Darwin Day

In honor of Darwin Day, I was re-reading my battered copy of The Voyagle of the Beagle this morning. Battered because it was actually dropped in the Beagle Channel itsef. An appropriate baptism while I was taking a group of scientists from University of Washington to explore the channel region, retracing some of Darwin's footsteps, and looking at the bryophytes and birdlife of the region.

Comprising some of the most pristine wilderness left on the planet, the southern Andes curve down through Tierra del Fuego until only their peaks are left above water, creating a labyrinthine archipelago. A last redoubt.

And whilst avian diversity is surprisingly low - compared to similar latitudes in the northern hemisphere - it makes up for it in impact.

Here a black-browed albatross cruises down the Channel;

An upland goose surveys its breeding territory on one of the Channel's islets;

And a Chilean skua passes in front of Mount Olivia;

The very same mountain just as it was painted by Conrad Martens, the ship's artist who accompanied Darwin on the Beagle. Only a small amount of poetic licence exercised here!


My photo
I work in NYC and own a wildlife and wilderness agency specializing in the southern cone of South America. I still do some guiding down there, especially looking for Fuegian and Patagonian avifauna. I'm particularly interested in the wintering ecology of neotropical migrants, and in avian biogeography in general. You can follow me at - @domhall And find me at - AventuraArgentina.com