14 November, 2013

The Worst is Over...

Island Girl headed out in the morning, presumably after hunting and eating something, and by 0900 local time was 34 km (21 miles) south of her roost and flying at 33 km/h (52 mph). Pretty good speed for a migrant so she is flying serious.

She is now past the worst of the desert as she arrives at the southern end of the Atacama.

She flew 373 km (232 miles), passing the towns of Taltal, Chanaral, Caldera and Copiapo on her way.

This latter inland town is heavily irrigated and a center for growing grapes, as in really good, luscious grapes. The kind you need after driving through a desert all day. I have passed through here many times and always consider it to be a transition zone. You start seeing lots of desert shrubs and cactus from here south.

She roosted at the head of a gulch on a rocky, dry hillside in a small range called Cerro Chuschampis, at 2,935' elevation.

From this site, she could see and hear the Pan-American Highway during the night, just 7 km (4 miles) to her west.

If you check out some of the GE pictures, you can clearly see the beginning of the vegetative transition zone going towards the typical Mediterranean zone of central Chile.

She is now less than 500 miles from her home ground. Just a couple of more days before she arrives back at her river island perch near Putu.

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