10 November, 2012

Another day off....

Island Girl chose to remain in the same area of coastal Chile yesterday, deciding not to move south for yet another day. She was moving around near the coastline and working a conspicuous point of land on the coastline. This is likely a good concentration point for other birds migrating south and so another prime hunting area for her.

She is "staging" once again, that is, pausing in her migration for one reason or another. It could be that she needs to rest after flying hard for several days. It could be that she has found a particularly vulnerable prey population that she is exploiting (as in Limon earlier). It could be that she has to fatten up a bit to provide energy for her migration south. It could be all of these factors and more.
This is a pretty normal behavior for migrating peregrines.

She roosted high on the slope above the coastal terrace at around 2,459'. Once again, her precise site was obscured by clouds on Google Earth so we can't tell exactly what she slept on but no doubt a rock or cliff as there are no trees in this area.

This hanging cloud cap is a common feature along this section of Chilean coastline. As the winds rise up from the sea and gain elevation, water vapor condenses with a drop in temperature and forms these dense clouds.

It is cooler up there, often with a good breeze, and would provide cover and relief from the intense Atacama sunlight. Nice choice for her.

Because water can be so scarce in this region, some towns along this coast have erected large structures designed to catch the dew from the fog formed on these mountain tops. They look like giant screens up there.

Keep in mind that some areas of the Atacama have never recorded rainfall. It is considered to be the dryest desert on earth.

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