09 November, 2011

Island Girl Crosses the Tropic of Capricorn

Yesterday, she not only officially left the tropics but flew right on past the coastal city of Antofagasta. This is a great city, growing by leaps and bounds and is very popular with Chileans. They call it "Anto".

I have had many great experiences there from encountering bands of Gypsys running after our trucks to grab stuff to throwing a harnessed pigeon on a crowded beach with an adult peregrine strafing the stunned sunbathers with multiple low and fantastic stoops, to the catch of my life with the "Antofagasta long noose" and Sparrow King, to drawing a peregrine out of full a soar hundreds of feet up and then down into an open soccer field with soldiers pointing rifles at us and telling us to leave until the falcon was caught at their feet completely enrapturing them, to talking our way into a full-out professional soccer stadium and catching an adult off a light standard there, watching him fly down into the middle of the field and get snagged. What a place. What a place.

And it is filled with pigeons like nowhere else on earth that I have ever seen. Hundreds of thousands of them. It is a paradise for peregrines. And they are there in numbers too. We saw many on cell towers, the perfect man-made desert perch.

The fact that Island Girl went right on by says to me that she is heading home now. She is going for it.

She flew 183 miles (295 km) and wound up sleeping on a little low hill 25 miles (40 km ) inland, way out in the heart of the desert.

I think I may see a field of rocks there on GE but can't be certain. I hope she used something like this to at least get off of the ground.

She roosted in between the coastal highway and the Pan-American Highway 5.

She was in a sort of shallow valley with a haul road coming up from the coast. In fact, I am pretty sure we drove up this valley one time. Long, dusty, huge trucks, rock and dirt all the colors you can imagine, tan, red, black, yellow, orange and even purple. Just a stark, hauntingly beautiful place, sun-scorched and vast.

1 comment:

Becky said...

Love the photos w/the post...that helps to put the place in perspective.