Birds of the Southern Wilds

In recent days we have been seeing increasing numbers of wildlife–albatross, giant petrels (like the one in the photo) and even a sperm whale. I presume this is because we are leaving the warm, nutrient-poor waters of the Agulhas Current for the more productive waters of the Subtropical Convergence south of Africa. I am always impressed by the seabirds.  They use the air drafts off the wave fronts to soar and can manage to avoid flapping at all as long as the winds are not too light. The petrel in the photo was dragging a wing tip in the water–feeling the wave front–and skimming just above the ocean surface at about 30 mile/hour.  Imagine doing that delicate operation for not just a few hours, but for days, weeks, even months at a time–all the time peering into the water to spot the flash of a fish scale or the shadow of a squid…..

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