Bird of the Far South (Pt. II)~

These birdies give us a good sense of how difficult bird identification is, and why I am sometimes uncertain of my labels. If you find I am wrong with an identification, please don’t hesitate to set me straight. I welcome the help. This is a male Kelp Goose who was photographed at the furthest southern point in Argentina. Kelp Geese are part of the sheldrake family and range from the southern portion of Patagonian Chile to Tierra del Fuego and The Falkland Islands. They have yellow legs and feet.

Here we have a Kelp Goose chick, note the dark legs on the chick, and the yellow legs on the adult.

These are Upland Geese. They are also birds of the far south. They have the same basic coloration, but male Upland Geese have black feet and females have yellow feet. I was pretty sure this was a female Upland Goose because she and the male had a chick which you can see below.

The chick had black feet too! Are you confused yet? This is why I would never swear by my identifications….

Here you can’t see the feet at all but this is the same pair that I am betting are Upland Geese. This family was photographed in The Falkland Islands.

In this group shot, the legs are not really cooperating, but my guess is still Upland Geese, males with black legs, and females with yellow. But they could be Ruddy Headed Geese.
Check this out:
You have to be kinda confused my now, I am. Still I’m going with Upland until someone corrects me….

Here is a Male Upland Goose with Magellanic Penguins in the Falkland Islands. At least we can be sure of the penguins right? Don’t be too sure. They are some other penguins mixed in with this colony, but thankfully this shot is far enough away, and we can’t see well enough to sort this out! Laughing……

These are Patagonian Crested Ducks. They live in the same far southern region and there are about 10,000 estimated breeding pairs of these ducks in existence. This pair was in Ushuaia Argentina.

This guy is a year old Dolphin Gull, whose coloration is entirely different from adults whose photos I posted on my previous post. They are this color when they are young and change as they mature. He was in Tierra del Fuego and is also a bird of the far south.

This cutey is a Grass Wren, known as a Sage Wren in North America. He sings beautifully and was photographed in The Falkland Islands.

And finally we have a Southern Lapwing. This bird is found extensively throughout South America and extends to the very tip of the continent.
The good news is, we aren’t having a test on any of this, so we can just enjoy the beautiful birds, and hope I identified them correctly.
Cheers to you from the many amazing birdies of the far south~

Birds of the Far South (pt. I)~

There are lots of birdies in the southern hemisphere! They can fly where humans (and boats) flounder.

This osprey was the furthest north of all the birds pictured here. Ospreys are the most widely distributed bird in the world after peregrine falcons, and can be found on every continent except Antarctica. This guy was in Peru.

Magellanic Oystercatchers live on the tip of South America in Argentina, Chile, and The Falkland, Sandwich, and South Georgia Islands.

Peruvian Pelican’s are a near threatened species and are twice the size of their Brown Pelican cousins.

They can be found off the coasts of northern and southern Chile and Argentina. Standing next to them, they reached my shoulder!

These Brown Pelicans live as far south as the northern coast of Chile, which is where their territories overlap with Peruvian Pelicans whose distribution continues to the south.

This juvenile Black Crowned Night Heron,

was busy catching and swallowing a snake!

Cheers to you from the incredible birds of the southern hemisphere, and stay tuned for more, even further south~

Blogging at the Holler’s for the Birds!

I was sitting at my desk, just getting ready to post on birds of the far southern hemisphere, when I looked up and there walked Big-Bob! (All new critters at The Holler get names.) So instead of birds from the far south, you’re gonna get critter action from the Holler’s wild-west.

Of course Big-Bob, a great egret, doesn’t belong here. He belongs at the lake, but this is one of the many things I love about birds, they don’t follow human directions, and they pay no attention to where ornithologists say they should be.

Anyhoo, I grabbed my camera and followed Big-Bob. He was on a mission and unfortunately lizards were on the menu. Meet Fred.

Fred knows us. He is a very large, very old alligator lizard, but he got much smaller when Meep-Meep, the roadrunner, relieved him of his tail, which he is diligently trying to grow back, and resting a lot accordingly. He is also molting which makes everything worse, poor Fred.

Fred is now understandably wary of all large birds. He took one look at Big-Bob and bolted to safety. It was a good day for Fred and Big-Bob, but a not a good day at all for poor Little Lizzy!

You may see Flash the hummer in this photo flying close to observe the predator-prey interaction. Flash lives with us year round and some of you may remember Flash. I have lots of talks with him about staying away from large predator birds like Meep-meep and Big-Bob who like to eat hummers, but as I mentioned before, birds don’t listen to humans, so you can see Flash buzzing Big-Bob like nobody’s business.

So, instead of cheers to you from the birds of the far south,

it’s cheers to you from the hungry Holler’s wild-west-critters~

Dolphin Gulls~

Dolphin Gulls are sub-antarctic birds, living in the coastal regions of the southern ocean, and like most gulls can usually be found around boats and people, searching for hand-outs.

They are native to Patagonia, specifically Chile, Argentina and The Falkland Islands. Vagrants will visit the Sandwich and South Georgia Islands. They are quite beautiful snow-white birds and are smaller than most gull species, with much shorter, less lethal beaks.

This happy gull likes the freshly fallen rain water,

and drinks all he can the conventional way,

before turning his head almost completely upside down to guzzle more down!

Cheers to you from the Dolphin Gulls of the southern latitudes~

Follow Me~

Over the rainbow,

through Tierra del Fuego,

and up the Chilean Fjords, to find the mysteries at the southern end of the earth!

In Southern Chile, in the Lahuen Nadi National Park, live the second oldest trees in the world, the endangered Alerce Trees. Although previously extensively logged, these gorgeous Alcere’s can live up to 3600 years and reach up to 120 feet in height. They have been protected by the Chilean government since 1976.

I have spent much time amongst the oldest living organisms in the world, the Bristlecone Pines in Northern California, so I had to go and see their southern sisters. Just like the Bristlecones, the Alerce’s presence is not advertised in order to protect the trees, and not many people visit here. Walking amongst them is a thrill worth traveling to the ends of the earth to experience.

This temperate rain forest region in Chile is home to the world-famous Chilean Lake District. Lake Llanquihue pictured here, is the second largest lake in Chile.

The area and the town of Puerto Varas, was settled by German colonists in an incentive program sponsored by the Chilean government from 1846-1914. Approximately 30,000 German colonists set their roots down here. This is why Puerto Varas today looks much like a town in the Swiss Alps!

The German imprint is everywhere,

especially in the beautiful gardens,

and the charming wooden homes,

with their very German interiors.

Cheers to you,

from the ethereal Chilean Lake District~

Chilean Open-Air Art~

Chile is full of stunning street art.

Throughout Chile, large and small towns, are decorated with amazing open-air art, that is valued by the country and citizenry.

In Punta Arenas for example, the local government issued a statement saying that street art, “is a cultural manifestation, scenery which makes the walls more attractive and vital.”

The Punta Arenas city council actually financed a 400 metre section of street art.

They actively encourage street art in other parts of this most charming southerly city.

Santiago, Valparaiso, and Puerto Montt, all have a plethora of amazing open-air art.

Post the repressive Pinochet regime,

Chilean citizens exuberantly embrace and exercise their artistic talent and freedom of expression.

Walking amidst these amazing street art displays, is a wonderful experience.

Cheers to you with Chile’s stunning open-air art~

Nesting Magellanic Cormorants & Chicks~

Magellanic Cormorants are sea birds living in the frigid waters of the southern ocean and are found from southern Chile down through the Beagle Channel to Tierra del Fuego and Ushuaia Argentina.

I was thrilled to find a colony of nesting birds and settled in for some telephoto shooting.

I don’t believe in disturbing nesting birds, and always watch them from a non-intrusive distance.

And then this happened! These curious humans arrived by boat, got way too close, took photos with their cell phones, and panicked the birds.

All the parents understandably flew off in terror as soon as the humans got so close, exposing incubating eggs and unfledged chicks to the elements.

You can see one very brave parent remained, until even this last hold-out, got frightened by the persistent humans and flew away.

The fledglings scrambled together terrified,

as I watched all this, completely appalled.

I am however, very pleased to report a happy ending to this sad tale. The humans eventually left, the frightened parents cautiously returned, and the colony resumed peaceful functioning. You can see the mother’s settling back on their nests. The chicks were very lucky that hungry giant petrels, skuas or gulls didn’t find them in such a vulnerable state.

So thankfully, it’s cheers to you, from the very frightened birdies (and photographer)~