For two days we traveled westward from South Georgia in calm weather but dense fog, then arrived back in the Falkland Islands.
On the outbound leg, the Falklands’ tree-less, rock-and-tussock profile seemed chilly and windswept. On our return, the same place seemed balmy and spring-like. The contrast between South Georgia, with its single songbird, and the Falklands’ many song-, shore-, and predatory birds, was impressive. Wrens (Cobb’s and Grass), Oystercatchers (Magellanic and Blackish), Striated and Crested Caracaras, four species of geese, Red-backed Hawk, Peregrine Falcon, and Turkey Vulture; thrushes, snipe, meadowlark, ducks (three species), and others, made the same place that had seemed spare and elemental a week ago seem—compared to South Georgia—suddenly diversified.
We landed in the West Falklands at New Island, a particularly accessible stronghold of penguins and albatrosses. And nesting among them on the sea cliffs: Blue-eyed Shags.
This was our last landed look at wildlife on this trip, our final intimate visit. The pleasure and beauty continued in full, wholly undiminished.