Bertha's Beach Important Bird Area

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Gentoo Penguin returning to its colony on Bertha's Beach
Male (left) and female Kelp Geese at Bertha's Beach

Bertha's Beach Important Bird Area comprises 3300 ha of coastal wetlands at the entrance to Choiseul Sound, on the east coast of East Falkland, in the Falkland Islands. It lies about 8 km south-east of Mount Pleasant Airport and 40 km south-west of Stanley. It has been identified by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area (IBA) because of its significancer for a variety of migratory waders and other waterbirds. Overlapping it is the 4000 ha Bertha's Beach Ramsar site, recognising it as a wetland of international importance.[1][2]

Description[edit]

The site comprises the coast and its immediate hinterland from Fox Point to Bertha's Beach. It contains typical Falkland coastal wetland habitat with a white sand beach, coastal dunes, maritime heathland, freshwater ponds and brackish lagoons. The land behind Bertha’s Beach is dominated by White Grass plains. To the north-east of Bertha’s Beach is a large area of coastal lowlands with islands and promontories, with kelp beds extending up to 4 km offshore.[1][2]

Flora and fauna[edit]

Some 77 species of flowering plants have been recorded from the Ramsar site, including the rare Dusen's Moonwort. There is breeding colony of Southern Sea Lions at the nearby Kelp Islands. Peale's Dolphins can often be seen from the beach, playing in the surf.[1][2]

Birds[edit]

Birds for which the site is of conservation significance include breeding Falkland Steamer Ducks, Ruddy-headed Geese, Gentoo Penguins (500 pairs), Magellanic Penguins and White-bridled Finches, as well as migratory White-rumped Sandpipers (15,000 individuals). The ponds behind the beach and dunes support many waterbirds including Black-necked Swans, Chiloe Wigeons, Patagonian Crested Ducks, Flying Steamer Ducks, Yellow-billed Pintails, Silver and Yellow-billed Teals, and Silvery and White-tufted Grebes.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Bertha’s Beach, East Falkland". Important Bird Areas factsheet. BirdLife International. 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-29. 
  2. ^ a b c "Information Sheet on Ramsar Wetlands: Bertha’s Beach". Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, UK. 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-30. 

Coordinates: 51°52′S 58°19′W / 51.867°S 58.317°W / -51.867; -58.317