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ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Chile & Easter Island Oct/Nov 2012 (1 Viewer)

Mark Harper

World Birder
Chile had long been on my list of places to go and as South American countries go is relatively safe and easy to do on your own. My original itinerary had been focused entirely on birds, but after some negotiation I was persuaded to drop Chiloe Island and instead go to Easter Island, whilst this cost a few species Easter Island was definitely one of the trip highlights.

The potential for seabirds on the trip was diminished by the timing of ferries in Patagonia meaning I was unable to do the longer crossing from Punta Arenas to Porvenir and insufficient time prevented me attempting a pelagic off the coast near Santiago into the itinerary. Also on Easter Island the main breeding season for seabirds is February, but it was still disappointing not to see any Petrels there.

26 October 2012

Arrival into Santiago was an enjoyable experience, with a window seat presenting a fine view of the snow-capped Andes, and immigration and customs clearance not taking too long. Rosemary having arrived the previous night from South Africa was there to greet me and after a short delay in collecting the car, due to the computer system being down, we were soon on our way.

We had a long drive south, but there were plenty of birds to be enjoyed along the way with Chilean Swallows being the highlight. After briefly getting lost around Talca we were soon on the right road towards Vilches, a brief diversion to Lago Colbun found the hoped for Burrowing Parrots and our first proper views of Austral Blackbirds and Chilean Mockingbirds. We did not spend too long here, as I was keen to get checked into our accommodation and explore the surrounding area.

We were staying at Cabanas El Roble in Vilches, which was a great choice, as the cabins were surrounded by woodland and had hot tubs alongside, which were great for relaxing in after a long day. Another advantage, given my poor Spanish, was that the girl on reception spoke great English and could not have been more helpful. Before we had even checked into our room Black-chinned Siskins and a Rufous-tailed Plantcutter were added to the list.

It being late afternoon already, rather than drive anywhere we opted for a walk along the road in the direction of Altos de Lircay National Park. Thorn-tailed Rayaditos and White-crested Elaenias proved to be common along the road and we were able to obtain great views of these by imitating an Andean Pygmy-Owl, which also brought in a couple of White-throated Treerunners, this proved to be our only sighting of this species in the whole trip. A party of three Striped Woodpeckers and our first Fire-eyed Diucon were enjoyed and as we walked back a perched Chilean Pigeon provided the best view we would have, although we saw plenty more flying over.
 
27 October

With an early breakfast provided and a packed lunch to take with us, we were at the gates of Altos de Lircay National Park when it opened. From the gates to the administration office the road was quite rough, but we made it with our 2WD car without too much difficulty. Having paid our entrance fee we left our car near the entrance rather than risk driving the extra 800m to the start of the trail we intended to walk, but by the end of the day we wished we had driven this distance.

This trip was not meant to be one where we spent the whole time targeting birds, so rather than heading to particular stakeouts the plan was to hike the Enladrillado trail and just enjoy the birds that we saw along the way. Thorn-tailed Rayaditos and White-crested Elaenias were again common and we also saw plenty of Patagonian Sierra-Finches, but apart from these the forest was initially fairly quiet, although distant Chucao Tapaculo’s and Chestnut-throated Huet-huets could occasionally be heard.

Just as we rounded the first hairpin bend in the trail, at a point at which a stream crossed the path, a suspected Huet-huet called from quite close. Playing the tape I realised that it was not the Huet-huet calling, but a Chucao Tapaculo, after switching tracks a bird was seen briefly moving through a gap in the vegetation, but appeared too big for the Chucao Tapaculo. Initial confusion was soon resolved when it began to sing, it was the Chestnut-throated Huet-huet and there was a pair, but also 15 metres to its right the Chucao Tapaculo was also singing. Now a dilemma as to which to concentrate on, I opted for the Huet-huet and eventually we got great views of one of them as it perched up on a branch singing in full view. It was the perfect opportunity for a great photo, but I spent the time just enjoying watching it and when I did decide to go for the camera it dropped down into the undergrowth. The Chucao Tapaculo, which was still singing, then proved to be much more elusive and I only got a view for a few seconds, although it was a good view. Rather than spend further time now we decided we would try again at this spot on our return.

Further along the trail we saw two more Huet-huets without any need for playback, including one that was perched up over the trail and stayed long enough to be enjoyed in the telescope and even for a couple of poor photos to be taken.

After an early lunch we eventually reached point 5 on the trail and it was between here and point 6 we heard our first Magellanic Woodpecker. The David Attenborough trick with two stones was tried unsuccessfully, so I resorted to playback of the double knock, which brought in a female that we watched for 10 minutes before becoming aware of a male that had also arrived. Photographs of both were obtained before the pair flew back up the slope and out of sight. We still had a way to go to reach the summit that the trail led to, so we pushed on hearing another Magellanic Woodpecker a short time later.

Once above the treeline the views were great, but it also meant we could see how much further we still had to go and already our feet were sore and legs were aching. We pushed on for the summit eventually arriving just after 2pm, the view from here was absolutely stupendous and made all our aches and pains worth it. The plateau was dotted with patches of snow and included a strange area that appeared unnaturally flat with no loose stones covering it and which legend has it was a UFO landing site. Not sure I believe the legend, but it was certainly a great place to enjoy a view across the Andean peaks, in the company of a White-browed Ground-Tyrant and a Plumbeous Sierra-Finch.

The accent had taken us five and a half hours including birding time and with half an hour at the top we had three hours in which to make the decent before the gates were locked for the night. We pretty much walked down without stopping, not even time to look for better views of Chucao Tapaculo, although when a male Magellanic Woodpecker appeared at eye-level between points 4 and 5, we had to stop for more photographs. Eventually we made it back to the car 20 minutes before the gates closed after a round trip of just over 20 kilometres, which included a gain in altitude on the way up of around 1,500 metres.

Arriving back at our accommodation they had put a bottle of white wine in the freezer for our return, a soak in the hot tub with a glass of ice cold white wine was the perfect way to end a superb day.
 
A few shots from Altos de Lircay.
 

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28 October

Having seen most of the key birds from this site and still aching from the exploits of the previous day, we enjoyed a late breakfast and whilst I packed the car a flock of Austral Parakeets flew over, surprisingly these were the only ones seen the whole trip.

After the late start and a stop for lunch it was late afternoon, by the time we reached the coast around Algarrobo, we spent a short time down by the beach seeing our first Peruvian Pelicans and Boobies, along with Kelp and Brown-hooded Gulls. We had not pre-booked any accommodation, although I had identified a likely place so we headed for it, only to find it was already fully booked, not what we wanted to find, but an unexpected Moustached Turca along the roadside was some compensation.

Eventually we found a suitable place to stay, not far from Punta de Tralca, where we planned to spend some time the next morning. Finding somewhere to eat then proved to be much harder than expected, due to elections which mean all restaurants should be closed. Eventually someone took pity on us and served us with 2 horrible and expensive pizzas, which we took back to our room, where we could listen to the cars driving backwards and forwards along the road blasting their horns in celebration for their electoral candidate.

29 October

Straight to Punta de Tralca, where the long and empty sandy beach was appealing, but the flocks of seabirds just off the end of the headland were just too enticing. Walking along the headland we soon connected with a pair of Seaside Cinclodes and several Austral Negritos. At the end of the headland we found a comfortable spot to sit and enjoy the birds passing by, I had not planned on spending too long here, but we ended up spending around 4 to 5 hours watching seabirds pass with 100 metres of us.

Sooty Shearwaters were by far the most numerous with tens of thousands passing by, within these were reasonable numbers of Pink-footed and a lone Great Shearwater. Further out were several Black-browed Albatrosses, but despite trying hard I could not pick out any other species of Albatross. Southern Giant-Petrel and Southern Fulmars completed the tubenoses, but I could imagine with a better wind direction that all sorts of seabirds could be seen from here.

Also present in good numbers were Elegant Terns, with a few Inca Terns mixed in, whilst Grey and Franklin’s Gulls were added to the Gulls seen the previous day. Guanay Cormorants were common, with a few Red-legged and Neotropic Cormorants thrown in for good measure.

I had seen a few distant Humboldt Penguins, but they kept diving and the views were not great, so it was exciting to see three swimming just below us and somehow managing to not get battered onto the rocks every time a wave broke.

By lunchtime we were hungry so headed into Algarrobo, where thankfully the restaurants were now open and we enjoyed a great meal in a restaurant next to the marina. The afternoon was spent on the road as we headed north to Olmue our base for exploring La Campana National Park. We stayed at Hosteria Aire Puro, which was fine, but the restaurant left a lot to be desired, having presented us with menus, we were told that there were only two things available, both beef. We opted for one of each, the only noticeable difference was that one was two pieces of tough as leather beef and the other was three.
 
30 October

La Campana National Park has two entrances, for hiking the north entrance has a greater choice of trails, but that was an hour’s drive from the south entrance where we were staying, so we opted to hike up a volcano. This was definitely not the best option for birdwatching as we did not encounter the right habitat for species such as White-throated Tapaculo, which was only heard distantly, but it was a fun hike, even if we did not reach the top due to conditions underfoot that were treacherous and low cloud reducing visibility.

That is not to say that we saw no birds and we had a couple of encounters with Magellanic Tapaculos, both of which showed without the need for playback. Our first of the trip Andean Condor circled overhead along with several Turkey Vultures. Giant Hummingbirds were common and a couple of Green-backed Firecrowns came in when I imitated Andean Pygmy-Owls. Eventually on the way back down I got a response to my Andean Pygmy-Owl impersonation and we spent 15 minutes watching it whilst it was being mobbed by a flock of small birds. That evening we had a look for Rufous-legged Owls around the entrance to La Campana, but got no response at all.

31 October

Nothing new seen this day, as we spent the morning driving back to Santiago Airport and the afternoon on a five hour flight to Easter Island. This was somewhere that we were definitely not going for the birdwatching, but for the culture, although as always my binoculars would be close to hand.

The majority of Easter Island is a National Park and a permit is needed, we paid for this within the airport, where it was $10 cheaper than outside. The permit is good for a week and entitles you to visit each of the quarry and Orongo village once, where your permit is stamped.

We were staying at a small guesthouse, Te’Ora, and they provided transport from the airport to the guesthouse, giving us a tour of Hanga Roa, the main town, on the way and showing us our first moai (stone statues).

Having settled in to our beautiful room overlooking the sea, we had a walk around town seeing all the children dressed up for Halloween, it seems as though anything goes here, as we saw as many superheroes as witches. We ended up at the moai we had seen earlier getting beautiful photos of the sun setting behind them.
 

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First Mr Bowley and Madagascar and now you with Chile - plenty of good, useful reading for these wet and dismal December days

Steve
 
1 November

We had pre-booked a private guide, Marc Shields, to take us around for this day and the following morning. Nothing starts early on Easter Island, so whilst we waited for Marc to arrive at 10am I was able to watch Masked Boobies pass by from the window of our room. Once Marc arrived he was keen to know what our priorities were, whether that be best photographic light or getting to sites when they were not as busy with tourists. The island has 70,000 visitors a year so it can get crowded at some of the more popular sites.

We began at the moai we had visited the previous day, this enabled Marc to give us a great introduction to the history of Easter Island and also meant that by the time we arrived at the next site most of the tourists had moved on, as there are two circuits that nearly all tours follow. This worked perfectly, as at nearly every site just as we arrived coachloads of tourists departed, enabling us to get photographs of statues from a distance with no people in them to spoil the view. An added bonus was the Great Frigatebird that flew over us, whilst we were at the first site.

As well as being very knowledgeable about all the sites we were visiting Marc was great fun to spend time with and helpful in sorting out things that we wanted to do during the rest of our stay. One of the highlights of the island is the quarry where the moai are carved, which is into the side of a dormant volcano. As well as enabling you to get close to the statues, it is also home to a colony of Red-tailed Tropicbirds, which swoop amongst the moai, at just above head height.

The circuit that we had done this day finished up at the beach, the fact that we running around behind the majority of tourists and combined with the fact that it was a bank holiday resulted in it being quite busy here and a wait of an hour and a half for us to be served with salad and chips at one of the beach restaurants.

2 November

The next morning we visited a few more Moai and finished up at Orongo ceremonial village. From here we could look out to the Motus, the islands on which the majority of seabirds nest, although Common Noddy was the only new species we could pick out from the cliff tops where we stood.

Marc had arranged for a friend of his to take us horse riding that afternoon, which incorporated a visit to the only major moai site that we had not yet visited and took us to the top of one of the other volcanos on the island. One of the advantages of being on horseback was that it was much easier to see Chilean Tinamous, of which we saw several, having heard plenty before and seen one scuttle across the road near Orongo village.

3 November

The previous day Marc had arranged for us to go snorkelling out to the Motus, I was hoping for some new seabirds, but despite circling the islands, we were unable to find anything new. The best time of year for seabirds is apparently February, when several species of Petrel breed on the island, I had hoped for Grey Noddy or Christmas Shearwater, both of which should both be around in November, but failed with both. As for the snorkelling, the water was impressively clear, but the fish were few and far between.

Back at the Guesthouse we had time to pack our wet clothes and have a walk around town, before heading to the airport for the long flight back to Santiago.
 
A few shots from Easter Island. Including 10 Red-tailed Tropicbirds flying in the background of the first. The last is the motus, as viewed from Orongo Ceremonial village.
 

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4 November

An early morning flight took us south to Punta Arenas in Patagonia, we soon picked up our hire car, which had been upgraded to a 4WD, which proved to be useful even if it did consume more fuel than the car we had booked.

Driving north to Torres del Paine National Park, Upland Geese were one of the most common roadside birds and we even found a couple of Ashy-headed Geese in one of the flocks of Uplands. Another bird that proved to be very common was the beautiful Buff-necked Ibis, as were Chilean Flamingos and Lesser Rheas.

A stop for lunch and to pick up provisions in Puerto Natales also rewarded us with our first Imperial Cormorants, Dolphin Gulls and a lone Chilean Skua.

With all the stops to enjoy the birds and scenery along the way it was late afternoon by the time we arrived at Rio Serrano Hotel, which was probably the most expensive hotel I have ever stayed in, and whilst the hotel was good it could never have justified the price on quality alone, here you are paying for location. There were a few interesting birds in the vicinity of the hotel and from the bar we were able to watch Ashy-headed Geese, Dark-faced Ground-Tyrant and Dark-bellied Cinclodes.

5 November

Into Torres del Paine National Park and our first stop was to go and visit Lago Grey to book a cruise to the glacier for the following morning, the cost if booked here was 45,000CLP compared to 75,000CLP when booked through our hotel.

The rest of the day was spent driving as far as Laguna Azul mostly just enjoying the scenery, but also stopping whenever we saw anything interesting before retracing our journey back to the hotel. Highlights along the way were Black-necked and Coscoroba Swans, Spectacled Teal of which we saw several, Chiloe Wigeon, multiple sightings of Andean Condors, Cinereous Harriers, a pair of Grey-breasted Seedsnipe, a couple of Patagonian Foxes and whilst not one of the best looking birds it was great to correctly recognise the song of an Austral Canastero, which went on to show really well. We could not have picked a better day weather wise as it was clear and sunny nearly all day.

The only real let down was Austral Rail, of which we heard several calling, but could not get any to venture into the few gaps in the reeds where we might have stood a chance of seeing them.
 
A few photos from Torres del Paine.
 

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A few more.
 

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Good stuff Mark, looking forward to the rest of this....Easter Island is a place I'd love to get to someday soon. And those Speccy Ducks are a seriously good-looking bird!
 
Good stuff Mark, looking forward to the rest of this....Easter Island is a place I'd love to get to someday soon. And those Speccy Ducks are a seriously good-looking bird!

Easter Island was far better than I expected, made really special by a great guide and a lovely guesthouse. Two full days are needed to see all the archeological sites, then it is just a case of how much extra time you want for doing things such as visiting the motus.

Spectacled Ducks were not uncommon in Torres del Paine, we saw them several times, including a family with 5 ducklings. They always tended to be on fairly small pools with plenty of grass for hiding in, which they often did if you got out the car for a photo. The violet speculum really stands out when they are seen in good light.
 
6 November

We awoke to driving rain, so opted not to do the cruise to the glacier and instead made a later start doing a loop through the park and back out through the Sarmiento entrance. Several Flying Steamer-Ducks were seen today, of which the previous day I had only seen a distant possible. An hour long hike past a waterfall to a lake was enjoyable, as the previous day had been spent mostly in the car.

We had another look for Austral Rail, but again only heard them, before beginning the drive back to Puerto Natales. Along the way we added Black-breasted Buzzard-Eagle to the list, which had somehow been missed up until this point.

7 November

A delayed start to our journey, as I had left the car headlights on overnight and awoke to a flat battery. With a little help from some guys at the nearby petrol station I found someone with jump leads and we were soon on our way. This was to be another long driving day, including a ferry crossing to Tierra del Fuego, but before then there were several birds to look for.

Rather than drive along the main roads we took a dirt road that led along the Argentinian border and went past the entrance to Pali Aike NP. This was a great option, we did not see another vehicle in the several hours of driving along here, but the wildlife was superb. My most wanted birds along this road were plovers, but before we saw these we saw plenty of Sandpipers, mostly Baird’s, but also a few White-rumped Sandpipers. Eventually we caught up with Rufous-chested Dotterel and whilst not common we saw several of these and also a few Two-banded Plovers, eventually we also found several Tawny-throated Dotterels, which proved to be quite common particularly as we got closer to Pali Aike.

One of the key birds for this area was Canary-winged Finch, which I expected to be quite difficult. Most people seem to see them along the Pali Aike entrance road, but I guess that they do not drive the route we took, as we saw at least 10 males flying off the road at various places. Another two birds that I was keen to see and which we saw several times along the road were Least Seedsnipe and Chocolate-vented Tyrant.

Arriving at the Punta Delgada ferry terminal, we were able to watch Southern Giant-Petrels, South American Terns and both Rock and Imperial Cormorants passing by, whilst we waited. As soon as we were on board we headed up onto the deck for some seawatching, although the crossing is only 20 minutes or so there is still the chance of a few good birds. The highlight was definitely Magellanic Diving-Petrel of which around 10 were seen, some close enough to see the diagnostic collar, although our first Magellanic Penguins were also appreciated.

It was a couple of hours drive to Porvenir from the ferry terminal and the scenery is a little monotonous, with windswept grasslands being the order of the day. We did however strike lucky as we passed one roadside pool, which had a couple of geese alongside, when my suspicions were confirmed these were not two female Upland Geese they were actually a pair of the rare and local Ruddy-headed Geese.

A couple more stops to scan for Magellanic Plovers was unsuccessful, but we eventually arrived at our hotel, the Hotel Espana, only to find they had lost our reservation and were fully booked. This was a little concerning, as Porvenir is not blessed with many good priced hotels and two I had contacted months before had been fully booked even then. Fortunately luck was on our side, as the hotel opposite, Hosteria Yendegaia, had one spare room, this had actually been my first choice hotel when booking and they had at the time been fully booked.
 

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8 November

Also staying at our hotel were a group of birdwatchers led by Enrique Couve, so we met them over breakfast and then headed off independently, but both in the same direction. Our key target for the morning was King Penguin of which there is a small colony a couple of hours from Porvenir. The road there follows the coast for most of the way, but repeated scanning failed to turn up much of interest apart from a few Southern Fulmars.

The King Penguin site website stated that advance bookings were necessary, but although I had emailed several times I had struggled to get any response. Anyway, just turning up and paying on the gate seemed fine and we were not asked if we had booked.

The weather was less than optimal with a temperature a few degrees above freezing, steady rain and a strong wind straight into our face from the viewing area. It would have been nice to have spent longer just sat watching the King Penguins, but after 20 minutes we were very cold and wet and decided to call it a day. Enrique’s group spent even less time than us, a maximum of 10 minutes before they were heading off.

Driving back to Porvenir we stopped in a small quarry that the road passes through and where a lot of Black-faced Ibis were nesting. The reason for stopping was that I had seen quite a few finches flying around when we had driven through earlier and I was yet to see a Patagonian Yellow-Finch. There were still a few finches around and one landed atop a small dead tree in the distance, quickly putting the scope on it I was amazed to be greeted by a Magellanic Horned Owl staring back at me from the tree next to where the finch had landed. The Owl allowed for a close approach and lots of photos were taken, but no sign of the Yellow-Finch though, only Black-chinned Siskins.

In the afternoon we spend a while to the north of Porvenir searching for Magellanic Plover, but without any success, although it was hard to hold the telescope still in the strong winds.

9 November

We had to catch a flight in the mid-afternoon, but the daily ferry direct from Porvenir to Punta Arenas wouldn’t have arrived early enough so we were forced to drive all the way around taking the ferry to Punta Delgada as a couple of days ago. First though we wanted another look for Magellanic Plover, so armed with directions from Enrique we set off. Now I am not sure if I misunderstood the directions or what he told me was rubbish, but we were supposed to be looking for stones marking 18km, when all the kilometre markings were on fence posts and when arriving at the 18km fence post (also measured as 18km from Porvenir), the rest of the directions made no sense either. Still we searched in the area a kilometre either side of here, but without any luck.

The ferry crossing produced the same birds as last time with the addition of a Black-browed Albatross, but the highlight was a pod of beautiful Commerson’s Dolphins which crossed behind the ferry.

We headed to Seno Otway Penguin reserve, but could not do the place justice in the 30 minutes we could spare before heading to the airport. Patagonian Yellow-Finches in the car park were a relief and it was nice to get up close views of the Magellanic Penguins on the beach. South American Snipe, Least Seedsnipe and Austral Canastero were the other more interesting species seen here, before we returned our very dirty car to Europcar and flew back to Santiago.
 

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Fab......can you give out some costs/logistics, etc as this may well be on the itinerary for next year!! Cheers Mark - have a good xmas!
 
10 November

This was one of the days that I had been most looking forward, as we had a guide booked to take us to El Yeso to look for some specialities of the high Andes and in particular Diademed Sandpiper-Plover. Unfortunately as we sat in our hotel reception there was no sign of our guide, after 20 minutes waiting I went and called the guide, who said he would call me back in 5 minutes. An hour and a half later and after several further calls that went unanswered, a guide turned up, but not the one we had booked, but at least we had someone to take us out. The guide who had arrived was Gonzalo Gonzalez from Birding Chile and he had received a call from our original guide whilst he was still in bed, asking if he could take us that day, but knew no further details on why our original guide could not take us. When I eventually arrived back in the UK a text message sent from our original guide came through to say that he was at a funeral and had arranged for Gonzalo to take us.

After our delayed start it was 11am by the time we made it to El Yeso, but we were soon into the birding and in the end the delay did not cost us any birds thanks to a great effort by Gonzalo, who proved to be a great guide. Our first stop was for two Moustached Turcas fighting in the road, whilst watching these a Lesser Canastero flew across the road, but could not be persuaded to show itself.

A key target for the day was the Chilean endemic Crag Chilia and our next stop was a site for this, a quick play of the tape and we had one in our sights, soon followed by another two birds. Gonzalo had a habit of continuing to play the tape to get the birds really close, which whilst better for photography with DSLR cameras was not great for digiscoping, as the birds became a little too active. Returning to the car a couple of Yellow-rumped Siskins flew over and whilst these did not settle, a short distance up the road a flock of them was feeding in a grassy meadow.

Arriving at the location for Diademed Sandpiper-Plover we quickly found the pair and also a Black-fronted Ground-Tyrant appeared at the same time. The Ground-Tyrant turned out to be the only one we saw that day, but the arriving at the same time as we first saw the DSP resulted in it not getting the attention it deserved. Having had our fill of the DSP, although I could have watched these all day, we moved on to watch a lovely Greater Yellow-Finch and spend some time photographing the many Grey-breasted Seedsnipe, which were displaying around us.

White-browed Ground-Tyrants were very common, but one of the key birds we were still after was Ochre-naped Ground-Tyrant and as we headed further up the valley we eventually found a few of these. As we got closer to the head of the valley we made a stop to scan for Andean Geese, no luck with these but there were several Upland Geese to be seen. Creamy-rumped Miner was our next target and this flew straight to us in response to the tape and perched within a few feet of us.

We had by this stage seen most of our high altitude targets, so turned around and started the journey back, a glimpsed Scale-throated Earthcreeper necessitated a stop and we eventually got good views of this. Having failed to see Lesser Canastero well on the way up, we made a stop to look for this on the way down, but the first stop only produced Cordilleran Canastero. However we had more luck at the place we had briefly seen one earlier, when one posed out on top of a bush for a while before retreating back into the middle of the bush, but continuing to sing.

Much lower down on the way back to Santiago, we made several stops to search for Dusky-tailed Canasteros, the first stop produced great views of Chilean Flicker, but no Canastero. Eventually we got a response from a Canastero, but it took nearly 30 minutes before we had all got satisfactory views. Having made a late start we made up for this with a late finish, it being 7.30pm by the time we got back to our hotel, but it had been a successful day and a fitting end to the trip.
 

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Full Species List

Lesser Rhea
Chilean Tinamou (Easter Island Introduced)
Black-necked Swan
Coscoroba Swan
Upland Goose
Ashy-headed Goose
Ruddy-headed Goose
Flying Steamer-Duck
Crested Duck
Spectaled Duck
Chiloe Wigeon
Yellow-billed Pintail
Speckled Teal
California Quail (Introduced)
White-tufted Grebe
Great Grebe
Silvery Grebe
Chilean Flamingo
King Penguin
Humboldt Penguin
Magellanic Penguin
Black-browed Albatross
Southern Giant-Petrel
Southern Fulmar
Great Shearwater
Pink-footed Shearwater
Sooty Shearwater
Magellanic Diving-Petrel
Red-tailed Tropicbird
Great Frigatebird
Masked Booby
Peruvian Booby
Neotropic Cormorant
Red-legged Cormorant
Rock Shag
Guanay Cormorant
Imperial Cormorant
Peruvian Pelican
Cocoi Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Cattle Egret
Black-faced Ibis
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Andean Condor
Cinereous Harrier
Variable Hawk
Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle
Austral Rail (Heard Only)
Red-gattered Coot
White-winged Coot
Southern Lapwing
Two-banded Plover
Rufous-chested Dotterel
Diademed Sandpiper-Plover
Tawny-throated Dotterel
American Oystercatcher
Magellanic Oystercatcher
Blackish Oystercatcher
Whimbrel
White-rumped Sandpiper
Baird's Sandpiper
South American Snipe
Grey-breasted Seedsnipe
Least Seedsnipe
Brown-hooded Gull
Dolphin Gull
Grey Gull
Franklin's Gull
Kelp Gull
Brown Noddy
Inca Tern
South American Tern
Elegant Tern
Black Skimmer
Chilean Skua
Rock Pigeon (Introduced)
Chilean Pigeon
Eared Dove
Picui Ground-Dove
Black-winged Ground-Dove
Great (Magellanic) Horned Owl
Austral Pygmy-Owl (References above to Andean should have read Austral)
Green-backed Firecrown
Giant Hummingbird
Striped Woodpecker
Chilean Flicker
Magellanic Woodpecker
Mountain Caracara
Southern Caracara
Chimango Caracara
American Kestrel
Peregrine Falcon
Burrowing Parrot
Austral Parakeet
Chestnut-throated Huet-huet
Moustached Turca
White-throated Tapaculo (Heard only)
Chucao Tapaculo
Magellanic Tapaculo
Common Miner
Creamy-rumped Miner
Rufous-banded Miner
White-throated Treerunner
Crag Chilia
Scale-throated Earthcreeper
Buff-winged Cinclodes
Grey-flanked Cinclodes
Dark-bellied Cinclodes
Seaside Cinclodes
Thorn-tailed Rayadito
Plain-mantled Tit-Spinetail
Austral Canastero
Cordilleran Canastero
Lesser (Sharp-billed) Canastero
Dusky-tailed Canastero
Tufted Tit-Tyrant
White-crested Elaenia
Austral Negrito
Ochre-naped Ground-Tyrant
Dark-faced Ground-Tyrant
White-browed Ground-Tyrant
Cinnamon-bellied Ground-Tyrant
Black-fronted Ground-Tyrant
Black-billed Shrike-Tyrant
Fire-eyed Diucon
Chocolate-vented Tyrant
Rufous-tailed Plantcutter
Blue-and-white Swallow
Chilean Swallow
Barn Swallow
House Wren
Austral Thrush
Chilean Mockingbird
Correndera Pipit
Grey-hooded Sierra-Finch
Patagonian Sierra-Finch
Mourning Sierra-Finch
Plumbeous Sierra-Finch
Common Diuca Finch
Canary-winged Finch
Greater Yellow-Finch
Patagonian Yellow-Finch
Grassland Yellow-Finch
Rufous-collared Sparrow
Long-tailed Meadowlark
Austral Blackbird
Yellow-winged Blackbird
Shiny Cowbird
Yellow-rumped Siskin
Black-chinned Siskin
House Sparrow (Introduced)
 
A few details about the trip.

Hotels

26th & 27th Oct – Cabanas El Roble, Vilches (www.turismoelroble.cl/)
28th Oct – No idea, just stopped at one of many along the coast near Algarobbo.
29th & 30th Oct – Hosteria Aire Puro, Olmue (www.hosteriaairepuro.cl/)
31st Oct -2nd Nov – Te’Ora (http://easterislandteora.bizland.com/english/)
3rd Nov – Holiday Inn, Santiago Airport
4th & 5th Nov – Hotel Rio Serrano, Torres del Paine (http://www.hotelrioserrano.cl/home_en.html)
6th Nov – Hostal Francis Drake, Puerto Natales (http://www.hostalfrancisdrake.com/2013/)
7th & 8th Nov – Hosteria Yendegaia (http://www.hosteriayendegaia.com/)
9th & 10th Nov - Holiday Inn, Santiago Airport

Car Hire

Alamo in the North and Europcar in Patagonia, only reason for choosing Europcar in Patagonia was arriving on a Sunday, most of the others were showing on the internet as closed, but in reality were open. 2WD was okay for most places we went, although I would not have wanted to try El Yeso in a 2WD, which was one of the reasons we used a guide there.

Costs

Chile is not cheap compared to other South American countries and spending £20+ per person for a meal was common in the touristic areas and even more on Easter Island. (If on Easter Island try La Kaleta Restaurant at the end of the jetty by the surf shops, rather than La Taverne du Pecheur at the start of the same jetty, the latter was always busy due to location rather than quality, whereas the former was slightly cheaper, had better food, better service and a better view.)

The flights to Easter Island from Santiago were just over £500 each.

Excluding flights and the Holiday Inn at Santiago Airport on which I used points, the total cost for two of us was £3,000, this included:-
Hotel Rio Serrano, two nights plus meals was £450.
Guide on Easter Island for 1.5 days £250
Guide to El Yeso £250
Horse riding Easter Island £80
Boat trip to Motus £70
 
Advance planning

We want to do Easter Island 3 or 4 days and probably 10 days in Chile, with hindsight what are must do places and the ideal time to visit?
We have done Southern Argentina and Falklands Islands so happy to consider missing miss the far South .
 
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