School Report 2 – Valdes Peninsula, Argentina, South America

28 Nov

28th November 2014

(with photos and one video)

Dear children

Since we went to the waterfalls we have travelled quite a long way south and on the east coast we visited the Valdes Peninsula which is a World Heritage Site. That means that the land and the wildlife that live there are protected. It almost looks like a small island but it is joined by a narrow piece of land called an isthmus, to the rest of Argentina. We went to visit the peninsula because it is a wildlife reserve and we were hoping to see some animals that we wouldn’t see in England.

It was quite hard getting around as the roads are not paved, just gravel and it was difficult for Bertie to stay upright sometimes. Our first stop was to see the elephant seals who were all resting on the beach, not doing very much at all.

Elephant Seal
Female Elephant Seal

They are called elephant seals because they have an inflatable snout which looks like an elephant’s trunk. The male or daddy seal is very big and can grow up to 6 meters which is about 3 times as big as Grumpy. The female or mummy is much smaller and the baby seals are called pups.

We then moved to where we were told there were penguins. These are Magellanic penguins which grow to between 24 and 30 inches high so not too big. P1050841 P1050839 P1050823

Magellanic Penguins
Magellanic Penguins

A lot of the penguins were at the top of the cliff where we were standing as they were nesting in burrows. They lay 2 eggs which are much bigger than a chicken’s egg and quite a lot of penguins were sitting on their eggs. One penguin decided it wanted to explore and came under the wire and waddled past us, over the grass and headed for Bertie. She had a wander around, ducked underneath to check the other side, then when she had had a good look waddled back to the other penguins. We think she should be called ‘Happy Feet’ as she was very adventurous. Grumpy and I felt very lucky to be able to be so close to them in the wild. Short video here of the penguin checking Bertie over: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScpzaD70Tqw

Away from the coast there are a variety of animals and birds. We saw a lot of guanacos which are similar to llamas. We thought they looked like a mixture of several other animals. What do you think?

The biggest bird we saw was the Rhea which is similar to an ostrich. Although it is a bird it does not fly, but it can run very fast and I couldn’t get a picture for you when one ran across the road with all her young running behind. See if you can find a picture in a book or on the internet.

Our favourite animal of the day would have to be the hairy armadillo. They are similar to the ordinary armadillo but have long hairs all over their body. He was about a 12 inches long and scuttled up the path in front of us. First he took shelter under the porch of the café but kept popping out to look at us. I think he then got bored and disappeared into the bushes.

P1050843
Gauncanos
P1050871
Hairy Armadillo

We had hoped to see some whales as they do come into the shore particularly May to October and although we could see them further out with our binoculars they would not come in for their photos to be taken. At the visitor centre where there is a lot of information they have a skeleton of a whale.

In Puerto Madryn which is back on the main part of the land we had been told that there were some seals down by the pier so we went to have a look. On the bottom of the steps next to where the boat was moored was a big bull seal with lots of female and younger seals. But on the top step asleep next to a bicycle was a baby seal. It was so cute and furry. Grumpy said I could not take it home with me.  We stayed behind the gate as it’s dad did not look too happy.

Once again we have been very fortunate to be able to see these animals close up and we were sorry we had to leave but we have a long way to go.

P1050693
Seal Pup
P1050697
Dad !!
P1050714
Whale skeleton

So till next time

Narna & Grumpy

One Reply to “School Report 2 – Valdes Peninsula, Argentina, South America”

  1. As this appears to be a didactic post for kids, can I add that you got it right in the first paragraph: “almost looks like a small island”; Peninsula in Greek means “almost an island” :-). “Pen” meaning ‘almost’, here’s another word as an example: Penultimate = “almost the last”. Have fun!

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