Here is another really nice post from Don McCall for yesterday.....
Another 361 km (224 mi) for Island Girl yesterday, as she passed Lima, Peru and roosted in the high desert about 20 kilometers east of Chincha Alta.
Some historical tidbits:
In 2009 she reached this latitude on 07 November and returned to Putu on 19 November (12 days later).
In 2010 she reached this latitude on 30 October and returned to Putu on 09 November (10 days later).
This year she reached this latitude on 02 November, very close to her 'average'."
Island Girl is now traveling through an area of Peru that has a rich history among peregrine people. Oscar Beingolea, the leading peregrine authority in that country has worked here for many, many years on migrant and wintering North American peregrines as well as documented the breeding behavior and distribution of the local race, Falcon peregrinus cassini.
I have joined Oscar several times in these areas, including Chincha Alta, near where IG slept last night.
In fact, it is remarkable how similar her roosts have been in Peru this year.
Last night, she once again slept on a cliff located near the top of a dry Atacama ridge at 3,622' in the Andean foothills. She was about 18 miles inland (29 km) from the ocean and not far from Highway 26, a main road leading up into the highlands.
This time, she was between two forks of the San Juan River, a major source of water for the immense agricultural fields of the Chincha region. This important area produces food and cotton for Peru.
Oscar used to explain to me that the area also has a multitude of chicken farms. The food from these operations incidentally supports and maintains large numbers wild birds, including doves, pigeons and passerines. These in turn are hunted by peregrines.
We think that the evolution of modern agriculture (and cities) in the Atacama regions has impacted peregrine biology substantially. The abundance of water and food attracts them to prey in these areas and has created far more opportunities for hunting than in the spartan and austere dry desert.