Airshows are a daily event on the Macquarie Island isthmus.
The flying displays vary constantly with the weather and seasons but there is always a variety of activity from a diverse range of professional aviators.
On the glorious but rare days when there is little or no wind the smaller flyers are prominent. Kelp Flies, Redpolls and Common Starlings often perform frenzied aerobatics or formation flying displays.
In moderate to strong winds the mid-sized aviators are out in force. Antarctic Terns, Kelp Gulls and Skuas often share the same airspace over the east or west beaches, showing off their slow-flying skills along the foreshore. Macquarie Island Shags (Blue-eyed Cormorants) flap their wings frenetically as they transit between rock stacks on either side of the isthmus.
At higher wind speeds the larger aviators dominate the sky and put on impressive displays of flying skill. Giant Petrels (known here as GPs) can be awkward and even clumsy when attempting to take-off in light winds but they revel in strong to gale force winds with no wing-flapping required. Light-mantled Sooty Albatross have yet to return this season so the GPs are currently the masters of ridge and slope soaring at the northern end of Macquarie Island.
Gaining altitude from air deflected upward by terrain, rock stacks, buildings or the upslope along the beaches the GPs sometimes convert height into speed, swooping low along the isthmus at impressive speeds with their wings fully extended. They can then convert speed to height, rising quickly and performing semi-aerobatic turns.
Giant Petrels are very impressive flyers but not recommended as dinner guests. They can be very messy eaters with absolutely no table manners.