Day 1 of Condors 5/1-2014

 

Lesser Rhea outside Punta Arenas

Lesser Rhea outside Punta Arenas

Long-tailed Meadowlark

Long-tailed Meadowlark

Southern Crested Caracara

Southern Crested Caracara

Up early and off to the southern parts of the Andes. We are going for the shy Condors. On the way towards the hide we stop several times and the drive takes at least an hour more than what could be expected from looking at a map. We get to see the Ostrich like Lesser Rhea several times and other new birds to me. For example I see a Long-tailed Meadowlark just outside Punta Arenas and there are several birds of prey. Not close from the estancia where we will be staying we see a group of condors feasting on a cow carcass just beside the road. I get the first pictures of these grandiose birds. So after three hours on the road from Punta Arenas we arrived at estancia Rio Verde. The plan is to stay here for almost three days to maximize the chances to get good photos of the Condors. Alve have been building the hide for almost a month we arrive and even of it is large it blends very well with landscape. You can easily walk by and miss it.

Mountain side with marked with Condor dung

Mountain side with marked with Condor dung

Condors with carcass

Condors with carcass

Plant at the estancia

Plant at the estancia

We get our rooms, lunches in bags and off we go. We crawl in to the very long hide with enough space for 15 people side by side but it is only just above 1 meter in height.

Then waiting, waiting – hours with Kelp Gulls and a lot of the falcon like bird of prey Southern Crested Caracara. They fight and fly in circles. Funny and beautiful but not what we really are here for. So just before 6 PM the first Condor land in a distance of ca 75 meters. The Condors are gigantic birds – almost like a person in height – a well like a 5 year child on the ground but up to 2.5 to 3 meters wing span, which I can assure you is very impressive and huge!

Fighting Kelp Gulls

Fighting Kelp Gulls

Southern Crested Caracara

Southern Crested Caracara

Kelp Gull with sheep guts

Kelp Gull with sheep guts

Condor - check the difference in size!

Condor – check the difference in size!

A perfect ending of the first day in the hide. We drive back to the estancia and for dinner we get lamb that has been grilled on open fire all afternoon. Very tasty and rich. In bed early – the heating and electrical power was cut at eleven. After that the only choice was reading with a flash light or to sleep and after the long day it was not hard to decide. I sleep hard and dream of dark shadows in the sky. Plan to get out at sunrise but wake up to a rain storm and sleep for another hour.

Kelp Gulls having fun

Kelp Gulls having fun

Kelp Gulls

Kelp Gulls

Condors - The couple

Condors – The couple

Condor taking off

Condor taking off

4 Responses to “Day 1 of Condors 5/1-2014”

  1. Hasse Andersson skriver:

    Hi Ola!
    Great photos as usual!
    / / Hasse

  2. Edwin skriver:

    Häftigt med kondor! Favoriten blir nr 10, kondorbilden med miljö.

    /Edwin

  3. Ola skriver:

    Thanks a lot Hasse!
    All the best – Ola

  4. Ola skriver:

    Kul att du gillar kondoren i miljö – också min favorit.
    /Ola

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