Friday, February 22, 2019

On the trail of Charles Darwin

When Juan Diaz de Solis landed in Punta del Este in Uruguay in 1516, he was  immediately killed and eaten by the local indigenous people.  Now 503 years later, when Olaf landed at the same spot, all he did was get some sun and find birds.

In 1833 aboard the HMS Beagle, Charles Darwin came ashore at the very same beach we are staying at to have a bath.  Like us, he was taking a break before heading still farther south to log wildlife and try to prove his budding theories of evolution.  We are following many intrepid explorers, Darwin, Shackleton, Charcot, and even Diaz, but we don't expect to be the fare of the day.  Darwin came to bathe here and so must we.
         Uruguay is a marvelous place. It is unlike any place I've been and was a fitting number to tick off my bucket list.  Birds....we are staying in a place named after a diminutive dog, Chihuahua, and it is birdy as heck, and so far, we are figuring out what is what and I'm already over 35 on my life list and we haven't worked that hard.  It is hot, it is clear and the sun on the flag calls us, and even yesterday after some good birds, we went to a vineyard for lunch and wondered in the middle of a Discovery Channel "Charlie Wine" episode.

here he is waiting on his production manager to set the scene.  On camera, Charlie came over and gave us some fresh pressed chardonnay juice.  It was so good. All the while we ate the most marvelous lunch in a long time.  The only reason we got the reservation was because it was being filmed.  The view was stunning, too.

The star and the host drank wine since seven in the morning, and arrived to the winery in style.  Olaf can only admire the old Chrysler Imperial convertible

  It was to my advantage to drive home as the sober designated driver as no one complained when we stopped for a bird.  We took off after shaking the wine personality's hand from Miami, and started to bird.  The first stop home was a two-fer

 brown and yellow marshbird
long-winged harrier

we've had a cornucopia of good food and birds...

bare- faced ibis

campo flicker

chimango caracara

grey cowled wood-rails

Gray monjita

guira cuckoo

roadside hawk

rufous bellied thrush

sayama tanager

short-billed eleania
whistling heron

white banded mockingbird

white throated hummingbird
green barred woodpecker

kelp gull

rufous hornero

This is just a start.  Cripes I even got to see monk parakeets in their native environment

So here I am 80 degrees latitude south of home, I'm exactly at 35 degrees south.  I'm taking a bath like Darwin, logging birds and waiting for the next leg of the adventure and honestly coming here is a trip of a lifetime.  Safe, warm, not crowded, and full of birds.....

I'm plus 36 on lifer birds, and I have birds yet to be identified, so all is good, and last night I had Harris hawks outside my door and the night before that, fork-tailed flycatchers, all birds I don't need.  

Till the next report, I'll try to stay off the TV, next time



  1. Car is great. Brings back memories. Oh yeah, the birds are pretty good too!!!! Have fun.

  2. we are heading south, just flew through Rio, Beagle Channel next goal after tracking down an infamous grave in Argentina



This is not a bird trip organized for sissies.  Seeing the King aside, this almost seems like work.  The typical day is up at 0530, load up ...