Saturday, 6 December 2014

Argentina: Part 3

Although it may seem strange to think, there are things here worth looking at other than birds..... We visited Los Arrayanes national park, a 12km long peninsula full of beautiful flowers and some very old (300-600 years old) Arrayan Trees. With lonely planet, a bird book and butterfly book, we ran out of space for a flower book, so for now some species remain unidentified by us, but it in no way detracts from how delicately beautiful they are.

Lady´s Slipper spp.

Unsure as yet.... Wow though

Dog Orchid

Arrayan trees

Heading further south we visited the beautiful Los Alerces national park, home to some incredibly beautiful and some very old Alerces trees and where we added our first of many Andean Condor to the trip list. On the drive south on Ruta 40 we had a mad raptor fest, within an hour being treated to more Condors, Black-chested Buzzard Eagle, Aplomado Falcon and Cinerous Harrier (the later escaped the camera, but not for long)!

Soaring Barn Door

On a fresh kill. For size, that is a large Hare that bird is on.

What a little stunner!

As we left the lush forests on the Eastern slopes of the Andes and headed south again, the landscape changed and Patagonian Steppe became the dominant feature. We started easily spotting species like Tawny-throated Dotteral and Gray-headed Sierra Finch. Roaming Guanacos have also become and almost permanent fixture.

Tawny-throated Dotteral, common by the road.

Gray-hooded Sierra Finch

Cute!! Mother and baby Guanaco

That´s another round up completed. It tells a small fraction of the story behind this beautiful country, and a small fraction of the now 152 bird species we´ve seen so far. We are now down in El Calafate, and hiking is taking a front seat. However, it won´t be long until we head north, where an entirely new set of spcies and landscapes await us. 

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