07 November, 2011

Sunday In Chile

Island Girl continued on her way south through the desert yesterday, covering 115 miles (185 km) and moving even closer to home.

She flew past the city of Iquique, a classic Atacama city with loads of pigeons and doves. Christian Gonzalez took me here many, many years ago to show me a pair of wintering tundra falcons on the local cathedral that he had found. Most major cities along the coast of Chile will have one or more "pairs" hanging out together.

It was there that I learned one of the important purposes of cathedral towers. They hold the large bells that were traditionally used to communicate with the people of Iquique. And if you climb up to the towers to learn more about the prey of the wintering falcons there, you'll be both reminded and surprised at how very loud those bells can be at close range. A stunning and unforgettable experience.

She did not choose a "typical" roost last night. Instead, she slept fairly low down on a coastal slope (342') nowhere near a river valley. Looking at the GE image, it looks as if she chose an isolated rock to sleep on, at least I hope so. She could just as easily have slept on the ground, a very dangerous thing to do in this part of the world.

She was only about 1,500' above Highway 1, the coastal road in this part of Chile.

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