Worth the wait

In 1982 a young lad watched in wonder when the BBC’s Flight of the Condor series went to Torres del Paine. It immediately became a dream to go there, but obviously it would never happen.

40 years later, today was the day, and it was just as good as I had dreamed as a 14 year old! (And there were Condors).

Heading South

We continue to anger the weather gods, with our one cloudy day being when we were in the mountains with allegedly breathtaking views, followed by two dead calm days for our crossings to Chiloé, meaning that the seabirds were also non-existent. We’re now at Puerto Montt airport waiting for our evening flight to Punta Arenas before we go to Tierra del Fuego tomorrow. There are less scenic airports.

Things are picking up

After a couple of cracking days in the Vilches area, we cleaned out the available species and had some fantastic birds to boot.

White-throated Treerunner
Burrowing Parrots
Chilean Rose Tarantula
Rufous-legged Owl
Western Painted Lady
Magellanic Woodpecker
Chestnut-throated Huet-huet

Nothing to laugh at at all

Today was the day we went up to see the Diademed Sandpiper-Plover, one of the most iconic birds in the world and one of the main reasons for coming to Chile.  What a day it was!

Starting with an early departure we hit the El Yeso valley at about 1000, and started with a bang: Moustached Turca and Crag Chilia showing brilliantly at our first stop. Moving on up the valley our luck ran out.  The bus developed a leak and was broken for the day.  On top of that there was a landslide further up the valley that would prevent us from getting to the bog for the Sandpiper-Plover even if we had a fixed bus.  At least three hours standing by a road junction, followed by a farcical game of hunt the hotel, as we tried to find the hotel we were actually booked into, rather than the one we were told, meant that tempers were frayed by the time we got the right one.

Just to finish off the perfect day, we found out that our rescheduled pelagic trip from Sunday (the waves were ferocious and wild) was cancelled for tomorrow, meaning that the two main reasons for coming to Chile had sunk without trace in a single day. Still Chile is a fantastic country, with superb birds.  Things will surely improve… won’t they?

(If you’re not familiar with my quotations, look up  The Lion and Albert: http://holyjoe.org/poetry/edgar.htm)

Crag Chilia
Austral Pygmy Owl
Moustached Turca