Still riding the cosmic high after having witnessed a total solar eclipse the day before, our excitement was building over our arrival to the Falkland Islands after three days at sea. Situated on the southern end of the East Falklands, Bleaker Island would prove to be the perfect introduction to the Falkland Islands. A low lying, long and relatively narrow island Bleaker has a rich diversity in bird life.
Our focus for the afternoon was getting the chance to visit our first rockhopper penguin colony. We strolled the green carpeted pastures, which also serve as home to the over 800 sheep and several cattle here along with scores of upland geese and two-banded plovers. Slowly gaining elevation, we ultimately reached the exposed rocky cliffs where the over 700 pairs of rockhopper penguins reside and over 8,000 pairs of cormorants. We got the chance to see our first penguin chicks, freshly hatched and eager to receive their first meals from the attending parent birds. Along the way we also saw several Magellanic penguins near their nesting burrows, excavated out of the peat covered sandy soil. In total now for the trip, we have seen 8 species of penguins!
Along the beautiful sandy beach where we landed, guests could stroll along the shore watching more penguins coming and going. Magellanic penguins and oystercatchers, Gentoo penguins and even a few king penguins helped set the scene with a backdrop of clear blue skies and deep blue waters.