Steeple Jason Island, one of the many Falkland Islands is home to 70% of the worlds black-browed albatross population - which equates to approximately 200,000 breeding pairs. I was lucky enough to spend three days on this island, with just nine others, staying at the research station. The first challenge is getting to the island itself - this involves an 18 hour journey from the UK to the Falklands, then an hours ride in a six seater plane to Carcass Island, and then a four hour stomach-churning boat ride to finally arrive at Steeple Jason. Then to approach some parts of the colony, you have to negotiate a maze of paths through the tussock grass that towers above your head, on the lookout for any fur seals that may have hauled themselves amongst the shelter of the grasses. When I finally arrived at the colony I just had to sit and watch, overwhelmed by this enormous mass of birds! I visited in January, when a lot of the birds had chicks. Whenever one, or both, of the parents return to the nest they re-affirm their bonds and squabble with the neighbours. This bird was receiving attention from all sides!
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Clare Disano • Editor