Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Birds

Chimango Caracara
While in El Calafate, Argentina, we visited a bird sanctuary, the Riserva Municipal Laguna Nimez.  It’s most popular for the flamingo flocks, which look striking with snowcapped peaks behind them, but it contains a wide variety of birds (80 species) in their natural habitats, in the wetlands between El Calafate and lake Argentino.  It’s a large space, including two lagoons, and it took us a few hours (we got stuck in a duck blind during a rainstorm for a bit) to walk the main path that runs through it.
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The area was a cacophony of bird calls and songs, but one of the loudest of all—and we heard them everywhere in Patagonia, actually—is the black faced ibis, as seen above in flight. They are an odd-looking bird, but they seem as common as a crow at home.
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There isn’t a whole lot to say about the reserve, so we’ll just let the photos speak for themselves.
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We took a video of some of the birds as they were chasing each other and squawking quite loudly at the end of the day.

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We will say, if you ever have the opportunity to see a flock of flamingoes take to the air, don’t pass it up. They look like they aren’t going to make it for quite a while, until they finally straighten out and pull up.
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Nothing like watching a flock of flamingoes flap off into the sunset over a glacier to make you realize your life is pretty great.