Nice to finally meet you

As we travel we love to see new animals and birds. Generally we keep our expectations low and that seems to guarantee great happiness when we are lucky enough to actually spot something new. What were our expectations when coming to Patagonia? We read somewhere that sightings are easy since there’s not a lot of cover for animals and birds in the short shrubby landscape, but conditions aren’t conducive to large numbers of animals and birds. Bad news for us, we thought.

The good luck was in choosing to come to Bahia Bustamante. 480,000 acres of land, many miles of coastline, and stewardship of both means there’s a lot of wildlife. On one of our first days we went with other guests and a guide to “Penguin Island”. The timing had to be just right since we needed to walk over to the island at low tide. We were all offered walking sticks and that helped as we balanced on slippery rocks making our way to the island.

When we arrived we wondered where the penguins were. Low bushes covered the interior of the island and at first we didn’t see any penguins. Then, we saw where to look.

We know it just looked that way - but this penguin seemed happy to see us.

We know it just looked that way – but this penguin seemed happy to see us.

Most of the 80 pairs of Magellanic penguins nested under the brush.

Most of the 80 pairs of Magellanic penguins nested under the brush.

Males and females traded time on the nest. When not on the nest, they fed in the sea.

Males and females traded time on the nest. When not on the nest, they fed in the sea.

We walked slowly around the bushes on little paths, seeing penguins on nests at every turn, many only a few feet away from their neighbors’ nests.

When we emerged from the brushy area, we saw a lone penguin working its way down to the sea.

When we emerged from the brushy area, we saw a lone penguin working its way down to the sea.

Another day we took a boat ride to see other islands of the Malaspina Bay, each primarily occupied by a distinct species. The Magellanic penguins are on another island, as well. We used binoculars to watch the sea lions on their island. Steamer-ducks, gulls, and neotropic cormorants occupied different islands.

Two other species of cormorants – rock and imperial (also called blue-eyed) – made this island their home.

Two other species of cormorants – rock and imperial (also called blue-eyed) – made this island their home.

A pair of Chubut Steamer-ducks came close to the boat. Their range is limited to two very small areas along the Patagonian coast, so we counted ourselves lucky to see them.

A pair of Chubut Steamer-ducks came close to the boat. Their range is limited to two very small areas along the Patagonian coast, so we counted ourselves lucky to see them.

On walks from our little cottage every afternoon, we saw many things of interest: fading seashells on the beach; shore birds; new flowering plants; and exotic animals to us, like mara (an animal that looks like a cross between a kangaroo and rabbit) and armadillo.

We never imagined we’d spend so much time and be so close to the penguins. We realized at Bahia Bustamante that each time we met a new bird or animal or plant we had time to get to know it. It’s a rare place that offers that kind of experience.

 

November 2016

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
This entry was posted in Argentina, South America - 2016 and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Nice to finally meet you

  1. plaidcamper says:

    Lovely photographs – especially like the happy looking penguin!

  2. What a lovely treat. Penguins are very cute. I’ve seen them on Philip Island in Victoria.

  3. Cliff Mail says:

    Looks like a great place to escape to. We hope to see penguins on our trip through the Catlins Region in the South Island. I see it was Argentina’s turn for a little shake but it looked to be further to the West than where you are.

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