Juan Fernandez Petrel
Pterodroma externa
About 350 miles west of the coast of Chile there is a small group of Islands called the Juan Fernandez Islands. One of these islands is about 40 square miles of rugged, rocky landscape and known as Isla Robinson Crusoe. It was on this island where Alexander Selkirk was marooned in the early 1700s. His story was later the basis for the novel "Robinson Crusoe" by Daniel Defoe. Just getting to the island is quite an accomplishment and perhaps I will add a story about that at a later time. For the ornithologist, there are several interesting birds here. In addition to the island's endemic and endangered hummingbird, the Juan Fernandez Firecrown, there is a seabird that can be easily seen here called the Juan Fernandez Petrel (Pterodroma externa). This species nests in the vicinity and can often be seen within a few miles of shore. One day during our visit in February, 2000, Victor Emanuel and I hired an 8 meter long lobster boat to take us out to look for these petrels. It was quite a challenge to get any photos at all from the pitching bow of this tiny boat as the petrels flashed by us, but I was successful in getting a few. The photos on this page were taken with a Canon EOS 3 and an EF 300mm F4 IS lens on Fuji Provia pushed one stop mounted on a BushHawk shoulder mount. The bottom photo shows our boat for this "pelagic trip" from my perspective perched on the bow. Victor is scanning for petrels as we head out to sea.