Monday, October 24, 2011

Off to Chiloe

Tomorrow (Oct-25) I am setting out for Chiloe Island, Chile, a very large island in northern Patagonia with great temperate rainforest - or so I hear. I am continuing working for the Golondrinas de las Americas project, the same project that sent me to Peru, the Bahamas and Argentina last year. I'll be studying the breeding biology of the Chilean Swallow (Tachycineta meyeni), a southern South American equivalent of the Tree Swallow.

Chilean Swallow, Ushuaia, Argentina, Dec 2010

I first met this species in Ushuaia last year where I spent about a month studying the swallows and taking Spanish classes. I also met the second bird that will be a big part of my time in Chiloe: the Thorn-tailed Rayadito.

Thorn-tailed Rayadito, Ushuaia, Dec 2010
Another cavity-nester that uses bird boxes, this little Furnariid fills almost the same niche as chickadees or kinglets do in North America. Despite weighing almost nothing and being just slightly larger than a golfball, these guys will harass you if you stray too close to their nests. I'll be studying the swallows in the boxes on Chiloe while a group of Chilean students study the Rayaditos nesting in the same set of boxes.

Male Upland Goose, Ushuaia, Dec 2010
Female Upland Goose, Ushuaia, Dec 2010

Tierra del Fuego was by far the most striking place I have ever been. Mountains rose straight from the water and then fell into other mountains. Glaciers towered over the land in inaccessible, unnamed valleys and beautiful peat bogs in any depression. I expect Chiloe to be equally striking but not quite as inhospitable, despite Darwin's assertion that it may be the rainiest place on earth.

1 comment:

  1. Safe travels bud... keep us posted of your fantastic adventures!