Satellite whales Census in Peninsula Valdes

Scientists have demonstrated a new method for counting whales from space, using a very high-resolution satellite and image-processing software to automatically detect the great mammals at or near the ocean surface. We leave you the link in a BBC radio interview. On the census of whales. very interesting.
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Sand from Peninsula Valdes and its hypnotic magic

Sand from Valdes Peninsula and his hypnotic magic

Photographically speaking the sand dunes on the Peninsula Valdes there are very attractive. Those forms that seem capricious, not so, follow the shape imposed by the wind moving them with patience and perseverance.

Sand from Valdes Peninsula and his hypnotic magic

The sand is a set of disintegrated rock particles. In geology called composite sand particles whose size varies between 0.063 and 2 mm. An individual particle in this range is called grain of sand.

Sand from Valdes Peninsula and his hypnotic magic

A dune is an accumulation of sand, generated by the wind, in this case in the coastline. When the wind has a dominant direction, the dunes take the form of a C with the convex side against the prevailing wind. These dunes generally move,pushed by the wind. The speed of advance of the dunes is inversely proportional to its size and the smaller dunes reach the majors, with the merging and that will help increase the size. When the dune reaches a significant size, more than 4 m, begins to detach as many grains of sand at both ends of the C, giving rise to new small dunes, which to be faster than large ones, move away from the dune mother, to achieve more and then continue the cycle.

Tips for experts:
 Alejandro Avampini nature photographer, owner of Del Nomade Eco Lodge, presents his photo shop gallery and you can find articles with sand, marine mammals and the amazing Peninsula Valdes. Just 1 click away.


La Esperanza Wildlife refuge - Patagonia Argentina



 This wildlife was filmed in La Esperanza refuge, which was created in 2003 when conservationists from Fundación Patagonia Natural with the support of the World Land Trust brought this land from a sheep farmer and turned it into a protected area. The grassland and bushes of the Patagonian scrub are recovering from more than 100 years of overgrazing, but now the sheep have been replaced by native guanacos, whose numbers here have risen from 100 to over 850. The guanacos' successful population increase has lured back their top predator: the puma. A natural balance is being restored.

La Esperanza Wildlife refuge - Patagonia Argentina

Right Whale in Peninsula Valdes - Increase your knowledge

Right Whale in Peninsula Valdes

Between May and December, Southern Right Whales visit our shores to breed and raise their calves. Embark on an unforgettable experience by observing them in their natural habitat. Increase your knowledge by reading something about their behaviour, physiognomy and food.

Right Whale in Peninsula Valdes - Sunset

LENGTH
Adult male: 14m
Adult female: 15m
Newborn: between 4 / 5 m.

WEIGHT
Adult male: 40tons
Adult female: 45tons
Newborn: between 2 and 3 tons

Like other whales, the Southern Right migrates twice each year: a trophic or feeding migration, to areas rich in zooplankton, near the Antarctic Convergence; and a reproductive migration towards coastal temperate waters, which provide a calm refuge from adverse weather conditions that they can suffer in the open sea and which would be risky for newborn calves.

Right Whales Mother and Calf in Puerto Piramides

The Southern Right Whale, has ample space in the ocean where it spends its life. Those born in the Gulf Nuevo and Gulf San Jose not necessarily return every year to the Peninsula. They have welldefined areas for their fall and summer migrations and can travel thousands of miles on each trip.

Right Whales Mother and Calf in Peninsula Valdes

In fall, a time for breeding, they move northward as far as latitude 20 degrees. The furthest north where some groups can be seen is on the coast of Brazil, in South America, and between Mozambique and the island of Madagascar in Africa. They are also found in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Whale watching in Peninsula Valdes

Arriving in December, they migrate back towards the feeding area around the 55th.the ICB (Whale Conservation Institute), it is estimated that in the winter-spring season, the whale population of Peninsula Valdés reachs over 600 individuals, the largest concentration of whales of this species in any breeding area. The calm waters of the gulf Nuevo and gulf San José , are very attractive to calves when learning to breathe, and are also favoured by whales at mating time.

Right Whale in Peninsula Valdes - spy-hopping

Unlike the dolphins, which have a social structure of close ties, the whales do not form herds but rather solitary lives. In the mating and breeding area they can be seen in small groups, generally of less than six individuals and disperse after copulation The mothercalf units, breaks when the calf is weaned, which usually occurs during the reproductive migration of the mother.

Right Whale in Peninsula Valdes - spy-hopping

The whale jumps often and it also remains long periods with the tail out of the water, hitting the surface with fins and tail causing a sea foam explosion. They are very curious, often leaning vertically in a position known as “espionage” or “spy-hopping” 

Orca attack in Peninsula Valdes Short video - Hight adrenaline


 We leave here the link for you to have access to and enjoy this adventure.

Orca attack in Peninsula Valdes

Out of the water, most seals would have every right to feel out of harms way. But off the coast of Argentina, the local killer whales have made even shore a dangerous place to be - by learning to safely beach themselves. With a powerful burst of speed the six-tonne mammals are able to rush onto the shore to ambush seal pups before sliding back into the water on the smooth stones.



Orca Season in Punta Norte Valdes Peninsula Patagonia Argentina.

Between late February and late April you can see the Orcas from shore.At Punta Norte sea lions colony. The high tide mark is the likely timetable orcas attack. There are 2 high tides per day and 2 low tides, with an interim period stationary, about 20 minutes. The schedule of the tide goes out running every day between 20 minutes and a little over an hour later with respect to the previous day.

Peninsula Valdes - Patagonia Refuge of the Monsters

Peninsula Valdes - Patagonia Refuge of the Monsters

Peninsula Valdes is one of the priorities for naturalists visiting the South American continent, and it is perhaps because this is the place where the observation of the great whales is easyer.
New Atlantis made this spectacular Documentary: Enjoy It!!

 

Every year during the month of July, the whales arrive to these shores of Patagonia to give birth and raise their calves. His gentle nature makes approaching to them possible to enjoying the wonderful spectacle of his jumps in the sea. Approaching the austral summer, in the month of November, these giants leave the coast of Peninsula Valdes to head south in search of more water rich in krill, their main food.

Turkey Vulture in the skies of Peninsula Valdes

Turkey Vulture in the skies of Peninsula Valdes

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) is a bird of the vulture family , which can be found all across the Americas. In the different countries of the continent, it has different names, such as buzzard, aura, or just vulture. In Peninsula Valdes, it is one of the largest of the vultures, with a red head, blackish plumage, more brown on the upper surface of the wings. The underside of the flight feathers are grey, creating a sharp contrast. The head is small in proportion to the body and has no feathers - in adults it is reddish and in juveniles, it is black.

Turkey Vulture in the skies of Peninsula Valdes

It weighs between 1.4 and 2.7 kg, measures 60-76 cm in length and has a wingspan of up to 2 meters.
It glides with wings in a “V” shape and often sways in a way that gives the impression that it is drunk.
It’s typically seen in Puerto Piramides, flying around the valley, and taking advantage of thermal wind generated by the hills that protect the town from east to west, on the north side.


Turkey Vulture in the skies of Peninsula Valdes



The turkey vulture is a scavenger, ranging over large distances and finding carrion with a keen sense of smell. Typically, it will feed on the carcasses of sea lions, guanaco, hares and rabbits. If it finds a large piece of carrion, such as a calf, it will circle over it, to let other vultures know where the carcass is.

Alejandro Avampini presents his photographic work on Google+



Alejandro Avampini nature photographer, owner of Del Nomade Eco Lodge, presents his gallery on Google+   25 years of photographic images began appearing on a daily basis. If you have Gmail you can attach to your circles. Currently, he upload photos and interact with those who leave comments or questions. Destinations from around the world. Different cultures and wildlife, beautiful beaches along with eternal ice, share this space of photographic art. All are invited:

Peninsula Valdes Climate

Peninsula Valdes Climate
Sunset in Puerto Piramides Patagonia Argentina
The maritime climate characteristics make annual temperature variation relatively small. The annual
range of the average monthly temperature is 10 ° C, with monthly averages of 18°C (64.4ºF) in
summer and 8°C (46.4ºF) in winter. General aspects of the climate of the peninsula are the same that characterise the climate of the northern Patagonia region, modified locally by interactions between the atmosphere and adjacent water sources.

Mountain Bike in Peninsula ValdesThe variables measured by the CENPAT are based on data from the weather station in the city of Puerto Madryn, a city for which the climate of Puerto Piramides has variations in rainfall and sheltered from winds.
WINDS
Predominate in Patagonia and are generally from the West. Puerto Piramides suffers Southwest wind blow and is completely exposed by its geographical location. During the winter North and Northwest winds are wetter because the anticyclone is located over the Atlantic Ocean. During the summer, northerly winds have more of a continental influence as the anticyclone runs to the west and in consequence, becomes drier.

Sunset in Puerto PiramidesAnother phenomenon that occurs in the Nuevo Gulf during the summer is the sea breeze effect. The increase in solar radiation and low water availability in the soil causes large thermal amplitudes i.e., a marked difference in temperature between the continental coast and the waters of the Nuevo Gulf.
Winds from the SW and W blow for about 38% of the time in summer and more than 50% in winter. In spring and particularly in summer, we see an increase in the frequency of winds from the east and northeast.

Neotropic Cormorant in Peninsula Valdes


 Neotropic Cormorant (Phalacrocórax olivaceus) is frequently seen flying swiftly, striking the water with a straight and accurate flight, and occasionally touching the surface with the tip of the wings.
Feeding
Neotropic Cormorant in Peninsula ValdesThis species is primarily piscivorous. However, these observations suggest that, unlike the King cormorant and the Rock shag, the diet of this species is characterized by a high proportion of fish moving in schools and near the surface such as the smelt and bottom fish as bass. In marine environments, this cormorant has been observed feeding both individually and in flocks. It feeds mainly in shallow coastal waters (less than 1.3 km and not more than 10 m depth). After diving in search of food, it is common to see it with spread wings to the sun on a branch, drying off. The neotropic cormorant builds nests with branches cemented with their own guano. marine invertebrates (cephalopods, polychaetes and crustaceans). It usually feeds in shallow water (no more than 10 m) and offshore (no further than 5 km).

Chubut in a video full of nature and adventure.



Chubut, just released a video that promotes natural attractions, adventure activities and the different possibilities that a visitor can enjoy in this province full of nature. Of course Puerto Piramides activities are brilliant, as each destination. If anyone still doubts come to see this video. Here we are.
For inquiries and reservations del Nómade, mandanos un e-mail: delnomade@ecohosteria.com.ar

Chubut in a video full of nature and adventure
Chubut in a video full of nature and adventure

Choique Patagonian Simbol at Peninsula Valdes

Choique Patagonian Simbol at Peninsula Valdes

Choique (Ptemenemia pemiata) It is the Patagonia symbol. Source of inspiration for stories and legends, the rhea is so present in folklore as in all the paths in Patagonia. It is a large , herbivorous, flightless bird. They use their soft wings as stabilizers, and are fast runners. It is one of the two “American ostriches”, but unlike its African relative has three toes instead of two.

Choique Patagonian Simbol at Peninsula Valdes
Females lay 8-10 eggs which are incubated by the male. He also assumes parental responsibility for the “charitos”, who follow him for most of the summer. In winter they form mixed groups of males, females and juveniles. The harem is composed of one male and one to fifteen females. This varies by region and is very much dependent on the availability of food. The male measures 1.50 meters and weigh up to 30 kilos; the female is smaller in height.

Leyend of the Mocovies Tribe and thesouthern cross:
The old chief recalled that his father had told him that Manic, the rhea, was the animal with the most beautiful feathers.
The chief sent for the best hunter in the tribe: Nemec, an agile and faithful youth. The boy looked his best weapons.
He has never seen a rhea - this mysterious bird was unknown in the hinterland. Nemec asked the elders of the tribe to give him advice. He was told that Manic was very fast and it was impossible to find him without his noticing. He had to find a footprint similar to a bird, but much larger, and that the key was to follow the South path. Grateful Nemec left with the honour and responsibility of such a goal.

Choique Patagonian Simbol at Peninsula Valdes
He walked for days until one afternoon, when he found tracks:
They were heading south, and he followed them. Walking under the first light of the next day, he noticed something strange. He looked up and there it was. It was the rhea, with its long, slender legs, with its beautiful plumage shaken by the wind, trembling his little head supported by a long neck, and looking at who knows what... But what struck him most were his feathers and he knew why the chief wanted to have them.
Nemec remembered his duty. He crept. He almost threw the spear when the rhea escaped at full speed, leaving just an astonished hunter. The next day, Nemec followed the tracks and again found his target. But the rhea escaped  again. The same thing happened again and again. Nemec began to doubt if he really would get to hunt it. Then he found it at sunset. There it was, and the opportunity could not be wasted.
Man and animal froze. Suddenly, Nemec ran with all his might. The rhea ran also. Nemec flexed his arm and released the weapon. And, according to Mocovi legend, Manic spread his wings and soared. And continued rising until he reach the sky, and in the dim light of dusk, was lost to view. Suddenly, in the same place where the rhea had disappeared, four stars emerged in a cross: one took the place of the head; two marked the tips of its wings and the last, the end of its legs.Nemec spent the night watching the sky and recalling images of the rhea he could never catch. The next day, he started back to his home. He arrived back at the tribe with empty hands but with a twinkle in his eye. That night, when everyone sat around the campfire, Nemec told of his strange adventure. Then, they saw the new stars that the sky was wearing, indicating forever the direction in which Manic had escaped: south.”

Wetlands from Peninsula Valdes, Ramsar Sites, essential balance for survival.

Wetlands from Peninsula Valdes, Ramsar Sites, essential balance for survival.
Peninsula Valdes guards so much natural wonders that it always seems to have something new to premiere and to show us the bountiful immensity with which nature favors us in places like this, thus emphatically reinforcing the intention of honoring, each day with a stronger commitment, our exquisite Heritage of Mankind.

Wetlands from Peninsula Valdes, Ramsar Sites, essential balance for survival.

Out of a total area close to 4000 km2, a small part is conformed by wetlands. These are ecosystems of great importance due to the hydrological and ecological processes they home, and to the biological diversity they nurture.

sunset in Peninsula Valdes

The ecological functions wetlands develop favor flood and shore erosion mitigation. Additionally, wetlands play an essential role in matter cycles and in water quality by retaining, transforming, and/or removing sediments, nutrients, and pollutant agents.

Birds Cormorant in Peninsula Valdes

To birds, these vast areas are natural sanctuaries in line with their migration routes. Most of them journey across many international borders, reaching far distances of thousands of kilometers. They choose these places that serve them as ‘bridges’ for resting, feeding, nestling and breeding, or wintering – essential to their survival. That is why several countries signed international treaties to protect them. The most significant is the Convention on Wetlands, effective as of February 2nd 1971 and held in the Iranian city of Ramsar, which deals with conservation, and the rational use of wetlands, thus naming these areas Ramsar Sites.

Wetlands from Peninsula Valdes, Ramsar Sites, essential balance for survival.

Here is the link to a very interesting paper, which provided us with data for this article, and offers deep insight on this topic. It was produced by the Working Group for Ramsar Sites Aquatic Resources from Argentina, reporting to the Secretaría de Ambiente y Desarrollo Sustentable (the national office for environmental and sustainable development affairs).

Whale Watching in Puerto Pirámides. High season in a short video



This beautiful video show the southern right whales behavior at this time of the year. The highest density of these huge cetaceans are nearPuerto Piramides, so you can see from the coast, but the whale watching excursion is truly an amazing approach, you can see the behavior from the water. Jumps, tailing in the calm waters of . If you have chance to come to enjoy this natural atraction now is the time.
If you feel attract by the idea of visiting the whales, we invite you to enjoy our comfortable
Eco LodgeIf you wish, we can assist you about whale watching schedule, rates, and we can book you seats without additional charge, just feel free to contact us delnomade@ecohosteria.com.ar,and we also can help you and giving you all the information about transfers, rent a car, adventures activities as kayak, trekking,

The imperial cormorant in Peninsula Valdes


The imperial cormorant in Peninsula Valdes

Along the entire coast of continental Patagonia, the imperial cormorant  (Phalacrocórax Atriceps) is a species almost piscivorous but also feeds on marine invertebrates such as cephalopods, crustaceans and polychaetes. The Imperial Cormorant consumes a large proportion of pelagic and demersal fishes such as anchovy, hake and some species of mackerel and uses a broad range of depths throughout the water column. Recent studies showed that the Imperial Cormorant feeds both in shallow coastal waters as well as deep waters (about 70m) and offshore (more than 8 km).

The imperial cormorant is the leading producer of guano in Patagonia. Currently, the guano is mined in only a few colonies of Chubut and Santa Cruz. The guano exploitation is still carried out in a similar way to that of a few decades ago, and its extraction is carried out manually and sporadically.

The imperial cormorant in Peninsula Valdes


Kelp Gull in Peninsula Valdes and ...the whales

Kelp Gull in Peninsula Valdes Patagonia Argentina

Kelp Gull (Larus dominicanus) it is the most abundant species on our coastline, with a huge population and many subspecies. It is considered one of the most important components in the dynamics of many towns on the Patagonian coast.

kelp gull in Peninsula Valdes

It can measure up to 60 centimeters in length, the body is white and the wings black. Gulls are present all over Patagonia, extending to Tierra del Fuego and beyond, as far south as the Malvinas Islands, South Atlantic Islands and Antarctica. They lay up to three eggs, nest and return to the same area every year. They feed naturally on intertidal resources, although their behaviour is very opportunistic and has been modified by the food supply generated by humans.

kelp gull in Puerto Madryn

Because of this, the growth of populations of gulls has grown-up considerably. They feed in open dumps, eat carrion, insects, grains, small fishes and ...whales! The behaviour of gulls feeding off whales is, we believe, unique to our region.

Attacks to whales

gulls feeding off whales in Peninsula Valdes

In the last decade whales have been affected by attacks by gulls, who have developed a liking for the proteins in the skin and blubber of whales. Over the years, the technique that had developed by only a few gulls, has been passed on to other birds and new generations, making the attacks happen more frequently and altering the behaviour of these giant cetaceans.

gulls at the dump in Puerto Madryn
 Moreover, fish discards and waste dumps, and mainly the landfill at Puerto Madryn, have led to a huge increase in the numbers of seagulls, which have food guaranteed all year, thus increasing their birth rate. As a result, the number of individuals is grows-ing exponentially in Peninsula Valdes.


In order to escape the unwelcome and possibly painful attention of the gulls, whales have taken to adopting the “galleon” position, in which only the animal’s head and tail are exposed above water, the rest of the body being submerged.

whale watching in Peninsula Valdes

The also try to outwit the gulls by remaining submerged totally for longer periods, swimming and breaching. These techniques involve the whales expending a great deal more energy and, as Peninsula Valdes is primarily a mating and breeding area, where food is not common, could have an adverse effect on the population.

gulls feeding off whales in Peninsula Valdes
Case Study
In 2005, a study group led by Ms. Anne Fazio, Biological Sciences graduate, and Dr. Marcelo Bertellotti, planned a study with three years’ duration, in which the first thing they wanted to know was, if the whales skin and fat feeding behaviour was or was not widespread throughout the population of gulls. They wanted to ring them, so as to identify them when they were attacking. This task took place at Punta Piramides platform, where there is a nesting colony of gulls. They captured the gulls by means of a cannonnet.

back light seagull in Peninsula Valdes

The gulls were then ringed with individually coded rings and samples of blood and feathers etc were taken, to ascertain the overall health of the gull population. Despite the great effort and hours of work of the whole group, it became increasingly difficult to capture gulls, because they learned very fast and avoid the traps. In the event, ringing was achieved only in 20% of the population. In addition there are seagulls from different areas feeding on whales.

Whale tail and a kelp gull in Peninsula Valdes Whale Watching

Ana says that “(...) for these two reasons, the brand was very dilute, we had only 2% of cases where we saw a branded seagull attacking. Also, with so many hours and days of observation in the water, you could see that even not all the seagulls attacked, it was not a small group, and the worst of all: they were more and more! We also have an overall record of the Attack Rate during the three seasons of whales watching, knowing the peaks of the curves (times of increased number of attacks per unit time).

gulls feeding off whales in Peninsula Valdes

This information is very useful, since at the time of taking up the study comparisons can be made with other years to see if the attack rate has increased or decreased. In addition, samples were analyzed to search for pathogens with which the gulls can infect whales; we’ve found some and it is something that really concerns us. It is likely that, by moving from whale to whale, the gulls will not only infect the whales with pathogens which they carry, but could also transmit as carriers, pathogens and infections which are carried by the whales. As Peninsula Valdes is an area with a high transient population of whales, including calves, this is a matter of real concern and could have a greater effect on the whales than a mere change in behaviour.

Whale jumping in Peninsula Valdes and a kelp gull flying

 “ One of the most important conclusions, agreed by a majority, was to close the open dump in Puerto Madryn. We know that populations of gulls increased for many years, until ‘97 and then remained constant. The main causes were fishing discards and waste dumps. That’s why the plan launched by the Province to eradicate open dumps around Chubut is an incredible breakthrough on minimizing environmental impact, and may the get the rate of reproduction of the gulls back into balance

Flamingo in Peninsula Valdes Patagonia Argentina

Flamingo in Peninsula Valdes Patagonia Argentina

The Southern Flamingo (Phoenicopterus Chilensis) is a large bird, most often seen in flocks. They can measure five feet, are easily identified by their pink colour on the outer feathers, their long neck, long legs and large wings. The legs have short toes, which are also webbed, helping the bird when swimming. Male flamingos are larger than females and this feature is the only visible difference between the sexes. The colour of their feathers are acquired by the food they eat, that’s why their offspring are born whitish and take on the intense pink colour from the small crustaceans, which form the major part of their diet.Flamingos are not resident in Peninsula Valdes area, however they nest in lakes in the Province of La Pampa.

Flamingo in Peninsula Valdes Patagonia Argentina

They are very wary birds and are easily disturbed by human presence. They can be very difficult to approach and photograph. The best way we have found to photograph them is to wait, camouflaged, at low tide. As the tide comes in, the birds will come to feed closer inshore. You must take great care not to alarm them or your opportunity will be lost. Photographing Flamingos requires a great deal of patience, as many of the professional photographers who live and work in the area will attest. Flamingos are not at all used to humans, living completely wild, and are, therefore, very elusive.

Flamingo in Peninsula Valdes Patagonia Argentina

 Remember that Peninsula Valdes is an important area for wildlife to raise their young, and, as such is deserving of respect and minimal human impact. There are already 300,000 tourists visiting the area each year and the Peninsula is to some degree, affected by human greed. Please help to raise awareness of the need for respect for our wildlife by your own example.

Flamingo in Peninsula Valdes Patagonia Argentina

REPRODUCTION
Flamingos are monogamous and before pair-bonding, males and females gather in groups of up to 150 individuals, and perform the so-called “wedding march”, with their necks stretched upwards, moving head vigorously from side to side and up in one direction.

Flamingo in Peninsula Valdes Patagonia Argentina

The march is accompanied by a strong hoarse croak from the whole group. The birds then form pairs. Weeks later, nesting begins. Flamingo breeding colonies are characterized by a gathering of thousands of individuals. The nest is usually made of clay, in the shape of a truncated cone,with a depression in the centre. A single egg only is laid. After 30 days of incubation shared between both parents, the young are born with white plumage and straight beak, which takes the hooked form as they grow. At the age of a week or so, the young birds gather in creches, which can number up to a thousand individuals, guarded by several adult birds.

Flamingo in Peninsula Valdes Patagonia Argentina

After a few weeks, the appearance of the chicks changes. Plumage colour turns grey, with black legs, and the beak curves to resemble the parents’. The creches stay together until the age of three months, after which, the young are able to fend for themselves.

Orcas killer whale Season Punta Norte, Penguin Season in Valdes Peninsula Patagonia Argentina Whale Watching Season in Puerto Piramides