Breeding giants

Another highlight for a trip to South Georgia could be a visit to Prion Island, one of the breeding sites for Wandering Albatrosses. Often a visit to this small island is not possible, as part of the year entry is prohibited to avoid disturbance to the albatrosses and fur seals. This late in the season, however, we were allowed to land.

On land one has to stick to the boardwalk, to keep one’s distance to the breeding albatrosses. But even then, it’s beautiful to see those gigantic birds on land. Somehow you don’t notice how big these birds are when they are flying over the open ocean. On land, one can fully understand the size of these birds. They are clumsy, clearly out of their typical habitat, but with the tussock grass around it is a lot easier to judge their size. 20180402_Arjen_Drost_67201

Just as with the King Penguins, Wandering Albatrosses have an extended breeding cycle that takes over one year. In contrast to King Penguins, they do not attempt to have a second run after their chicks have fledged and can therefore only breed once every second year. This chick will just be a few days old and was enjoying the first bits of sun in his life. Still, several months to go, before he will be the same size as his parent and he’ll take off for a long life at sea.

Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.

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