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Patagonia: fauna

Guanacos, condors, penguins and other fauna


View Patagonia on neurotraveler's travel map.

This entry shows photos of the wildlife that we encountered in Patagonia. We were fortunate to see many guanacos in their native environment as well as condors and penguins.

Guanaco

A highlight of our trip was the chance to watch and photograph the delightful guanaco which roams these mountainsides, sometimes in herds and oftentimes singly. Ironically we found these lovely creatures hard to find on hikes but numerous while driving around the parks. Since we were in a rental car, we could stop whenever we wanted to. The most unusual feature of the guanaco, at least in the parks, is that they are relatively immune to the presence of humans. So they did not immediately shy away as soon as you stopped the car or as soon as they saw you, which allowed relatively close encounters. Guanacos are closely related to camels, llamas, vicunas, and alpacas. Their natural predators are pumas, but we did not encounter any during our visit.

Guanaco against the mountains at sunset

Guanaco against the mountains at sunset

Grazing guanaco

Grazing guanaco

Herd of guanacos

Herd of guanacos

Guanaco against the Andes at sunset

Guanaco against the Andes at sunset

Guanaco against the Andes

Guanaco against the Andes

Grazing guanaco

Grazing guanaco


Guanaco against the Andes

Guanaco against the Andes

Guanaco against the Andes

Guanaco against the Andes

Condors

The other iconic Andean animal that we encountered on several occasions was the condor. Usually they are seen as they soar high in the sky. In Torres del Paine, the Mirador Condor is aptly named since there are indeed condors that make their nest in the rock just below the summit. The caves are visible from the bottom, but not from the top, of the hike. An unusual aspect of having the mirador higher than the nests is that one can get photos of the top of the condors, rather than the more usual view from below. Turns out condors are pretty much completely black on the bottom of their wings but have vivid white spots on top

Soaring condor

Soaring condor

Soaring condor

Soaring condor

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Condor soaring against the Andes

Condor soaring against the Andes


Andean stealth bombers

Andean stealth bombers

Soaring condor over the Andes

Soaring condor over the Andes

Condor nest in rock face

Condor nest in rock face

Condor surveying out his front door

Condor surveying out his front door

Magellanic woodpecker

Magellanic woodpecker

Magellanic woodpecker

Magellanic woodpecker

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20181103_1320824

Caracara eagle with Torres in the background

Caracara eagle with Torres in the background

Isla Magdalena

We drove back to Punta Arenas to return the rental car and catch our flight home to Santiago. We had one day in Punta Arenas to visit the penguin colony on Isla Magdalena. In all of the guidebooks, it mentions that there is a smaller penguin colony that can be seen on the mainland at the Seno Otway Penguin Colony. Since our drive back to Punta Arenas from El Chalten took us past the turnoff to the colony, we thought we’d go for a short visit. But this was a mistake since the facility has been closed for over 3 years, we were later told, because all the penguins were gone. However, we did not learn this until we had driven to the locked gate over 15-20 kms of a terrible dusty road. There is still a prominent sign advertising the place on the main highway despite the closure for 3 years.

Our boat to Isla Magdalena - it was a rough ride

Our boat to Isla Magdalena - it was a rough ride

Penguins wander freely

Penguins wander freely

Penguin on Isla Magdalena

Penguin on Isla Magdalena

Penguin on Isla Magdalena

Penguin on Isla Magdalena

Penguins on Isla Magdalena

Penguins on Isla Magdalena

Penguin burrows

Penguin burrows

Penguins on Isla Magdalena

Penguins on Isla Magdalena

Penguins

Penguins

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20181112_1340056

Penguin incubating eggs in the burrow

Penguin incubating eggs in the burrow

Posted by neurotraveler 17:21

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