Friday, 12 February 2010

Eureka - Or Have I?

There's a lot of German influence about Pinamar, for instance I am staying at the Berlin Hotel, but for what it is, a seaside resort, its quite nice! I don't know where the cartographers get the 'A' at the end of the name, but there is no reference to it here. There are lots of little bars, restaurants and clubs, some made to look Alpine, while just across the road there is the best Deli I've ever been in. The landlady, who's mother (in attendance) was born in Buenos Aires which must have been close to the outbreak of WWII, has been helpfulness itself and today suggested I go to Carilo where, she said, there is less human activity and more wild beaches. Just 12Km south, the local bus got me there for 9 'o' clock and while there was plenty of Grockle paraphernalia to be seen, so far there were few people about. From the bus to La Playa (The Sea - look almost fluent) was a walk of about one kilometer, between some of the nicest houses I have ever seen. Like yesterday built in the heart of a Pine/Eucalyptus forest, the predominant feature were the Monk Parakeets. Not 'hundreds, but 'thousands' with their huge, communal nests built in at least 50% of the trees. Again my landlady had a comment about this, saying they used to be content with the Pines but in recent years have favoured the Eucalyptus. She chuckled when she told me that many of the nests become too heavy for the trees, and also in high winds they come crashing to the ground. The mirth was raised by tales of a number of human near misses.

Already the deckchairs were being laid out and beach huts opening, but as I hit the waterline I was just in time to see a Pomarine Skua relieve a Gull-billed Tern of its breakfast, so considered this a good omen for the rest of the day. Not a lot of activity to seaward, but the unexpected appearance of a Fork-tailed Flycatcher, also at the waterline, gave a little entertainment. A little further on Gulls were starting to appear, but only Grey-hooded, and so were the humans. A real bonus came with a small party of Snowy-crowned Tern preening close to the sand dunes, but that was short lived with the arrival of 63 quad-bikes. Of course I counted them, there was nothing else to do! After walking about 6 clicks, the first Black-backed Gull turned up. OK it was flying and it was high but it was an adult and definitely had a 'banded tail', all that was needed now was for it to settle. It didn't, and nor did the c4 that followed it, but even futher ahead there were large Gulls on the beach. This is when the frustration set in. Every time I close almost to camera distance there was a disturbance, I'd been constantly looking for humans and dogs and there seemed to be none about. First it was a woman jogger, then another woman decided to let her pets loose at the crucial moment, and then a wayward quad. Was I ever going to get my shot. Each time of course it sent the birds further along the beach, and at what turned out to be the final effort I politely asked a gentleman walker if he could divert his track and give me a chance. Despite the language barrier he knew just what I was up to and allowed me to produce the 'limited' photographs below.

For those of you who are interested (pay attention Julie & Lisa this means you) an update on my little quirk of wanting to see all the Gull species in the world. None have been added this trip, with just 3 outstanding being Relict Gull (China, Mongolia, Korea), Yellow-footed Gull (Baja California) and Red-legged Kittiwake (Pribilof Islands, Bearing Sea), little job for when I have a week-end to spare. However, having recouped Swallow-tailed, Lava, Grey and Grey-hooded Gulls, to the lens, since having my back-pack (including films) nicked in Bolivia, I now believe there is a real chance of photographing them all as well. Apart from the 3 already mentioned, 3 of the remaining 4, Sabine's, Ivory and Ross's Gulls could be photographed in the UK. That just leaves Heerman's.

Should be moving on tomorrow, but not sure where as yet. The Lake Lands sound attractive but seem a bit awkward to get to. So, will seek some more advice in the morning and let you know.


Trip Ticks - 872
World Lifers - 563
Endemics - 57

PS - Welcome aboard as 'Followers' Ginge and Val, my shipmate from HMS Undaunted days (1967) and his lovely lady. There is certainly going to be a visitor to Northmoor Park before the years out, so lock up your daughters. Great to hear from you both. Yours aye etc.

Just a small one of many Monk Parakeet nest.

One bird I didn't expect to find on the beach,

this Fork-tailed Flycatcher was having a Hay Day with these Beetles. What you might call Rain

or Bloody-nose Beetles were everywhere below the high-water mark, don't know what they do when the tide comes in?

and this I feel sure is

Olrog's Gull. Compared, at the time and with photographs of juvenile Kelp Gulls it looks just right

A good deal smaller, it has that petite look Lesser Black-backed has against Great Black-back and lacks the 'brutish' look of Kelp.

It also has the long, narrow bill with full sub-terminal band, but with lack of literature I remain open to correction.

A nifty group of Snowy-crowned Terns had the odd

Yellow-billed Tern among them, (and Gull-billed which I didn't get at)

but all were regularly being put to flight

by these! Is there any hope or the Planet?

And maybe someone would like to try identifying this, taken a few days ago a little further down the coast.

I only have a few line drawings in this book which soon merge into a solid haze.