The Drake Passage

Jan 17, 2019 - National Geographic Orion

The Drake Passage is truly a birder’s paradise. Both the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean meet off Cape Horn, which provides our guests aboard National Geographic Orion the opportunity to see numerous species of oceanic birds. As an ecologist, I can truly say there is a cost benefit approach to sailing the Drake Passage. Calm days provide the opportunity to see whales, but without wind, bird enthusiasts are limited to less diversity. The great albatrosses and petrels use winds to glide over great distances in search for food. Less energy is needed on windy days. On calm days, the albatrosses rest floating on the surface to conserve energy. Today our guests encountered a southern giant petrel, a species commonly sighted throughout the Southern Ocean. They are the true scavengers, feeding on anything they can find. We also encountered a white-chinned shearwater and a beautiful group of cape petrels. Later that afternoon one of our naturalists, Tom Richie, presented an informative presentation on birds of the Southern Hemisphere. Just another beautiful day in the Drake!

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About the Author

Josh McInnes


Josh is a Canadian ecologist who grew up on Vancouver Island British Columbia, Canada. He studied marine biology and ecology with a focus in marine mammals, food web, and community dynamics at the University of Victoria.

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