

the box of chocolates

that we sent

to the islands,

so that the cold

wouldn’t end up

freezing

the apathy

of bewilderment.

Birds of Antarctica and Argentina


This video, recorded in Argentina, says about itself:

Birds & More: Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego

Fabulous scenery, wide open spaces, whales, extraordinary Andes and the bottom of the world. Spectacular Magellanic Woodpecker, very scenic cruise in Drake Channel; 11-12/2008.

Brent Stephenson is a wildlife photographer, guide, and birder based near Napier, New Zealand.

From B1RDER: The birding blog of Eco-Vista | Brent Stephenson (with photos there):

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Looking back to January – Antarctica

Well the year to date has been a hectic one, but with a lot of fantastic places along the way. First off was a trip to the Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica – I always say if you are going to go to Antarctica, then you HAVE to do a trip that includes the Falklands and South Georgia. So this is one of my favourite trips, and despite the increase in tourism in the Antarctic you still get the feeling of isolation and that you could well be the first people looking at the landscape.

We started in Ushuaia, with awesome views of both male, female and young Magellanic woodpeckers in the National Park – stonking views! Epic birds, and also got great views of ashy-headed geese. Then out of the Beagle Channel and heading to Saunders Island in the Falklands. This has to be one of the best islands for diversity in the Falkland group, with a great array of species there nesting within easy walking distance. To be so close to nesting black-browed albatross is always a treat, and whilst we were there the birds had young chicks in the nest, so there was a lot going on. Having spent four incredible days on this island camping under a rock at ‘The Neck’ back in 2004 this place is one of my all-time World favourite spots!

Next stop South Georgia, and with landings at Salisbury Plain and St Andrews Bay we got to see a fair sack of the king penguin population that breeds on the island. Our afternoon at St Andrews was just spectacular, with incredible weather and so much going on. I managed a bit of time with tripod and neutral density filters to play around with some long exposures which was fun – let me know what you think of the images below. There might still be a slight colour cast from the ND filters, but I am pretty happy with the results…I’d just like to spend some more time experimenting with these filters.

This video says about itself:

Albatross – Penguins – ICE BIRDS – Antarctica © 2009 C. Hunter Johnson

Nesting Albatross Chicks, King Penguins and Gentoo Penguins. … on a recent visit to South Georgia Island to explore and photograph these rare endangered Albatross in natural, unspoiled surroundings.

The Brent Stephenson article continues:

We also called in to Coronation Island in the South Orkneys, with a little bit of sleet and drizzle it was a chilly landing, but thousands of chinstrap penguins were there to keep us company! Back onboard that afternoon my Canon 1Dx decided to give up the ghost – leaving me with my old worn out 1D MkIV for the rest of the trip. On getting back to NZ it turns out the 1Dx was the first in the country to have completely died – making me wonder if i was lucky or unlucky (!) – having blown a circuit board and some fuses. All covered under warranty when I got home, but effectively an expensive paper-weight for the rest of the trip!

Down on the Antarctic Peninsula we had stops at Brown Bluff, with a little foray along the ice front of the Weddell Sea in Antarctic Sound. There had been an Emperor penguin reported, but rising winds meant we could’t get too close, and had to head back onto the western side of the Peninsula and carry on to the South Shetlands. A morning at Hannah Point was fantastic with lots of activity amongst the chinstraps and gentoos – including the gory killing of a gentoo chick by several giant petrels. At Deception Island, not normally know for its wildlife (at least the interior of the island), we had an awesome leucistic chinstrap penguin. At first it seemed to be playing hard to get, and then at the end walked up on to the shore with another bird, and right into the middle of our group! Ha, what little show off!

Then it was off south along the Peninsula, making landings at Petermann Island and Plennau. Awesome iceberg graveyard, and VERY ‘friendly’ leopard seals – one of which came steaming in and chomped on the end of my zodiac! That was a new experience – it all happened so quick I didn’t have time to get out of there, so after our 2.5 hour zodiac cruise one of the pontoons was VERY flat! We only lost two people out of the zodiac…just kidding! We also had an incredible show with a female and calf humpback right at the stern of the ship. With everyone out on the stern of the ship, they came right in under us and just hung out at the back of the ship for more than 15 minutes – just incredible.

A final afternoon at Portal Point – after finally catching up with killer whales in the Neumeyer which I managed to spot a few miles off. We had stunning views of a pretty large pod of these Type B (small form) killer whales, in what looked like a feeding slick. There was a huge slick on the surface and clearly something attracting large numbers of Wilson’s storm-petrels, giant petrels and other species, but we couldn’t spot anything that looked like chunks of prey. A mystery!

And then we were on our way back to Ushuaia. Time just flies so quickly on a trip like this, with days at sea and the start of the trip seeming to go relatively slow, and then all of a sudden you are heading back across the Drake Passage! A great trip with great folks and an excellent Zegrahm Expedition team!

Good albatross news from Argentina


This video says about itself:

Steeple Jason of the Falkland Islands has the largest colonies of Black Browed Albatross in the world. If you approach them slowly, you can get up close and personal. Just take care to ensure that they are not bothered by your presence. It is possible to observe their bonding rituals like bill fencing within ten feet. It feels like I sat inside the TV set during a National Geographic Nature program.

From BirdLife:

Thousands of albatross in Argentina may soon be off the hook

By Shaun Hurrell, Thu, 11/09/2014 – 15:03

A major fishery in Argentina that has been accidentally killing at least one Black-browed Albatross for every 4 hours spent trawling has just agreed to start trialling and test-using lines that scare birds away from fish hooks. This is great news for the Albatross Task Force, who have successfully proven that bird-scaring lines practically eliminate seabird mortality in the fishery.

The formal decision, which will positively affect the fate of over 13,000 threatened Albatross per year, was announced last night at an international meeting of the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatross and Petrels (ACAP) in Uruguay by the Argentinean delegate. The resolution had received unanimous approval by the Federal Fisheries Council, so over the next six months fishermen on the industrial vessels of the Argentinean factory trawl fleet will be casting bird-scaring lines as well as fishing nets off the back of their boats. If needed, they will refine bird-scaring line designs that will minimise any operational concerns for the crew before the measures become obligatory in the fishery.

The status of the world’s seabirds has deteriorated rapidly over recent decades and several species and many populations are now threatened with extinction. Last information from BirdLife International’s data and assessment for the IUCN Red List reveals that seabirds are now more threatened than any other group of birds. Of the 346 seabird species, 97 (28%) are globally threatened and nearly half of all seabird species are known or suspected to be experiencing population declines. The albatross family is especially imperilled with 15 of the 22 species currently threatened with extinction. One of the main factors that contribute to declining seabird populations is bycatch in longline and trawl fisheries.

The good news is that simple, practical measures exist that rapidly reduce seabird mortality once they are included in daily fishing operations. One of the most widely demonstrated measures for trawl fisheries is the bird-scaring line, which is deployed on either side of the vessel to create a physical barrier between the birds and the trawl cables that tow fishing nets. By preventing birds from colliding with the cables, bird-scaring lines keep birds from being struck and dragged under water. Our Albatross Task Force in South Africa recently won an award for reducing seabird mortality by 90% by using these bird-scaring lines.

In Argentina, the National Plan of Action to reduce seabird bycatch calls for the use of mitigation measures for trawl fisheries that have been tested and proven. The Albatross Task Force in Argentina, with support from BirdLife International and the RSPB (BirdLife in the UK), has the main objective of evaluating seabird mortality in different fleets. Through working with fishermen out at sea, they provide evidence and develop mitigation measures to reduce levels of seabird by-catch.

This news is great testament to their work, both out at sea and in governmental policy.

The Albatross Task Force in Argentina, hosted by Aves Argentinas (BirdLife in Argentina) has been working in conjunction with several government entities; the Subsecretaría de Pesca de la Nación, the Subsecretaría de Ambiente y Desarrollo Sustentable, the Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo Pesquero and the Universidad de Mar del Plata plus non-governmental organisation Fundación Vida Silvestre Argentina.

Seventeen out of 22 species of albatross are threatened with extinction. The main threat to albatrosses is death at the end of a hook on a fishing long-line.

Working closely with BirdLife Partners, we’re working to stop the needless slaughter of these amazing birds and bring them back from the brink of extinction.

The Albatross Task Force is an initiative lead by the RSPB (BirdLife in the UK) for the BirdLife International Partnership.

See the Albatross Task Force at work in our video:

Whale-watching in Australia, war in the Falklands


This video from Australia is called Migaloo the White Whale Encounter.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

How to start a war and win an election

Friday 4th July 2014

Whale-watching in Australia leads PETER FROST to a forgotten story of a deception that led to the Falkland’s war

A year or so ago Ann and I spent time in Australia driving down the east coast in a motor-home. Highlight of the trip was watching the many whales from the headlands and beaches.

It was there we heard tales of a pure white humpback whale. It was a hard story to swallow, but the rumours of this great white whale had gone up and down the coast for over 25 years.

Now, it seems, the stories are proved true. Migaloo — his aboriginal name means White Fella — has been spotted and photographed close to Sydney and this has enabled whale scientists to discover a lot more about this amazing animal.

Migaloo is one of the few albino humpbacks in the world. Sadly as an albino he is more susceptible to UV damage in the bright Australian sunshine than darker humpbacks.

Indeed Migaloo watchers are worried about the 28-year-old whale’s health. Healthy humpbacks can live for 50 years but yellow and red patches on Migaloo’s skin suggest he may have skin disease or even cancer.

Humpbacks do bump into each other at play or when jostling for position when mating and it may be this that has caused the whale’s skin damage.

Meanwhile Migaloo is being studied and looked after. Watercraft are not allowed within 500 metres, aircraft no closer than 2,000 feet.

Watching these monarchs of the ocean prompted us to take a look at the history of British and Australian whaling.

We visited the old whaling station ports of Ballina and Byron Bay to learn a little about this huge, if cruel, industry.

The need for food fats in post-war Europe was critical. In the 1950s and 1960s Australia built a huge fleet of ex-wartime wooden Fairmile motor torpedo boats to hunt and kill thousands of whales. The whale oil was almost entirely used for the British margarine trade.

Scottish “Ten pound Pom” Harry Robertson recorded this hard life in song and story and on an amazing website brings this history alive — www.harryrobertson.net.

The Australian whaling fleet also ventured into Antarctic waters as competitors to the vast Scottish whaling company Christian Salvesen which built several hugely profitable whaling stations in the southern oceans — the first in the Falklands in 1907 and then another on the island of South Georgia. Their station at Leith Harbour, South Georgia, was named after the company’s home port in Scotland.

It was to South Georgia that Constantino Davidoff — an Argentinian scrap dealer — came in March 1982. He had a £180,000 contract from Christian Salvesen to dismantle the company’s derelict whaling station.

At the end of 1981 Davidoff had sought approval from the British ambassador in Buenos Aires. He had also spoken to the Falkland Island authorities.

Margaret Thatcher in London thought this might make a great excuse to flex her muscles in the South Atlantic. She declared the scrap metal workers were the advance party of an Argentinian invasion of South Georgia and told the press that the scrap-men had planted the Argentinian flag and were singing the Argentinian national anthem.

Thatcher despatched marines from the Falkland Islands and 39 scrap metal workers were detained. Argentina sent its troops to rescue them and landed in the Falkland Islands.

Two previously friendly countries were at war over a scrap of unwanted land 8,000 miles from London and 900 people would die before Argentina surrendered on June 14 1982.

Thatcher and the Tories would storm home in the 1983 general election and that, of course, was the whole point of the exercise.

In an ultimate irony, British forces contracted Argentinian scrap dealers to clear away the post-war debris of the many Falkland battles.

King penguins avoiding wet feet, video


This video from the Falkland islands says about itself:

Penguin Dilemma

Cute, funny penguin couple overcome an obstacle in the rainy, windy elements. Shot near Volunteer Point in the South Atlantic Ocean by Carole Anne (babers201) and Ron. Edited by paulgrem.

Copyrighted by Carole Anne and paulgrem.

Music by Kevin MacLeod under Creative Commons by Attribution 3.0.

Songs used:

Danse of Questionable Tuning
Sneaky Snooper
Conflicted
Scheming Weasel faster

These are king penguins.

A study of how penguin populations have changed over the last 30,000 years has shown that between the last ice age and up to around 1,000 years ago penguin populations benefitted from climate warming and retreating ice. This suggests that recent declines in penguins may be because ice is now retreating too far or too fast: here.

Today’s vast amounts of melted sea ice, caused by global warming, have left icebergs free to roam for most of the year, and batter the boulders on the shallow seabed, and the sea life that thrive there: here.

Winter foraging site fidelity of king penguins breeding at the Falkland Islands: here.

British veteran’s Falklands war on stage


This video from Britain is a 1983 Elvis Costello & Robert Wyatt interview about Shipbuilding (song about the Falklands war).

By Michal Boncza in England:

A Soldier’s Song

Tuesday 16 July 2013

John McIntosh Arts Centre, London SW6

As A spotlight picks out Ken Lukowiak, a thunderous explosion startles the audience.

Lukowiak ducks for cover and agitatedly begins to speak as the sounds of battle rage.

This is Goose Green and the British army is hard at it, attempting to dislodge the Argentinian forces from the Falkland Islands in this dramatisation of A Soldier’s Song.

Some 10 years after that conflict, Lukowiak’s Falklands war vignettes were unearthed from his decorator’s tool bag by Jill Tweedie and Alan Brien and the rest is literary history.

His stories – written in English and translated into Spanish, Polish and Czech – are required reading on university courses and they’ve placed Lukowiak firmly alongside Erich Maria Remarque, Michael Herr and Bao Ninh as one of the greatest war writers of the 20th century.

The short stories which started as rock song lyrics – hence the book’s title – are memorable for a rare honesty and biting satire in a prevailing climate of obscene jingoism.

The tone of scepticism is reinforced by some much-needed moral reflection on the futility of war.

On stage Lukowiak brings all these factors to bear in an impressive acting tour de force as he oscillates between the terror of battle, childhood memories, caustic barrack humour and the occasional song.

Death is only a breath away and the enemy is a faithful companion in a shared charade of senseless carnage where only pain and suffering seem tangible.

Lukowiak despairs at the waste of it all and the absence of redemption that will haunt many for the rest of their lives.

Yet humour provides temporary respite as when a pompous toff of a general arrives in a helicopter on a morale-raising inspection of trenches on a dark, freezing night. He leaves the sergeant and squaddies with nothing but a healthy contempt as they mock-seriously ask of the Argentinian air force: “Where are they when you need them?”

Ably adapted for the stage by Guy Masterson the rhythm of the narrative is punctuated by Gina Hills’s superbly evocative soundscape. It’s a play which stunned audiences at last year’s Edinburgh festival and its present topicality could not be more obvious.

“As long as we continue to act out these plays that have been written for us by the politicians, their priests and the men of this world who control the money then we shall never put an end to the horrors of war,” Lukowiak warns, leaving the audience to pick up the gauntlet.