11 November, 2012

Crossing the Tropic of Capricorn

On Saturday, Island Girl resumed her migration south.

She continued to fly along the Pacific coastline and covered 234 km (145 miles) for the day. She was paralleling the coast highway as she often does during this part of her journey.

I have driven along this road several times in the past. This is what it looks like, dry, rocky, gorgeous and elemental.

She slept high above the beach on the mountainous slope that rises up immediately from the coastal terrace here as shown above. Her roost was 4 km (2.5 miles) inland from the ocean.

The roost elevation was 2,339 feet. Looks like she was up in the cloud area again, sleeping on a open ridge. Here is a photo of the Chilean coastal habitat in this area taken from a couple of thousand feet high on the ridge by Kathryn Gunther. We're looking almost straight down to the ocean in this shot.

It appears to me that there were a couple of "tree" equivalents near her GPS coordinates last night, so she may have slept in one of those. However, the trees here are actually large cactus. Here you can see an example of what her area probably looked like. Kathy took all these shots too.

    Here is the equivalent of a tree for this region of the Atacama.

       And one of the most efficient bird predators of the desert, a Chilean Fox.

Island Girl was only about 76 km (48 miles) north of Antofagasta and I expect that today (Sunday) she flew across the Tropic of Capricorn which is located just north of that beautiful and vibrant Chilean city.

So she is now officially leaving the tropics and entering the southern temperate zone of South America.

The  northern equivalent of her position would be somewhere in northern Mexico, just nearing Texas.

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