On the island of Chiloe, the forests were aflame with the bright red blossoms of notro trees. Firecrown hummingbirds, cometocino finches, blackbirds, and others were busy with the very nectar-rich flowers. Like hummingbirds everywhere, the firecrowns defended the trees fiercely.
One of the pleasures of going somewhere altogether new is seeing so many new birds. Even "ordinary" birds–the ones that everyone there is numbly familiar with, the ones analogous to crows or robins or mallards here–have an exotic appeal. Six days of enforced beach leisure, surrounded by all these "new" birds gave me plenty of opportunity to observe their habits and sketch them. Of the birds on this page, Franklin's gulls, neotropic cormorants, American oystercatchers, and whimbrels make their way to latitudes where I've seen them. The rest were brand-new to me…
And I'll put in a plug here for Jaramillo's terrific book Birds of Chile. Great illustrations, well-written, easy to use.
Here are a couple of plants we found on a walk. Because they grew in close proximity to roads and buildings, I assumed they must be introduced. But after researching them a bit, I'm now thinking they might be more native than I had thought. There are many native Alstroemerias in Chile (although apparently most are winter-blooming), and the legume shrub looks like it could be in the Prosopis genus, which is native… in any case, I was intrigued by that odd, bright red flag on the seed. Cheryl wondered if it was a bird-attractor.