Falkland Island birding: Austral (Falkland) Thrush at San Carlos Cemetery

Commander Devonport Flotilla (COMDEVFLOT) visited HMS PROTECTOR in late October and during his stay the ship entered San Carlos Water to visit the British Military Cemetery at San Carlos.  Consequently, on Wednesday 29 Oct 14 I got the opportunity to accompany COMDEVFLOT and the Commanding Officer ashore, armed with the ship’s camera to record the event, along with several other members of the Ship’s Company.  The short journey to the pier at San Carlos took the RTK landing craft passed the buoy that marked the final resting place of the Type 23 Frigate HMS ANTELOPE lost during the 1982 Conflict.  The frigate was attacked just four hours after taking station in Falkland Sound on 23 May 82 and was hit by two bombs dropped from Argentine aircraft that failed to explode.  Unfortunately one of the bombs detonated whilst it was being defused in the shelter of San Carlos Water and led to the loss of the ship.

Buoy marking the wreck of HMS ANTELOPE, San Carlos Water – 29 Oct 14

San Carlos – 29 Oct 14

Although the ‘Union Jack’ flag fluttering in the breeze had seen better days the cemetery, located on the hillside overlooking San Carlos Water, was very well maintained.  It was certainly a tranquil spot and one frequented by a number of very vocal Austral (Falkland) Thrushes.  It is a species widely distributed throughout the Falkland Islands although it does best on islands that are free from introduced cats, rats and mice.

San Carlos Cemetery – 29 Oct 14

San Carlos Cemetery – 29 Oct 14

San Carlos Cemetery – 29 Oct 14

Austral (Falkland) Thrush, Ragged Hill, Berkeley Sound – 9 Nov 14

Austral (Falkland) Thrush, Ragged Hill, Berkeley Sound – 9 Nov 14

Austral (Falkland) Thrush, Ragged Hill, Berkeley Sound – 9 Nov 14

Having paid our respects we visited the small museum that contains a number of displays documenting the 1982 Falklands Conflict.

San Carlos Museum – 29 Oct 14

Good birding,

Tony T   BSc (Hons) GeoSci (Open)

Northern Rockhopper at Diamond Cove, East Falklands

In early November, just before Tony and I flew home for a well-earned break we had a weekend down Stanley. The Saturday was pretty much a write off as gale force winds accompanied by heavy squalls swept across the islands.  Fortunately they stopped for the evening Bar-b-cue around the back of the old Upland Goose Hotel.  Fortunately Sunday dawned calm and clear and we headed off towards Diamond Cove in search of Northern Rockhopper Penguin.

Northern Rockhopper Penguin, Diamond Cove, 9 Nov 2014

A single Northern Rocky; a species that breeds at the Tristan da Cunha group, has been at the Diamond Cove Southern Rockhopper colony for the last few years.  Mark saw the bird with Alan earlier in the year, and he was that desperate for us to see the bird he told Alan in no uncertain terms that he had to take us to the bird at the first opportunity!!

After a decent off-road jaunt, we arrived at Diamond Cove and within a minute of arriving at the colony Alan had the Northern Rockhopper in view and called us over. The panic was now over and we could all relax. The sex of the individual is not known but it was paired up with a Southern, which was incubating a single egg but unfortunately not doing a very good job so I believe the chances of hatching are slim, but who knows. If it does hatch I will let you know.  We stayed with the pair for the best part of an hour before heading off in search of Macaroni’s.

Northern Rockhopper Penguin (left bird), Diamond Cove, 9 Nov 2014

Northern Rockhopper Penguin, Diamond Cove, 9 Nov 2014

Northern Rockhopper Penguin, Diamond Cove, 9 Nov 2014

Steve C

South Atlantic Birding: Atlantic Petrels and Grey-backed Storm Petrel off the Falklands

As Tony mentioned in a previous entry, during the 22nd of October the ship was to the east of the islands and myself and he were as usual; spending our free time on the upper deck. We were after the Grey-backed Storm Petrel in particular and as you can imagine we were very glad to see a number of birds. The Grey-backed Stormie has a liking for feeding around floating kelp so we kept our eyes open for any patches of Kelp we came across. Sure enough within half an hour we had seen several birds at distance and true to form they were all pattering around floating Kelp looking for barnacles and crustaceans within. Below are a couple of distant record images of the birds around some patches of floating Kelp.

Grey-backed Storm Petrel, Falkland Is, 22 Oct 2014

Grey-backed Storm Petrel x3, Falkland Is, 22 Oct 2014

Another good bird seen the same afternoon was Atlantic Petrel. In fact we had three birds during the afternoon. The bird is endemic to the Tristan da Cunha group, but is regularly seen in Falkland Waters. The bird will give a ship the odd fly by to see if there is anything of interest but I have never seen them accompany us for any period.  It is a cracking looking bird; the only drawback this afternoon was the overcast dull conditions, making the images far from ideal. (I think I make this excuse all too often).

Atlantic Petrel, Falkland Is, 22 Oct 2014

Atlantic Petrel, Falkland Is, 22 Oct 2014

Atlantic Petrel, Falkland Is, 22 Oct 2014

Atlantic Petrel, Falkland Is, 22 Oct 2014

Steve C

South Atlantic Birding: Wandering Albatross

As I have mentioned before, I am quite happy with the various species of Wandering Albatross, however, it is the name Snowy Albatross, I am not overly keen on.  I would much prefer the nominate species; Diomedea exulans, to remain with the name Wandering Albatross. Anyway regardless of the name to me it is ‘the’ albatross of the Southern Ocean and well worthy of every image I take of it. I appreciate the boys down under may disagree, sorry Neil. Let’s just enjoy the bird and I’ll give more information on its distribution and habits in future entries.

Wandering Albatross, Falkland Islands, 21 Oct 2014

Wandering Albatross, Falkland Islands, 21 Oct 2014

Wandering Albatross, Falkland Islands, 21 Oct 2014

Wandering Albatross, Falkland Islands, 21 Oct 2014

Wandering Albatross, Falkland Islands, 21 Oct 2014

Wandering Albatross, Falkland Islands, 21 Oct 2014

Steve C

 

Falkland Island birding: Regular Grey-backed Storm-petrel offshore, Commerson’s Dolphin and Trafalgar Night

Although I had to serve over twenty-five years in the Royal Navy before I got an opportunity (March 2013) to enjoy the wildlife of the South Atlantic, eighteen months on I have now enjoyed several visits to the Falkland Islands onboard HMS PROTECTOR.  Consequently, my Falkland Island List has become quite extensive.  Although I have yet to visit an outer island to connect with Straited Caracara and Cobb’s Wren I have enjoyed good views of all the other regular breeding species of land bird.  With regards to pelagic species I had yet to see Southern Rockhopper Penguin, Macaroni Penguin and Grey-backed Storm-petrel.  My target species was the latter and ‘Ice Patrol Zero’, as the October/November Work Period became affectionately known as, operating around the Falkland Islands provided the ideal opportunity for Steve and I to connect with what would be a ‘lifer’ for both of us.

In between my visits to Newhaven I had the good fortune to spot a distant Grey-backed Storm-petrel on the evening of 20 Oct 14 from the warm and comfort of the bridge.  Steve had opted to brave the elements on the focsle and dipped on that particular sighting.  However, he ticked the species off the following day, and then we both enjoyed regular good views together of Grey-backed ‘Stormies’ throughout the 22nd (maximum of six) from the sheltered port aft corner of the Main Deck.  The vast majority of our sightings were of birds associated with small patches of kelp that had broken free from the seabed.  Although I captured several record shots of the species I had hoped to get better images over subsequent days.  However, prolonged inclement weather resulted in PRTR being confined to more sheltered inshore waters that were less favourable for the species.

Grey-backed Storm-petrel, Falkland Islands – 22 Oct 14

Grey-backed Storm-petrel, Falkland Islands – 22 Oct 14

Grey-backed Storm-petrel, Falkland Islands – 22 Oct 14

Grey-backed Storm-petrel, Falkland Islands – 22 Oct 14

Due to divisional commitments I was unable to accompany Steve on his visit to Betha’s Beach on 25 Oct 14.  I recall hoping that I wouldn’t dip on good views of Commerson’s Dolphin.  Alas I did as his earlier Blog entry proved and I was a little ‘miffed’ as he showed me the images on his laptop that evening.  However, I did have the good fortune to photograph three animals that briefly accompanied PRTR as the ship entered Mare Harbour a few days later.

Commerson’s Dolphin, Mare Harbour, Falkland Islands – 30 Oct 14

A ‘twitch’ for a single Northern Rockhopper Penguin with local birder and good friend Alan Henry enabled me to connect with my other two outstanding Falkland Island pelagic species – Southern Rockhopper and Macaroni Penguin.

Steve and I enjoying Trafalgar Night, HMS PROTECTOR – 21 Oct 14. (I can't recall who took the photograph - the LO?)

Prawn starters. (The chefs did a superb job)

Good birding,

Tony T   BSc (Hons) GeoSci (Open)

South Atlantic Birding: Pale-faced Sheathbills, South American Terns and Brown-hooded Gulls

In-between photographing the Commerson’s Dolphins, I returned to the nearby rocks where the gulls and terns usually roost. I could see both species on rocks a little way off, but of more interest was a small party of Pale-faced Sheathbills much nearer on rocks just off the beach.

Pale-faced Sheathbill, Bertha's Beach, 25 Oct 2014

The Pale-faced Sheathbill is present around the Falkland shore-line throughout the year, although I don’t believe it breeds on the Islands. In summer it usually frequents Penguin and Shag colonies on the lookout for an easy meal, such as leftover krill or an unguarded egg. They will also take carrion and human leftovers. In winter the resident birds are joined by more southerly breeding birds that have moved north for the winter.

Like I mentioned earlier there was a number of South American Terns roosting on the rocks with a couple of Brown-hooded among them. South American Tern is a common summer resident, returning to breed in September, birds nest singly at sites such as Bertha’s Beach or colonially at freshwater ponds further inland.

South American Terns, Bertha's Beach, 25 Oct 2014

South American Terns and Brown-hooded Gull, Bertha's Beach, 25 Oct 2014

Brown-hooded Gull is the least common of the three Falkland gulls. This bird also breeds colonially on small islands in lakes or in lake-side rush beds. Often nesting in the same colonies as the South American Terns.

Brown-hooded Gulls, Bertha's Beach, 8 Oct 2014

Steve C

South Atlantic Birding: Commerson’s Dolphin in the Falkland Islands

Ok, I appreciate that a title with Birding in it, followed by Dolphin may seem a little odd, but there is so much more to birding around the Falklands than birds if that makes sense.

This particular afternoon in late October with the ship alongside, I walked down to Bertha’s Beach and instead of heading left towards the Penguins, I headed right towards Fox Point. This is the site of a memorial to Foxtrot 4, a landing craft from HMS Fearless lost with all hands in the 82 conflict. If you look through previous entries you will find a more detailed blog entry on the subject. However, it is also a reliable location for Brown-hooded Gull and South American Tern and they were the species I was hoping for. Whilst viewing the memorial I noticed a small number of Commerson’s Dolphins frolicking in the nearby surf.

Commerson's Dolphins, Bertha's Beach, 25 Oct 2014

Commerson's Dolphins, Bertha's Beach, 25 Oct 2014

Commerson’s Dolphin can be found around the southern tip of South America which includes the Falklands Population and also Kerguelen Island in the Southern Indian Ocean. It appears to be relatively common around the Falklands and we saw over twenty of them near Cape Dolphin the week before. The animal is pretty much unmistakeable within its range, especially so when they are seen surfing off local beaches. I see them do this very often and I am not sure whether they just do it for fun or more likely they are chasing food into the shallows.

Commerson's Dolphins, Bertha's Beach, 25 Oct 2014

Commerson's Dolphins, Bertha's Beach, 25 Oct 2014

Commerson's Dolphins, Bertha's Beach, 25 Oct 2014

Steve C

Falkland Island birding: Gentoo Penguin colony at Newhaven

Due to forecasted severe bad weather that would make it impossible to conduct Survey Operations HMS PROTECTOR went off task to seek shelter.  Consequently the ship was unexpectedly alongside at East Cove Military Port 23-26 Oct 14.  The unplanned return to ECMP enabled me to accompany a couple of those surveyors that had remained onboard on a day trip to the Boat Camp at Newhaven fifty miles away on the 24th.   Although windy the morning remained dry, and with the Survey Motor Boat out on the water surveying in the channel on our arrival I headed straight off to the nearby Gentoo Penguin colony just in case the weather changed.  I had a thoroughly enjoyable time and got up close and personal with several of the other regular coastal inhabitants of the Falkland Islands.

Falkland Steamerduck (pair), Newhaven – 24 Oct 14

Falkland Steamerduck (male), Newhaven – 24 Oct 14

Kelp Goose (pair), Newhaven – 24 Oct 14

Dolphin Gull, Newhaven – 24 Oct 14

A particular patch of foreshore appeared to be the Gentoo Penguins preferred landing point.  Several birds were present as there had been on my previous brief visit to Newhaven.  From the shoreline the penguins had a distance of couple of hundred yards to negotiate, across grassland grazed by sheep, to reach the nearest colony.  Those birds that were stood up moved away as I approached the colony that numbered approximately two hundred birds.  However, those that were laid down stayed put suggesting that they were incubating.  Never being one to disturb wildlife I kept my difference and just absorbed the spectacle and the pungent odour typical of a penguin colony.  A large bare area beside the existing colony suggested that either the colony had moved or was significantly smaller than it had been.

Gentoo Penguin landing point, Newhaven – 24 Oct 14

The landscape to the Gentoo Penguin colony, Newhaven – 24 Oct 14

Gentoo Penguin colony, Newhaven – 24 Oct 14

Gentoo Penguin colony, Newhaven – 24 Oct 14

Gentoo Penguin, Newhaven – 24 Oct 14

The car ferry ‘Concordia Bay’ arrived back from West Falkland as I made my return to the tents of the Boat Camp.  The ferry route was the reason behind the inshore survey of the channel leading out into Falkland Sound by the Survey Motor Boat.

Concordia Bay car ferry (with the SMB alongside), Newhaven – 24 Oct 14

Good birding,

Tony T   BSc (Hons) GeoSci (Open)

South Atlantic Birding: Southern Royal Albatross around the Falkland Islands

Southern Royal Albatross is a non-breeding visitor to the waters around the Falkland Is. The bird breeds to the south of New Zealand on Campbell Island, which holds the majority of the population with smaller numbers on Enderby Island in the Auckland group.

Around the Falklands it is more frequently seen over the continental shelf than the Wandering Albatross which breeds relatively nearby at South Georgia. I first visited the Falklands as a birder (although not a very good one) back in 2001 on HMS Edinburgh, before the advent of digital photography and I am sure that I probably saw a number of Southern Royal Albatrosses that I mis-identified as Wanderers. I only got fully to grips with the species in 2011when I was down here on HMS York with the trusty Canon in hand. Now myself and Tony call distant birds before looking down at the back of the camera, and I’m glad to report we nearly always get it right!!! Hope I am not setting myself up for a fall.

Southern Royal Albatross, Falkland Islands, 21 Oct 2014

Southern Royal Albatross, Falkland Islands, 21 Oct 2014

Southern Royal Albatross, (showing the black cutting edge to the bill), Falkland Islands, 21 Oct 2014

The Southern Royal Albatross feeds mainly on cephalopods with some fish, and is regularly attracted to fishing boats and the wakes of transiting ships. On the 21st of October we had at least three birds accompanying the ship along with a similar number of wanderers. As always it is difficult to tell if these are the same birds throughout the day, or whether different birds come and go over the hours. The image below showing the three birds together was particularly nice to capture. Judging by the upper wings of Southern Royals seen so far this trip it would appear that the majority of the birds we encounter are of a similar age. That is, they are immature birds showing the first signs of upper wing whitening on the leading edge as well as the pale patch in the middle just starting to appear. Whereas with Wandering Albatrosses; we come across quite dark young birds, right through the spectrum to the very white winged older adults. We will continue to monitor albatrosses  seen and hopefully give a further update.

Southern Royal Albatross, Falkland Islands, 21 Oct 2014

Southern Royal Albatross, Falkland Islands, 21 Oct 2014

Southern Royal Albatrosses, Falkland Islands, 21 Oct 2014

Southern Royal Albatross, Falkland Islands, 21 Oct 2014

Steve C

South Atlantic Birding: Cape Petrels Feeding in the Wake

One bird that is pretty much ever present at the ship’s stern when in the Southern Ocean is the Cape Petrel. The bird is a common non-breeding visitor to the Falkland Islands and as summer progresses the numbers will dwindle as birds disperse southwards. Although a few non-breeding birds will generally stay around. They are very quick to drop on any item of food in the ship’s wake whether it is something the props have churned up; such as krill or the ever popular Friday fish remains which we periodically drop over the back end. Once the first Petrel has dropped to the surface to grab a morsel, it is only a matter of seconds before it is joined by the rest of the flock. The birds then squabble and screech at each other as they plunge dive after a meal.

Cape Petrels, South Atlantic, 21 Oct 2014

Cape Petrels, South Atlantic, 21 Oct 2014

Cape Petrels, South Atlantic, 21 Oct 2014

Cape Petrel, South Atlantic, 21 Oct 2014

Cape Petrel, South Atlantic, 21 Oct 2014

This squabbling Cape Petrel s soon attracts the attention of the bigger boys, and invariably the next bird to arrive will be a Giant Petrel. Soon followed by a Black-browed Albatross; naturally the Cape Petrels scatter as they pile in.  Giant Petrels and Black-browed Albatrosses are pretty evenly matched when feeding, but both give way when one of the giant albatrosses drops in. In the last image below, a Wandering Albatross has taken charge. (Although with respect to Friday fish, there is generally little left by the time the giant albatrosses arrive on the scene).

Southern Giant Petrel seeing off the Cape Petrels, South Atlantic, 21 Oct 2014

Black-browed Albatross piling into the Cape Petrels, Falkland Islands, 21 Oct 2014

Wandering Albatross, Falkland Islands, 21 Oct 2014

 

Steve C

Falkand Island birding: Imperial Shag colony at Praltos Island, Newhaven

HMS PROTECTOR conducted Deployed Directed Continuation Training (DDCT) with a team of Flag Officer Sea Training staff onboard from 12th to the 16th Oct 14.  Consequently, opportunities for ‘birding’ were severely restricted as the Ship’s Company reacted to numerous training serials to ensure the ship continued to be operated safely and was prepared for any eventuality that might arise during the 2014/15 ice season.  During DDCT the pipe ‘Attention on the upper deck’ was made as PRTR sailed pass the wreck of the Type 21 Frigate HMS ARDENT that was lost during the 1982 Falkland Conflict.  The frigate targeted by several waves of argentine aircraft suffered multiple hits from bombs and canon whilst operating in Falkland Sound on 21 May 82.  The ship sank the following day in Grantham Sound.  The ARDENT’s foremast was no longer visible.

HMS PROTECTOR at DP off Newhaven – 19 Oct 14

After successfully completing DDCT a significant defect on the Survey Motor Boat (SMB) threatened to jeopardise the planned Inshore Survey Operations of the Car Ferry route between East and West Falkland that operates from Newhaven.  However, despite the 19th of October being a Reverse Saturday Routine (morning off) Steve and I continued our investigation into the cause of the defect.  Fortunately, we managed to rectify the defect literally just hours before the planned launch of the SMB for a ten day Boat Camp whilst PRTR conducted Operations elsewhere in the Falkland Islands.  At 1400 I clambered down the pilot ladder to board the SMB in order to provide engineering cover whilst all the systems were tested afloat.  The unexpected boat trial provided me with the opportunity to get a distant view of the Imperial Shag colony on nearby Praltos Island and to get ashore briefly at Newhaven.

Imperial Shag colony, Praltos Island – 19 Oct 14

Gentoo Penguins, Newhaven – 19 Oct 14

I was surprised by the complete absence of any buildings at Newhaven.  There were just several chacons beside the new jetty.

New Car Ferry ramp, Newhaven – 19 Oct 14

Survey Motor Boat alongside the new jetty, Newhaven – 19 Oct 14

After successful propulsion and sensor trials the SMB set off to drop a sonar reflector that would be used to calibrate the sonar before the commencement of the survey.  Consequently, we rendezvoused with the diving team tasked with confirming the correct orientation of the sonar target on the seabed.

Diving team in support – 19 Oct 14

Turkey Vulture, Newhaven – 19 Oct 14

Concordia Bay car ferry – 19 Oct 14

Other species spotted included Kelp Gull, Southern Giant Petrel, Kelp Goose, Southern Caracara, Falkland Steamerduck, Blackish Oystercatcher and Rock Shag.  However, the most numerous species was the Imperial Shag.

Rock Shag, Newhaven – 19 Oct 14

Imperial Shag, Newhaven – 19 Oct 14

Several days later I got another unexpected opportunity to visit the Boat Camp at Newhaven.  On my second visit I had sufficient time to visit the nearby Gentoo Penguin colony and enjoy the other local birdlife typical of Falkland Island coastal waters at much closer quarters.

Good birding,

Tony T   BSc (Hons) GeoSci (Open)

South Atlantic Birding: Black-browed Albatross in the Falkland Islands

I fully appreciate that more regular readers of this blog will have seen past entries on the Black-browed Albatross, (and are probably fed up of them). But how can you come to the Falkland Islands and not do an entry (or several) on this superb species. This entry and probably the next half a dozen or so will all be based on sightings in the latter half of October, whilst the ship was in the waters around the Falkland Islands. However instead of just rambling, I will take some snippets from Hadoram Shirihai’s excellent book; A Complete Guide to Antarctic Wildlife.

Anyway back to this entry; the Black-browed Albatross is a common species in the Southern Ocean, breeding on South Georgia, Crozet, and Kerguelen among others. Not forgetting the Falkland Islands which holds 80% of the global population.

Black-browed Albatross, Falkland Islands, 20 Oct 2014

Black-browed Albatross, Falkland Islands, 21 Oct 2014

Black-browed Albatross, Falkland Islands, 20 Oct 2014

I am pretty certain that the Falklands population stands at around the 500 thousand mark and there has been a small but steady increase in recent years (4% per annum), which is great news after dramatic declines during the 90’s and 00’s. I will try and get an update on breeding numbers and update the blog accordingly.

The bird’s diet consists of fish and krill, with some cephalopods and jelly fish. Mostly taken by surface seizing and pursuit diving. It is a regular scavenger at fishing boats, not to mention the back of Protector if it can get to the Friday fish before the Cape Petrels.

Black-browed Albatross, Falkland Islands, 20 Oct 2014

Black-browed Albatross, Falkland Islands, 20 Oct 2014

Black-browed Albatross, Falkland Islands, 20 Oct 2014

Steve C

South Atlantic Birding: Giant Petrels

Both species of Giant Petrel are relatively common in the South Atlantic. Southern are always more numerous than Northern around the Falkland Islands, whereas the breeding populations on South Georgia are pretty much two to one in favour of the Northern with around eighteen thousand pairs.

A fact I did not know, (until I re-read Robin Woods book, ‘Guide to Birds of the Falkland Islands’, published in 1988) was that it was only in 1966 that it was recognised that there were two distinct species of giant petrel, (Bourne and Warham).

The day after we left South Georgia we had a dozen Northern Giant Petrels in the ships wake. The birds as usual, were picking up scraps churned up by the props as well as enjoying the odd titbit dropped over the back end by Tony and me.

Northern Giant Petrel, South Atlantic, 30 Sep 2014

Northern Giant Petrel, South Atlantic, 30 Sep 2o14

A few days later and nearer to the Falklands it was no surprise that Southern Giant Petrels had taken over with approximately 20 birds accompanying the ship. They were in luck as I had plenty of left over Friday lunch-time fish in the Jacobs cracker box. Needless to say as I dropped chunks into the wake they came in to feed.

Southern Giant Petrel, South Atlantic, 3 Oct 2014

Southern Giant Petrel, South Atlantic, 3 Oct 2014

Southern Giant Petrel, South Atlantic, 3 Oct 2014

Southern Giant Petrels, South Atlantic, 3 Oct 2014

Steve C

South Atlantic Birding: Cape Petrels

Cape Petrels; sometimes known as Pintado Petrel or Cape Pigeon are unmistakeable birds within the Southern Ocean. They are a pretty much constant presence in the ships wake whilst sailing in the South Atlantic. Due to the distinctive chequer-board patterning on the upper wing they are also a bird which most of the ships company ask about. (Hoopoes in the Gulf, Cape Petrels in the South Atlantic). The 28th of September was still rather choppy but the sun was shining allowing a few decent images of the birds. I can guarantee there will be more entries on these enigmatic birds.

Cape Petrel, South Atlantic, 28 Sep 2014

Cape Petrel, South Atlantic, 28 Sep 2014

Cape Petrel, South Atlantic, 28 Sep 2014

Cape Petrel, South Atlantic, 28 Sep 2014

The image of the Blue Petrel below demonstrates the Swell in the South Atlantic. Bear in mind, I am taking the image from 20 foot above the waterline of the ship, yet I am looking up at the Petrel skimming the wave tops!

Blue Petrel, South Atlantic, 28 Sep 2014

Steve C