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Falklands Island Photo Tour

December 1-17, 2023
Price: $TBA

6 participants


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If you want to photograph sub-Antarctic wildlife, particularly Penguins, there is no better location than the Falkland Islands. We've been traveling to the Falklands since the 1990s, and nothing compares, in terms of time with the wildlife, guaranteed accessibility, and economy of travel.

Consider these points:

Penguin species - There are five species you are likely to photograph - King, Rockhopper, Gentoo, Magellanic, and Gentoo. And now there is the possibility of photographing a sixth species: Macaroni! South Georgia only has 4! The Antarctic peninsula has 3!

Land-based - We fly from island to island, so even in bad weather you're on land, and able to photograph. On boat-based trips, if there are high winds and stormy seas, you are out of luck - the zodiacs can't land.

Small groups and Plenty of Time - At most of our destinations our group is the only tourists. You'll have the freedom to stay with a subject as long as you wish, without the worry of a deadline to get back to a ship. Want to spend hours watching a penguin colony, or waiting for the shot? Want to shoot in pre-dawn light? You can!

A Diversity of Subjects - You're likely to photograph at least 30 different species of birds and mammals, including Elephant Seals, Southern Sealions, the 5-6 Penguins, Striated Caracaras, various geese, ducks, gulls, seabirds, and songbirds. Contrast that with South Georgia or Antarctica -- the variety does not come close!

What You Won't See


You won't see scores of people in your shots. We're usually alone, and at most destinations you can walk where ever you wish to obtain the perspective you want.
This does not include being inside a nesting colony however!

Summing Up ...

The Falkland Islands are often called 'The Galapagos of the South Atlantic' for a reason. The wildlife - birds and mammals - are tame and easy to photograph. Further, unlike the rather tight restrictions for wildlife viewing in South Georgia and Antarctica, in the Falklands there is plenty of freedom for shooting. No one is looking over your shoulder, except Mary and I -- should we need to, but common sense, ethical behavior is all we ask for, as do the owners of the various islands.


Check out our 2020 trip report. The Falklands are simply fantastic. Join us, and read on!


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Our Itinerary 2023 tour:

November 30.
Arrive in Punta Arenas (at the latest). Welcome dinner and overnight, hotel in Punta Arenas.
December 1. Full day in Punta Arenas. We highly recommend coming in on November 30th. There is only one flight a week to the Falklands, and today is an insurance day for anyone who had problems with their flights.

December 2. Arrive in Falklands via LATAM flight from Chile. Transfer to FIGAS air flight to Bleaker Island. Overnight, Bleaker Settlement.

sDecember 3:
Bleaker Island. Great Rockhopper and Gentoo Penguin colonies, local landscapes, Magellanic Penguins, Blue-eyed Shag colony, Southern Sealions, nightherons and smaller birds. Overnight, Bleaker Settlement.

December 4. Flight to Saunders Island. Transfer to the Neck for two days of incredible photography. Here there are multiple colonies of Gentoo Penguins, a small colony of King Penguins, numerous Magellanic Penguins, and one of the most exciting locations for photographing the avian soccer ball - the Rockhopper Penguin, that surfs in and climbs the steep rocks to reach their nesting colonies. Great Black-browed Albatross and King Cormorant Colonies, and Striated Caracaras patrolling the colonies seeking unattended penguin chicks. Incredible shooting! Overnight, the Neck Portacabin. Subjects include huge Gentoo Penguin colonies; Rock-hopper Penguins - including surfing in to the cliffs; King Cormorants; Black-browed Albatrosses nesting; Striated Caracaras; both Oystercatchers; Skuas; Kelp and Dolphin Gulls; and more! Overnights, the Neck Portacabin.

Often called the Serengeti of the Falklands, virtually all the islands wildlife can be found here. Subjects include Southern Elephant Seals; Southern Sealions; huge Gentoo Penguin colonies; Magellanic Penguins; Kelp, Upland, and Ashy-headed Geese; Falkland Skuas; Falkland Snipe; Silver Grebes; Black and Pied Oystercatchers; Striated Caracaras; and more!

December 5
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Full day at the neck for photography.

December 6. Transfer back to the Settlement on Saunders. From here we'll do a full-day trip to the famous Rookery on the island where we'll find Black-browed Albatross, Blue-eyed Shags, Rockhopper Penguins and the photogenic Shower. Overnights, Saunders Settlement.

December 7.
Flight to Carcass Island where we'll stay for the next three nights. We'll spend the majority of our time around the settlement, photographing the wealth of birds found in the gardens, grassy meadows, tidal pools, and the shallow bay. Kelp, Upland, and Ruddy-headed Geese, Pied and Black Oystercatchers, Black-crowned Night Herons, South American Terns, Common Snipe, Striated Caracaras, Kelp and Dolphin Gulls, Patagonian Crested and Flightless Steamer Ducks, Cobb's Wrens, Marsh Wren, Falkland Thrush, Turkey Vultures, and more! On our best weather day we'll take a daytrip/boat trip to West Point Island where we will find an amazing Black-browed Albatross colony along with Rockhopper Penguins. Overnight, Carcass Is. settlement


rDecember 8. Weather and sea conditions permitting, we'll take a boat to West Point Island for a full day of photography. Black-browed Albatross and Rock-hopped Penguins are the subjects at an incredible colony where the shots are spectacular. Overnight, Carcass Is. settlement

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pDecember 9
. We'll have another full day on Carcass Island. Overnight, Carcass Is. settlement


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December 10
. Flight to Sea Lion Island. Often called the Serengeti of the Falklands, virtually all the islands wildlife can be found here. Subjects include Southern Elephant Seals; Southern Sealions; huge Gentoo Penguin colonies; Magellanic Penguins; Kelp, Upland, and Ashy-headed Geese; Falkland Skuas; Falkland Snipe; Silver Grebes; Black and Pied Oystercatchers; Striated Caracaras; and more!

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pDecember 11-12. Sea Lion Island. In addition to the wildlife listed above, Orcas (Killer Whales) may be hunting young Elephant Seals at this time shortly after dawn. .

December 13. Return flight to Stanley. Depending upn the flight schedule, we may have a morning on Sea Lion to photograph, or an early flight. FIGAS, the Falkland Islands Government Air Service, determines this. Regardless, you may have a free afternoon for bird photography along the shoreline. Visit the museum and do some shopping. Overnight, the Malvinas Hotel.

December 14. Day trip to Cape Bougainville where we'll photograph Rock Hopper Penguins and where, most years, a few pairs of Macaroni Penguins also nest. Southern Sealions are found along the shoreline rocks, and several species of seabird and a few raptors are often seen. The trip to the Cape is exciting, giving you a real feel for the outback of the Falklands.

December 15.
Day trip to Volunteer Point. The largest colony of King Penguins live on the cape and you'll be within feet of these wonderful birds at times. Gentoo Penguins, Magellanic Penguins, and a variety of waterfowl are found here.


December 16.
Late morning transfer to the airport. Mid-afternoon flight to Punta Arenas, Chile. Overnight at hotel in Punta Arenas.
Departure for home.


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Please contact our office

About Your Leaders

jMy wife Mary Ann and I strive to provide the most comfortable and
thorough safari you will experience. Both Mary and I are professional photographers, and I'd hope you've seen our credits. These included
National Geographic, National Wildlife, Ranger Rick, Natural History,
Living Bird, Birder's World, and most nature/wildlife calendars.

As a husband/wife team, Mary Ann and I have won more times in the
prestigious BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition than any
one. To date we have had 15 firsts, seconds, or thirds -- and we have
not entered every year. Our trips are not about us, however, they are all
for you, but credentials seem to matter, and we have them.

Mary has written twenty-nine (29) children's books, including Leopards, Grizzly Bears, Woodpeckers,
Flying Squirrels, Sunflowers, Cobras, Jupiter, Boas, Garter Snakes, Pythons, Rattlesnakes, Ducks, Chickens, Horses, and Cows, and a coffee table book, Out of the Past, Amish Tradition and Faith.

I've written several how-to wildlife photography books -- A Practical Guide to Photographing American Wildlife,
The Wildlife Photographer's Field Manual, The Complete Guide to Wildlife Photography, Designing Wildlife
Photographs, Photographing on Safari, A Field Guide to Photographing in East Africa, and the New Complete
Guide to Wildlife Photography, African Wildlife, Creatures of the Night, The World's Deadliest, and several
ebooks. We have produced an instructional video, A Video Guide to Photographing on Safari with
Joe and Mary Ann McDonald.

We are both editors for Nature Photographer magazine.

In addition to leading our trips to Tanzania, Mary and I personally lead photo safaris to Kenya,
Brazil's Pantanal, Chile, Galapagos, Svalbard, India,
Rwanda, Ecuador, Costa Rica,
the Falklands, South Texas and some other spots, too!