Chile - Yerba Loca nature sanctuary

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5 years 7 months ago #70671 by nkgray
nkgray created the topic: Chile - Yerba Loca nature sanctuary
The Yerba Loca nature sanctuary (pronounce Yerba as the SA surname Gerber and you are not far off - Yerba Loca is Spanish for "wild grass") lies just a 35km - 50 minute drive due east from central Santiago. Well it was 50 minutes for me. My first "solo" drive on the "wrong" side of the road and on a road that was anything but straight and flat.



I set out just after dawn and from one of the hairpins on the map above took this telephoto shot looking up the Yerba Loca valley before the sun had risen far enough to highlight the valley floor. We had the first decent rain in over 5 months in Santiago on Friday night, and this manifested in the mountains as the first snow of the winter.



2H30 later I was sitting on a rock in the Yerba Loca sanctuary with this view.



Of the Chilean endemics in the area the Chilean Mockingbird was extremely plentiful -



while the Moustached Turca, seen only once in the El Yeso valley a month ago was much more common here. Some, like the first, preferred to skulk in the undergrowth, while most posed beautifully.







A third endemic, the Chilean Tinamou, a South American lookalike for our South African francolins and spurfowls, I saw only once and managed only one photograph.



Most of the following birds were extremely common in this reserve and I was spoilt for choice in trying to decide which were my best shots of each.

Rufous-collared Sparrow - actually a bunting





Common Diuca-Finch, male and female





Mourning Sierra-Finch - female



Austral Blackbird, looks and behaves like a small crow, has a call like a starling, and is not related to the European Blackbird, which is a thrush



Dark-bellied Cinclodes



Bar-winged Cinclodes (this is the Central Andean sub-species known locally as the Buff-winged Cinclodes)



Rufous-banded Miner



Long-tailed Meadowlark - male and female





To end with two raptors. First an adult Harris's Hawk -



and my favourite shot of the day (and also the last species seen, bringing up my 1200 on my world list) an Austral Pygmy-Owl with lunch. It is the size of our Pearl-spotted Owlet and has caught a Common Degu almost bigger than itself. The degu is an Andean rodent looking like but only distantly related to the rat.



Oh, and finally another Chilean endemic - Philodryas chamissonis - common names Long-tailed Snake or Chilean Green Racer. Apparently gives a painful bite that causes swelling, but is not life-threatening.




Neil

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5 years 7 months ago #70686 by docandy
docandy replied the topic: Re: Chile - Yerba Loca nature sanctuary
Very nice! :D

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5 years 7 months ago #70688 by gordon
gordon replied the topic: Re: Chile - Yerba Loca nature sanctuary
Looks like a stunning place!

Nice to be seeing all these new species (at least for us back here in South Africa)!

Cheers,
Gordon

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5 years 7 months ago #70691 by John Young
John Young replied the topic: Re: Chile - Yerba Loca nature sanctuary
Looks like an awesome spot for birding and you've done it considerable justice - Like it a lot!!! <!-- s:hypnodisk: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/hypnodisk.gif" alt=":hypnodisk:" title="Hypnotised" /><!-- s:hypnodisk: -->

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5 years 7 months ago #70736 by Margaret
Margaret replied the topic: Re: Chile - Yerba Loca nature sanctuary
Hi Neil

Congratulations with 1200. What a great number! And, thank you for enriching our lives!

Regards. Michael

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5 years 7 months ago #70741 by John Young
John Young replied the topic: Re: Chile - Yerba Loca nature sanctuary (Santiago quake 16 A
Hi Neil,

Just read on News24 that there's been an earthquake near Santiago:

"[i:2yg1pd47]Powerful quake shakes Santiago: A powerful 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck near the Chilean capital Santiago late on Monday, the US Geological Survey said.

The quake, which the USGS initially measured at a magnitude of 6.6, struck 48km north-northeast of the main port of Valparaiso, and 116km northwest of the capital Santiago at a depth of 25.9km, it said.

There were no initial reports of damage or injuries.

The USGS initially said the quake struck at a depth of 67.4km[/i:2yg1pd47]."

We trust and hope that all is well, and you have not been affected.

regards,
Dave

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5 years 7 months ago #70742 by nkgray
nkgray replied the topic: Re: Chile - Yerba Loca nature sanctuary
Dave,

Still here!!! Can't get Elvis Presley's "All shook up" out of my mind. Living in the "earthquake capital of the world" has its moments. This was the third quake over magnitude 5.0 in 5 weeks. The first was just a "trembler" of 5.1, lasting a matter of seconds. The last, just over 3 weeks ago was a big one, magnitude 7.1. I stood in my 8th floor apartment watching all the windows of the building opposite rattling in their frames, while feeling I was on a boat and hadn't found my sea legs yet. That went on for a good 20 seconds. The latest at 00:30 local time this morning added a new dimension, apart from waking me up from a deep sleep. You could actually hear - although now I'm not so sure whether it wasn't feel rather than hear - the shock waves arriving, peaking and moving on. Rather like an express train, or London tube, approaching and rushing past. This one also lasted about 20 seconds. I could also hear my neighbours heading for the stairwell, but I've decided that at my age rushing down 8 flights of stairs will take longer than the quake lasts and could result in more injury to me than staying put. The last really big one here, a massive 8.8, one of the top 10 quakes ever recorded worldwide, was only 2 years ago. So working on the belief that that one was at least a one 1 in 100 year event I reckon I'm OK.

Neil

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5 years 7 months ago #70760 by John Young
John Young replied the topic: Re: Chile - Yerba Loca nature sanctuary
Well that's great news Neil - now I can (selfishly <!-- s:wink: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=":wink:" title="Wink" /><!-- s:wink: --> ) look forward to more of your posts and awesome pictures. Stay well.

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5 years 6 months ago #71223 by arty
arty replied the topic: Re: Chile - Yerba Loca nature sanctuary
Nice !! really nice looking place.

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