29 February, 2012

Marking time...

It is Wednesday morning here in sunny Santiago.

We are still waiting for our container to arrive in Valparaiso with all of our equipment.

Over the last two days, we have been working on renting out another vehicle for a week (with an ATV) so we can at least survey some areas for peregrines and start making friends with them. In this manner, we hope they will be more open to trapping when we do get our gear.

We thought about getting started with just a basic set-up but lack the specialized material for attaching the transmitters. So, even if we caught a bird, we could not tag it yet. We seem to be stymied at every turn as a result of the shipping error.

However, with friends like Christian and Gianinna, we are making the best of it. It is so helpful to have them here, giving us a hand. True hospitality.



            Becky meets an Austral Pygmy Owl at Christians place


Thye have arranged for us to stay for several days in the home/museum of the late Luis Pena, a world class entomologist from Chile. He donated his home for the express purpose of housing wandering biologists such as ourselves.

The place is now run by a wonderful man and friend of Christian's named Alfredo Pena, along with his wife and six very cute children.



Alfredo, Terecita and Magdalena

The house is filled with specimen cabinets and display cases showcasing all manner of exotic South American beetles, butterflies and moths.


Bud with a box of Chilean Tarantulas

It is a biologists paradise with fascinating items in every corner. There are boomerangs, cases of tarantulas, mineral specimens, bow and arrows from the Amazon basin, old photos, basketry, carvings and tapestries of all kinds.

The kids have a pet Chinchilla, a species native to the deserts north of here.



                           Kathy and Becky with the Chinchilla


Today, with luck, we hope to arrange all of the final papers for importing our vehicles so when the container arrives we will minimize any further delay.

Of course, most everything in Chile takes longer than expected, so we are hoping for the best.

If the container arrives on 5 March (a big if), we hope to be in the field that night.

We figure that the delay has cost us about half of our trapping time. If all goes well from here, we may have a week  or so to catch two peregrines. That is a tall order for Chile so, unfortunately, despite our best efforts to the contrary,  the pressure is now on.

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