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|A Report from birdtours.co.uk|
Argentina (November and December 1994),
- General Information
- Itinerary (summary)
- Descriptions of the sites visited in Argentina
* Joaquin V. Gonzalez
* Cachi Road
* Parque Nacional Calilegua
* Abra Santa Laura
* Embalse La Cienaga
* Parque Provincial Potrero de Yala
* Humahuaca area
* Laguna de los Pozuelos
* Parque Nacional Iguazú
* Costanera Sur, Buenos Aires Wildlife Refuge
* Estacíon Biologica Punta Rasa Reserve
* Valdés Peninsula
* Punta Tombo
* Digue F. Ameghino
* Reserva Faunistica de los Escarchados
* Parque Nacional Los Glaciares
* Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego
* Beagle Channel
* El Paso Garibaldi
- Daily Log
- Systematic List of Birds
The following report is based on a birding trip to Argentina in November and December 1994. I was accompanied by Vital van Gorp and Eric Wille. The most suitable time for visiting Argentina is during the spring/summer months, October to March. During these months one can be reasonably assured of fairly good weather in the extreme south (Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego).
The main objective of the trip was to see as many birds as possible.
Argentina is a vast country, the eighth largest country in the world and one of the most exciting for the naturalist and is currently one of the most accessible countries of South America. Argentina possesses an enormous range of habitats, from the subtropical rainforest in the north, to the wild moorlands of Tierra del Fuego; from the high peaks of the central Andes to the vast grasslands of the Pampas; the glaciers and mountain lakes to the semi-desert plateau of Patagonia.
Birdlife in Argentina is prolific with more than 950 species recorded, a very high total for a country which lies almost entirely outside the tropics and thus cannot boast any lowland tropical rainforest.
In addition to this, Argentina offers the benefit of a highly developed infrastructure, superb food (steaks and wine are legendary) and a cosmopolitan capital city, Buenos Aires.
Unlike some South American countries Argentina feels secure and we had no problems of any kind.
The people in this modern country are in general both friendly and helpful, making for a pleasant and relatively hassle‑free trip. Apart from the large presence of Indians in north-west Argentina, the country resembles closely Europe. The country is very European in atmosphere, travel is easy, accommodations always excellent, and the opportunities for nature and scenery photography unsurpassed in South America.
The list of birds mentioned in the daily log which follows is purely taken at random from each days events highlighting some of the more interesting species. For a detailed report of species and numbers please refer to the systematic list at the end of this report.
FLIGHT AND VISA
We booked our flight from Brussels to Buenos Aires via Sao Paulo for ¦ 1650,-- with VASP. The flight to Sao Paulo took approximately 10 hours. The flight from Sao Paulo to Buenos Aires took 3 hours.
You do not need a visa for Argentina if you intend to stay no more than 90 days. When you're leaving Argentina, you are required to pay a departure tax of US$13. This is also payable in pesos equivalent. For domestic flights (Aerolineas Argentinas) you have to pay 8 pesos airtax. For those on a short trip, the purchase of an airpass is essential if intending to travel widely throughout this country. It is worth remembering that the distance from Buenos Aires to Tierra del Fuego is almost 3000 kilometres, a journey that takes about 4 hours by air.
An airpass (4 domestic flights) cost US$410. Unfortunately it is not usually possible to fly direct between cities (e.g. from Iguazú to Trelew), thus necessitating a return to the capital prior to catching another flight.
The internal flights operated by Aerolineas Argentinas were excellent with no delays encountered and no problems caused by overbooking.
Unfortunately Argentina is an expensive country when compared with other South American countries costs being on par with those in the Netherlands. Car hire was very expensive being in the region of $ 75 -$ 100 / day.
MONEY AND ACCOMMODATION
The unit of currency in Argentina is the peso. The peso has been linked to the US dollar for some time now (1 peso = 1 US$).
Creditcards. Visa, American Express and Mastercard are widely accepted in the large shops of Buenos Aires, Salta, Iguazú, Ushuaia and the more expensive hotels.
Travellers cheques can be difficult to change away from Buenos Aires, so I would advice carrying hard currency in US dollars.
Make sure that any dollar bills in your possession are in good condition and UNMARKED as you will NOT be able to change them otherwise.
Reasonably priced accommodation was available in all localities visited but was highly variable in price.
Two, three or four stars hotels are very expensive. Nearly all the time we booked our room in a hospedaje, a "residencial" or in a one star (*) hotel.
On average we paid $10 - $15 per person per night although cheaper accommodation was available.
Some prices (including tax and service) for a room for 2 or 3 persons:
Hotel Waldorf (***), Buenos Aires (triple) 65 peso
Hotel Solis, Metán (double) 36 peso
Hotel Colonial, Joaquin V. Gonzalez (double) 36 peso
Hotel Artaza, Libertador Gral. San Martin (double) 35 peso
Residencial "Cesarita", Abra Pampa (double) 12 peso
Hotel Avenida, Jujuy (double) 38 peso
Hotel Continental, Salta (double) 40 peso
Hotel San Georges (***), Iguazú (triple) 55 peso
Residencial La Postal, Puerto Madryn (triple) 30 peso
Hotel Touring Club, Trelew (triple) 45 peso
Hotel Nevada (***), Río Gallegos (triple) 50 peso
Hospedaje Las Cabañitas, El Calafate (triple) 39 peso
Hotel Mustaphic, Ushuaia (triple) 45 peso
Hotel Las Vascos, Chascomús (triple) 45 peso
Hotel 5ta Avenida, San Clemente del Tuyú (triple) 30 peso
Hotel Colon, Magdalena (double, incl. breakfast) 46 peso
FOOD AND DRINK
This was again expensive. For the most part, meals are likely to average no more than $20 to $30 (U.S.) per couple.
We found pizzas to be good value as were steaks. When ordering a steak it is worth remembering that you will get just that unless you specifically order side trimmings, such as chips and salad, as well. Argentina is definitely not a country for a vegetarian. We ate at many restaurants and never were sick.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
A little caution and common sense should see you through Argentina without problems. Argentina is one of the safest destinations for travel in all of Latin America.
No immunizations are required in order to enter the country of Argentina. However, as a health precaution getting them for typhoid, cholera and gamma globulin (the latter for hepatitis) would be helpful.
Consult your own doctor for up to date advice. Hepatitis A, a 10-year injection (three jabs at interval) is now available, doing away with the need to visit the doctor immediately before travel.
Perhaps the most serious potential health problem is that of altitude sickness. We visited Lago de los Pozuelos at an altitude of almost 4000 metres. Although not seriously affected, our breathing rate was notably faster and Eric and I both suffered headaches.
The grassy areas of Punta Rasa can be loaded with vicious little mites known as chiggers.
These tiny mites raise welts, which itch like, well, like crazy. Chiggers attack wherever clothes fit tightly, such as around the beltline and sock tops.
It is possible to buy good insect repellent in Argentina. Spray your socks and pant-legs liberally with an insect repellent before going afield and take a hot soapy bath upon returning.
Mosquitoes and flies are sometimes a problem (Iguazú and Los Glaciares!). Insect repellent is necessary at these locations. Regarding safety, the same rules apply in Argentina as elsewhere in the world. Do not leave your car unlocked or your valuables on the seat in full view.
Most people in Argentina speak little or no English, particular away from the big cities.
A short study of names of food in Spanish before departure will be of benefit to the traveller.
At gas stations sign language for a fill-up, and reading the total on the pump works fine.
Asking for directions may be a nightmare if you don't understand Spanish.
Always carry a Spanish-English dictionary. With just a slight knowledge of the language you will make out with few problems. We did not have any problems because Eric and I speak Spanish.
Not surprisingly very variable. Temperatures ranged from very hot with cloudless skies in the north and on the Valdés peninsula to bitingly cold at the Garibaldi Pass, although most days at Tierra del Fuego were surprisingly warm.
The high Andes at Laguna Pozuelos was clear and sunny, but bitterly cold at night.
A hat is recommended in the high Andes and necessary in Misiones. The sun is intense at altitude.
Downpours can occur everywhere in Argentina, but especially in the subtropical zone they can last for hours.
An umbrella and rubber boots are very useful! The trails
are sometimes very muddy (Iguazú).
TRANSPORT AND ROADS
For car rental, you will need a major credit card, a passport and a valid driver's license.
Car rental in Argentina is straightforward although it is very expensive. We arranged through Avis in the Netherlands to collect vehicles at Salta, Trelew and Ushuaia, but used local firms (Localiza Rent A Car) at Buenos Aires and Río Gallegos.
We were unable to find any unlimited mileages offers at Río Gallegos.
Petrol is widely available. In the provinces of Salta, Jujuy, Buenos Aires and Chubut we paid 0.85 peso per litre.
In the south we had to pay only 0.35 peso per litre!?
Road conditions vary greatly from excellent to poor. The route north from Humahuaca to Abra Pampa is unmettaled with bad dust storms and corrugations to contend with. All roads on Tierra del Fuego (except in Ushuaia) are unmettaled and we tasted, swallowed and ate dust all the time!
We had no problems on returning the car and had driven many poor roads.
During our drive through the country we had several encounters with the police. Stay calm and keep smiling. Always carry your passport. When driving in Argentina, you have to be very careful. A lot of Argentinans drive like madmen. We saw some terrible accidents.
A tape recorder and the sound recordings "Birds of Misiones Volumes 1 & 2" by Roberto Straneck are a must for anyone visiting Misiones.
With the help of the tape recorder we played the songs of a lot of birds. Often we recorded the song or call and played it back again. A tape recorder is essential if you want to catch sight of secretive species like antbirds, antthrushes, antpittas and tapaculos. A good torch is a must. A telescope is useful at coastal sites and lakes and very useful for viewing canopy species especially from roadsides.
I have decided to follow the English names of James F. Clements (July 1991, Birds of the World, A Check List).
MAPS AND SKETCH MAPS
Maps of Argentina can be obtained at the airports, or from bookshops in the large cities.
The standard of the maps is not too high, and all the roads are not shown on them, but they do give you a bit of an idea as where to stay.
I have only made sketch maps of places we visited and which are NOT sketched in Nick Gardner's birder's guide. Although I have tried to make all the maps as accurate as possible, please allow for the vagaries of memory.
The sketch maps are NOT to scale!
The following list of birds we saw frequently and if you spend any sort of time in the right habitats you will too:
Great Grebe, Neotropic Cormorant, Black‑necked Swan, Crested Duck, Chilean Wigeon, Yellow‑billed Pintail, Speckled Teal, Great Egret, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Crested Caracara, Chimango Caracara, American Kestrel, White‑winged Coot, Southern Lapwing, Kelp Gull, Brown‑hooded Gull, Eared Dove, Picui Ground‑Dove, Guira Cuckoo, Rufous Hornero, Spectacled Tyrant, Tropical Kingbird, Fork‑tailed Flycatcher, Great Kiskadee, Rufous‑bellied Thrush, Patagonian Mockingbird, House Wren, White‑rumped Swallow, House Sparrow, Rufous‑collared Sparrow, Sayaca Tanager, Long‑tailed Meadowlark, Bay‑winged Cowbird and Shiny Cowbird.
I want to thank my friends Mark and Kathleen van Beirs
for their great help and valuable advices in planning this trip. I also want
to thank Julio Bottino, who was a very good guide at Costanera Sur in Buenos
- Allen Altman & Byron Swift. Checklist of the Birds of South America.
- James F. Clements. Birds of the World. A Check List.
- JOHN S. DUNNING. SOUTH AMERICAN BIRDS, A PHOTOGRAPHIC AID TO IDENTIFICATION.
- T. NAROSKY - D. YZURIETA. BIRDS OF ARGENTINA & URUGUAY.
- Robert S. Ridgely and Guy Tudor. The Birds of South America, Volume I, The Oscine Passerines.
- Robert S. Ridgely and Guy Tudor. The Birds of South America, Volume II, The Suboscine Passerines.
The only fieldguide currently available is Narosky and Yzurieta "Birds of Argentina & Uruguay". Unfortunately this book is pretty awful. The original plates may have been OK, but they have been butchered by the printer. There are a lot of errors in both the text and the maps also. This makes birding in Argentina harder than it should be.
(The following book is now recommended: Illustrated Checklist: Birds of Southern South America and Antarctica Martin de la Pena - Published since this report. Ed.)
REPORTS AND ARTICLES ON BIRDING LOCALITIES
- Phil Benstead, Richard Hearn and Cath Jeffs. Argentina Trip Report, June - October 1993.
- Paul and Bridget James. A Birding Trip to Argentina. 27th July - 22nd August 1991.
- Claes-Göran Cederlund. Birding in Argentina 9.11 - 5.12 1989.
- Hugh Currie. Birds of Argentina, Personal List, August 1992.
- Richard Fairbank. Argentina, 1st - 25th August 1990.
‑ NICK AND DARYL GARDNER. A BIRDER'S GUIDE TO TRAVEL IN ARGENTINA.
- Frank van Groen. Birds in Southeast South America. 28-11-1990 till 18-12-1990.
- Menno Huizinga. Argentina & Antarctica. 7th January - 4 February 1989.
- Mark Lynch and Sheila Carroll. Birding Eastern Argentina, A First Trip. February 21 - March 6, 1994.
- Barry McCarthy. Birding Trip to Northern Argentina. December 12 1988 - January 5 1989.
- Richard Webb. Northern Argentina.
12th - 23rd January 1992.
November 20/21 Brussels * Sao Paulo
* Buenos Aires
November 22 Buenos Aires * Salta * Palomitas * Metán
November 23 Metan * Joaquin V. Gonzalez
November 24 Joaquin V. Gonzalez * Palomitas * Gral. Güemes
November 25 Gral. Güemes * Parque Nacional Calilegua * Libertador Gral. San Martin
November 26 Parque Nacional Calilegua
November 27 San Martin * Jujuy * Yala * Humahuaca * Abra Pampa
November 28 Laguna de los Pozuelos
November 29 Abra Pampa * Humahuaca * Jujuy
November 30 Jujuy * Embalse La Cienaga * Abra Santa Laura * Salta
December 1 Salta * Cachi Road * Salta
December 2 Salta * Buenos Aires * Costanera Sur
December 3 Buenos Aires * Parque Nacional Iguazú
December 4 Parque Nacional Iguazú
December 5 Parque Nacional Iguazú
December 6 Parque Nacional Iguazú * Lago Uruguay * Iguazú
December 7 Iguazú * Buenos Aires * Trelew * Puerto Madryn
December 8 Puerto Madryn * Punta Norte * Puerto Madryn
December 9 Puerto Madryn * Puerto Pirámides * Puerto Madryn
December 10 Puerto Madryn * Trelew * Punta Tombo * Trelew
December 11 Trelew * Digue F. Ameghino * Trelew
December 12 Trelew * Río Gallegos
December 13 Río Gallegos * El Calafate
December 14 Parque Nacional Los Glaciares
December 15 Parque Nacional Los Glaciares
December 16 El Calafate * Río Gallegos * Ushuaia
December 17 Beagle Channel
December 18 Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego
December 19 Ushuaia * Río Grande * Buenos Aires * Chascomús
December 20 Chascomús * San Clemente del Tuyú * Estación Biologica Punta Rasa
December 21 Estación Biologica Punta Rasa
December 22 San Clemente del Tuyú * Magdalena
December 23 Magdalena * Atalaya * Buenos Aires * Costanera Sur
December 24/25 Buenos Aires * Sao Paulo * Brussels
DESCRIPTIONS OF THE SITES VISITED IN ARGENTINA
The list of birds mentioned at every site which follows is purely taken for the more interesting species and is certainly not complete.
NORTH-WEST ARGENTINA * * * PROVINCES OF SALTA & JUJUY
Chaco (El Impenetrable), xerophytic scrub woodland dominated by quebracho and mesquite.
Accommodation: hotel Roman at Güemes.
The village of Palomitas is about 2 kms east of route 9 from Salta to Tucuman, and is about 100 kms south of Salta.
In the vicinity of this small village is fairly extensive Chaco. The Chaco is centre to one of the continent's most distinctive avifaunas, and shelter for seldom seen specialities.
The whole track (approx. 17kms) is worthwhile a visit. At the end of the track there is a small pond.
Some interesting species:
Tataupa & Brushland Tinamou, Whistling Heron, White‑faced & Buff‑necked Ibis, Harris' Hawk, Cinereous Harrier, Aplomado Falcon, Chaco Chachalaca, Dusky‑legged Guan, Red‑legged & Black‑legged Seriema, Picazuro Pigeon, Blue & Picui Ground‑Dove, White‑tipped Dove, Mitred & Blue‑crowned Parakeet, Tropical Screech‑Owl, Ferruginous Pygmy‑Owl, Dark‑billed Cuckoo, Guira & Striped Cuckoo, SCISSOR‑TAILED NIGHTJAR, Glittering‑bellied Emerald, Blue‑tufted Starthroat, Spot‑backed Puffbird, Cream‑backed, White‑fronted & Checkered Woodpecker, GREAT RUFOUS WOODCREEPER, Narrow‑billed Woodcreeper, Red‑billed Scythebill, Chaco Earthcreeper, Sooty‑fronted & Stripe‑crowned Spinetail, Short‑billed Canastero, Common & Little Thornbird, Great Antshrike, Olive‑crowned Crescent‑chest, White‑tipped Plantcutter, Pearly‑vented Tody‑Tyrant, Euler's & Suiriri Flycatcher, White‑bellied & White‑crested Tyrannulet, Greater Wagtail‑Tyrant, Lesser Shrike‑Tyrant, Cinereous & Yellow‑browed Tyrant, White‑winged Black‑Tyrant, Swainson's Flycatcher, Crowned Slaty Flycatcher, Plush‑crested Jay, Rufous‑browed Peppershrike, Swainson's & Creamy‑bellied Thrush, White‑banded Mockingbird, Masked Gnatcatcher, Hooded Siskin, Masked Yellowthroat, Stripe‑capped & Saffron‑billed Sparrow, Red‑crested Cardinal, Hepatic & Blue‑and‑yellow Tanager, Purple‑throated Euphonia, Many‑colored Chaco‑Finch, Red‑crested & Black‑crested Finch, Ringed & Black‑capped Warbling-Finch, Black‑backed Grosbeak, Golden‑billed Saltator, Ultramarine Grosbeak, Epaulet Oriole, White‑browed Blackbird, Bay‑winged & Screaming Cowbird.
JOAQUIN V. GONZALEZ
Chaco (El Impenetrable), xerophytic scrub woodland dominated by quebracho and mesquite.
Accommodation: hotel Colonial at J.V. Gonzalez.
The little town of Joaquin V. Gonzalez is situated about 200 kms east of Salta in the Chaco, a vast, hot, dry and dusty plain covered in scrub woodland. The Chaco is perhaps the finest desert birding on the continent.
In the neighbourhood of J.V. Gonzalez are a few sandy trails in this impenetrable thorny shrubbery, where many Chaco specialities can be found.
Some interesting species:
Tataupa, Spotted & Brushland Tinamou, Quebracho Crested‑Tinamou, Whistling Heron, CROWNED EAGLE, Savanna & Harris' Hawk, Cinereous Harrier, Aplomado Falcon, SPOT‑WINGED FALCONET, Chaco Chachalaca, Dusky‑legged Guan, Black‑legged Seriema, Picazuro & Spot‑winged Pigeon, Blue & Picui Ground‑Dove, White‑tipped Dove, Monk, Mitred & Blue‑crowned Parakeet, Blue‑fronted Parrot, Burrowing & Rufous‑legged Owl, Tropical Screech‑Owl, Dark‑billed & Ash‑colored Cuckoo, Guira & Striped Cuckoo, Little & Scissor‑tailed Nightjar, Glittering‑bellied Emerald, Blue‑tufted Starthroat, Spot‑backed Puffbird, Cream‑backed, White‑fronted & Checkered Woodpecker, PALE‑CRESTED WOODPECKER, BLACK‑BODIED WOODPECKER, Scimitar‑billed Woodcreeper, Great Rufous Woodcreeper, Narrow‑billed Woodcreeper, Red‑billed Scythebill, Chaco Earthcreeper, Rufous & Crested Hornero, Pale‑breasted, Sooty‑fronted & Stripe‑crowned Spinetail, Short‑billed Canastero, Common & Little Thornbird, Lark‑like Brushrunner, Brown Cacholote, Great & Variable Antshrike, Olive‑crowned Crescent‑chest, CRESTED GALLITO, White‑tipped Plantcutter, Pearly‑vented Tody‑Tyrant, Tawny‑crowned Pygmy‑Tyrant, Yellow‑olive, Euler's & Suiriri Flycatcher, Large & Small‑billed Elaenia, White‑bellied & White‑crested Tyrannulet, Greater Wagtail‑Tyrant, White Monjita, Lesser Shrike‑Tyrant, Cinereous & Yellow‑browed Tyrant, White‑winged Black‑Tyrant, Variegated & Swainson's Flycatcher, Crowned Slaty Flycatcher, Plush‑crested Jay, Rufous‑browed Peppershrike, Red‑eyed Vireo, Swainson's & Creamy‑bellied Thrush, White‑banded Mockingbird, Masked Gnatcatcher, Hooded Siskin, Tropical Parula, Masked Yellowthroat, Stripe‑capped & Saffron‑billed Sparrow, Red‑crested Cardinal, Hepatic, Sayaca & Blue‑and‑yellow Tanager, Many‑colored Chaco‑Finch, Red‑crested & Black‑crested Finch, Ringed & Black‑capped Warbling-Finch, Saffron Finch, Great Pampa‑Finch, Black‑backed Grosbeak, Golden‑billed & Grayish Saltator, Ultramarine Grosbeak, Epaulet Oriole, Bay‑winged & Screaming Cowbird.
High Andes, including "Yunga" forest.
Accommodation: a hotel in Salta.
Leave Salta south en route 68 towards Cafayate. c40 kms south of Salta at El Carril turn west en route 33 towards Cachi.
We travelled some distance (53kms) along the "Cachi Road" in the Cachi Valley making a number of roadside stops. After 10kms the road is unsurfaced.
Some interesting species:
Andean & Ornate Tinamou, Wood Stork, Andean Condor, Black‑chested Buzzard‑Eagle, Roadside Hawk, Aplomado Falcon, Dusky‑legged Guan, Tawny‑throated Dotterel, Eared Dove, Mitred Parakeet, Scaly‑headed Parrot, Tucuman (Alder) Parrot, Sparkling Violetear, Glittering‑bellied Emerald, Giant Hummingbird, Red‑tailed Comet, Burrowing Owl, Golden‑breasted Woodpecker, Andean Flicker, Cream‑backed Woodpecker, Rufous‑banded Miner, Straight‑billed, Rock & Buff‑breasted Earthcreeper, White‑winged Cinclodes, Rufous Hornero, Azara's (Buff‑browed) Spinetail, Stripe‑crowned Spinetail, BROWN‑CAPPED TIT‑SPINETAIL, Plain‑mantled Tit‑Spinetail, Short‑billed, STEINBACH'S CANASTERO, Cordilleran Canastero, Spot‑breasted Thornbird, White‑tipped Plantcutter, Tufted Tit‑Tyrant, YELLOW‑BILLED TIT‑TYRANT (well out‑of‑range according to Narosky & Yzurieta!), Slaty Elaenia, White‑throated Tyrannulet, Subtropical Doradito, Cliff Flycatcher, Black Phoebe, Vermilion Flycatcher, WHITE‑BROWED CHAT‑TYRANT, White Monjita, Cinereous Ground‑Tyrant, Andean Negrito, White-winged Black‑Tyrant, Variegated & Streaked Flycatcher, Crested Becard, Plush‑crested Jay, Rufous‑bellied & Chicuango Thrush, SPOTTED NIGHTINGALE‑THRUSH, Blue‑and‑white & White‑rumped Swallow, Thick‑billed & Black Siskin, Tropical Parula, Brown‑capped Redstart, Common Bush‑Tanager, Blue‑and‑yellow & Fawn‑breasted Tanager, Plumbeous Sierra‑Finch, Rufous‑sided Warbling‑Finch, Band‑tailed Seedeater, Black‑backed Grosbeak, Golden‑billed Saltator, RUFOUS‑BELLIED SALTATOR (rare), Ultramarine Grosbeak.
PARQUE NACIONAL CALILEGUA
70,000 hectares of rugged eastern foothills of the Andes. The park extends from the plains through subtropical evergreen Yunga forest to temperate mossy forest and alder woodland.
Accommodation: hotel Artaza at Libertador Gral. San Martin.
The entrance to the national park is about 10 kms west of the Salta - Oran highway (route 34) at the town of Libertador Gral. San Martin. The park has an impressive list of birds. A checklist can be obtained near the entrance at the first ranger's house.
Some interesting species:
Wood Stork, King Vulture, Swallow‑tailed Kite, Plumbeous Kite, Savanna, Red‑backed, Short‑tailed & Bicolored Hawk, Rufous‑thighed Kite, Collared & Barred Forest-Falcon, Peregrine Falcon, Dusky‑legged Guan, RED‑FACED GUAN, Red‑legged Seriema, Blue Ground‑Dove, Band‑tailed & Pale‑vented Pigeon, White‑tipped & White‑faced Dove, White‑throated Quail‑Dove, GOLDEN‑COLLARED MACAW, White‑eyed, Mitred & Green‑cheeked Parakeet, TUCUMAN (ALDER) PARROT, Scaly‑headed & Blue‑fronted Parrot, Vermiculated & Tropical Screech‑Owl, Spectacled Owl, White‑collared & Ashy‑tailed Swift, Rufous Nightjar, Planalto Hermit, White‑bellied & Speckled Hummingbird, Blue‑capped Puffleg, Slender‑tailed Woodstar, Blue‑crowned Trogon, Toco Toucan, White‑barred & Ocellated Piculet, Smoky‑brown, Dot‑fronted & Cream‑backed Woodpecker, Olivaceous Woodcreeper, Azara's (Buff‑browed), Sooty‑fronted, Ochre‑cheeked & Stripe‑crowned Spinetail, Buff‑browed Foliage‑gleaner, Giant & Black‑capped Antwren, Variable Antshrike, WHITE‑THROATED ANTPITTA, White‑crested, White‑throated, Sclater's & Mottle‑cheeked Tyrannulet, Euler's, Bran‑colored & Cinnamon Flycatcher, Slaty & Highland Elaenia, Smoke‑colored Pewee, Sepia‑capped, Dusky‑capped, Variegated, Piratic, Streaked & Swainson's Flycatcher, Ochre‑faced Tody‑Flycatcher, Rufous Casiornis, Green‑backed Becard, Plush‑crested Jay, Rufous‑browed Peppershrike, Red‑eyed Vireo, Swainson's, Glossy‑black & Rufous‑bellied Thrush, Andean Slaty-Thrush, Mountain Wren, White‑rumped Swallow, Southern Martin, Tropical Parula, Brown‑capped Redstart, Two‑banded, Golden‑crowned & PALE‑LEGGED WARBLER, Masked Yellowthroat, Stripe‑capped & Saffron‑billed Sparrow, Red‑crested Cardinal, Fulvous‑headed & Stripe‑headed Brush‑Finch, Common Bush‑Tanager, Orange‑headed, Rust‑and‑yellow, Hepatic, Sayaca, Blue‑and‑yellow & Fawn‑breasted Tanager, Golden‑rumped & Purple‑throated Euphonia, Chestnut-vented Conebill, Red‑crested Finch, Rusty‑browed Warbling-Finch, Lined Seedeater, Hooded Siskin, Saffron Finch, Black‑backed Grosbeak, Grayish & Golden‑billed Saltator, Ultramarine Grosbeak, Crested Oropendola, Golden‑winged Cacique.
ABRA SANTA LAURA (SANTA LAURA PASS)
Accommodation: a hotel in Salta or in Jujuy.
Leave Salta north on the Jujuy road (via La Caldera & El Carmen). After c25 kms you will arrive in the humid forest known as the "Yungas". This forest, where yellow and white orchids throng the moss-laden trees, shelters the richest variety of birds in the Argentine Andes.
Some interesting species:
King Vulture, White‑tailed Kite, Roadside Hawk, Aplomado Falcon, RED‑FACED GUAN, Red‑legged Seriema, Pale‑vented Pigeon, Mitred Parakeet, Scaly‑headed Parrot, Squirrel Cuckoo, Burrowing Owl, Vermiculated Screech‑Owl, Ashy‑tailed Swift, Glittering‑bellied Emerald, Red‑tailed Comet, Ringed Kingfisher, Spot‑backed Puffbird, White‑barred, Ocellated & Olivaceous Piculet, Dot‑fronted, Cream‑backed & Golden‑breasted Woodpecker, Azara's (Buff‑browed), Sooty‑fronted & Ochre‑cheeked Spinetail, Spot‑breasted Thornbird, Sclater's & Mottle‑cheeked Tyrannulet, Southern Scrub‑Flycatcher, Small‑billed, Slaty & Highland Elaenia, White‑crested Tyrannulet, Tufted Tit‑Tyrant, Euler's Flycatcher, Smoke‑colored Pewee, Plumbeous Tyrant, White Monjita, Variegated & Streaked Flycatcher, Green‑backed & Crested Becard, Plush‑crested Jay, Rufous‑browed Peppershrike, Red‑eyed Vireo, Chiguanco & Rufous‑bellied Thrush, Mountain Wren, Tawny‑headed Swallow, Southern Rough‑winged Swallow, Tropical Parula, Brown‑capped Redstart, Two‑banded Warbler, Masked Yellowthroat, Stripe‑capped & Saffron‑billed Sparrow, Stripe‑headed Brush‑Finch, Common Bush‑Tanager, Orange‑headed, Sayaca, Blue‑and‑yellow & Fawn‑breasted Tanager, Golden‑rumped & Purple-throated Euphonia, Red‑crested Finch, Rusty‑browed Warbling-Finch, Saffron Finch, Black‑backed Grosbeak, Hooded Siskin, Golden‑billed Saltator, White‑browed Blackbird, Bay‑winged Cowbird.
EMBALSE LA CIENAGA
A large water reservoir south from Jujuy on the Salta - Jujuy road via La Caldera & El Carmen (Santa Laura Pass).
Accommodation: a hotel in Jujuy.
Along the Jujuy - Salta road there is a large reservoir to the east of the road just south (5km) of El Carmen. A good selection of waterbirds can be seen here.
Some interesting species:
Pied‑billed Grebe, Neotropic Cormorant, Fulvous & White‑faced Whistling‑Duck, ANDEAN DUCK, Speckled & Cinnamon Teal, Rosy‑billed Pochard, Chilean Flamingo, Whistling Heron, Cocoi Heron, White‑faced Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Wood Stork, White‑winged Coot, Limpkin, White-backed Stilt, Andean Gull, Guira Cuckoo, Glittering‑bellied Emerald, Common Thornbird, Yellow‑browed Tyrant, Stripe‑capped Sparrow, Black‑and‑chestnut Warbling‑Finch, Black‑capped Warbling‑Finch, Double‑collared & Lined Seedeater, Ultramarine Grosbeak, Bay‑winged Cowbird.
PARQUE PROVINCIAL POTRERO DE YALA
A river valley area in the Andean foothills, located approx. 10kms northwest of Jujuy along route 9.
Accommodation: a hotel in Jujuy.
The valley consists of gardens in the lower valley and scrubby woodland and stony grassland further up.
The Yala Valley is probably the most reliable stake‑out for Rufous‑throated Dipper.
Some interesting species:
TORRENT DUCK, Swallow‑tailed Kite, Black‑chested Buzzard‑Eagle, Dusky‑legged Guan, Mitred Parakeet, Yellow‑billed Cuckoo, White‑bellied Hummingbird, Red‑tailed Comet, Slender‑tailed Woodstar, Stripe‑crowned Spinetail, Spot‑breasted Thornbird, Rufous‑capped Antshrike, Southern Scrub‑Flycatcher, Small‑billed & Slaty Elaenia, White‑bellied Tyrannulet, Euler's Flycatcher, Vermilion Flycatcher, Streak‑throated Bush‑Tyrant, Cinereous Ground‑Tyrant, Yellow‑browed Tyrant, Crested Becard, Red‑eyed Vireo, RUFOUS‑THROATED DIPPER, Chiguanco Thrush, Andean Slaty‑Thrush, Rufous‑bellied Thrush, Patagonian Mockingbird, Hooded Siskin, Masked Yellowthroat, Brown‑capped Redstart, Saffron‑billed Sparrow, Fulvous‑headed & Stripe‑headed Brush‑Finch, Common Bush‑Tanager, Rust‑and‑yellow & Fawn‑breasted Tanager, Rusty‑browed Warbling‑Finch, Great Pampa‑Finch, Double‑collared, Lined & Band‑tailed Seedeater, Black‑backed Grosbeak, Golden‑billed Saltator, Golden‑winged Cacique, Bay‑winged Cowbird.
A region of thorn and cactus scrub, rocky ravines and terraced cultivation.
Accommodation: a hotel in Humahuaca.
Around the small Indian town of Humahuaca, situated at 2900m is an arid area with some specialities. We stopped frequently and found the area near Quebrada de Tumbay a Grande very good. The area at Escuela Provincial no. 328 (Arroyo Chorrillos) was also good.
Some interesting species:
Andean Gull, Picui Ground-Dove, BARE‑EYED GROUND‑DOVE, Mitred, Mountain & Gray‑hooded Parakeet, Sparkling Violetear, Andean Hillstar, GIANT HUMMINGBIRD, RED‑TAILED COMET, Andean Swift, Golden‑breasted Woodpecker, Andean Flicker, Straight‑billed & Rock Earthcreeper, Tufted Tit‑Spinetail, Creamy‑breasted Canastero, Streak‑fronted Thornbird, White‑tipped Plantcutter, Tufted Tit‑Tyrant, Mottle‑cheeked Tyrannulet, D'Orbigny's Chat‑Tyrant, White Monjita, Black‑billed Shrike‑Tyrant, Rufous‑naped Ground‑Tyrant, White‑winged Black‑Tyrant, Spectacled Tyrant, Yellow‑browed Tyrant, Chiguanco Thrush, Patagonian & Brown‑backed Mockingbird, Correndera Pipit, Thick‑billed, Hooded & Black Siskin, Sayaca & Blue‑and‑yellow Tanager, Red‑crested Finch, Black‑hooded, Mourning, Plumbeous & Ash‑breasted Sierra‑Finch, Rufous‑sided Warbling‑Finch, Puna & Greenish Yellow‑Finch, Great Pampa‑Finch, Band‑tailed Seedeater, Golden‑billed Saltator, Long‑tailed Meadowlark.
LAGUNA DE LOS POZUELOS
A saline lake in the High Andes.
Accommodation: residencial Cesarito at Abra Pampa or a hotel at La Quiaca.
Laguna de los Pozuelos is a saline lake of about 100 square kilometres in extent and lies in the High Andes, at 3500 m above sea level and has recently been protected as the Laguna Pozuelos National Monument. The lake lies west of route 9 (Abra Pampa) in the extreme north of Jujuy province. The area supports many high altitude specialities.
Some interesting species:
Ornate Tinamou, LESSER (PUNA) RHEA, White‑tufted
& Silvery Grebe, Andean Goose, Andean Duck, Speckled Teal, Crested Duck,
Yellow‑billed Pintail, PUNA TEAL, Cinnamon Teal, Chilean, ANDEAN
FLAMINGO, PUNA FLAMINGO, Puna Ibis, Andean Condor, Cinereous Harrier,
Puna Hawk, Mountain Caracara, Peregrine Falcon, Slate‑colored Coot, GIANT
COOT, HORNED COOT, Greater & Lesser Yellowlegs, Baird's, Pectoral
& Stilt Sandpiper, Gray‑breasted & Least Seedsnipe, White‑backed
Stilt, ANDEAN AVOCET, American Golden‑Plover, Puna Plover, Tawny‑throated
Dotterel, Andean Lapwing, Wilson's Phalarope, Andean Gull, Black‑winged
& Golden‑spotted Ground‑Dove, Andean Swift, Burrowing &
Short‑eared Owl, Andean Flicker, Common, Puna & Rufous‑banded
Miner, Straight‑billed, Rock & Buff‑breasted Earthcreeper, Bar‑winged
& White‑winged Cinclodes, Tufted & Plain‑mantled Tit‑Spinetail,
Cordilleran & Creamy‑breasted Canastero, Streak‑fronted Thornbird,
D'Orbigny's Chat‑Tyrant, Black‑billed Shrike‑Tyrant, Cinnamon‑bellied
& Cinereous Ground‑Tyrant, Andean Negrito, Correndera, Short‑billed
& Paramo Pipit, Black Siskin, Black‑hooded & Ash‑breasted
Sierra‑Finch, Red‑backed Sierra‑Finch, Puna Yellow‑Finch,
PARQUE NACIONAL IGUAZU
The country's only lowland subtropical rainforest. The entrance fee is 3 peso p.p.
Accommodation: a hotel in Iguazú town.
The stunningly beautiful, 2 kilometre wide Iguazú Falls at the convergence of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay is one of the scenic highlights of South America, the falls are the fourth largest by volume in the world, wider than Niagara and higher than Victoria. The forests of the Iguazú region now constitute one of the largest remaining patches of the Atlantic forests and are an extension of the forests of southeastern Brazil. These from the forests of the Amazon basin isolated forest posseses an exceptional high degree of endemism.
By working the various trails in the park one can expect to see over 100 species over a four day period as we did.
Some interesting species:
Solitary, Brown & Tataupa Tinamou, Black‑crowned Night‑Heron, Least Bittern, Green Ibis, Lesser Yellow‑headed Vulture, Swallow‑tailed Kite, Snail Kite, Rufous‑thighed Kite, Plumbeous Kite, Dusky‑legged & Rusty‑margined Guan, BLACK‑FRONTED PIPING‑GUAN (rare), Blackish Rail, Rufous‑sided Crake, Limpkin, Pale‑vented & Scaled Pigeon, White‑tipped Dove, Violaceous Quail‑Dove, White‑eyed & Maroon‑bellied Parakeet, Blue‑winged Parrotlet, Scaly‑headed & Red‑capped Parrot, Squirrel Cuckoo, Greater & Smooth‑billed Ani, Guira Cuckoo, Rusty‑barred Owl, Gray Potoo, Short‑tailed & Common Nighthawk, Great Dusky Swift, Gray‑rumped Swift, Scale‑throated Hermit, Violet‑capped Woodnymph, Gilded Hummingbird, Glittering‑bellied Emerald, Black‑throated & Surucua Trogon, Amazon Kingfisher, White‑eared Puffbird, Rusty‑breasted Nunlet, Rufous‑capped Motmot, Chestnut‑eared Aracari, Saffron & Spot‑billed Toucanet, Red‑breasted & Toco Toucan, Ochre‑collared Piculet, HELMETED WOODPECKER (rare), Yellow‑fronted, White‑spotted, Green‑barred, Blond‑crested, Lineated, Robust & Crimson‑crested Woodpecker, Campo Flicker, Scaled, Lesser, Olivaceous, White‑throated & Planalto Woodcreeper, Buff‑fronted, Ochre‑breasted, Black‑capped & White‑eyed Foliage‑Gleaner, Gray‑bellied, Olive & Rufous‑capped Spinetail, Spot‑backed, Large‑tailed, Tufted & Variable Antshrike, Plain Antvireo, Rufous‑winged Antwren, BERTONI'S ANTBIRD, White‑shouldered Fire‑eye, Short‑tailed Antthrush, Variegated Antpitta, SPOTTED BAMBOOWREN, RED‑RUFFED FRUITCROW, Blue (Swallow‑tailed), Wing‑barred & Greenish Manakin, Ochre‑faced Tody‑Flycatcher, Drab‑breasted Bamboo‑Tyrant, Southern Antpipit, Yellow‑bellied & Lesser Elaenia, SOUTHERN BRISTLE‑TYRANNULET, Mottle‑cheeked, Sooty, Bay‑ringed & Yellow Tyrannulet, Eared Pymy‑Tyrant, White‑throated Spadebill, Pied Water‑Tyrant, Long‑tailed Tyrant, Sirystes, Sepia‑capped, Three‑striped & Social Flycatcher, Plush‑crested Jay, Black‑crowned Tityra, Red‑eyed Vireo, EASTERN SLATY‑THRUSH, Rufous‑bellied, Pale‑breasted, Creamy‑bellied & White‑necked Thrush, Chalk‑browed Mockingbird, Creamy‑bellied Gnatcatcher, Gray‑breasted Martin, Southern Rough‑winged & Black‑collared Swallow, Masked Yellowthroat, Golden‑crowned Warbler, Neotropical River Warbler, Stripe‑capped Sparrow, Chestnut‑vented Conebill, Magpie, Guira, Ruby‑crowned, White‑lined, Black‑goggled, Green‑headed & Chestnut‑backed Tanager, Red‑crowned Ant‑Tanager, Blue Dacnis, Swallow‑Tanager, Purple‑throated, Violaceous, Golden‑rumped & Chestnut‑bellied Euphonia, Rufous‑crowned Greenlet, Red‑crested Finch, Saffron Finch, Blue‑black Grassquit, Double‑collared & BLACKISH‑BLUE SEEDEATER, Green‑winged Saltator, Red‑rumped Cacique, Chopi Blackbird.
BUENOS AIRES PROVINCE
COSTANERA SUR, BUENOS AIRES WILDLIFE REFUGE
An urban wildlife reserve on the edge of the River Plate.
Accommodation: a hotel in Buenos Aires.
Located behind the old docks practically in the centre of Buenos Aires. This is a superb birding area with mainly wildfowl, but towards the end of summer waders also feature.
Some interesting species:
White‑tufted & Pied‑billed Grebe, Southern Screamer, Fulvous & White‑faced Whistling‑Duck, Lake Duck, Black‑necked & Coscoroba Swan, Speckled & Silver Teal, Rosy‑billed Pochard, BLACK‑HEADED DUCK, Chilean Flamingo, Whistling, Cocoi & Striated Heron, Black‑crowned Night‑Heron, STRIPE‑BACKED BITTERN, White‑faced Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Maguari Stork, Snail Kite, Long‑winged Harrier, Rufous‑sided Crake, Gray‑necked Wood‑Rail, Plumbeous & Spotted Rail, Spot‑flanked Gallinule, White‑winged, Red‑gartered & Red‑fronted Coot, Limpkin, Wattled Jacana, Olrog's, Gray‑headed & Brown‑hooded Gull, Black Skimmer, Eared Dove, Picazuro Pigeon, Ruddy & Picui Ground‑Dove, Monk Parakeet, Guira Cuckoo, Dark‑billed & Ash‑colored Cuckoo, Scissor‑tailed Nightjar, Glittering‑bellied Emerald, Golden‑breasted Woodpecker, Campo (Field) Flicker, Common Miner, Sulphur‑bearded & Yellow‑throated Spinetail, Freckle‑breasted Thornbird, Bay‑capped Wren‑Spinetail, Wren‑like Rushbird, Curve‑billed Reedhaunter, Rufous‑capped Antshrike, Small‑billed Elaenia, Warbling Doradito, Spectacled Tyrant, Pied Water‑Tyrant, Yellow‑browed Tyrant, Cattle Tyrant, Rufous‑bellied & Creamy‑bellied Thrush, Chalk‑browed & White‑banded Mockingbird, Masked Gnatcatcher, Blue‑and‑white Swallow, Hooded Siskin, Masked Yellowthroat, Grassland Sparrow, Red‑crested Cardinal, Yellow‑billed Cardinal, Long‑tailed Reed‑Finch, Black‑and-rufous & Black‑capped Warbling‑Finch, Grassland Yellow‑Finch, Saffron Finch, Great Pampa‑Finch, Rusty‑collared Seedeater, Epaulet Oriole, Yellow‑winged, White‑browed & Unicolored Blackbird, Bay‑winged & Shiny Cowbird.
ESTACIÓN BIOLOGICA PUNTA RASA RESERVE
A low sandy peninsula only 1 km from the port of San Clemente del Tuyú, a small resort town on the south bank of the Río de La Plata.
Accommodation: a hotel in San Clemente del Tuyú.
Situated in the outer reaches of the Río de La Plata estuary, this is a very important staging area for a wide variety of gulls, terns, ducks and waders, and also attracts a good number of passerine migrants.
Some interesting species:
Spotted Nothura, White‑tufted & Pied‑billed Grebe, White‑faced Whistling‑Duck, Coscoroba Swan, Silver Teal, Rosy‑billed Pochard, Chilean Flamingo, Whistling & Cocoi Heron, White‑faced Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Maguari & Wood Stork, Long‑winged & Cinereous Harrier, Swainson's Hawk, Plumbeous Rail, DOT‑WINGED CRAKE, Speckled Crake, White‑winged, Red‑gartered & Red‑fronted Coot, Limpkin, Wattled Jacana, AMERICAN PAINTED‑SNIPE, Hudsonian Godwit, Greater & Lesser Yellowlegs, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, White‑rumped & Baird's Sandpiper, American Golden‑Plover, Gray Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Two‑banded Plover, Tawny‑throated Dotterel, OLROG'S GULL, Gray‑headed & Brown‑hooded Gull, Gull‑billed, Sandwich, Common & Snowy‑crowned Tern, Black Skimmer, Burrowing Owl, Eared Dove, Picazuro Pigeon, Ruddy & Picui Ground‑Dove, Monk Parakeet, Guira Cuckoo, Dark‑billed & Ash‑colored Cuckoo, Glittering‑bellied Emerald, White‑throated Hummingbird, Golden‑breasted Woodpecker, Campo (Field) Flicker, Tufted Tit‑Spinetail, HUDSON'S CANASTERO, Freckle‑breasted Thornbird, BAY‑CAPPED WREN‑SPINETAIL, Wren‑like Rushbird, CURVE‑BILLED REEDHAUNTER, Firewood‑Gatherer, White‑crested Tyrannulet, Southern Beardless Tyrannulet, Warbling Doradito, Austral Negrito, Spectacled Tyrant, Vermilion Flycatcher, Yellow‑browed Tyrant, Cattle Tyrant, Crowned Slaty Flycatcher, Swainson's, Rufous‑bellied & Creamy‑bellied Thrush, Sedge Wren, Chalk‑browed & White‑banded Mockingbird, Masked Gnatcatcher, Blue‑and‑white Swallow, Hooded Siskin, Masked Yellowthroat, Correndera Pipit, Stripe‑capped Sparrow, Red‑crested Cardinal, Long‑tailed Reed‑Finch, Black‑and-rufous Warbling‑Finch, Saffron Finch, Grassland Yellow‑Finch, Great Pampa‑Finch, Yellow‑winged & White‑browed Blackbird, Brown‑and‑yellow Marshbird, Bay‑winged, Screaming & Shiny Cowbird.
A marshy area very close to the town of Magdalena.
Accommodation: Nuevo "Hotel Colon" at Magdalena or the camping site at Atalaya.
This scrubby woodland area with small small marshes is worthwhile a visit and an area where Giant Wood‑rail is very easy to see.
Some interesting species:
White‑tufted Grebe, Whistling Heron, Black‑crowned Night‑Heron, Roseate Spoonbill, Maguari Stork, GIANT WOOD‑RAIL, Limpkin, Brown‑hooded Gull, Picui Ground‑Dove, Monk Parakeet, Dark‑billed Cuckoo, Guira Cuckoo, Gilded Hummingbird, Checkered & Golden‑breasted Woodpecker, Narrow‑billed Woodcreeper, CHICLI & CHOTOY SPINETAIL, Freckle‑breasted Thornbird, CURVE‑BILLED REEDHAUNTER, Firewood-Gatherer, Variable & Rufous‑capped Antshrike, Small‑billed Elaenia, Bran‑colored Flycatcher, Pied Water‑Tyrant, Yellow‑browed Tyrant, Streaked Flycatcher, White‑winged Becard, Red‑eyed Vireo, Rufous‑bellied & Creamy‑bellied Thrush, Masked Gnatcatcher, Masked Yellowthroat, Red‑crested Cardinal, Black‑and‑rufous Warbling‑Finch, Epaulet Oriole, Yellow‑winged Blackbird, Brown‑and‑yellow Marshbird, Bay‑winged Cowbird.
PATAGONIA - CHUBUT PROVINCE
This reserve is a large peninsula with mostly desert scrub.
Accommodation: plenty of hotels at Puerto Madryn or at Puerto Pirámides.
The Patagonian coast of Chubut is one of the world's great wildlife areas. In addition to hosting large concentrations of spectacular marine mammals (Southern Sea Lion, Elephant Seal, Southern Right Whale, Killer Whale), the Valdés Peninsula provides the opportunity to see most of the Patagonian endemics.
Some interesting species:
Darwin's Nothura, Elegant Crested‑Tinamou, Greater & Lesser Rhea, Great Grebe, Magellanic Penguin, Black‑browed Albatross, Antarctic Giant Petrel, White‑chinned Petrel, Manx & Greater Shearwater, Guanay Cormorant, Imperial & Rock Shag, Chilean Flamingo, CHUBUT STEAMERDUCK, Crested Duck, Cinereous Harrier, White‑tailed Hawk, Chimango Caracara, American Kestrel, Hudsonian Godwit, Sanderling, White‑rumped & Baird's Sandpiper, SNOWY SHEATHBILL, Least Seedsnipe, American & Blackish Oystercatcher, Two‑banded Plover, Tawny‑throated Dotterel, Kelp & Dolphin Gull, Royal, Sandwich (Cayenne) & South American Tern, Chilean Skua, Eared Dove, BURROWING PARROT, Burrowing Owl, Common Miner, Scale‑throated & Band‑tailed Earthcreeper, Plain‑mantled Tit‑Spinetail, Lesser Canastero, PATAGONIAN CANASTERO, Greater Wagtail‑Tyrant, Tufted Tit‑Tyrant, Rusty‑backed Monjita, Chocolate‑vented Tyrant, Gray‑bellied & Lesser Shrike‑Tyrant, Austral Negrito, Patagonian & White‑banded Mockingbird, Chilean Swallow, Southern Martin, Short‑billed Pipit, Mourning Sierra‑Finch, CARBONATED SIERRA‑FINCH, Common Diuca‑Finch, Patagonian Yellow‑Finch, Long‑tailed Meadowlark.
PUNTA TOMBO AREA
130 kms south of Trelew is Punta Tombo, a 3 kilometres long peninsula of rocky shores and sandy beaches.
Accommodation: a hotel in Trelew.
This is the site of the largest seabird colony on the Patagonian coast. This reserve supports up to half a million pairs of breeding Magellanic Penguins.
Some interesting species:
Elegant Crested‑Tinamou, Lesser Rhea, Great Grebe, Magellanic Penguin, MARCARONI PENGUIN (rare), Black‑browed Albatross, Antarctic Giant Petrel, White‑chinned Petrel, Guanay Cormorant, Imperial & Rock Shag, CHUBUT STEAMERDUCK, Red‑backed Hawk, Chimango Caracara, American Kestrel, Aplomado Falcon, American & Blackish Oystercatcher, Tawny‑throated Dotterel, Kelp, Dolphin & Brown‑hooded Gull, Royal, Sandwich (Cayenne) & South American Tern, Chilean Skua, Burrowing Parrot, Scale‑throated & Band‑tailed Earthcreeper, Plain‑mantled Tit‑Spinetail, Lesser Canastero, PATAGONIAN CANASTERO, Tufted Tit‑Tyrant, WHITE‑THROATED CACHOLOTE, Rusty‑backed Monjita, Gray‑bellied & Lesser Shrike‑Tyrant, Austral Negrito, Patagonian Mockingbird, Southern Martin, Black‑chinned Siskin, Mourning Sierra‑Finch, Common Diuca‑Finch, Patagonian Yellow‑Finch, Long‑tailed Meadowlark.
DIGUE F. AMEGHINO,
A large water reservoir and a very attractive area along the Río Chubut, 100 kms west of Trelew.
Accommodation: a hotel in Trelew.
Some of the region's finest scenery you find near the water reservoir and along the Río Chubut. We found many birds in this area.
Some interesting species:
Great Grebe, Neotropic Cormorant, Lake Duck, Black‑necked & Coscoroba Swan, Flying Steamerduck, Chiloe Wigeon, Yellow‑billed Pintail, Rosy‑billed Pochard, Cinereous Harrier, Chimango Caracara, American Kestrel, White‑winged & Red‑gartered Coot, Picui Ground‑Dove, Guira Cuckoo, RUSTY‑BACKED MONJITA, Plain‑mantled Tit‑Spinetail, SULPHUR‑BEARDED SPINETAIL, Wren‑like Rushbird, Many‑colored Rush‑Tyrant, White‑winged Black‑Tyrant, Spectacled Tyrant, Lesser Shrike‑Tyrant, Southern Martin, Austral Thrush, Patagonian Mockingbird, GRAY‑HOODED SIERRA‑FINCH, Yellow‑winged Blackbird, Long‑tailed Meadowlark, Bay‑winged & Shiny Cowbird.
PATAGONIA - SANTA CRUZ PROVINCE
RESERVA FAUNISTICA DE LOS ESCARCHARDOS
Two small lakes on the southern edge of the plateau in Santa Cruz Province about 70 kms south of El Calafate.
Accommodation: a hotel in El Calafate. The tourist office at the entrance of the town can provide useful information on budget accommodation.
This famous lagoon is the type locality of the most beautiful grebe in the world, the Hooded, described in 1974 and known only from a few lakes in this remote region. Here, too, nest several pairs of one of the world's rarest and most bizarre shorebirds, the Magellanic Plover.
Some interesting species:
HOODED GREBE, Silvery Grebe, Upland Goose, Flying Steamerduck, Chiloe Wigeon, Crested Duck, Speckled Teal, Yellow‑billed Pintail, Red Shoveler, Chilean Flamingo, Black‑faced Ibis, Cinereous Harrier, White‑rimped & Baird's Sandpiper, Gray-breasted & Least Seedsnipe, MAGELLANIC PLOVER, Magellanic Oystercatcher, Two‑banded Plover, Common Miner, Scale‑throated Earthcreeper, Chocolate‑vented Tyrant, Austral Negrito, Correndera Pipit.
PARQUE NACIONAL LOS GLACIARES
A national park in the southern High Andes. The entrance fee is 3,50 peso p.p.
Accommodation: a hotel in El Calafate. The tourist office at the entrance of the town can provide useful information on budget accommodation.
The park offers some of the most spectacular scenery in all of South America, as Moreno Glacier, with a leading edge five kilometres long and several hundred feet high, looms above the turquoise waters of Lago Argentina.
This national park lies only 75 kms west of El Calafate. The lake is bordered by dark forests of Southern Beech (Nothofagus) which provide habitat for some good birds.
Some interesting species:
White‑tufted & Great Grebe, Andean Ruddy Duck, Upland, Kelp & Ashy‑headed Goose, Flying Steamerduck, Spectacled Duck, Speckled Teal, Black-faced Ibis, RUFOUS‑TAILED HAWK (rare), Andean Condor, Cinereous Harrier, Black‑chested Buzzard‑Eagle, Gray‑breasted & Least Seedsnipe, Austral Parakeet, Austral Pygmy‑Owl, GREEN‑BACKED FIRECROWN, CHILEAN FLICKER, MAGELLANIC WOODPECKER, Bar‑winged & Dark‑bellied Cinclodes, Lesser & Austral Canastero, DES MURS' WIRETAIL (very rare), Thorn‑tailed Rayadito, White‑throated Treerunner, BLACK‑THROATED HUET‑HUET (very rare), Andean Tapaculo, Rufous‑tailed Plantcutter, White‑crested Elaenia, Tufted Tit‑Tyrant, Fire‑eyed Diucon, Great Shrike‑Tyrant, Dark‑faced & White‑browed Ground‑Tyrant, Austral Negrito, Austral Thrush, Chilean Swallow, Black‑chinned Siskin, Gray‑hooded & Patagonian Sierra-Finch, Common Diuca‑Finch, Long‑tailed Meadowlark, Austral Blackbird.
TIERRA DEL FUEGO
PARQUE NACIONAL TIERRA DEL FUEGO
The reserve is situated only 10 kms from Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, and 12 kms from the Chilean border.
Accommodation: plenty of hotels in Ushuaia or a camping at Lago Roca.
Tierra del Fuego, at the southern tip of South America, does not offer a great diversity of birdlife, but the avifaunal quality and the unsurpassed beauty of this remote region make a visit unforgettable. The forests, mountains, lakes and shorelines of the Tierra del Fuego National Park are the best part of the Island.
Some interesting species:
Great Grebe, Imperial & Rock Shag, Upland, Kelp & Ashy‑headed Goose, Flying & FLYGHTLESS STEAMERDUCK, SPECTACLED DUCK, Speckled Teal, Black-faced Ibis, Andean Condor, Bicolored Hawk, Black‑chested Buzzard‑Eagle, WHITE‑THROATED CARACARA (also municipal rubbish dump), Crested & Chimango Caracara, Magellanic Oystercatcher, Austral Parakeet, Great Horned Owl, Austral Pygmy‑Owl, RUFOUS‑LEGGED OWL, Ringed Kingfisher, MAGELLANIC WOODPECKER, Bar‑winged, Gray‑flanked & Dark‑bellied Cinclodes, Andean Tapaculo, Thorn‑tailed Rayadito, WHITE‑THROATED TREERUNNER, Andean Tapaculo, White‑crested Elaenia, Dark‑faced Ground‑Tyrant, Fire‑eyed Diucon, Austral Negrito, Austral Thrush, Chilean Swallow, Black‑chinned Siskin, Patagonian Sierra-Finch, Austral Blackbird.
A narrow channel connecting the Atlantic and Pacific ocean and named after Charles Darwin's ship.
Accommodation: plenty of hotels in Ushuaia.
You can make a cruise into the Beagle Channel and see quite a few seabirds. At the Ushuaia harbour you can take one of the daily boat trip tours. One tour lasts three hours and the other tour lasts nine hours ($70) and goes further out east to Harberton where it makes landfall. Note: The Harberton trip gets more penguins.
During this boat trip a variety of penguins, albatrosses, petrels, cormorants, gulls and waterfowl can be seen.
Some interesting species:
KING PENGUIN (rare), GENTOO PENGUIN (rare), Magellanic Penguin, Black‑browed Albatross, WESTLAND PETREL (rare), Antarctic Giant Petrel, SLENDER‑BILLED PRION, White‑chinned Petrel, Sooty Shearwater, Common & Magellanic Diving‑Petrel, Imperial & Rock Shag, Kelp Goose, FLIGHTLESS STEAMERDUCK, Flying Steamerduck, Spectacled Duck, Andean Condor, Rufous‑chested Dotterel, White‑rumped Sandpiper, Snowy Sheathbill, Blackish Oystercatcher, Southern & Chilean Skua, Dark‑bellied Cinclodes, BLACKISH CINCLODES (rare).
EL PASO GARIBALDI
A pass on the main road between Ushuaia and Rio Grande, about 50 kms north of Ushuaia.
Accommodation: plenty of hotels in Ushuaia.
At an altitude of about 1500 metres this section of the road gives easy access to snow pockets on the scree slope west of the pass and is a regular site for White‑bellied Seedsnipe and Yellow‑bridled Finch.
Some interesting species:
Upland Goose, Andean Condor, Black‑chested Buzzard‑Eagle, White‑throated Caracara, Crested & Chimango Caracara, White‑bellied Seedsnipe, Austral Parakeet, Bar‑winged & Dark‑bellied Cinclodes, Thorn‑tailed Rayadito, White‑crested Elaenia, Dark‑faced Ground‑Tyrant, Austral Thrush, Chilean Swallow, Black‑chinned Siskin, Patagonian Sierra‑Finch, Yellow‑brided Finch.
Sunday & Monday 20th & 21st November
We departed from Brussels airport at 20.30. After a very long VASP-flight with a stop at Sao Paulo in Brazil, we arrived at Buenos Aires airport at 16.30 local time. We spent the night in Hotel Waldorf.
Tuesday 22nd November
The next day we left Buenos Aires for the first of 10 days in the northwest of Argentina, the states of Salta and Jujuy. At 7 o'clock in the morning we left the capital and arrived at 9 o'clock at Salta Airport. We picked up our hire car in Salta, a pleasant Spanish-style town, and then drove southwards to Palomitas.
We started our bird trip in northwestern Argentina, the "birdiest" region in the country. This mixture of Chaco desert, Yunga forest, rocky canyons and Andean altiplano contributed nearly two-thirds of all the birds we found in Argentina.
We were soon speeding down the road to Palomitas. We stopped many times en route to Palomitas and amongst the first birds we saw were the beautiful pristine White Monjita, Red‑crested Finch and the stunning Plush‑crested Jay.
We spent the whole afternoon in the Chaco vegetation near the small village of Palomitas. It was very hot in this sparse thorny woodland and birding here was very hard work. Eric and I were grossly overdressed for our afternoon at Palomitas, where the sun shone strongly. Soon down to our shirt sleeves we were watching along the sandy and very dusty track Brushland Tinamou, Glittering‑bellied Emerald, Blue‑tufted Starthroat, Checkered Woodpecker, Narrow‑billed Woodcreeper, Little Thornbird at the nest, Greater Wagtail‑Tyrant, Suiriri Flycatcher, Crowned Slaty Flycatcher, Many‑colored Chaco‑Finch and Red‑crested Cardinal.
Along this road we also saw many cows.
It was already late when we drove to Metán. At 20.30 we arrived in this small town and checked in at the hotel Solis.
Dinner in a local restaurant was very good. As the giant steaks sizzled we realised that we were not going to lose any weight on this trip.
Wednesday 23rd November
We awoke at first light (5.30) and immediately drove eastward to the small town of Joaquin V. Gonzalez. We spent all morning along the road to J.V. Gonzalez and the 'roadside' birding was very good. The Chaco found only in northern Argentina and in adjacent Paraguay and Bolivia which perhaps most resembles African acacia woodland is home to several endemic birds and we saw some good birds. We flushed a few Quebracho Crested‑Tinamous before getting excellent views and we noted some other specialities of the region: Tataupa Tinamou, Scaly‑headed & Blue‑fronted Parrot, Spot‑backed Puffbird, Cream‑backed Woodpecker, Red‑billed Scythebill and White‑tipped Plantcutter.
At noon we arrived in J.V. Gonzalez and booked a room in hotel Colonial. It was so hot outside that Eric and I decided to take a "siesta".
In the late afternoon we started to explore the Chaco at the well‑known sites near the town. We did both trails at km14.5 and at km17. Birding here was very good and 'lifers' were coming from all sides, Chaco Chachalaca, Blue‑crowned Parakeet, the spectacular Scimitar‑billed Woodcreeper, Crested Hornero, Stripe‑crowned Spinetail, Lark‑like Brushrunner, Euler's Flycatcher and Black‑capped Warbling‑Finch.
The curtain closed on a perfect day of birding with a few Little Nightjars that flew over us repeatedly and then landed on the very dusty road.
Thursday 24th November
A very early start this morning ensured that we were in the Chaco before dawn. We spent all morning along the two tracks. We met some very friendly people who tried to help us in finding the more difficult birds. Amongst the birds we found were Dark‑billed Cuckoo, Rufous‑fronted Thornbird, a Crested Gallito romping around in the thorniest thicket, Cinereous Tyrant and Ringed Warbling‑Finch.
Hereafter we left the area and drove northwards again. En route to Palomitas we made many stops, especially near El Rey NP. A pool further down the road, not far from the entrance of the famous park, held a few Least Grebes and our first Southern Screamers.
In the late afternoon we made another stop at the Palomitas Chaco. We searched in vain for Olive‑crowned Crescent‑chest, but did see Pearly‑vented Tody‑Tyrant and White‑bellied Tyrannulet.
When we left Palomitas we saw a terrible accident with a cattle-truck. Everywhere were dead cows and along the road we encountered running horses and cows.
We spent the night in hotel Roman in Gral. Güemes.
Friday 25th November
The following morning saw us driving to Calilegua NP near the town of Libertador Gral. San Martin. En route to the reserve we dropped our luggage at hotel Artaza.
We spent the rest of the day in the humid forest known as the "Yungas" which shelters the richest variety of birds in the Argentine Andes. We got a checklist at the first ranger's station and then the birding really started.
The birding was great and the forest reserve gave us a whole set of new species. Flocks of Mitred and Green‑cheeked Parakeets flew up and down the wooded valleys, a Giant Antshrike belted out its penetrating vibrato from the humid forest and suddenly a huge, blood‑eyed female-plumaged Giant Antshrike sprang up on a bare limb at eye‑level only 3 metres away. It stayed around for several minutes allowing detailed views.
Amongst the many other birds we noted this day were Barred Forest‑Falcon, Dusky‑legged Guan, White‑faced Dove, Planalto Hermit, White‑bellied Hummingbird, Blue‑crowned Trogon, Slaty Elaenia, Glossy‑back Thrush, Andean Slaty‑Thrush, Brown‑capped Redstart, Pale‑legged Warbler, Slaty Elaenia, Saffron‑billed Sparrow, Fulvous‑headed Brush‑Finch, Orange‑headed & Rust‑and‑yellow Tanager, Black‑backed Grosbeak and Crested Oropendola.
Tonight we had dinner in a small restaurant at San Martin and for the first time we ate no steak but a very large pizza.
Saturday 26th November
Next morning we returned to Calilegua. The birding started slowly, with a few Ashy‑tailed Swifts and a dynamite view of a huge Toco Toucan. Then, out of nowhere, three Golden‑collared Macaws screeched overhead, wheeled sharply and slammed on the brakes to land in a mossy treetop at eye‑level below the road.
Then we spent an hour playing hide and seek with a White‑throated Antpitta, before the bird finally performed.
Thanks to Eric's sharp spotting we were treated to spoiling close views of a Bicolored Hawk and eventually we found Tucuman (Alder) Parrot. A troop of Brown Capuchin Monkeys chattered angrily at us from the safety of the canopy.
Other birds of interest we saw were White‑barred Piculet, the very tiny Slender‑tailed Woodstar, Azara's Spinetail, Buff‑browed Foliage‑Gleaner, Sepia‑capped Flycatcher, Highland & Small‑billed Elaenia and Purple‑throated Euphonia. Then we returned to San Martin and the pizzeria again fed us amply.
Sunday 27th November
Leaving Calilegua and its diverse habitats behind long before dawn we drove to Jujuy and then on to the Yala valley, where we immediately found our target birds: a pair of endemic Rufous‑throated Dippers. We spent a few hours in the Yala Valley. Spot‑breasted Thornbird, Rufous‑capped Antshrike, Yellow‑browed Tyrant, another pair of Rufous‑throated Dippers, Fulvous‑headed Brush‑Finch and Band‑tailed Seedeater were amongst the many other species we encountered.
As we climbed the road north, huge candelabra cacti dominated the thorny scrub and arid gullies surrounding Humahuaca. The impressive rock formations of the Andes closed in all around us.
Some birding stops along the road turned up our first Giant Hummingbirds and a single Red‑tailed Comet, the most beautiful hummingbird I have ever seen.
It wasn't all hard work sorting out the species along this road. Andean Gull, Mountain Parakeet, Andean Swift, Andean Hillstar, Tufted Tit‑Spinetail, Creamy‑breasted Canastero, Spectacled Tyrant, Black‑hooded Sierra‑Finch, Long‑tailed Meadowlark, Brown‑backed Mockingbird all showed well. A few kilometres after Humahuaca the tarmac ended....!
During the whole afternoon we had bad dust storms and corrugations to contend with.
It was already dark when we arrived at Abra Pampa. Abra Pampa wasn't much of a town and it was hard to distinguish where the town ended and the rubbish tip began.
We had some trouble in finding the only "hotel" of the small town, Residencial Cesarito. We had 'dinner' at the restaurant of the bus‑terminal. At 3900m Eric and I were feeling the altitude and suffered from headaches, so we were glad that we could go to our rooms.
Monday 28th November
The new day started off with a terrible headache and it was very cold. The cold early morning temperature was soon forgotten as the 'lifers' began to appear. En route to the saline Laguna Pozuelos we made quite a few stops in the altiplano and added Puna Hawk, Puna Miner, Rufous‑banded Miner and White‑winged Cinclodes to our fast growing birdlist. Mammal sightings included Vicuñas, who grazed the altiplano.
At Pozuelos we met a ranger and he told us that the Horned Coots were not present at the lake! That was a big disappointment for us. Hereafter we drove to the lake shore and eventually reached it to be greeted by all the three flamingo species (Chilean, Andean and Puna), Puna Teal, Puna Ibis, Giant Coot, Gray‑breasted Seedsnipe and Andean Avocet.
As we skirted round the lake we added Ornate Tinamou, Lesser (Puna) Rhea, Golden‑spotted Ground‑Dove, Least Seedsnipe, Buff‑breasted & Rock Earthcreeper to our list.
In the late afternoon we left the lake and drove back to Abra Pampa to locate a few Bright‑rumped Yellow‑finches along the border of the town.
Tuesday 29th November
The next day we were up early and set off for Jujuy. En route to Jujuy we stopped frequently and added Andean Flicker, Plain‑mantled Tit‑Spinetail, D'Orbigny's Chat‑Tyrant, Rufous‑naped Ground‑Tyrant, Thick‑billed and Black Siskin to our list.
About 55kms north of Jujuy we spent a few hours at Quebrada de Tumbay a Grande, a very good spot!
Red‑tailed Comets sipped nectar from a multitude of flowering bushes, Rufous‑sided Warbling‑Finches flitted through the bushes, but the main draw here however was the very local and handsome Bare‑eyed Ground‑Dove, which obliged with good views.
Then we continued our road to Jujuy and booked a room at Hotel Avenida in Jujuy.
Wednesday 30th November
Early next morning found us at Embalse La Cienaga, a large water reservoir just south of El Carmen. We scanned the large reservoir with a telescope and discovered amongst the waterfowl Fulvous & White‑faced Whistling‑Duck, Andean Duck, Cinnamon Teal and Cocoi Heron. In the bushes surrounding the lake we had good views of Black‑and‑chestnut Warbling‑Finch. Then we continued our trip southwards.
At Abra Laura the lowland deciduous forest gave way on the Andean foothills to moist evergreen Yungas and the diversity of habitats was reflected in our bird list. Many of the birds here were Yungas cloud forest specialities, the
same as at Calilegua, but inevitably we found several new ones: Dot‑fronted Woodpecker, Ochre‑cheeked Spinetail, Green‑backed Becard and Crested Becard.
When we reached the top we heard the call of the Red‑legged Seriema. We searched for the birds, but sadly only heard them. When it was almost dark we drove to Salta and stalled ourselves in hotel Continental.
Thursday 1st December
Early next morning we returned to the "Red‑legged Seriema" spot. We immediately heard the birds, but we did not find them. Perseverance paid off at last. We were almost on the point of giving up when Eric discovered a pair of Red‑legged Seriemas.
Our next destination was the Cachi Road, a superb area of Yungas and Andean altiplano. The weather here as during the rest of the trip, was fantastic and the scenery stunning. We stayed all day in the Cachi valley and saw many birds. As we pressed on towards Cachi the Andean grandeur continued to impress us, prompting several photo stops during which Tawny‑throated Dotterel, Steinbach's (Chestnut) Canastero, Cliff Flycatcher, White‑browed Chat‑Tyrant, Cinereous Ground‑Tyrant, Crested Becard, Spotted Nightingale‑Thrush and Brown‑capped Tit‑Spinetail were found. All too soon it was time to head off to Salta.
Friday 2nd December
At 9 o'clock we were at the airport for the domestic flight to Buenos Aires. After a flight of almost 2 hours we arrived at "europarque" and Vital was already waiting for us in the hall.
Unfortunately, we were unavoidably delayed on our first day together at the airport, but in the afternoon we set off for Reserva Ecologica Costanera Sur, the famous reserve in Buenos Aires city.
We made a stroll along several marshy water impoundments. Among the birds we saw in the short time at the reserve were White‑tufted Grebe, Rosy‑billed Pochard, Silver Teal, Rufous‑sided Crake, Gray‑necked Wood‑Rail, Plumbeous Rail, Black‑and‑rufous Warbling‑Finch and Yellow‑billed Cardinal.
However the splendid view of a superb Stripe‑backed Bittern made our afternoon at Costanera Sur.
In the late afternoon dark storm clouds gathered overhead, raindrops started to fall and we had to leave the reserve in a hurry.
Saturday 3rd December
Next morning we left Buenos Aires in very bad weather and had a flight to Iguazú Falls. At 9 o'clock we checked into hotel San Georges in Iguazú town. We rented a car with driver and set off for the falls.
Iguazú Falls was pretty touristy, with many people coming and going. First we surveyed the falls. The falls was surrounded by a swirling mass of vultures, and on closer inspection huge flocks of swirling Great Dusky Swifts.
These swifts could be watched through the mist clinging to the rock faces which they nest.
The waterfalls offered an incomparable spectacle, especially from the upper series of walkways.
Our first exploration along the forest edge provided us with a few new birds such as Maroon‑bellied Parakeet, Red‑breasted Toucan, Campo Flicker, Chopi Blackbird and Red‑rumped Cacique.
Then we walked into the subtropical forest and spent a few hours on the Macuoso‑trail.
The birding here was much harder work than in the northwest of the country, but the rewards were even more worthwhile. We almost forgot about the mosquitoes as we added a considerable number of species to the list here, including White‑eyed Parakeet, Surucua Trogon, Spot‑billed Toucanet, Ochre‑collared Piculet, Tufted Antshrike, Ochre‑faced Tody‑Flycatcher, Drab‑breasted Bamboo‑Tyrant, Southern Bristle‑Tyrant, Eared Pygmy‑Tyrant, Black‑goggled Tanager, Ruby‑crowned Tanager and Green‑headed Tanager.
Hereafter we returned to our hotel and spent quite some time in the swimmingpool. While swimming we saw several Common Nighthawks above the town.
Sunday 4th December
First light saw us tramping in the cool of the early morning on the trails of Iguazú. Braving the mosquitoes we followed the Macuoso‑trail and a part of the Yacarita‑trail. Birds were plentiful and especially the area between the stream at the end of the Macuoso‑trail and the intersection with the Yacarita‑trail was very productive.
We spent all day on the trails. Huge Morpho Butterflies glided through the canopy and 'lifers' were coming from all sides. Most noteworthy of the birds we saw were Gilded Hummingbird, Chestnut‑eared Aracari, White‑spotted & Robust Woodpecker, Black‑capped & White‑eyed Foliage‑Gleaner, Spot‑backed Antshrike, Variegated Antpitta, Blue (Swallow‑tailed) Manakin, Sirystes, Lesser Elaenia, Eastern Slaty‑Thrush and Chestnut‑vented Conebill.
When we returned from the rainforest, we stopped at the parking place at the beginning of the Yacarita-trail and at the hide we had excellent views of Blackish Rail and Green‑winged Saltator.
A patrol of the river road in the dark revealed no owls or nightjars.
Monday 5th December
This morning we spent some time exploring the Garganta de Diablo road. In the shrubbery by the river we got good views of a pair of River Warblers. Other birds of note we saw here were Lesser Yellow‑headed Vulture, Amazon Kingfisher and Lineated Woodpecker.
Then we again explored the Macuoso and the Yacarita‑trails. As is typical of neotropical birding, there were long stretches with little activity and then suddenly a collection of birds appeared. Even so, the birding was great.
After a considerable amount of effort we managed to get superb views of Southern Antpipit. Among the many species we picked up were Rufous‑thighed Kite, Violaceous Quail‑Dove, Scale‑throated Hermit, Violet‑capped Woodnymph, Black‑throated Trogon, Helmeted Woodpecker, Crimson‑crested Woodpecker, White‑throated Woodcreeper, White‑shouldered White‑eye, Red‑ruffed Fruitcrow, Bay‑ringed Tyrannulet, Three‑striped Flycatcher, Chestnut‑bellied Euphonia, Chestnut‑backed Tanager and Blackish‑blue Seedeater.
Tuesday 6th December
We again set out before dawn on the Sendero Macuoso and walked all the way to the intersection with the Sendero Yacarita. Once again, there was an amazing variety and number of birds along the trail.
Again we were successful in obtaining excellent views of Blond‑crested Woodpecker, Planalto Woodcreeper, Ochre‑breasted Foliage‑gleaner, Plain Antvireo, Short‑tailed Antthrush, Yellow‑bellied Elaenia, Guira Tanager and Red‑crowned Ant‑Tanager.
Later we visited another part of the forest where we obtained views of Green‑barred Woodpecker and Magpie Tanager.
In the afternoon we left Iguazú and set off for Lago Uruguay, an hour driving west of the waterfalls.
We made a stop at a pond near the Lago and saw our first Black‑headed Duck.
On the lake were many birds, mostly egrets, cormorants, Snail Kites and our only Striated Herons of the trip.
The main draw however we found not far from the lake, the rare and very local Black‑masked Finch.
Hereafter we returned to Iguazú and spent the evening at the bar in the hotel.
Wednesday 7th December
Reluctantly we left the next morning for our flight to Buenos Aires. Here we had two hours to twiddle thumbs and polish optics before we flew to Trelew in the province of Chubut.
We rented a car at the airport and then headed to Puerto Madryn. We checked into the Hostería La Postal, which had the feel of a large friendly private house.
Then we drove to the coast just north of the town. Most memorable during our first explorations was our encounter with a group of 23 Snowy Sheathbills, an odd scavenging bird that spends its life along the frigid shores of subantarctic waters. Other birds of note along the sea were Great Grebe, Rock Shag, Lake Duck and Royal Tern.
Thursday 8th December
An all day trip to Punta Norte. We left before dawn, on the road by 6:00 a.m. to be able to bird along the road to Punta Norte. A few kilometres outside Puerto Madryn we spotted our first lifers: Darwin's Nothura and the endemic Carbonated Sierra‑Finch. As we headed east towards the Valdés Peninsula a group of Burrowing Parrots crossed in front of us and we were able to photograph them.
The long drive to Puerto Pirámides was punctuated by some excellent birding stops with species such as Elegant Crested‑Tinamou, Cinereous Harrier, Lesser Canastero and Common Diuca‑Finch.
Just before Puerto Pirámides we turned left to Punta
Norte. It was excellent birding along this "rip-rap" road, although
it took a few hours before we arrived at Punta Norte. Birding highlights along
the "rip-rap" road are hard to single out though Rusty‑backed
Monjita, Austral Negrito, Lesser Shrike‑Tyrant and some magnificent
views of a group of Lesser Rheas all ranked highly. We also spotted several
mammals including Hairy Armadillo, Patagonian Fox and many Guanacos.
The large Southern Elephant Seal colony at Punta Norte kept "video" Eric busy, but we did not see a Killer Whale.
Birds were plenty at the colony and we saw amongst others Antarctic Giant Petrel, Royal Tern and South American Tern. In the late afternoon we left the area and arrived back in Puerto Madryn by about 7:30 a.m. A truly good birding day was duly celebrated with Patagonia's finest seafood.
Friday 9th December
At dawn the following day we set off to drive to Puerto Pirámides. Just before we entered the park (Valdés Peninsula), our first destination was Isla de los Pájaros, a signposted left. We drove to the observation area overlooking a nesting island for gulls and penguins. Highlights included the rare endemic Chubut Steamerduck, Blackish Oystercatcher and Guanay Cormorant.
The rest of the day we spent in the Puerto Pirámides area. We ate lunch at this small village overlooking a bay in which Antarctic Giant Petrel, Rock Cormorant, and Snowy Sheathbill were feeding. Then we made a boat trip in the bay where eight Southern Right Whales gave spectacular views. We also wanted to see some Killer Whales, but alas we did not find them.
The rest of the afternoon we spent in the Puerto Pirámides area. Among the other special birds we saw in the vicinity of Puerto Pirámides were Scale‑throated Earthcreeper, Gray‑bellied Shrike‑Tyrant and Short‑billed Pipit.
On the return to Puerto Madryn a couple of stops added no new birds to our list, although we saw a new group of the multicolored Burrowing Parrots and a Darwin's Nothura.
Saturday 10th December
Early next morning found us on our way to Punta Tombo. Once again furnarids were a dominant feature of the avifauna with Lesser Canastero, Scale‑throated and Band‑tailed Earthcreeper, Plain‑mantled Tit‑Spinetail, Rufous Hornero and White‑throated Cacholote, a large noisy ovenbird. Near the point we made a stop and saw our first Mara, a strange beast with the rear end of a deer and the front of a hare.
Eventually we slithered our way down to the beach thronged with Magellanic Penguins, which eyed us balefully as we approached. We spent a few hours at the point between the many penguins, providing us with marvellous photographic opportunities. Amongst the birds we met along the beach were Chubut Steamerduck, Baird's Sandpiper, Dolphin Gull, Chilean Skua, Rusty‑backed Monjita and Black‑chinned Siskin.
In the late afternoon a rather less productive drive saw us arriving at Trelew, a small town in an area originally settled by Welsh colonists, where we would stay for two nights in hotel Touring Club.
Sunday 11th December
The following day found us at Lago Trelew, on the east side of the town. There were a few ducks, some stilts and a sprinkling of grebes, amongst them our only Silvery Grebes of our trip.
From Trelew we headed west to Digue F. Ameghino, a very small village near a large water reservoir. There were hardly any birds on the lake, but on the cliffs we found a pair of Gray‑hooded Sierra‑Finches.
Then we drove a few kilometres along the Río Chubut, a very attractive area.
A few brief stops revealed a handful of Flying Steamerducks, Sulphur‑bearded Spinetail, Wren‑like Rushbird and Many‑colored Rush‑Tyrant.
At midday we took a "siesta" in Digue F. Ameghino, because it was too hot to be in the field.
We next drove out to Dolavan and spent the rest of the day in that area. We saw many ducks, raptors and also quite a few shorebirds, but alas no new ones.
Monday 12th December
We spent all morning in the Trelew area and the bird we wanted to find, the Patagonian Canastero, we found within a quarter of an hour. The next stage of our trip involved a flight to Río Gallegos. Our flight touched down very late in the afternoon, but birding started almost straight away as we discovered a marshy area along the river, not far from the Río Gallegos harbour.
Among the birds we saw in a short time along the river were Imperial Shag, White‑rumped Sandpiper, Two‑banded Plover and Austral Negrito. We checked into the hotel Nevada and hit the sack early, with a long day ahead.
Tuesday 13th December
We were up long before dawn and on the road before the sun rose. Within 20 kms we had magnificent views of Least Seedsnipe. Our journey to El Calafate was prolonged by several more unscheduled stops and added Tawny‑throated Dotterel and Chocolate‑vented Tyrant to our list.
Our next stop was the well‑known reserve de los Escarchados. Here we scanned both lagoons, watching lots of Red Shovelers, breeding Two‑banded Plovers and two weird looking Magellanic Plovers.
The main draw here however was Hooded Grebe, which obliged with good views.
We left behind the Patagonian plain and climbed into
the Andes once more. One of the first birds we saw was an acrobatic Black‑chested
We arrived at El Calafate, the tiny windswept town on the shores of Lago Argentina, before dark and checked into a "hospedaje", Las Cabanitas. This was to be our base for the next three nights.
A visit to Lago Argentino provided wonderful opportunities to photograph a variety of waterbirds including Ashy‑headed Geese and Flying Steamerducks.
Wednesday 14th December
The next day saw us driving to Glacier NP. We had a fabulous sunny day for our visit and the mountains looked spectacularly beautiful against the deep blue sky. Trailing cars suffered through great billowing clouds of dust, but by then we were gray and trip‑hardened, with gritted teeth and shower caps over binoculars.
As we left the small village the snow‑capped peaks of the High Andes rose up impressively on the horizon.
We headed towards them with keen expectation. Our first two stops produced Cinnamon‑bellied Ground‑Tyrant and Great Shrike‑Tyrant. A group of more than 10 Andean Condors and 2 Black‑chested Buzzard‑Eagles made a shrilling sight. The pastures along the road were speckled with Upland and Ashy‑headed Geese and a few small groups of Black‑faced Ibis.
Eventually we arrived at Glacier NP. The first kilometres of the park were very good. A pair of huge Magellanic Woodpeckers thumped a tree, whilst the song of White‑crested Tyrannulets was everywhere.
The prize birds gradually gave themselves up. Austral Parakeet, Dark‑bellied Cinclodes, Rufous‑tailed Plantcutter, Fire‑eyed Diucon, Patagonian Sierra‑Finch and Austral Blackbird, all gave good views, with perseverance.
Then we saw the Moreno Glacier! The scenery here was incredible. After a long look at the glacier, our final birding near the glacier added the elusive Thorn‑tailed Rayadito to our triplist.
Thursday 15th December
After some much‑needed sleep we were up well before dawn the next morning in order to get at Los Glaciares NP another time. But despite unpromising weather the area again proved wonderful for birds. In the neighbourhood of the glaciar we saw the Chilean Flicker, our nineteenth woodpecker of the trip and en route in the park we saw amongst others a few White‑browed Ground‑Tyrants. Reluctantly we had eventually to leave this wonderful area.
In the late afternoon we visited Puenta Bandera but we saw no 'new' birds here. The dry grassland area en route to El Calafate produced our only Hellmayr's Pipit of the trip.
Friday 16th December
The following morning we left behind the Andes and returned to the Patagonian Plain. En route to Río Gallegos we stopped several times and added a South American Snipe and a very surprised Great Horned Owl to our list.
We left Río Gallegos in brilliant sunshine and arrived at Tierra del Fuego to be greeted by overcast skies, strong winds and light rain. After checking into our hotel, which offered breathtaking views over the Beagle Channel we explored the harbour of Ushuaia. Here, with a scope, we identified our first Tierra del Fuegan birds, including many waterfowl.
Amongst the birds we saw were Antarctic Giant Petrel, White‑chinned Petrel, Flightless Steamerduck, Chilean Skua and Dolphin Gull. We ended our day with a visit to the nearby rubbish dump, a very reliable spot for White‑throated Caracara, or so people had told me. They were right, we saw 4 of them at the dump.
Saturday 17th December
Next morning found us on the top deck of the Ezequiel "MB", a brand new catamaran. We started our sea trip in the Beagle Channel's frigid waters. It was a fine calm day as we set off but when we left the lee of the land the channel became decidedly choppy.
The loudspeaker crackled and the voice of Luz, our Argentine's naturalist guide aboard the catamaran, directed everyone's attention to the nesting colonies. Here we took the ship's boat right near the rocks, passing close to countless Imperial and Rock Cormorants and enjoying the excellent photographic opportunities.
This part of Argentina was big and rugged. It was hard to remain indifferent to this land of leaden skies, glacier-scarred mountains, and icy seas perpetually whipped to a froth by strong winds.
Black‑browed Albatrosses were abundant in the seas around Tierra del Fuego and were frequently the commonest species to be seen from the boat and a Blackish Cinclodes was eventually located on a small islet.
In the icy waters of the Beagle Channel we saw Magellanic Penguins cavorting and leaping from the water, and at their small breeding colony near the east end of the channel a Gentoo Penguin, a rare wanderer from even more southerly latitudes, was an unexpected bonus.
Later we paid a visit to Estancia Harberton, where one of the first European settlers in Tierra del Fuego once lived.
At 19.00 hours we again arrived in the harbour of Ushuaia.
Sunday 18th December
This morning we were greeted by overcast skies and light snow. Just out of town, Tierra del Fuego NP was our destination this morning. As our car bounced along the dirt road towards Tierra del Fuego NP the rain began.
We explored the Southern Beech forests and the ponds and amongst the birds we saw were Black‑crowned Night‑Heron, Black‑faced Ibis, Black‑chested Buzzard‑Eagle, Austral Parakeet, Magellanic Woodpecker, Dark‑bellied Cinclodes and Thorn‑tailed Rayadito.
We ended our day with a visit to El Paso Garibaldi in the hope to find White‑bellied Seedsnipe. We spent much of afternoon searching unsuccessfully for this birds, but saw some other interesting birds in the attempt amongst them
Then we returned back to Ushuaia.
Monday 19th December
Our last morning at Tierra del Fuego. At 6:00 a.m. we again headed to the NP and made a stroll on the rather soggy looking campgrounds. The forest itself was rather quiet for birds and it took quite some time before we spotted the White‑throated Treerunner, a bird we had dipped so far. On the campgrounds we also saw a Great Horned Owl and a very tame Patagonian Fox.
Sadly our time had run out and we had to leave Tierra del Fuego NP to return to Ushuaia for our flight to Río Grande. After a brief interlude in Río Grande we flew to Buenos Aires.
We rented a car in Buenos Aires and hereafter we headed south in the direction of Punta Rasa.
At 21:00 p.m. we checked into the hotel Las Vascos in Chascomús.
Tuesday 20th December
Our next port of call was San Clemente del Tuyú. En route towards San Clemente we stopped many times and especially the last 75 kilometres of the trip we noted many birds. Most noteworthy of the birds we spotted were Greater Rhea, Snowy‑crowned Tern, Freckle‑breasted Thornbird, Brown‑and‑yellow Marshbird, White‑browed Blackbird, Scarlet‑headed Blackbird and Screaming Cowbird.
We dropped our luggage at the hotel 5ta Avenida and then we set off for the Punta Rasa reserve. We spent the rest of the day in the reserve. The marshes and forest of Punta Rasa produced a great diversity of species and a high bird list including Swainson's Hawk, Olrog's Gull, White‑throated Hummingbird, Hudson's Canastero, Bay‑capped Wren‑Spinetail and Curve‑billed Reedhaunter.
A particular highlight was our encounter with an American Painted‑Snipe. Usually they are hard to see but we obtained excellent views and also saw the bird crouched on the ground.
Later we gazed over the bay's southern shore swarming with activity by the thousands of terns and waders.
Amongst the 'new' birds we noted were Hudsonian Godwit, Ruddy Turnstone, Gray Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Sandwich Tern and Black Skimmer.
Wednesday 21st December
At 8 o'clock we brought Vital to the bus-terminal. So, bidding our farewells to Vital, Eric and I drove to Punta Rasa.
We again spent all day in this reserve. Many of the birds we saw were the same ones as yesterday, but inevitably we found several new ones. Among the special birds we noted here were Gray‑headed Gull, Firewood‑Gatherer, Warbling Doradito, Sedge Wren and Long‑tailed Reed‑Finch.
With the main ornithological attractions of Punta Rasa under the belt it was time to spend to some time in the seefood-restaurants of San Clemente.
Thursday 22nd December
The next stage of our trip involved a ride to Magdalena. We spent all day birding along the road to Magdalena.
We stopped many times, explored small sandy sideroads and marshes. Amongst the birds we saw along the deserted road along the coast were Southern Screamer, Giant Wood‑Rail, Narrow‑billed Woodcreeper, Chicli Spinetail, Southern Scrub‑Flycatcher, Yellowish Pipit and Blue‑billed Black‑Tyrant, the latter a rarity here.
Eventually we arrived in Magdalena and checked into the hotel Colon.
Friday 23rd December
The morning was spent watching in the forest at Atalya only a few kilometres from Magdalena.
On entering the forest the mosquitoes were already waiting! Giant Wood‑Rails were not shy here and we saw quite a few of them on the forestroads near the campsite. We could not leave this forest before we had some 'new' ones, so we did our best. The final additions to our birdlist were White‑winged Becard and Epaulet Oriole.
Sadly our time had run out and we had to leave Atalya
to return to Buenos Aires for our flight home.
Saturday & Sunday 24th & 25th December
The trip now almost over, we spent the final morning birding at Costanera Sur again. We had good looks of Black‑headed Duck and a breeding Wren‑like Rushbird.
It was with genuine reluctance that we had to leave Argentina. The next morning on Christmas Day we arrived at Brussels were my ladyfriend already was waiting.
Our trip surpassed our expectations. We ended up getting most of our target species. In all we recorded 521 species of birds (313 lifers) as wide a selection as one could hope for on a five weeks trip of this huge country.
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