Torres del Paine National Park
March 13, 2018
Temp. Range 38-50F
Cloudy with Scattered Showers
More scenic beauty from the Torres del Paine
National Park of Chile. Go HERE if you missed Part I.
The three huge granite 'Torres' (towers) which reach over 10,000 ft., are just
visible between the 'Cuernos' (horns) on the right side of this photo above.
As we moved on from the mountains the landscape became rolling hillsides and valleys
and we saw more wildlife along the roadside.
Pair of Guanaco
The llama, the guanaco, and the alpaca are all native to the Andes Mountains
in South America and they are all herbivores.
The only wild species is the guanaco. The llama and the alpaca are domesticated.
Darwin's or Lesser Rhea
An ostrich-like bird, the Darwin's or Lesser Rhea (Rhea pennata) is one
of the most distinctive, fabled and endangered residents of Patagonian
steppe grasslands. Two species of rhea, the Greater and Lesser, occupy
overlapping ranges in Patagonia. Lesser rheas typically weigh 35-55 lbs.
The Greater rhea is the largest of all South American birds and is related
to ostriches and emus. These flightless birds use their long, powerful
legs to outrun trouble. Although their large wings are useless for flight,
they are used for balance and for changing direction as the bird runs.
My hope whilst in Patagonia was to see the Andean condor
and, in this area of hills and valleys where the air currents are
conducive to high flying birds, my dream came true!
This condor, with an average wingspan of 10 ft. 8in. is the largest flying
land bird (combined weight and wingspan) in the world. Its habitat is mainly
composed of open grasslands and alpine areas up to 16,000 ft. in elevation.
It prefers relatively open, non-forested areas which allow it to spot carrion
from the air, such as the páramo or rocky, mountainous areas.
Weather conditions were not the best, and those huge birds were so high in the sky
only those with big DSLR cameras and really high-powered lenses were able to get
close-up shots. However, I did see several of these huge birds and managed a few photos.
To read more interesting facts about the Andean condor go HERE.
Puerto Natales, Chile
That night we stayed anchored at the port - some travelers enjoyed
more time in the town before returning to the ship.
Already suffering from the nasty cold/bug, I was ready to get back
on board post haste after a long day - with a little dinner and an early night.
Being rocked to sleep on the evening tide felt good!