Volunteer Point is an impressive lowland peninsula on the
north-east of mainland East Falkland. Extending eastward
from Volunteer Green, the northern coast includes a range
of low cliffs, sandy and boulder beaches with extensive kelp
beds offshore. The southern side of the peninsula borders
Volunteer Lagoon and includes the extensive sand flats and
dunes of Lagoon Bar. To the north and west of the 1.2 mile
(2 km) long Volunteer Beach are low hills and green valleys
with shallow seasonal ponds and ditches. North of the
rocky headlands is Cow Bay Beach, also about 1.2 miles (2
km) and with a similar aspect to Volunteer Beach.
Volunteer Green supports the largest population of King
Penguins in the Falklands and this is one of the most
important tourist destinations within the archipelago. The
entire area is dominated by colonies of Gentoo and King
Penguins, with bare turf patches marking recently deserted
breeding areas and older colony sites marked by vivid
green patches of fertilised grasses. Beyond the penguin
colonies on the green, Volunteer Lagoon supports a variety
of waterfowl. Endemic sub-species recorded in the area are
the Upland Goose, Dark-faced Ground-tyrant, Falkland
Pipit, Falkland Thrush and the Long-tailed Meadowlark.
Several vagrants, including the Hudsonian Godwit, Stilt
Sandpiper, Whimbrel, Fork-tailed Flycatcher and Blackfaced
Ibis have been recorded in recent years.
Non-bird biodiversity: Southern Sea Lions can often be seen hauled out or hunting
penguins just offshore in shallow water along the sand
beach. One pup was born during the summer of 2002/03 in
the north-west of the area. A breeding colony of 150 South
American Fur Seals was counted on Volunteer Rocks in
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Volunteer Green is visited regularly by the seabird
monitoring team from Falklands Conservation. Since
November 2001, wardens have been present throughout
the summer. The most pressing conservation issue is the
current high level of tourism. Since the inception of this
wardening programme, breeding success of birds at the site
has improved considerably. It is very important that the
Falkland Islands Countryside Code is
followed, particularly to guard against disturbance to
breeding King Penguins and the risk of fire.
The fishing industry for Loligo gahi squid operates just 3
miles offshore. Beaches are frequently littered with marine
debris, presumably derived mainly from this source, and
problems of entanglement have been reported.
There is a high population of feral cats in the area.
Eradication would undoubtedly benefit breeding birds.
Rats, mice and European Rabbits are also present and are
affecting the populations of birds. All visitors should be
informed about the dangers of accidentally introducing
alien species to the Falkland Islands.
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Volunteer Point, East Falkland. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 26/01/2022.