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Old Wednesday 16th December 2015, 18:46   #1
Peter C.
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Chile - Santiago stop-over

Okay, let's see if it's "third time lucky"...

I am going to be in Santiago on Dec. 27, on the way to Chiloe Island. The flights on the way there don't mesh very well, so I'm stuck with a long layover at the International Airport, all afternoon and into the early evening (we touch down around 1215, fly out around 1900).

Does anybody know of any birding spot that is easily accessible from SCL, and does not require a car to visit? Doesn't have to be "good" - just anyplace that I can go to prevent the day from completely going to waste.

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Old Wednesday 16th December 2015, 21:01   #2
avalon80
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i suggest you go to the Batuco wetlands area which is quite close to the airport.
look on ebird to find the exact locations and recent sightings. find a friendly taxi driver
to go with you.....it shouldn't cost too much. enjoy Choros Isles.....we visited inNovember and had a wonderful day.
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Old Thursday 24th December 2015, 16:53   #3
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Avalon80-

Thanks for the suggestion; I have been quite close to there before, in an that my "Where to Bird in South America" called the "Lampa Marshes." This is a bit south of Batuco. Somehow we drove around quite a bit and never saw the large body of water at Batuco (now very evident when I look at google maps). Could you tell me which way the access is from? (just, N,S, E, W).

I'd never heard of Islas Choros until you mentioned them - looks nice! I'll have to save that for another trip. The place we're going is much farther south, hence the stop-over; after arriving in Santiago, we've got another 1-3/4 hour flight to Puerto Montt before we can sleep!
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Old Sunday 27th December 2015, 16:18   #4
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Originally Posted by avalon80 View Post
i suggest you go to the Batuco wetlands area which is quite close to the airport.
look on ebird to find the exact locations and recent sightings. find a friendly taxi driver
to go with you.....it shouldn't cost too much. enjoy Choros Isles.....we visited inNovember and had a wonderful day.

Google Earth is deceptive...there is no large body of bare water at Batuco. It is marsh with extensive reed beds. I found a small lagoon at Tranque La Cadellada where there for the easiest birding. It is just off highway 5 on the road to Coquimba. Look on ebirds for the latest sightings and location map. The lagoon is hidden behind a bank.
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Old Sunday 3rd January 2016, 02:06   #5
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Originally Posted by avalon80 View Post
Google Earth is deceptive...there is no large body of bare water at Batuco. It is marsh with extensive reed beds. I found a small lagoon at Tranque La Cadellada where there for the easiest birding. It is just off highway 5 on the road to Coquimba. Look on ebirds for the latest sightings and location map. The lagoon is hidden behind a bank.
Agreed in part - I was just there. Laguna Batuco has limited and tricky access to the birdy areas but there is a body of water there. Tranque La Cadellada - (man-made lagoons for rowing etc...was constructed just a few years ago) is very easy to bird (though doesn't attract the geese)- I visited there 4 times - I saw lots there (mainly waterfowl).

the three Lampa spots for the bittern, painted snipe and other goodies is close to the airport - I missed painted snipe and black rail but saw the other main species there. I saw 1 striped back bittern 3 different times at Lampa puente negro and 3 individuals on one trip to Lampa puente negro sud. However a very new barrier (placed about a week or so ago) now blocks of the convenient parking spot at Lampa puente negro.

Those are probably the two best spots I think near the airport. However if you have 6hrs+ though I would recommend cocon (playa negra) (many seabirds, Humbolt penguin, seaside cinclodes, marine otter etc.....and maybe 15 miles north is estero mantagua (posada del parque) with a number of species.

oops I'm late with my post - anyway the third lampa spot is lampa santa innes (access from the west) - all 3 spots are on ebird
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Old Tuesday 19th January 2016, 21:52   #6
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30 km north of Santiago ( airport is also north ) is Estero Lampa.
S 33 16,743
W 70 48,468
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Old Wednesday 20th January 2016, 07:59   #7
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These are the exact main Lampa locations:
http://ebird.org/ebird/hotspot/L516503
http://ebird.org/ebird/hotspot/L613221
http://ebird.org/ebird/hotspot/L607130

Tranque La Cadellada is here:
http://ebird.org/ebird/hotspot/L502857
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Old Monday 20th November 2017, 01:26   #8
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Because this is on of the top Google results on this topic, I think a reply is called for, because it maybe saves someone from the terrible mistake of actually trying to go to the Lampa/Batuco area.

I landed today at 3 pm - while I do not leave today, this afternoon is a good simulation of a 7hour stopover. First of all, getting out of the plane and getting the car took about an hour, because of ...South American efficiency I guess. At every place when you rent a car on this continent, you inevitably observe the guy enter all your details, that you have already provided online, into his computer and then juggling a heap of papers. Then the site itself is further than it seems, in particular when you make any mistake on the completely unsignposted highway junctions, you lose 20 minutes trying to get back on track. Don't think that navigation will save you, mine has the junctions wrong. Then the roads close to Lampa are full of speedbumps and Chileans apparently love their suspension more than their children. Also don't count on anyone having functional brake lights when we are at it.

Then the biggest problem is the inaccessibility of the sites. Only the Puente Negro site is near a road - which is good for accessibility but not so good for the site, because it's terribly noisy and basically a garbage dump. It is probably better in wetter periods when the water extends further from the road in the southward direction, where you can easily work, but today it gets dry after maybe 100 meters. The derelict observation platform overlooking a lot of sun-dried grass also hints that this site does see wetter times, but that is definitely not today.

From the other sites, I was able to access exactly none until it got dark. Inevitably, I always reached a fence, a gate or a no-entry sign at every attempt to reach some "ebird hotspot", despite there actually being signs to the reserves and despite asking locals for directions repeatedly. Having just the GPS coordinates of the places is utterly useless.

This all put together makes this area really bad for a visit with limited time. Maybe if you have a week you can try walking all the small footpaths in the area and you will be able to finally see a significant marsh, but to do that withing an afternoon, you would have to be a genius or have a luck potion - in the second case maybe lottery is a better use of that though. Not to mention that you might get hungry on your way back and try to grab a hotdog on a petrol station, falsely thinking that it maybe a fast option and end up just throwing the already paid ticket that was supposed to give you the food to the cooks face after 20 minutes and leaving angrily and hungrily. Hooray for South America again!

Honestly, this afternoon was maybe the second most disappointing 7 hours of my life. Next time I feel the need to burn 50 dollars uselessly, I will do better by doing that literally instead. At least then I can then take the rest of the afternoon off to play with the ashes. That idea actually seems now more attractive to me than going anywhere near Lampa ever again.
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