Chile - Argentina 2000 : Birding Trip Report
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Torres Del Paine Los Glaciares Peninsula Valdez Iguazu Los Esteros Del Ibera Buenos Aires

Chile - Argentina 2000: Glaciares - Perito Moreno Glacier - Fitz Roy

Perito Moreno Glacier, in the southern area of the Los Glaciares National Park, is the most important and most easily reached glacier. This is an imposing ice river, 3 km in width and 60 m in height, that descends slowly from the Hielo Continental Patagonico (Patagonian Continental Ice) to the shore of the lake, in the Canal de los Tempanos (Icebergs Channel).
Only 200 m above sea level, it has turned into the biggest attraction of the region thanks to its spectacular beauty, its glacial interest and its different behavior to the rest of the glaciers of the world.
It is a white giant that, moving noisily, offers an incredible scenery. During its slow advance, it blocks the Canal de los Tempanos, forming an ice dam that does not allow the drainage of the waters of the South Arm to the central part of the lake.
The pressure of the water trying to recover its natural course increases from year to year until it starts to pierce the front of the glacier, producing the famous "fracture".
This is a unique spectacle that repeats itself every 4 or more years where tons of ice yield to the force of the water. This process lasts up to 36 hours; peace and silence return afterwards.
  The extreme north of Los Glaciares National Park is dominated by an imposing group of granite mountains, featuring the Fitz Roy Range and the Torre Range. Their summits, which are celebrated in the world of mountain climbing, tower more than 9000 feet (3000m) above sea level. Agressively jutting up from the earth, they can be seen from several miles away. The aboriginal population named Mount Fitz Roy 'Chaltén', which means 'mountain that sends out smoke', since they believed it was a volcano. Accompanied by the spiraling Poincenot and other adjacent peaks, it is one of the most well-known images of Patagonia. Mount Torre, with its impressive slopes and permanently snow-capped summit, has always represented an especially difficult challenge even for world-class mountain climbers due to its violent and unpredictable climate.
From El Chalten, one of the most popular walks is the one that goes to Laguna Torre and continues tot the Cerro Torre base camp of the Torre Mountain. After a gentle initial climb, it's a fairly level walk through tranquil beech forests and along the Rio Fitzroy until a final steeper climb up the lateral moraine left by the receding Glaciar del Torre. From Laguna Torre, there are stunning views of the principal southern peaks of the Fitzroy range.

Fitz Roy Expediciones is a recommended way to discover the area!
A relative of the ostrich, the rhea is a flightless bird, its relatively small wings useless when it comes to flight. Fortunately, the rhea's massive size allows it to intimidate many of Patagonia's predators.

The rhea's mating and childbearing behavior is, in one respect, among the most liberal of any species. During the breeding season, several female rheas will lay up to 30 eggs in a single nest. One male will incubate all the eggs, and once they have hatched, care for the chicks, or charitas, until the small birds can fend for themselves.

Well adapted to the terrain of steppes, rheas can survive on a minute amount of water and infrequent feedings upon small insects, small rodents, other bird chicks, or plant matter.


(Image: Patagonia, The last Wilderness)