In The Field 0

Nature notes from John Holt

Firstly, my thanks to Dr David for covering for me last month, his note on the Water Rail is encouraging, in all my time at Box I have heard him but never seen him whereas Micky Frome used to report sighting him regularly.  Bird watching and walking the dogs is not the best combination.

We, the boss and I, left Hunton on the 25th Jan, it was cold 3-5⁰ with cold wind, snow drops and daffs and a few Aconites showing through on the river bank, the river as low as I have seen it at this time of year.

On the 27th we arrived in Ushuaia on the Argentinian/Chilean island of Tierra del Fuego, possibly the most southerly town on the planet.  We had travelled to meet up with other likeminded expedition groupies to follow “some” of the tracks traversed by Sir Ernest Shackleton and at the same time take in the teeming wildlife that inhabits the islands and the Antarctic Peninsula.

We boarded our expedition vessel, a Russian research ship named Akademik Loffe and departed Ushuaia on the 28th heading East through the channels between the islands to save an immediate introduction to the notorious Drakes Passage and set off on our journey to the Falkland Islands.

Never the less, in our usual fashion on ships the boss and I succumbed to the gentle rolling of the ship and spent the first day and a half lying flat on the floor in a non-yogic position interrupted by the occasional quick sit up and prayers in the loo.

Two days out and with West Falklands insight we have our sea legs and can manage breakfast, can’t wait to see the Albatross (pictured) colony which is our first stop, then Stanley for a day.

I have drafted this on our approach to Elephant Island, our journey here has taken us to the Falklands, West and East, and South Georgia and from here we go to the Antarctic Peninsula.  We have seen a million penguins, countless fur seals, elephant seals and hump back whales – a little more next month if you can bear it.

Image of Albatross from www.antarctica.gov.au


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