Showing posts from April, 2024

Monte Verde and the Peopling of the Americas: an abandoned potential World Heritage site made joyful with birdsong

I had visited the site of Monte Verde in southern Chile once before, in 2011. On the 7th January 2024, I drove there again (from Puerto Montt) to see what has changed. What I found was not encouraging. A formerly attractive wooden house at the Monte Verde I site is now a decrepit ruin. There are some helpful information boards (kudos to whoever made these), now fading badly and with Monte Verde I and II mislabelled. A rudimentary archaeological theme park nearby appears to be entirely abandoned. This is a sad state of affairs for such an important site. Despite all the signs of abandonment and neglect, the place is a joy to visit for the vivid music of the varied birdsong. There were southern lapwings, buff-necked ibises, striped woodpeckers, a snipe, grasslands yellow finch, rufous collared sparrows, austral blackbirds, and Chilean swallows. Also, not far from the site is a line of burrowing owl colonies with their alert to dozy, but always utterly charming sentries, a complete deligh