Saturday 9 November 2019 – Vallenar to Bahia Inglesa
I quite like days where we did not see much – there is just less to write up in the Diaries.
Ian and Al were keen to see the area where on previous (much wetter) occasions I had seen Euphorbia copiapina in flower. Sure, so we took the turning from R5 to Barranquillas where in 2004 the world had suddenly turned purple, with billions of Portulaca grandiflora in flower; with beetles stuffing themselves with pollen and with the sky filled with birdsong from birds feeding on the beetles. As I was taking pictures of this scene, my hands soon started to itch due to my allergy to Euphorbia latex.
In 2019 things were very much drier, resulting in no images of plants:
The second stop of the day was on Morro Copiapo where eventually we found our usual stop. It seems that a large are of rocks and hillside had been removed to be used for building materials to create new beach villages.
There were very few cacti to see. Many dead Eulychnia breviflora, a few still standing up and one with a flower and four buds! We eventually found a few clumps of Copiapoa marginata. This is the neo type of the Genus Copiapoa. Is this global warming at work?
Finally the top challenge of the day: find Eriosyce (Thelocephala) odieri – again, this is its type locality: One plant found!
Tomorrow we move on to Chañaral. Ian Woolnough’s group, the Magnificent Seven, report landing safely in Chile and should catch up with us in Taltal in a few days time.