Dinosaur of the week: Upland Goose

upland goose

This flock of Chloephaga picta was strolling along a beach on Carcass Island, Falklands a handful of years back. The white one is  the male, the others are females. The birds are monogamous and their numbers are in decline.

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Dinosaur of the week: Wandering Albatross

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Diomedea exulans has one of the biggest wingspans of all flying birds, up to 3.5 meters. The Southern Royal Albatross can apparently be even larger. I saw this Wandering Albatross when crossing the Drake passage on my return from a trip to Antarctica.

All species of albatross are in danger, mostly because of fishing methods and plastic.

Here’s a recent account by Ben Lecomte who is swimming across the Pacific:

That was amazing to be in the water with four wild birds of that size just a few feet away from me. I got a fist-beck bump with two of them. Brian jumped in the water with a GoPro and started filming the when one of them went for a red piece of plastic and tried to eat it. Brian reached out and retrieved a small red plastic basket. A couple of minutes later I spotted two of them going after a white small plastic pouch. I quickly got to it, grabbed it and passed it on to Mark in the dinghy.

I can now better understand why so many albatrosses are found dead with their stomach full of plastic debris. A piece of plastic at the surface of the water stands out and easily get their attention. http://benlecomte.com/day-94-albatrosses-and-plastic/

Dinosaur of the week: Brown Skua

 

brown skua

Skua taxonomy is a wee bit confusing, but I think this is a Stercorarius antarcticus which I saw on King George Island on my trip to Antarctica a few years ago.

Skuas seem to have amazing cognitive abilities. Like crows and pigeons, they can recognize individual humans (doi: 10.1007/s10071-016-0970-9).

Dinosaur of the week: Black-browed Albatross

black-browed albatross

Thalassarche melanophris lives circumpolar in the southern oceans. I saw these two and their colony on West Point Island in the Falklands.

The numbers of the black-browed mollymawk are decreasing, and the species is labelled Nearly Threatened. Longline fishing kills the birds as does trawl fishing, and of course plastic intake kills too.