Last year the trip to Torres del Paine was a total lost because of the fire, the park was closed. For more details of this disaster, refer to my previous blog of this place in 2012. The park is now open for business and the welcome spirit is back. As a result of the fire, the park staffing has been increased to about 44 rangers. A helicopter is stationed at the park headquarters for fire surveillance; I wonder if it will be there next year since it is very costly to operate. This is the premier tourist location in Chile; it is what Yellowstone is to the USA. Therefore is heavily used and large tourist buses are now a common sight, this was not the case back in 2004 when I first visited. The overcrowding is becoming a concern as seen for the lack of adequate parking places at the designated overlooks.
In my opinion, this is the spot is where the most wonderful landscapes can be observed in the world, and due to the ever changing weather, the photographic opportunities are challenging. The most common animals to be seen are the guanacos. For many years I had been trying to catch these cousins of the camels jumping fences. Finally I got my shot. It happened that when I was there, the boys were defending their harems and fights were common and violent. The defender chases the intruder while biting its rear legs or when facing each other, they fight hitting and biting their necks.
There are numerous species of birds and at this time of the year when is spring there, they are active feeding and having families. Below is a family of Coscoroba swans, a Bandurria with its very peculiar curved bill, a Black Breasted Buzzard ( a new bird for me), the very common Upland Goose, and finally the Rhea.
My purpose this year was to photograph pumas but I was not successful. Tried hard for several days waking up at dark 0200 to no avail. Although 5 were sighted, there were very skittish and there was no enough light, but they are there, as proven by the not the best image below; promise a better one in the future. After a long day, a glass of wine and a great meal provided the energy for the next day.