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Alex Douglas-Kane shares her experiences and understanding of Discover Nature Awareness

Monday, 22 February 2010

The Falklands and Kidney Island

My favourite island in the entire Falkland’s Islands was without doubt Kidney Island; I spent many a weekend on the island enjoying the solitude and the wildlife. The island is about one mile by about half a mile; it has a small wooden cabin located on one side of the island.

One evening while standing outside I was greeted by two Short-eared Owls circling around my head, what a magnificent sight that was. However, nothing prepared me for the sight I was about to encounter at the end of the island. I was watching hundreds of Sooty Shearwaters rafting just off shore and as dusk fell they started to take flight swarming around my head some flying so close to me that I felt dizzy at times, then suddenly they started to drop like stones and scurry off into the
tussock grass. Boy, they could really move. Both the Short-eared Owls and Sooty Shearwaters and their locations featured in the Breeding birds of the Falkland’s Islands which I had the privilege to do the illustrations for.

As my friends and I walked along the shoreline one of the guys went to take a leak ahead of us, suddenly we heard screaming as he came running out of the tussock improperly dressed I might add which is understandable when you consider that hot on his heels was the biggest Bull Fur Seal you could ever wish to see in your life. This fella commanded respect he was taller than and I am 6’ 4”. We found ourselves separated with the Bull in between our group and our friend on the other side, this guy only had to flinch and we would run, it’s always best not to under estimate seals they may look big and cumbersome but when they want to move they can.

On our way back I was jumping from one rock to the next along the shore when I had the fright of my life as I jumped onto a large boulder it suddenly moved and I found on one side of me was a head and on the other side was the tail fins of an elephant seal, thank fully I was off in a jiffy and that it was a small elephant seal which did not give chase.

More story's to follow soon...

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