Birding Without Borders: Day 1

Noah spots 12 species at Spert Island, Antarctica.

January 1, 2015, Spert Island, Antarctica — The first day of the year is done! I kicked off my big year with a whopping 12 bird species today: Cape Petrel, Southern Fulmar, Southern Giant-Petrel, Brown Skua, Gentoo Penguin, Wilson’s Storm-Petrel, Kelp Gull, Antarctic Shag, Antarctic Tern, Chinstrap Penguin, South Polar Skua, and Snowy Sheathbill (in order of appearance). Antarctica might not have a lot of different birds, but the ones that are here are pretty cool.

It was a beautiful day, with bluebird skies and calm conditions. Humpback whales put in several close appearances. We ran two excursions today off the ship—a morning landing at a penguin colony and an afternoon zodiac cruise at a spectacular island of weird geologic formations and fantastic icebergs. The penguins had chicks that were just a day or two old—impossibly cute! To cap it all off, we held a barbecue on the outer deck, taking in sunshine, steak, and the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula. Definitely one of the
most memorable New Years in my life, and, of course, this is just the beginning…

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