I had booked a cruise from Ushuaia to Antarctica for Feb/March but the
vessel I was booked on hit an uncharted rock in late January and further
cruises for the southern summer were cancelled or rather postponed until the
following summer. I decided to use the booked airfares and extend my time
in Ushuaia from 3 to 8 days, go to Northern Chile for 12 days and retain my
original plan to bird in Central Chile for 4 days.
Birding in Tierra del Fuego was slow since it was late in the season, some
of the land birds had gone North and the seabirds had apparently gone South.
I did not have a guide here and saw about 60 species, 12 of these being new
to me. I tried hard and often for the Magellanic Woodpecker in Tierra del
Fuego National Park without success. I had been birding in Argentina in
1994/1995, but not quite as far south as Ushuaia.
On the coast and Altiplano of Northern Chile, I saw about 115 species, 70
being new to me. I stayed in Putre for most of the time and used the
excellent guiding services of Barbara Knapton of Alto Andino Nature Tours
for about 2.5 days.
In Central Chile, I had booked the excellent accommodation, transport and
guiding services of Rodrigo Reyes of Aconcagua Birding for the 4-day version
of their "From the Andes to the Pacific Ocean" tour. On this tour, we saw
an additional 65 species, 25 of these being new to me. Even though I was
not particularly keen, we looked for the Diademed Sandpiper Plover in both
Central and Northern Chile without success. The story was that the birds
had dispersed after breeding. We did see some Torrent Ducks, perhaps the
bird of the trip for me although the Inca Terns, Moustached Turca and
White-throated Tapaculo all tie for second.
I had to overnight in Buenos Aires on the way and spent a morning at the
Reserva Ecologica de Costanera Sur, which I had visited and enjoyed in
December/January 1994/5. In early March it was completely dry and on Sunday
morning it was full of people. On the street in the San Telmo area of BA,
my attention was diverted by white blobs sprayed on my clothes and I managed
to have stolen my backpack with Swarovski bins, Panasonic Lumix camera and
Chile Bird Guidebook. Apparently the trick (along with similar ruses) is
used in many parts of South America.
Please contact me directly if you would like bird lists or further
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