June 01, 2008:
American Goldfinch / Carduelis tristis
13 April, 2008:
Sarah and I spent a lovely Saturday in Point Reyes, first hiking along Abbott’s Lagoon and picnicking on the beach, and then walking a little ways out on the Tomales Point Trail to enjoy the glut of wildflowers that’s usually there this time of year. We weren’t disappointed – loads of irises, radish, and various asters lined the trail. Birding was very good at both locations, and I even got a lifer (Red-necked Grebe).
Since I’m so far behind in posting, I will dispense with the words and let the photos tell the tale.
Abbott’s Lagoon Trail
Wednesday, 2 April:
Today was a national holiday to commemorate the 26th anniversary of the Maldives War (which we in the US know more familiarly as the Falklands War), and the day started in a relaxed fashion, especially as little was open, so there was no hurry.
We decided to check out the nearby Jardin Botanico, a 8-block walk from our apartment.
Tuesday, 1 April:
We woke up, got ready, and took a cab to the Buquebus terminal in the Puerto Madera district of Buenos Aires, arriving about an hour early, as recommended by our ticket agent. Customs control was fast and efficient, with an Argentine officer stamping us out right next to the Uruguayan who stamped us in, a huge improvement over our experience going from Argentina to Chile via bus!
As is so often the case, having arrived at the designated time, we spent over 30 minutes waiting around as the ferry arrived and docked. Eventually we were allowed to board and made our way through a set of convoluted corridors on the second level of the under-rennovation Buquebus building.
Not only did it have an upstairs VIP lounge, but there was a (large) duty-free shop, and many, many rows and columns of seats, which were spacious and comfortable, at least by US airline standards.
Saturday, 29 March:
A Peregrine Falcon got the day off to a good start as it flew close overhead while I had coffee on the terrace of our apartment. Although I’ve seen Peregrines a number of times before, this one provided good looks.
After a light breakfast we all walked to Avenida Santa Fe and caught the Subte green line to downtown Buenos Aires, an area also referred to as “microcentro.”
Thursday, 27 March:
We woke up ungodly-early and caught a pair of cabs to the Punta Arenas airport, careening wildly in the light rain. I’m not sure, but we think the cabs may have been racing each other the 5 miles to the airport. If so, Jim & Diane’s driver won, but only barely. Once boarded we had a 1.75-hour flight north to Puerto Montt, and another 1.5 hours to Santiago de Chile, where we had a too-long 3-hour layover and ate a terrible meal at the airport’s Ruby Tuesdays. Fortunately the last leg of our many-hop day was only one hour from Santiago to Buenos Aires, and on a comfy plane with personal seat-back entertainment to boot.
At Ezeia (Buenos Aires’ international airport) we contracted a Manuel Tiendes car for AR$125 to our apartment for the next week and a half. This was a fine arrangement, especially for 4 of us, although we had to help the driver find where we were staying – a good thing S & I had studied the local maps beforehand!
View from the back window of our apartment
Tuesday, March 25 (continued):
We’d arrived a bit early for our 4:30pm departure from the Punta Arenas docks, and milled around at the end of the road in the wind for a bit before they started letting folks board. The ship, a re-purposed auto ferry, was large and of a 1960’s vintage. We sat down in hard plastic chairs and steeled ourselves for the ~2-hour ride along the Straits of Magellan to Isla Magdalena, seasonal home to a colony of thousands of Magellanic Penguins. Although we were much too late in the season to see any young, we were assured that the adults were still plentiful.
Monday, March 24:
We awoke to a magnificent sunrise, easily the loveliest I have ever seen, and I rushed outside in a t-shirt and sweats to capture it before it faded.
Sunday, March 23:
After a quick breakfast at our hotel we loaded up the car and headed to Salto Grande, just a quarter mile past where we’d parked the previous day for our boat ride across Lago Pehoe. The winds were blowing fiercely, but the air was warm’ish as we made our way the few hundred yards to the viewpoint overlooking Salto Grande.