Visit Kidney Island’s photo gallery here (under construction)
Kidney Island is a tiny island and National Nature Reserve, just 16 km (10 miles) from Stanley. The island can only be reached by boat and is just 30 minutes away from the Islands’ capital, Stanley. Visit is by permit only with a guide, so Kidney Island is a very special experience.
Please take a look at this booklet by Falklands Conservation
The boat trip in itself is a prime opportunity to observe the wildlife of the Falkland Islands. Peale’s and Commerson’s Dolphins are seen regularly, along with various penguin species. Great views of Black-browed Albatross, Southern Giant Petrel’s, Sooty Shearwaters and other seabirds are almost guaranteed. The area is also a hotspot for Sei Whales, whose season extends from January to May.
Landing is on a small, white sand and boulder beach on the south-west side of the island. A zodiac (inflatable boat) transfers you from your vessel. Sea lions are frequently in the water or basking on the shore. Look out for the endemic Cobb’s Wren, Blackish Cincloides (Tussac birds) and Falkland Steamer Ducks. The pristine Kidney Island being rodent and cat free is the only location close to Stanley where you can see all 3 of the Islands endemic bird species.
Most of the 32 hectares (80 acres) of the island is covered with tall, dense tussac grass. Walking through the grass requires patience and care as it is quite likely that animals will be present. A degree of physical fitness is therefore required to keep up with the group.
Dix’s Cove, is a great place to look for the Southern Sea Lion, both in the tussac grass and also on the coastline. I have seen up to 30 individuals in this area.
Rockhopper Penguins inhabit the steep cliffs of the northern coast. These feisty birds pay scant attention to humans but it is still important to keep a respectful distance as you approach through the tussac grass. The occasional Macaroni Penguin may be seen with the Rockhopper Penguins and in recent years hybrids between these two species have occurred. Magellanic Penguins have their burrows across many parts of the island and their distinctive braying sounds are heard en-route.
The highlight of an evening trip to Kidney Island, comes at the end of the day, as large numbers of burrowing seabirds return to the island at dusk. Up to 100,000 pairs of Sooty Shearwaters breed here every year. Their nests are in the west of the island and their evening home-coming is a sight to behold. Great Shearwaters, Grey-backed Storm Petrels and White-chinned Petrels also nest on the island.
Small numbers of Imperial/KIng and Magellanic/Rock Cormorants are present. Other endemic subspecies recorded here are Black-crowned Night-heron, Upland Goose, Short-eared Owl, Dark-faced Ground-tyrant, Correndera Pipit, Sedge Wren, Austral Thrush and Long-tailed Meadowlark.
Kidney Island is also used by Southern Sealions for hauling out, and they can be found resting in the tussac. In late summer/autumn regular sightings of whales are common. The most common sightings being the large Sei Whale and also Minke’s.
At least 26 species of flowering plant have been recorded on Kidney island, including the two endemic ragworts, Woolly Falkland Ragwort and Smooth Falkland Ragwort. The Sword Grass grows well with shorter tussac grass.
Please visit the Gallery here for more images of Kidney Island (under construction)
Please look at Trip Advisor to see how people enjoyed the Kidney Island experience.