22 April, 2012

Waiting For Felipe

Last night, we stayed in Tacna, our first town in Peru. We needed to take a night to get re-organized, get acquainted with Luis and talk logistics.

Because of the delay in signal time, we had no idea where Felipe had come in to roost.

Turns out he decided to stay in Chile for one more night. He slept on a south facing cliff about 40 miles inland from Arica, about as close to the border as possible.

We left the hotel at noon to head north but just as we were leaving Don called and gave us Felipes coordinates from the night before. No way were we going back through 6 hours of customs, immigration, vehicle registration, etc, so this is another roost site that we have missed.

As we drove north to the next projected roost are, I kept turning on our receiver in case he was flying nearby.

At 1343, well out into the desert, I picked up some faint signals from him but could tell he was far away to the east and circling.

Two hours later, Don called again with coordinates from about the same time we got the signal, confirming his path. He was up in the high Andes at around 15,000' and about 70 miles to our east. Good transmitter!

We pulled into Moquegua for the night to consider our options. We found out that he is roosting up there tonight about 50 miles almost due east of us.

Following a falcon along the coast is one thing. Chasing one up to 15,000' and across the altiplano of Peru is another.

So we are now at a turning point in this study.

Felipe has many routes he could follow. He could drop back down to the coast. He could curve around and follow the highlands for a few days. Or he could even cross the mountains, drop down into the Amazon basin and head for the Antilles and the Florida route home. If so, it is bye, bye, sayonara and good luck.

Tomorrow will tell the tale.

In the meantime our team has decided to push into the mountains as far as we can this morning and see what happens. So much for tropical clothing at 15,000'.

Fortunately, our guide, Luis, is from Cuzco and this is his home ground. I don't think that I would try this without his expertise here.

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