October 26, 2015
Oceanic Vulture, Part 2
- as seen by -William G. Conway
The giant petrel (Macronectes giganteus) is a vulture-like seabird that is both a remarkable flier and an admirable parent. It flies thousands of miles seeking food for its young in some of the harshest habitats in the southern seas. However, it is not comely and not at all sweet. The giant petrel lives in somber browns unrelieved with pretty plumes or colorful wattles. Its eyes are fierce, and they look back right at you from the vantage point of a hooked beak strong enough to rip the skin of a dead whale, hold-on to a squirming squid, or swallow a fledgling penguin. Its courting song sounds like the whinnying of a colt. Its total population is probably less than 40,000.
To get this this picture we floated a zodiac from the coast of Argentina’s Bahia Bustamante to a rocky Atlantic islet in southern Patagonian and quietly wormed close over the lip of the rock on our bellies.
Nikon D70, 400mm lens