Sarah and Denis Round the World travel blog

103 km done, only 7 more to go

And there it is, Punta Tombo

Before we got there though, we saw guanacos (of the llama family)...

Here's our first penguin (on guard duty, inspecting our tyres)

Once satisfied he turned his back... go back to his guardpost (actually he is guarding his nest)

The males arrive first to claim their nests (often burrows or holes...

They are followed a month later by the females (shorter beaks than...

Some more newcomers arrive

They return to the same nests each year and have the same...

These are all Magellanic Penguins which are also known as jackass penguins

Due to the braying noise that they make

The whole site is about 200 square kilometres

Visitors only get to see a fraction of it via two walkways

But the penguins ignore the walkways and go where ever they want

Here's one mid-bray (they do this to call to their partners that...

They know that they have the same partner for life due to...

We arrived early, a good hour before the first tour groups... just us and over 300,000 penguins

They are very curious and we were suprised about how close they...

Here's another one mid-bray

Once back with their mates there is a good deal of preening...

The site was not at all like we had imagined it

We thought it would be like the colonies that we saw in...

...with lots of birds all crowded together in a small space...

...not like this with lots of single birds or couples spread over...

Grass is used by the males... part of their preparation for their burrows...

...whilst they wait for their partners to arrive

Territorial fights also happen at this time of year

Keep Out !! This is my small indentation of land !!

The Land of the Elegant Gentleman

Aaaahhhh!! Look at the cutesters!!

Guanacos and penguins by the sea

We got up early and were on the road by 7 o'clock. After 2 hours drive on gravel and dirt roads we arrived at Reserva Provincial Punta Tombo. The colony is in total half a million Magellanic or jackass penguins. This is the largest nesting ground on continental South America. The only bigger ones are on the (British) Falkland Islands. When we arrived there were about 60-70% of the total colony. So about 300,000 penguins for us to see.

Winters are spent at sea and males arrive first in late August/September followed a month later by the females. Eggs are laid in October and hatch by mid-November. Males and females then take turns caring for and feeding the chicks. By January chicks start to molt and start to enter the sea. By March, the juveniles start their migration north followed by the adults in April.

They are called jackass penguins as they have a characteristic braying sound like a donkey. We were extremely lucky with the weather. They only really put on a big display of this when the sky is overcast. If it is sunny (like yesterday when we had originally intended to come) they just sit in the shade and don't bother. We stayed a couple of hours, just as the first tour buses were arriving, before driving back up the coast to visit more Welsh-ness at Gaiman.

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