Received from Chris Lester...
Sent: Friday, 6 July 2007 11:20 AM
To: Bill Stent
Subject: Chile and Antarctica - October / November 2006 - Part 2 of 4
CHILE & ANTARCTICA October / November 2006 - Part 2 of 4
Central Chile, again - Quintero, Campana NP and Talca / Vilches
>From Santiago airport, we went west, straight down to the coast to
Quintero. That evening, Rick did a sea-watch where he estimated that
there were 100,000 Sooty Shearwaters flying by, streaming from north to
south. Very impressive numbers.
We did a second pelagic on the 4th, this time on a real boat. The
weather wasn't as kind as it was overcast and cool with some drizzle.
The birds, however, were great. The best of the 30 species were
Humboldt Penguin, Buller's Albatross, Southern Fulmar, Defilippe's
(Masatierra) Petrel, Westland Petrel, Peruvian Diving-Petrel, Chilean
Skua, Elegant, South American and Inca Terns and Chilean Seaside
Cinclodes (on an island).
In the afternoon, we visited the nearby Campana National Park, which
contained a couple of Chilean endemics or near-endemics - White-throated
Tapaculo and Dusky-tailed Canastero. We saw them, which was lucky as
this area was our only chance, as well as Chilean Pigeon, Austral
Pygmy-Owl, Green-backed Firecrown, White-throated Treerunner, Dusky
Tapaculo and Fire-eyed Diucon. In the late afternoon, we scoped a
wetland on military land from the road and saw Chiloe Wigeon, Red
Shoveler, Lake Duck, Cinereous Harrier, Spectacled Tyrant, Yellow-winged
Blackbird and the introduced Beaver. This was exciting half-way through
when the Chilean military turned up in force and well-armed to see why
we were spying on their land. Eventually, we received a (very friendly)
invitation to visit the wetland close up, but we unfortunately didn't
have time to do this.
The next day, we headed to Talca, 250 km south of Santiago. We went
along the coast initially and visited several wetlands in the Rocas de
Santo Domingo area. On this journey, we saw our only Cocoi Herons,
Black-necked and Coscoroba Swans, Black-headed Duck, Black Vulture,
Plumbeous Rail, Spot-flanked Gallinule, more coot species, White-backed
Stilt, Brown-hooded Gull, Arctic and Snowy-crowned Terns, Wren-like
Rushbird, Many-coloured Rush-Tyrant and an as-yet-unnamed Doradito.
We arrived at our nice lodge near Talca and settled in with a nesting
Picui Ground-Dove. The next day, we went up to Vilches, the home of the
endemic, enigmatic and cryptic Chestnut-throated Huet-huet. We arrived
early and soon saw a Striped Woodpecker and a fantastic Magellanic
Woodpecker, the only time we saw these two species. We saw a pair of
Huet-huets soon after. The rest of the day was fairly quiet with the
best species being White-throated Hawk, Austral Parakeet, Thorn-tailed
Rayadito, Magellanic Tapaculo and Dark-faced Ground-Tyrant. The scenery
was quite spectacular as we were again in the Andean foothills.
On the 7th, we left Talca very early to return to Santiago and fly down
to Puerto Montt. Again, the views of the Andes were amazing.
Puerto Montt Area
Our four nights in the Puerto Montt area were to be our last with Frank
as our guide. It is a quite spectacular area with many lakes and great
Andean and coastal scenery. We stayed at a large hotel at the Puyehue
thermal springs area and went out to see Black-faced Ibis, Flying
Steamer-Duck, Southern Caracara, Des Mur's Wiretail, Ochre-flanked
Tapaculo, Rufous-tailed Plantcutter, Patagonian Tyrant and Patagonian
Sierra-Finch. The highlights were the endemic Slender-billed Parakeet,
rare Black-throated Huet-huet, Chacao Tapaculo and Yellow-bridled Finch.
One disappointment at this spot was that we missed the Rufous-legged
Owl. We heard it several times but could not get a look at it.
On our last day in this area, we went back to Puerto Montt and birded on
the coast seeing great birds like Magellanic Penguin, Imperial Shag,
Magellanic Oystercatcher and a large percentage of the world's Hudsonian
So, on the 11th after 18 days, we took our leave from Frank, who was off
birding in northern South America, and Rick, who returned to Boston.
Ro, Jan and I flew down the Andes to Punta Arenas and then Ushuaia on
Tierra del Fuego in Argentina for the next and main instalment of our
adventure - Antarctica.
Firstly though, the three of us had an interesting time for a couple of
days in Ushuaia, birding locally and finding some species by ourselves.
Ushuaia itself is a compact town, but over the last few years has grown
substantially. It has a big tourist industry, of course, with most of
the tourists being Argentinean.
When we arrived, the weather was amazing as it was over 20 degrees
Celsius. We were able to walk around in shirt-sleeves. Next day
however, we got the more normal Ushuaia weather as it was cold and
sleety and we broke out our coats.
We visited the Martial Glacier and the Tierra del Fuego National Park
(TDFNP) and took a boat trip down the Beagle Channel to the Magellanic
Penguin breeding colony, which was the highlight of this stay.
Birds were saw included Gentoo Penguin, Magellanic Diving-Petrel, Rock
Shag, Upland, Kelp and Ashy-headed Geese, Flightless Steamer-Duck,
White-throated and Striated Caracaras, Snowy Sheathbill, Dolphin Gull
and Blackish Cinclodes. We searched unsuccessfully on the Martial
Glacier for White-bellied Seedsnipe. Two environmental issues in TDFNP
were both mammalian. Beavers have been introduced and are causing
problems with the streams and introduced European Rabbits are very
common. As well, humans seem to be having quite an impact on this park.
Part 3 follows ..........
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