Patagonia, Tierra Del Fuego, Day 4 / by Mark Boyd

It wasn't even light when I awoke.... I wandered down on to the unsurfaced road and walked towards the already noisy ibis colony.... I walked quietly across the field towards the trees.... The sound was deafening.... Once in the trees I stopped... I stood still, only moving to lift or lower my camera, all movements deliberate and slow.  I was surrounded by black faced ibis.... The light was low, and the birds were a little jumpy, but I did my best to capture some images for you!

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I stood there watching and listening for around 45 minutes.....

As I walked back I spotted another little track and decided to follow it.  It was almost opposite where I was camping.  I walked quietly.... There were so many different bird species.... It was wonderful....

 The 'Check me out - I'm awwwwwwwwwesome' courtship display.....

The 'Check me out - I'm awwwwwwwwwesome' courtship display.....

The sun was just starting to show itself as I reached the river.... The golden light reflecting from it's surface.  I sat down and watched. 

 Iphone 6 panoramic gives the gist of what lay before me..... This but massive!!!

Iphone 6 panoramic gives the gist of what lay before me..... This but massive!!!

Everything was so still except for a little movement in the river below....

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Big trout were swirling over the gravel - they were spawning.  I sat and watched through my binoculars.... Then decided to wander down to see if I could get an interesting shot or two.

 Fins & Tails....

Fins & Tails....

 Spawning....

Spawning....

 Cracking fish! Beautiful golden light! Glassy water....

Cracking fish! Beautiful golden light! Glassy water....

As I knelt on the cold ground, wrapped in all my layers I looked downstream.... What was that on the bank???  It moved.... Ooooooooooooh!  It was a big ole beaver.  I maintained my distance so as not to spook him.  I snatched a couple of 'faraway' shots and settled down to watch. 

 Mr Beaver.

Mr Beaver.

 Me thinks he can smell me..... Not surprising!

Me thinks he can smell me..... Not surprising!

After half an hour I returned slowly towards the camp, watching the birds as I walked.  I was amazed as a small flock or rowdy parakeets settled in the tree beside me and began 'posing'.

 Austral Parakeets

Austral Parakeets

 Chimango Caracara....

Chimango Caracara....

 Rufous Collared Sparrow

Rufous Collared Sparrow

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I'd been out over 2 hours.  Angela was still asleep in the car.  I woke her with a coffee.  Seemed to make her day.... She's a little slow to come out of her morning coma.

I told her about the beaver.  She was disappointed not to have seen it.  I told her we'd walk back over after breakfast if she really wanted to see it.... And sure enough there he was.... This time he disappeared under water and in to the river bank.... We walked quietly and sat and waited for him to re-emerge, and he did.  This time super close.... We sat like statues, until he spooked and dived down.  That was enough.  We didn't want to disturb him.  It was time to return to camp, pack down the gear and head towards Ushuaia.  

 My favourite campsite yet!!!!!

My favourite campsite yet!!!!!

It was a relatively short drive of 150 miles on a fully surfaced highway for the most part!  As we got closer to reaching our destination the mountains seemed to spring up out of nowhere!  Amazing, huge, very aesthetically pleasing, snow capped mountains.... Wow!  The road was narrow and winding.... A little too dangerous to stop and take pictures, but to be honest I don't think they'd have done the vista the justice it deserved.... We continued on and in to the town of Ushuaia..... and we had a hostel awaiting us!  Hot showers and proper beds (albeit bunks!) and a warm place to relax..... I couldn't wait!