One of our favorite memories from our trip to the Falkland Islands was photographing rockhopper penguins showering under a freshwater spring. We have recently gone back through our photos and wanted to share with you a few more pictures of this incredibly cute behavior!
During the southern hemisphere summer, rockhopper penguins come ashore all over the Falkland Islands to breed. The penguins gather in large raucous colonies and form a well-worn track down to the sea.
We primarily visited Saunders Island to photograph the majestic Black-Browed Albatross that nest along its cliffs. However, this colony of rockhopper penguins proved just as photogenic! Along the main penguin highway down to the sea was a freshwater spring that flowed over an overhang and created a small waterfall. This was an irresistible attraction for the penguins and throughout the day it was busy with squawking, squabbling, splashing birds!
The fresh water allows them to wash the salt from their feathers and remove the grime of the colony. The penguins were wonderful to watch, as they appeared to be enjoying themselves a great deal!
The penguins were splashing so much that keeping our gear dry was a never-ending battle… in the end we had to cover the camera with a hat and lift it briefly to take each shot. We also used several off-camera remote flashes to illuminate the penguins and the underside of the overhang.
We have recently returned from a fantastic trip to Australia and will be posting our images here soon. If you would like to be notified when this happens, please subscribe to our free email newsletter / rss feed.