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Playa Porma, Chile (Center on Interactive Map)

Map of Playa Porma, Chile

Map of Playa Porma, Chile

Total Solar Eclipse, through light clouds.
Brown-hooded Gull (Chroicocephalus maculipennis) Black-chinned Siskin (Spinus barbatus)



Chile 2020

12/14/2020: The Other Coronavirus is a story about overcoming all odds to fulfill a destiny.

My hair and beard have grown long over months of propaganda and quarantine and fear and death and now everyone is a social outcast as the mother earth gets a breather since all the rich work from home and everyone else is out of business.

My trip to Argentina, purchased just a few days before the politicians shut it all down, was dead in the water, as was going anywhere else in the world you couldn't drive to.

But in the fall, as the numbers climbed steadily in the US, Chile opened their borders so long as you could provide negative test results and proof of good insurance, and not a minute too soon, we were on a flight to Santiago.

We rented a stick-shift Chevy and bee-lined to Pucon. Pucon is the Chilean version of Lake Tahoe with the added bonus of no casino towers, replaced instead by active volcanoes.

The next day it rained too long, but more bonus, it's summer, and we were still able to salvage a hike. The next day was all sun, the kind of day that inspires one to climb some overly steep mountain for the whole day and cheap out of paying parking by walking a couple miles more uphill both ways.

We needed a day like that tomorrow. The internet was not optimistic, however. We woke up to the raining of cats and dogs, mostly dogs, and rain pissed some more as we bolted from bed at 7AM to stay hours ahead of the hoards of Chileans in a traffic meltdown.

And we drove and drove to the west looking for the end of the storm, but we never saw once a hint of the sun.

And then we reached the end of the line where we arrived to a quarantine line. Sorry, we can't go to the beach. There was another place on the beach, a different road. But another roadblock!

They took our temperature, and we passed. We could get to the beach after all. It didn't seem to matter, we couldn't see the sun, and we couldn't see where the sun even was. And I kept looking to the south expecting it to miraculously turn up.

And what time is this even supposed to happen.
And then hundreds of Chileans started showing up and the clouds parted briefly at intervals to remind us it still exists.
And then the new moon made its appearance and the intervals of blue grew longer.
And the clouds on the horizon were sparser still, and at that moment, I knew it was going to happen. "Lo se puede," people chanted.

Then it did happen, the beach grew dark.
Flocks of whimbrels took to flight in crazed confusion. Chileans cheered in delight as the corona was in clear view for most of two minutes.

The only time that one is able to view the corona is during a total solar eclipse, and against all odds we did it!

We spent the next couple of weeks traveling back toward our flight home. We were hoping to ride out the storm in Chile, but unfortunately, the quarantine situation in Chile was heading in the wrong direction and we thought best to deal with quarantines at home. We were the only US Citizens at the check-in line for US Immigration.

Previous Visit (Ojos del Caburgua: 12/13/2020)
Next Visit (Pucon: 12/14/2020)

Species Recorded (25)

Birds ( 25 )

Shoebill ( Balaenicipitidae )
Peruvian Pelican - Pelecanus thagus

Shearwaters and Petrels ( Procellariidae )
Pink-footed Shearwater - Ardenna creatopus
Sooty Shearwater - Ardenna grisea

Cormorants ( Phalacrocoracidae )
Neotropic Cormorant - Nannopterum brasilianum
Red-legged Cormorant - Poikilocarbo gaimardi

Herons ( Ardeidae )
Great Egret - Ardea alba

Ibises and Spoonbills ( Threskiornithidae )
Black-faced Ibis - Theristicus melanopis

New World Vultures ( Cathartidae )
Turkey Vulture - Cathartes aura
Black Vulture - Coragyps atratus

Falcons and Allies ( Falconidae )
Chimango Caracara - Daptrius chimango

Plovers ( Charadriidae )
Southern Lapwing - Vanellus chilensis

Sandpipers and Allies ( Scolopacidae )
Whimbrel - Numenius phaeopus

Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers ( Laridae )
Brown-hooded Gull - Chroicocephalus maculipennis
Kelp Gull - Larus dominicanus
Common Tern - Sterna hirundo
Elegant Tern - Thalasseus elegans

Ovenbirds ( Furnariidae )
Dark-bellied Cinclodes - Cinclodes patagonicus

Tyrant Flycatchers ( Tyrannidae )
Spectacled Tyrant - Hymenops perspicillatus
Austral Negrito - Lessonia rufa

Swallows ( Hirundinidae )
Chilean Swallow - Tachycineta leucopyga

Thrushes and Allies ( Turdidae )
Austral Thrush - Turdus falcklandii

Tanagers ( Thraupidae )
Grassland Yellow-Finch - Sicalis luteola

Brushfinches, Seedeaters, Sparrows, and Allies ( Emberizinae )
Rufous-collared Sparrow - Zonotrichia capensis

Cardueline Finches and Allies ( Fringillidae )
Black-chinned Siskin - Spinus barbatus

Old World Sparrows ( Passeridae )
House Sparrow - Passer domesticus


South America


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