Kidney Island is a tiny island, just 16 km (10 miles) from Stanley. It is named for its roughly kidney-shaped outline and is a National Nature Reserve. 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.
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 Cobb’s wren, tussac birds and dark-faced ground tyrants which hop amongst the rocks.
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. There is a small hut on the island, preserved for historic interest, which was constructed for people from Stanley who came to gather winter fodder for their animals.
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. Magellanic penguins have their burrows across many parts of the island and their distinctive braying sounds are heard en-route.
One of the highlights of Kidney Island comes at the end of the day as large numbers of burrowing seabirds return to the island. 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.
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