We have crossed the border from Brazil to Agentina. Now in northeaster Argentina, we are on the Pampas. The Pampas are large plain grasslands which reach 777,000 square kilometers. As we move further south, we begin to feel more and more wind. Admittedly, there is little more than a breeze at this point, once we move toward Tierra del Fuego, the winds will be in full force.
I have decided to tag along with a local Gaucho, the South American cowboys. Outfitted with horses and this amazing guide, we will be able to range much further and experience more of this wonderful area. Bird lovers were overjoyed when we saw the Greater Rhea about half an hour after setting out. This bird is a relative of the Ostrich and Emu. The Pampas Finches are also out in full force. They are larefinches witha bright orange bill, grey head, and olive back with streaks of black and white. They are easy to see as they perch atop the long grasses of the plain.
After an entire day of tramping about on the plains, we decide to camp out. The crackling warmth of the fire is wonderful as we sit around it, talking about the day. The coals flicker, glow and ebb: nature’s television, it is said. The night sky is crystal clear, to use the phrase.
The next day, we start off early, around 6 so that we can spend a long day out on the plains before continuing south. Early in the morning, animals are out and about. We see a Geoffroy’s cat just as we set out of camp. Geoffrey’s Cat, or Oncifelas geoffroyi, named after the 19th century naturalist, Geoffrey St Hilaire, has a coat of light brown hairs with little black spots, much like a leopard. This little guy was pouncing around, probably hunting a mouse or other rodent. Surprisingly, they also chew green hay stems to aid digestion and to assist in the elimination of fur balls, much like house cats.
We were just wrapping up our excursion when we saw our final wonder of the Pampas: the Maned wolf. Its long legs allowed it to peak up over the tall grass. Upon seeing us, it trotted away. That night, in true cowboy fashion, we rode off into the sunset.