Magellanic Penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus)

Punta Tombo, Argentina, January 12, 1993

We go bumpity bump in the Scuzio (our nickname for the Fiat Spazio we rented) for 2.5 hours over 110 km of dirt road to get to Punta Tombo. The drive takes a couple of hours and is very dusty, but it's all worthwhile to get to see 0.5 million penguins on the loose at Punta Tombo.

Arrival at Punta Tombo did not disappoint, and any fears that the penguins may have all "gone fishing" are allayed. The first penguin encounter was with a stubborn penguin that planted itself directly in front of the car on the road and wouldn't move, not even when nudged by the bumper. We have read that penguins will bite if harassed so we don't try to chase him away. We do toss a couple of stones in his direction, but he doesn't budge. The road was pretty narrow, but we managed to finally get around him without getting stuck in the soft sand.

We parked and spent the next 3 hours observing the Magellanic penguins coming and going around us. One half million penguins summer along this stretch of beach at Punta Tombo. They head north to spend their winters in Brazil. There are clearly marked pedestrian trails for people to stay in, but these are completely ignored by the penguins, some penguins even dig their nests and set up house in the middle of the paths.

Read more of our Trip to the End of the World travel log.

It was nearly 22 years before we saw our next Magellanic Penguins in the Falkland Islands.

We made our first zodiac landing of our Southern Ocean Expedition on wildlife-rich New Island in the Falklands. The weather was fantastic and conditions couldn't have been better for our introduction to the process of getting on and off the ship via a gangway leading to a bobbing zodiac that would zip us to shore.

We saw the first penguins of the trip, our old friends the magellanics.

Read more of our Southern Ocean Expedition travel log.

More of our Bird List

Lynn and John Salmon <>{