About Me

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I've been a Canberran since moving here from Adelaide on the first day of 1980. I now live in suburban Duffy with my partner Louise Maher, ABC 666 radio and on-line journalist. Among my early memories is following Sleepy Lizards (Shinglebacks) around the paddocks north of Adelaide, guarded by the faithful bull terrier. I have always been passionate about the natural world, trying to understand how it works, how the nature of Australia came to be, and sharing those understandings. My especial passions are birds, orchids and mammals. For much of my life I have been a full-time naturalist, running bush tours, writing books etc, doing consultancies, presenting a regular radio slot on local ABC, chairing a government environment advisory committee and running adult education classes. Recently I have eased back somewhat, but am still writing, teaching, doing some radio work and running overseas tours - as part of my fascination with our Gondwanan origins I've been running tours to South America for the past decade. I was awarded the Australian Plants Society Award in 2001 and the Australian Natural History Medallion in 2006, both for services to education and conservation.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

On This Day, 18 September; Chilean Independence Day

On this day in 1810 the colonial governor of Chile was deposed and replaced by a Council of seven, based in Santiago; this was only the beginning of the end of Spanish rule, but it is marked now as the first of two consecutive Fiestas Patrias, effectively Chile's national days. I am very fond of Chile, it having been my introduction to South America. Rather than try to encompass a whole country here, I shall use the opportunity to celebrate Parque Nacional Torres del Paine, surely one of the most spectacular national parks in the world. It centres around the three Torres ('towers') of granite, capped with hard basalt, flanked by the jagged Cuernos ('the horns'). It features major glacier fields and beautiful glacial lakes, and remarkable wildlife, including big herds of Guanacos, rare virtually everywhere else. The mountains are not the Andes, which at this latitude are entering the sea to the west, but a free-standing range.

I am, by nature, a tropical and desert person; I didn't expect to be totally smitten by a wind-swept landscape 700km south of Hobart, at latitude 51 degrees south, but I was. I hope these pictures can give you some idea why - if not (or even if so), we'll be coming back to Torres del Paine in future postings here!
The Towers from the south
The Towers over Lake Nordenskjold

The Cuernos from Salto Grande

Moon over the Cuernos

Iceberg on Lago Grey; it calved from the Grey Glacier at the head of the lake,
visible in the background 15km away

Chilean Flamingoes

Andean Condors over the Torres

Long-tailed Meadowlark

Darwin's Rhea and chicks

Magellanic Woodpecker
Viola maculata (I have some trouble with the concept of a yellow violet!)
Porcelain Orchid, Chloraea magellanica
Male Guanacos fighting for mating rights.


1 comment:

Flabmeister said...

When running the Melbourne Marathon Fitzroy Street, St Kilda is met late in the event and often referred to as El Torre del Pain!