Sitting low above the water, a Magellanic Cormorant Phalacrocorax magellanicus surfaces while feeding in the cold waters of the Straits of Magellan, closely followed by an Imperial Cormorant Phalacrocorax atriceps. The two southernmost cormorants in the Americas, they are found along both Pacific and Atlantic coasts of Patagonia.
Gyrating with majestic ease over the waves of the Drake Passage between Cape Horn and Antarctica, an adult Southern Royal Albatross Diomedea epomophora glides past our ship during the crossing of this stormy seaway. Largest of albatrosses, with a wingspan of more than 3.5m it is also the longest-winged bird in the planet.
Projecting its open webbed feet in the air, a Murphy’s Petrel Pterodroma murphyi prepares to land near a potential nest site in the extint Rano Kau volcano, Easter Island, in the South Eastern Pacific. A pelagic gadfly petrel, it nests in only a few island groups in Polynesia.
Taking off after feeding in the surface a Southern Fulmar, Fulmarus glacialoides taxies vigorously to become airborne in the cold and rich waters of the Humboldt Current in the South-eastern Pacific off Valparaiso in Central Chile. The sole member of genus Fulmarus in the Southern Hemisphere, it is identified by its silvery-grey plumage colour and pink bill with a blue nose tube and black tip, and after breeding in and around Antarctica it disperses across the southern oceans looking for highly productive cold marine currents where it feeds mostly on pelagic invertebrates.
Showing their typical round forehead and scarred pale-grey bodies, a small pod of Risso’s Dolphin, Grampus griseus breaches close to our boat during one of our pelagics off Valparaiso in the Pacific, Central Chile. This curious dolphin is one of several cetaceans that regularly show up on such offshore excursions.