Pebble Island

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Pebble Island
Isla Borbón
Island
Pebble Island - Falkland Islands.jpg
Location of Pebble Island
Location of Pebble Island
Coordinates: 51°18′11″S 59°37′46″W / 51.30306°S 59.62944°W / -51.30306; -59.62944Coordinates: 51°18′11″S 59°37′46″W / 51.30306°S 59.62944°W / -51.30306; -59.62944
Country  Falkland Islands
Named for Spanish: Bourbon Island
Main settlement Pebble Island Settlement
Area
 • Total 88 km2 (34 sq mi)
Highest elevation 277 m (909 ft)
Time zone FKST (UTC−3)
If shown, area and population ranks are for all islands and all inhabited islands in the Falklands respectively.

Pebble Island (Spanish: Isla Borbón) is one of the Falkland Islands, lying north of West Falkland. It is probably named after the peculiarly spherical pebbles found at its western tip.

Description[edit]

The island, the fifth largest in the Falklands archipelago, stretches about 30 km (19 mi) and about 7 km (4.3 mi) at its widest point, with a total area of 103.36 km2 (39.91 sq mi). Its three high points are First Mountain 277 m (909 ft), Middle Mountain 214 m (702 ft) and Marble Mountain 237 m (778 ft), all of which lie in the western part of the island. The eastern part of the island has lakes and wetlands and is of high conservation value.[1] The two halves are joined by an isthmus on which lies Pebble Island Settlement where the inhabitants live. The island has been a sheep farm since 1846; 13,500 Corriedale sheep are farmed, along with 240 head of beef and dairy cattle.

History[edit]

The farm was established in 1846 by John Markham Dean, an Englishman who bought Pebble and three neighbouring islands. Dean's family concern passed on to Dean Brothers Ltd, but it is currently managed locally by Raymond Evans, the great nephew of Johnny Evans who introduced sheep to the island and slaughtered the first feral cattle.[2]

During the Falklands War, the island was occupied by Argentine forces which created the Estación Aeronaval Calderón (naval air station Calderon), protected by elements of 2nd Naval Infantry Battalion, which was assaulted successfully by the British SAS in the "Raid on Pebble Island". 300 Argentines were based here.[citation needed] HMS Coventry was sunk off the coast of Pebble Island. According to the inquiry into its loss, the ship sank "10 miles" north of Pebble Island in May 1982[3] The co-ordinates of the sinking are 51 03.6S, 59 42.2W[4] and this is about 11.5 nautical miles (21.3 km; 13.2 mi) from the nearest point on Pebble Island. There are memorials on the island to the British destroyer HMS Coventry and to an Argentinian Lear Jet, both destroyed during the conflict.

More recently, Pebble Island Settlement became one of the first in the Falkland Islands to use wind turbines to generate most of its electricity.[2]

Important Bird Area[edit]

Pebble Island can be divided into a marshy east, known for its waterfowl and wading birds, and a hilly west, known for its penguins.[2] The Pebble Island group, including the much smaller White Island and some islets, has been identified by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area (IBA). Birds for which the site is of conservation significance include Falkland steamer ducks (100 breeding pairs), ruddy-headed geese (175 pairs), gentoo penguins (1700 pairs), southern rockhopper penguins (6800 pairs), macaroni penguins (10 pairs), southern giant petrels (20 pairs), sooty shearwaters (100 pairs), striated caracaras, white-bridled finches, blackish cinclodes and Cobb's wrens. black-necked and Coscoroba swans breed on the main island.[1]

References[edit]

  • Stonehouse, B. (ed). (2002). Encyclopedia of Antarctica and the Southern Oceans ISBN 0-471-98665-8