10 November, 2011

Down the Track

On Wednesday, Island Girl continued to fly south through the Atacama. She traveled another 177 miles (286 km) and reached the town of Copiapo, a major inland settlement and agricultural area on the Pan-American Highway. Quite a number of agricultural fields line this valley almost all the way down to the coast. Vast areas of vineyards sweep right up into the sandy hillsides.

Several years ago, we caught a juvenile cassini peregrine in this valley. We found that it had a badly bruised wing from an earlier accident, so we released it. It was very clear to see why it was there, abundant birdlife in the irrigated and vegetated valley as usual.

Island Girl slept on the north slope of a low ridge separating two dry arroyos. She was at 3,147' elevation and seven miles east of both Copiapo and the Pan-American Highway. The site was well inland, about 45 miles (72 km) east of the Pacific.

Here is a shot from north of last night's roost showing the Chilean coastal mountains of the Atacama.

Island Girl is now within striking distance of her "winter" home. Recall that it is springtime in Chile in November.

Putu is about 540 miles (868 km) south. She is capable of covering this distance in a long day but will likely take a bit longer. Her 2011 "fall" migration is almost over.

She could be sleeping there as early as tomorrow (Friday) night.

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