27 Mar 2018

27 Mar 18 - The Penguin Parade

After two or three hours cruising down the Beagle Channel from Ushuaia we finally reached Estancia Harberton. For those with more time, it is possible to stay at the Estancia which would be an interesting option, however, we didn't have the time to get off the boat this time with the Atlantic Odyssey starting the following day.
Estancia Harberton: The Estancia is another few minutes in the boat beyond these sandier cliffs
Arriving at Estancia Harberton: The Estancia is the oldest farm in the Argentinian part of Tierra Del Fuego having been built in 1886. It was declared an Argentinian National Historical monument in 1999
Estancia Harberton: Most of the buildings are old wooden original buildings with a lot of character. The Estancia is a mixture of a farm & tourist resort. There is also an interesting museum within a few minutes walk of the quay
Whale bone entrance gate: While this appears to be harping back to an earlier decade when whaling was regular, these may be from a stranded whale corpse (as the museum is dedicated to studying Cetacean & Seal strandings in the Argentinian part of Tierra Del Fuego)
Ringed Kingfisher: This is the stellata subspecies which occurs in Southern Chile & Argentina as far North as NE Argentina. It is replaced by the nominate subspecies in the rest of South & Central America which just sneeks over the border into Texas (but don't tell Trump that)
Having dropped a few people off at the Estancia who were staying there, we headed onto one of the other attractions on the Estancia, the Penguin parade. There is a colony of Magellanic Penguins with a smaller number of breeding Gentoo Penguins in it. The boat slowed approached the beach before just pushing the bows up onto the beach. Again something the Penguins are well used to & they seemed at easy.
Gentoo Penguins & Magellanic Penguins on the beach
Gentoo Penguin: The Gentoo Penguins were hanging around in one large party on the beach (with some Magellanic Penguins burrows behind)
Gentoo Penguin: This is the nominate subspecies which occurs outside of the Antarctic Peninsula & South Sandwich Islands
Gentoo Penguin: Nearly finished moulting
Gentoo Penguin
Gentoo Penguin: This one still has some way to go
Magellanic Penguin burrows: Magellanic Penguins prefer to nest in burrows. Gentoo Penguins nest on the surface: they occur further south where presumably it would be much harder to dig burrows
Magellanic Penguin: The welcome committee weren't ready for out arrival
Magellanic Penguin: At least this one was ready
Magellanic Penguin: Penguin couch potato
Magellanic Penguin
Magellanic Penguin
Magellanic Penguin: This juvenile was one of the more advanced individuals on the beach. Presumably Magellanic Penguins breed later than the Gentoo Penguins as there weren't many youngsters on the beach
Magellanic Penguin: Most of the juveniles seen were still losing their downy fluff
Magellanic Penguin: Penguin homage to one of the sketches in Life of Brian
Magellanic Penguin: My approach to getting in the sea
Magellanic Penguin: A bit more adventurous than me
Magellanic Penguin: This one is also cautious
Magellanic Penguin