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Flora and Fauna Torres del Paine

 

Flora and Fauna Torres del Paine

 

Flora

With regard to vegetation Torres del Paine can be divided into four different zones that relate to the different environments and conditions in the area.

These zones are:

  1. Patagonian Steppe.
  2. Pre-Andean Shrub land.
  3. Magellan Deciduous Forest and Andean Desert.

Among the varied types of vegetation are these principal verities:

Matorral Preandino

This is a herb that has adapted to the cold and dry conditions found growing principally in the areas around Lago Sarmiento, the Salto Grande and Mirador Nordenskjöld.

Bosque Magallanico

These are woods comprising native trees such as Lenga and Coigue found in the areas around Lago Grey,Valle Pingo, close to Glacier Grey, Valle Frances and Valle Los Perros.

Tundra Magallanico

A type of grass that grows principally in humid conditions.

Calafate

The Calafate (the Argentine town El Calafate has its name derived from this plant) is a plant that produces a small, black fruit and yellow flower.

Notro

A very small tree that produces a red flower.

Capachito

A floral herb with orange-coloured flowers.

Armeneria

A medicinal herb that produces a rose-coloured flower.

Arvejilla

Often confused with lavender because of its move-coloured flowering, which is is not.

Fauna

There are 25 species of mammal including:

  • Pumas.
  • Cougars.
  • Grey Foxes.
  • Culpeos Foxes.
  • Patagonian F||oxes.
  • Skunks.
  • The Chilean Huemul and many Guanacos.

There are also 105 species of bird including fifteen birds of prey species.

Among the birds of prey are:

  • The Andean Condor.
  • Eagle.
  • Black-Chested Buzzard Eagle.
  • Rufous-Tailed Hawk.
  • Cinereous Harrier.
  • Chimango Caracara.
  • Magellanic Owl and Austral Pygmy Owl.
  • Other species include:
  • Rheas.
  • Black-Neck Swans.
  • Parrots.
  • Flamingos.
  • Raguas.
  • Ducks.
  • Caiquenes.
  • Escurridzos.
  • Nandues.
  • Striped Woodpecker.
  • Black Woodpecker.
  • Fish Martin.
  • Magellan Woodpecker.
  • Magellan Goose.
  • Buff-Necked Ibis.

This part of the trip, which lasts about 1.5hrs, gets interesting as it approaches the end of the fiord where the hanging glaciers of Balmaceda and Serrano can be seen. The Balmaceda glacier having retreated considerably over the past decade to reveal an orange-coloured, smooth rock surface that contrasts artistically with the blue hue of the glacier and vivid green of the foliage either side. Closer to the Serrano glacier the catamaran will dock and passengers will disembark to be able to walk through the wood to a small lagoon whereupon the Serrano glacier comes down from the mountain and breaks off into icebergs that float in the lagoon. It is an impressive and pretty spectacle.

Those passengers who are not returning to Puerto Natales will get into zodiac dinghies and be handed wet-weather gear and life jackets then taken across the river delta to a Patagonian lodge for a Patagonian lunch. This is a very tranquil place facing the amazing white-blue Serrano glacier, with the slow-moving Serrano river passing by, birds chirping and in the natural flora.

After lunch passengers will get back into the zodiacs and start the fast-speed trip into the National Park Bernard O´Higgins, up river passing by the forested banks of the Serrano river, and fauna that happens to be eating or watching and valley sides. Towards the final 30mins of fast-speeding up river, if weather permits, you will see the cuernos of Torres del Paine in the distance, and its hanging glaciers.

Arrival is usually around 16:30hrs at Serrano Sector. From here we need to book your onward transfer to accommodation in Torres del Paine or back to Puerto Natales. Officially Serrano Sector is NOT in Torres del Paine, but literally on the border. Therefore, if going into Torres del Paine you will need to pay the Park Entrance fee. Email us to request an excursion…

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