Dinosaur of the week: Rufus-collared Sparrow

rufus-collared-sparrowIt’s a slightly odd picture of a Zonotrichia capensis, but unfortunately I didn’t have much time. When we were in Tierra del Fuego, we only spent a few minutes at a lovely lake bordering Argentina and Chile in the National Park near Ushuaia. So I’m very glad I saw at least the sparrow’s back.

Dinosaur of the week: Black-necked Swan

black-necked-swanThis family of Cygnus melancoryphus was frolicking in a river in the Tierra del Fuego National Park. I only saw them from a bus, hence the blurry photo. But since they are the biggest waterfowl in South America, you can still see the three distinct colours in the adults.

From Ushuaia into the Beagle Channel

Ushuaia as seen from aboard. The sign in front of the buildings translates as ‘Capital of the Falkland Islands’.


And no English Pirates, please. sign_in_ushuaia

So, heading east, we set sail (metaphorically) in good weather. We enjoyed the surrounding mountains in all their glory.Beagle_Channel2Beaglechannel1

Wonderful clouds and intriguing light patterns made for a perfect first evening on board. cloudsNorwegian_flag

Tierra del Fuego

lagoacigamiblackneckedswansActually, before we went on board we spent a couple of hours in the Tierra del Fuego National Park near Ushuaia. It’s very close to the Argentinian-Chilean border, so some of the mountains in the picture are on the Chilean shores of the lake. If you can’t see the mountains, it’s because of the rain clouds.

The National Park is a fab place for birding. We spotted those Black-Necked Swans, but only from the bus.patagoniansierrafinch

Other species inlcuded Upland Geese, Caracara, different kinds of ducks and a handful of singing birds.


This Patagonian Sierra Finch was also willing to have his picture taken.

We saw a endofpanamericanhighwaybeaver, too and a couple of Gray Foxes. Pics might appear in due course on www.chinese-poems.com/blog.


Tierra del Fuego calls itself the end of the world. Don’t know why – guys, there is another continent right on your doorstep! Anyway, this is what the end of the Pan-Amercian Highway looks like. More than 17000km from here to Alaska, or two days on the Drakes Passage down to Antarctica.

PorteƱo Culture

casa minimaToday’s stroll took us to the area San Telmo. It’s a bit touristy along a particular cobbled street, Defensa, which also had a kind of flea market going on. Since we aren’t the market kind of people, our detours via the parallel side roads offered all kinds of surprises, such as Casa Minima.





mural axolotlThere were also loads of murals. The Axolotl has its appearance here, the others get their own blog post.

Viva la evolucion!



El ZanjonOur main target of the day was El Zanjon. It’s an old brick building, reconstructed, and it’s got tunnels. The quirky bit is, the tunnels follow subterranean rivers which flow into each other and then into the Rio de la Plata.


El AteneoAfter so much wandering we deserved a break and enjoyed the local version of hot chocolate called submarino. The place, which looks like a bookshop set in a theatre, is a bookshop in a theatre, and it’s beautiful. Very atmospheric to have one’s snack on stage with books as audience!

Buenos Aires – time to explore

breakfastThe breakfast we enjoyed at Las Violetas was enormous in quantity, but with sweetened coffee. My tea, however, was very good.




RecoletaThe Recoleta cemetary is a popular tourist destination. Many graves are also still visited regularly by family and friends. Evita Peron’s burial place is there too, but we didn’t look for it. Just loved strolling around for a couple of hours.






Slovakian embassyAlong the way to the museums of fine art and Latin American art we stumbled across this familiar sight – the castle and St Martin from Bratilava.





Big bench to accommodate tired Scottish tourist.




bromeliaThe Botanical Garden was home to only one species of bromeliaceae, or at least we found only one.