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guides and pelagic trips central chile

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Old Sunday 12th September 2010, 17:03   #1
James Lowther
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guides and pelagic trips central chile

Hello all,
I will have some time travelling alone round central chile in late october and although i am happy to self-guide most of the time am tempted to get a guide for one or maybe two days for the more difficult sites and specialities, el yeso, la campana etc. Also the driving at el yeso sounds potentially quite nasty!
I would also love to go on a pelagic from e.g valparaiso but obviously being on my own the costs could well be prohibitive, so ideally i'd like to get a place on a boat with other people.

Does anyone have any recommendations for guides for single day trips or companies running pelagics which an individual might be able to join??

Some of the names i've come across include Aconcagua birding, Fantastico Sur, Birding Chle, Cascada Expeditions, Planeta Chile.

cheers,
James
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Old Sunday 12th September 2010, 17:21   #2
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http://birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=161985 contains my report for Chile which describes some of what I did.

For pelagic, I contacted a couple of the companies you mentioned above, and chose the one I could fit into my schedule.

Cheers
Niels
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Old Sunday 12th September 2010, 20:17   #3
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Hi James,
I've gone on a pelagic tour off of Valparaiso with Aconcagua Birding and there were great. I would highly recommend them for the pelagic trip as well as any guiding in central Chile. The guides English is fine and I can guarantee that would have a great trip and a fun time.
Hope thats helpful.
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Old Wednesday 15th September 2010, 10:31   #4
James Lowther
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thanks Erik,
Niels - i may have missed it but could you tell me which company you used for the pelagic?
cheers,
James
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Old Wednesday 15th September 2010, 12:27   #5
willito
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James,
there's the so called "Chile's observers net" (Red de observadores de Chile) better known as ROC, which organizes trips and even pelagics during the whole year. Some of their members are also quite experienced and higly qualified guides, e.g. Rodrigo Tapia from Aconcagua Birding, or Fabrice Schmitt, just to mention a couple of them I know and can definitely recommend.
Have a look at: http://www.redobservadores.cl/salidas.html
There you can see there are namely pelagics in Valparaíso programmed for October 2nd. and November 6th. Maybe one of them fits with your schedule.
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Old Wednesday 15th September 2010, 19:59   #6
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thanks for the link Willito,
unfortunately those dates do not fit my trip
:-(
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Old Thursday 23rd September 2010, 15:54   #7
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Hello,

I did my travel without guide, because guided tour does not fit to my time frame.

My reports:
http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=170763

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=170790

Next birding place to Santiago is Rio Clarillo Reserve.
Not to far from airport is Lampa Reserve.
It should be the best place for Painted Snipe in Chile, but in case if it is dry the chance to see them is very low.

To El yeso is a rough street. With normal car drive very carefully.
But the way can be also blocked by debris avalanche.

Who knows the situation, no idea ?
Maybe the chief of the hut from Club Andino de Aleman ( the chief is from England ).
http://www.refugiolovaldes.com/ingles/ubicacion.htm


Best regards
Dieter
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Old Thursday 23rd September 2010, 19:11   #8
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Hello,
the link provided by albatross02 is sure the most trustable for the issue. Let me just add a couple of comments to complement his tips:

- The most recent painted snipe I've had notice of was seeing last August at the Rio Maipo mouth, approx. 100 km W from Santiago. They remain to be rare anyway. There were reported also some 20 south american snipes (gallinago paraguaiae) in the same location. By the way, are you interested in specific/rare birds? There's a good collection of good spotting sites in the neighborhood of Santiago, but if you're focusing on some defined families or species, I could maybe provide you some hints.

- This year has been comparatively dry in Central Chile (say from Valparaíso to Concepción). As far as I've heard we lack currently over 20% water compared to average years. As albatross02 quotes, this will be noticeable especially in the case of seasonal streams and ponds, so if you're interested on some waterbirds, maybe you should move a little bit to the South.

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Old Saturday 25th September 2010, 16:56   #9
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many thanks Dieter and Guillermo,
i am not having any luck with guides (5 or 6 e-mailed, but no reply) so any help you can provide is very useful.
In central chile i am most interested in visiting el yeso for diademed sandpiper plover, crag chilia etc., also la campana (white-throated tapaculo, moustached turca, dusky-tailed canastero). Any information on how to find these birds is very welcome!
Probably i will also visit some wetlands, lampa, lago batuco, maipo estuary, el peral, cartagena etc., maybe also farellones, parque mahuida, rio de los cipreses etc.
many thanks,
James
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Old Saturday 25th September 2010, 17:49   #10
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Rio de los Cipreses was easy: talk to the ranger at the base where you pay the entry fee, drive or walk up to the trail to the lookout that give good if distant views of the parrots. The ranger looked sceptically at the car we were in (he had expected a 4WD), but we made it up and down without any ill effects on anything and within a relatively short time. Edit: do remember to stop just below the part to enjoy the birds along the little canal.

For Yeso and La Campana, we used a guide as you know and that was definitely worth it. If you have to go on your own you definitely need to know the voices of the specialities, either through Xeno-Canto or the excellent collection shown here (I cannot remember which vendor we got it from).

Niels
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Old Sunday 26th September 2010, 18:16   #11
James Lowther
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thanks Niels,
have downloaded recordings of all the tapaculos and endemic ovenbirds etc. so think i'm ok on that front, main worries at yeso are

a) getting past the reservoir in a hire car
b) knowing where to look for DSPs

would love a quote from a guide but it is weird - no replies whatsoever, maybe i've accidentally inserted a chilean swearword in my messages!

no response also means i'll miss out on a pelagic, but on the brightside, have seen all the albatrosses in kaikoura and will have more flexibility and time to see the landbirds (which i'll need with no guides..)!

I'll also be visiting the puerto montt/ chiloe area, but apart from Puyehue and Pinguinera Punihuil have no other firm ideas of sites - anyone got any tips for that part of the country??

cheers,
James
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Old Sunday 26th September 2010, 18:42   #12
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I have not been to that part of Chile, but the old essential birding guide mentions:
Near Chillan, a bit north of Puerto Montt: Parque National Laguna del Laja, Parque Nacional Nahuelbuta, and Vegas Blancas.
Nearer Puerto Montt: Puyehue, Ensenada-Ralun rd, and the areas close to town, and finally Chiloe Island.

Several reports I read included info on sections on these areas. A bit down in this thread is a little discussion of one good bird from Chiloe.

Niels
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Old Monday 27th September 2010, 00:00   #13
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Hi James,
For your part of the trip in southern Chile, Chiloe will be great for shorebirds and maybe a couple pelagics on the ferry cross onto the island. You should still be able to see Chilean Flamingos.
Puyehue is a great place for rinocriptids and forests birds. Also some Magellanic Woodpecker families around.
If you are interested to travel a bit farther north to the Temuco area, on the coast at Puerto Saavedra there are plenty of shorebirds and waterfowl on Lake Budi just a few minutes from the beach.
And towards the Andes the snow should be receding and the migrants should be moving up into the mountains. Conguillio, Villarrica or Huequehue National Parks all have a great variety of species.
If you'd like to see a more detailed account of the species of the locations I just mentioned you can check it out at my blog.

PS: Hellmayr's Pipit was just recorded again over the weekend a few km out of Temuco. This pipit is a really good find for the area and its been coming back every year is sounds like. It has just a few record in Chile.
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Old Tuesday 28th September 2010, 08:40   #14
James Lowther
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many thanks Niels and Erik,
i'm sure Hellmayr's pipit is very nice but i don't think it will tempt me to drive up to Temuco


James
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Old Tuesday 28th September 2010, 21:33   #15
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Hello,

I used The Essential Guide to Birding in Chile, Mark Pearman.
http://search.nhbs.com/catalogue/quicksearch
http://www.nhbs.com/title.php?tefno=11743

If nobody answered You mail, ask someone for send the mail in spanish language. Mostly the people do not answer english mails.

Lampa Reserve is also interesting if it is quite dry.
South 33 16,743
West 70 48,658

Parque National Lago Penualeas
is a weekend target for domestic people, but in the weeks rather quite and can be interesting to
33 10,520
71 30,848

La Campana
The last 6 km into the park is quite rough with normal car but possible.
I came from the north entry.
Dusky - tailed Canastero and Mustached Turca in the bushes at the hills
White - throated Tapaculo and Chilean Mockingbird in lower areas also near entry
Chilean Tinamo rather in lower areas
Giant Hummingbird is quite common

Worth to see for seabirds is also Rio Aconcagua river into the ocean, the south side from Concon.
I saw Inca Tern there, many Rynchops, a variety of other terns and gulls.






Best regards
Dieter
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Old Wednesday 29th September 2010, 19:48   #16
James Lowther
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many thanks for your advice Dieter,
since yesterday i have had a couple of responses from guides. El Yeso should be possible but the pelagic will be too expensive unless there are some more passengers.
James
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Old Wednesday 29th September 2010, 20:48   #17
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Hello James,
for the 4 species you mention I could also suggest the Yerba Loca National Park, about 1 h from Santiago towards the Andes. Especially for tapaculo and turca, you'll have a far better chance to get good pictures, elsewhere you should only hear them.
By the way, last weekend I spent in La Serena and thereabouts (approx. 500 NW from Santiago), where I could also get reasonable pictures of tapaculo, tinamou and miner, but that's maybe way too far for a trip. Anyway, if you want some more details on the path I did, just let me know.
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Old Wednesday 29th September 2010, 21:07   #18
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La Campana:
http://www.birdforum.net/gallery/sho...p?photo=283858
http://www.birdforum.net/gallery/sho...p?photo=283497

We saw two birds even better than this, but did not get the cameras ready in time

Niels
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Old Wednesday 29th September 2010, 21:24   #19
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Hello,
tonight I'll upload the pictures I got in La Serena. They are TBH better than those links njlarsen posted.

A couple of additional tips regarding guides and voices:
- The most complete bird guides I know (and use regularly) for Chilean birds:
- "Birds of Chile", by Alvaro Jaramillo, ISBN 13: 9780691117409, ~ US$ 65,-. Only for birds, but actually the most detailed regarding distribution, seasons, subspecies and field marks.
- "A Wildlife Guide To Chile", by Sharon Chester, ISBN 13: 9780691129761, ~ US$ 40,-. In this case you'll also get a good but not complete guide for mammals, amphibians, reptiles and flora
- The most comprehensive CD of Chilean birds voices: "Voces de Aves chilenas", by Guillermo Egli, ~ US$ 10,-
The prices are taken from the local market. You should be able to find similar prices through e.g. amazon.
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Old Wednesday 29th September 2010, 21:40   #20
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Wow in so deep bush, so good pictures !
How do You made this ?

Buy they way, what kind of lens is needed for forest ( mm and light ) ?


Yerba Loca is interesting ( there are opening times ).
Farellones has some bushes and tree in the town and around where You can see different birds.
If You drive trough Farellones, You come trough a strong turn in the town.
Just before is a small unsealed way.
In this area I saw Hummingbirds and at the end also in the early morning and evening ( before it got dark ) a South American Snipe ( I also easy to hear ).

In Farellones I stay in the hut of club Andino.
it was very basic, but enough for 2 nights ( I had also a sleeping bag with, because it is quite cool in about 2.500 m altitude ).
Snow was from 3.000 m and higher middle of November.

Not so bad for bird life is also a small reserve in opposite of Refugio Aleman in Cayon del Maipo. Some birds came very near.
Further up in opposite of El Volcan I saw different ducks and a Condor quite near.


First picture I made at the lamp at the car rental at the airport !
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Old Wednesday 29th September 2010, 21:56   #21
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Hello,
Inca tern, seaside cinclodes (endemic) and rufous-chested dotterel are not hard to be seen in Viña del Mar, not only in Concón. I would definitely suggest to visit Mantagua, which is the wetland on the North side of the Aconcagua estuary. Last time I was there in winter we were able to check 53 species, including raptors, passerines and shorebirds.
Other cinclodes (buff-winged, dark-bellied) are not rare (but also not abundant) in the wetlands you've already listed in the vicinity of Santiago.
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Old Thursday 30th September 2010, 01:04   #22
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Hello,
here some pictures from last weekend taken here:

S29 33 06.2 W71 18 58.5, 208 masl

- Tapaculo
- Tinamou
- Miner
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Old Thursday 30th September 2010, 01:50   #23
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willito, Great image of the tapaculo. We saw it completely in the open, but at that time the camera was in the rucksack on my back; not to scare the birds away completely, I chose to be very slow when bringing it down (and first I had to satisfy my eyes). Therefore, the images are not as good as what I saw. Could I entice you to load this image into the gallery; my two images are the only ones in there of this species.

Dieter, I use the Panasonic FZ18. It has the advantage of being able to choose a very small area as the area to focus within. It is my second autofocus camera, and the first that comes close to matching my old manual focus SLR. The panasonic is not a dSLR, and most of those are supposedly better yet; this one weighs 1/4 of what they do, but it has a problem with image quality, especially in low light. The FZ38 is better according to reviews but the newest members (fz40/fz100) are back to the levels of fz18 according to reviews.

Lots on the fz series and other superzooms in the camera section here on BF.

Cheers
Niels
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Old Thursday 30th September 2010, 16:11   #24
willito
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Niels, I'm painfully sorry. I didn't see those were your pictures, I just thought they were from anywhere in the internet. My comment wasn't suppose to be arrogant, now I realize it really was though. I just wanted to show the better chances I had over there.

Actually, as an absolute amateur photograph, I never claim to have made a good picture, the merit relies always on the birds I aim to, and this is particularly true in this case, as you can see. So that's what I was thinking about when I wrote before.

Once again, my apologies for my roughness.
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Old Thursday 30th September 2010, 18:48   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willito View Post
Hello James,
for the 4 species you mention I could also suggest the Yerba Loca National Park, about 1 h from Santiago towards the Andes. Especially for tapaculo and turca, you'll have a far better chance to get good pictures, elsewhere you should only hear them.
By the way, last weekend I spent in La Serena and thereabouts (approx. 500 NW from Santiago), where I could also get reasonable pictures of tapaculo, tinamou and miner, but that's maybe way too far for a trip. Anyway, if you want some more details on the path I did, just let me know.
Hello Guillermo,
i would be very interested to know more about Yerba Loca.
thanks,
James
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