Watson Peninsula is a largely ice-free headland extending for ~3.6 km to Cape Valavielle on the northern coast of Laurie Island, separating Macdougal Bay and Marr Bay. The IBA qualifies on the basis of the concentration of seabirds present (in particular Chinstrap Penguin (Pygoscelis antarctica)) and includes all of the ice-free area of Watson Peninsula and a small island located 350 m off the northwestern shore.
The nearest research station is Orcadas (ARG), located 11 km to the southwest. Orcadas operates year-round with around 45 personnel present in summer and 14 in winter (COMNAP, Antarctic Facilities, accessed 01/09/2010).
Approximately 3500 – 4000 pairs of Chinstrap Penguin were recorded breeding on the eastern and western coasts of Watson Peninsula in 1948 (Croxall & Kirkwood 1979). Approximately 10 893 breeding pairs were recorded in 1994, suggesting a population increase at this site (unpublished data N. Coria, compiled by E. Woehler pers. comm. 2004)). Approximately 462 pairs of Adélie Penguin ( Pygoscelis adeliae ) were recorded breeding on Watson Peninsula in 1994, and 392 pairs in 2004/05 (Coria et al. 2011). A small Gentoo Penguin ( Pygoscelis papua ) colony is located midway along the west coast and constituted 10 breeding pairs in 1994. Southern Giant Petrels ( Macronectes giganteus ) are also present, with 280 breeding pairs recorded in 2006 (ACAP 2010b).
Non-bird biodiversity: None known.
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Watson Peninsula, Laurie Island. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/10/2020.