Harmony Point is an ice-free headland located on the western coast of Nelson Island, South Shetland Islands. Harmony Point is designated ASPA No. 133 and the IBA is defined to cover the same area. The IBA qualifies on the basis of the Chinstrap Penguin (Pygoscelis antarctica) colony present and for the high concentration of seabirds. Harmony Point is of undulating topography rising to ~40 m, with numerous streams and abundant vegetation comprising mainly mosses, lichens, and two species of vascular plant (Deschampsia antarctica and Colobanthus quitensis). The nearest permanent scientific station is Great Wall (CHN), a year-round facility with a capacity for 40 people situated on King George Island, ~16 km to the northeast of Harmony Point (COMNAP, Antarctic Facilities, accessed 31/08/2010).
The ice-free area at Harmony Point supports a wide range of birds including one of the largest colonies of Chinstrap Penguins in the Antarctic Peninsula region, with approximately 90 000 pairs present in 1995/96 (Silva et al. 1998) and around 10 000 to 12 500 breeding pairs recorded at The Toe in 1987 (Shuford & Spear 1988b). In 1995/96, 3347 breeding pairs of Gentoo Penguin were recorded and 45 breeding pairs of Imperial Shag (Phalacrocorax [atriceps] bransfieldensis). N. Coria (pers. comm. 2010) reported 395 pairs of Southern Giant Petrel (Macronectes giganteus) breeding in 2009/10, which compares to 485 pairs recorded in 2004/05 (ACAP 2010b). Silva et al. (1998) reported 479 pairs of Cape Petrel (Daption capense), 144 pairs of Snowy Sheathbill (Chionis albus), 61 pairs of Brown Skua (Catharacta antarctica), 128 pairs of Kelp Gull (Larus dominicanus), 173 pairs of Antarctic Tern (Sterna vittata), and a total of around 1000 pairs of Wilson's Storm-petrel (Oceanites oceanicus) and Black-bellied Storm-petrel (Fregetta tropica) at Harmony Point in 1995/96. Non-bird biodiversity: Weddell Seal (Leptonychotes weddellii), Antarctic Fur Seal (Arctocephalus gazella) and Southern Elephant Seal (Mirounga leonina) frequently haul out on beaches at Harmony Point, and the latter have been recorded breeding (Carlini et al. 2003). Crabeater Seals (Lobodon carcinophagus) are occasionally seen in the vicinity.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
ASPA No. 133 Harmony Point was designated to protect the terrestrial ecosystem and bird communities at Harmony Point. All access is strictly by permit and aircraft access is required to follow a designated route that avoids bird colonies. A small scientific research hut is located near the coast at the SE of Harmony Point.
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Harmony Point, Nelson Island. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 25/11/2020.