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Jan/Feb visit

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Old Thursday 21st March 2019, 07:04   #1
Steve Keen
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Jan/Feb visit

Hi all

was wondering what are the practicalities (weather, bird activity, etc) of a trip to NW Argentina during January and in to early February,especially as I'd be hiring a small economy car. Not the best time I realise, but this is the only practical time for me to take more than a week or so off work and I need to make the best of things as they are.

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Old Thursday 21st March 2019, 17:36   #2
pbjosh
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Hi Steve,

In general it is a fine time of year. Sure, November might be better for activity, but you're still in early/mid summer. Roads are mostly fine for a tiny car except a couple out of the way species (Red-backed Sierra-Finch, Short-tailed Finch, perhaps a couple of Chaco sites might involve poor rds). The temps will be warm but totally manageable in the Yungas and all the high altitude sites, and bird activity should still be great. However you are going to have very hot weather in the lowland/Chaco sites. I've birded in the Chaco in that season... 6AM-10AM and 5PM-8PM kind of schedule, unless you are really into hot (35-40C, brutal sun) and little activity.

I wouldn't let the season put you off overall, but I would plan less time in the Chaco and focus on the Yungas and Andean species. As well, essentially all of the Chaco species that trips to NW Argentina target can be found in a lot of different sites. It is convenient to bird the Chaco from Salta, of course, but far from necessary. You can bird the Chaco from Cordoba quite well on a future trip, or from Asuncion in Paraguay, as well as myriad other smaller cities. It's a big ecosystem.

Enjoy!
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Old Thursday 21st March 2019, 18:11   #3
Steve Keen
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Cheers Josh

Personally don't mind it roasting hot, but would obviously do what's best for the birding. Unlikely I'd ever get back, or go to Paraguay, so would try and get as much done as possible in the one trip. Would be more inclined to move between sites than base myself in one city, apart from anything else anything that minimises the driving (and fuel costs) is worth doing.

At least now I know it's not a daft idea I can start planning properly.

And saving . . .

Steve
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Old Thursday 21st March 2019, 19:02   #4
pbjosh
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How long are you planning on going? Have you birded elsewhere in Bolivia / N Chile / N Arg before?

To get you started, the most visited / most important sites in the NW (assuming you're flying in/out of Salta) are probably:

PN Calilegua
Lagunas de Yala
Hwy 9 from Jujuy up to the Bolivian border including Laguna Pozuelos and Yavi/La Quiaca
Cuesta del Obispo / Los Cardones NP / Valle Encantado
PN Copo, Taco Pozo (Chaco sites - Joaquin Gonzalez is also popular area but I know nothing about it)
Tafi del Valle / Hwy 307
Los Sosa (near Tafi del Valle)

Cheers,
Josh
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Old Friday 22nd March 2019, 09:36   #5
Steve Keen
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Cheers again

I have sent you a PM

Steve
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Old Wednesday 3rd April 2019, 14:31   #6
fbeeldens
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Hi Steve!

We did that area 3 years ago. definitely worth it. we also had a town car. the only road that was not feasible is the road leading out from Yavi to try for the red-backed sierra finch (and possibly diademed sandpiper plover). You really want a high clearance 4 wheel drive or pick up truck type car to reach the sites.

KR,

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Old Tuesday 9th April 2019, 12:55   #7
mjh73
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A couple of years ago I spent a couple of days in early February based out of Salta - racked up about 130 species.
Spent a morning in the farmland around La Merced before spending the rest of the day heading up Cuesta del Obispo to Los Cardones.
Early morning trip the next day into the little patch of Yungas at Reserva del Huaico.
And a trip out to the reservoir north of La Caldera, Dique Campo Alegre.
Great few days.
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Old Sunday 28th April 2019, 09:16   #8
Steve Keen
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Cheers both, and sorry about not having paid attention.

Anyone know the best open-access chaco sites these days. And what are the practicalities of successfully birding the Ibera Marshes.

Both ideally on a budget!

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Old Thursday 16th May 2019, 10:53   #9
fbeeldens
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With regards to open access Chaco, I have the impression it's becoming difficult. it's being converted at an alarming rate. We ended up (based upon an older trip report) heading for Taco Pozo, but much of the chaco there is now seriously degraded and access is a real problem (most of it fenced in (now). It was depressing to see truck after truck loaded with the trunks of the old trees.... We did get all the species we were still missing (the earthcreeper, tyrant, antbird, chachalacas and quebracho crested tinamou), but chaco owl for example, not a toot and we only had ones or twos of the above. I'm sure the habitat there has only worsened over the last few years.

We did get some chaco species (puffbird, crescentchest, a heard only earthcreeper and black-bodied WP) in the hills above icho cruz, near cordoba. We had several cream-backed WP walking some of the tracks around the reservoir along the old salta road.

cheers,

filip
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Old Saturday 18th May 2019, 04:27   #10
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A depressing update Filip :(
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Old Sunday 19th May 2019, 11:53   #11
fbeeldens
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It was fairly heartbreaking. the amount of land being cleared for soy production was immense.
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Old Monday 20th May 2019, 18:49   #12
Steve Keen
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Cheers

What you say only confirms what I've picked up elsewhere. All the traditional areas for those doing it themselves seem to be getting like that. There are protected areas but it seems getting to them in a small car can be a problem if there's rain (which there almost certainly will be in January).

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