Southern ‘scapes

I have not posted many scenics from Antarctica. Let’s be honest, you don’t come here for landscapes, you come here for penguins and the occasional HK bird. I was reading the thoroughly laudable “Birds through Irish Eyes” today (buy it whilst it is in stock!!) and discovered an entry for Great Auk. Now before you get all excited and think “Sillem’s Mountain Finch, Ivory-billed Woodpecker, Great Auk” why not go to Belfast and tick at least one of them, this is an historic record rather than contemporary. What drew my attention was the Latin name for the GA is Pinguinus impennis. And the derivation or etymology is Pen, which is Welsh for head and Gwyn, which is Welsh for white. I knew both of those because my mother’s name was Gwyn and we had friends whose house was called Pen Y Bryn. And that means of course that the word Penguin is fundamentally Welsh and ipso facto penguins must have originated near Porthcawl. It has the weather. Evolution undoubtedly shoved the penguins off to Antarctica because it was warmer. Case proven m’lud.

Where was I? Oh yes, landscapes. Well I have played with a few and by golly if I’ve gone to the trouble of processing them the least you can do is look at them. So off we go.


Clue – its not Porthcawl.

Number 2:


Number 3: (you get the idea…… I won’t number the rest. I’m sure you got beyond 3 at school.)


Number   (fill in the blank)



And so they go on. Luckily for you, I don’t. So finally for something completely different. My offering to the botanists out there. This is a straight lift from my FatuousBook page so forgive me, FB friends. I quote:

“(This)…. is one I took before we left Ushuaia and is a mainland Patagonia species. I tentatively called it the wind turbine orchid but a “botanist” on our boat said it was a White lily orchid. Well a little home research tells me it is a Dog Orchid, Codonorchis lessonii, hereafter affectionately known in the vernacular as Murphy’s Orchid, after the nearest beagle I know to the Beagle Channel.”


If there’s one thing you can always be sure of on this blog its uncertainty. Don’t miss next week’s episode of …………… All Downhill.

DANG! I almost forgot the the scape-sheep. Here it is! A prize (or maybe not) for anyone who can tell me how many Great Auks there are in this picture.


12 thoughts on “Southern ‘scapes

  1. My gosh- so much desolation. Expecially the lone sheep with thousands of auks on the hillside. I am curious to know what in the world that sheep was subsisting on- nothing as far as I can tell.

    The orchid is dainty and beautiful. Nice photos Andrew, as usual.

    • Yvonne, the sheep was eating kelp. I imagine the seaweed is nutritious in some way. The island is farmed I believe and sheep seems to be the main way of making a living. Most of the wildlife appears to co-exist quite peacefully. There are some fascinating raptors there called Striated caracara – I shall post a photo forthwith.

      • Thanks for the reply , Andrew. The sheep there should be quite healthy. Kelp is excellent food. I buy a green mix of things that contains kelp. I mix the powder in orange juice.

        I will look forward to seeing the caracara. Raptors are interesting birds and all of them, I think are pretty.

  2. These are some gorgeous landscapes, Andrew. I especially like the image preceding the orchid (and the orchid as well!)…very beautiful!

    I would like to see the ice floes sometime…I think that would be amazing, and combine that with the ability to take images for nearly 24 hours a day…fantastic!

    • Thanks Greg for all the comments. The landscapes including the ice were taken with a P&S, my Lumix LX5, handheld. I do think a small P&S that produces RAW files is a real asset on a trip like this.

  3. I’ve always thought I sensed a bit of the Welsh in those tuxedoed and debonair PenGwyns I have enjoyed all these years. The tuxes must be the cause of the need for cooler climes.
    I do like your landscapes and, of course, the orchid newly dubbed after my sweet beagle would be my favorite.
    As to the Great Auks, well I suspect the number is somewhere in the neighborhood of my IQ. 🙂

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