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Santiago (and environs) - question (1 Viewer)

Peter C.

...just zis guy, you know?
Sorry, this doesn't contain any information about this "patch" - yet.

I am hoping to go to Chile in late Dec./early Jan., and would like to know of places to stay that are in vicinity of Santiago, but not right in the city. Looking at Niels' (extremely useful!) report, Cascada las Animas looks promising - out of town, but not too far, seems to have potential for birding right out of the cabin. Also, it looks to me as though it is convenient - relatively speaking - to some good areas in the mountains (I'm planning to rent a 4X4).

My question is, are there any similar cabañas/hotels/lodges that I may be missing?

(I note that, if I had not read Niels' account, I never would have heard of las Animas - I seem to have difficulty "filtering" my searches, and don't find anything outside of Satiago or the coast. Hence the query here.)

Peter
 

willito

Guillermo Cartagena
Hello Peter,
around Santiago there's actually plenty of places to visit. "Cascada de las Ánimas" is certainly one of them, but in general the whole area called "Cajón del Maipo", SE from Santiago, may well be of interest for any bird/nature-watcher, and the lodging should not be a problem at all. As far as I saw, albatross02 has also some reports on his trips through Chile, he provides good information on the places and available species. Prices are higher during summer, but anyway you'll certainly find convenient accomodations whenever you go. Along with the Cascada, let me mention "Baños Morales", "Cerro el Plomo", the road to "El Alfalfal" power plant.
Besides "Cajón del Maipo", I'd further suggest the "Yerba Loca" national reserve, to the East from Santiago, laguna "Batuco" to the North, and "Río Clarillo" national reserve, all of them within a radius of approx. 50 km from Santiago and accessible with any normal 4x2 vehicle. If you have some interest for sea/water birds, the estuaries of río Aconcagua (Concón, near Viña del Mar, NW from Santiago) and río Maipo (near Santo Domingo, SW from Santiago) are about 1,5 h through highways from Santiago.

Regards.
 

Peter C.

...just zis guy, you know?
Guillermo:

¡Señor, es muy amable !

God knows, there are plenty of sites to visit, just considering those that I have found about here on BF - not only in the reports, but also in the Opus section. I've no doubt I could spend an entire month - in Central Chile alone - and not get to half of them. Alas, I have only a miserly total of seven days, which requires that I do a drastic "triage" - that is, narrow down my selection to only a couple of places in good habitat.

And yes, I am hoping to include a visit to the Pacific Coast, so thanks for the suggestion of the "Boca del Rio Maipo"; that looks like a promising location.

Muchas gracias,

Peter C.
 

njlarsen

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In "Cajón del Maipo", someone recommended Casa Bosque (I hope I get the spelling right)

Niels

PS thanks for the nice words about my report
 

willito

Guillermo Cartagena
Hello Peter,
I'm always happy if people come to Chile to know its "hidden" treasures. As you may already know, we have about 480 bird species and due to our singular geopgraphy and location many of them are endemic, so I think it's worth a visit for every birdwatcher.

Now, once you have the dates and places you want to visit, you may check the trips organised by the ROC (local observers net) at http://www.redobservadores.cl/ short before you come, maybe some of those trips fit within your schedule. Besides the trip itself, there you'll have the chance to meet some local birders and collect some more interesting tips on where to go and what species to look for.
 

James Lowther

Well-known member
Hi Peter,
i'm just back from central Chile,
in a week travelling alone i managed to visit Santo Domingo, Lagunas Cartagena and El Peral, Punta de Tralco, Concon dunes, Ventana ponds, Cachagua, La Campana, Lago Batuco, Lampa wetlands, Parque Mahuida, Embalse el Yeso, PN Rio de las Cipreses, & Altos de Lircay
but it was very hard work i'll admit.
if you have any questions or need any tips please ask here or send a PM.
cheers,
James
 

Peter C.

...just zis guy, you know?
Hi Peter,
i'm just back from central Chile,
in a week travelling alone i managed to visit Santo Domingo, Lagunas Cartagena and El Peral, Punta de Tralco, Concon dunes, Ventana ponds, Cachagua, La Campana, Lago Batuco, Lampa wetlands, Parque Mahuida, Embalse el Yeso, PN Rio de las Cipreses, & Altos de Lircay
but it was very hard work i'll admit.
if you have any questions or need any tips please ask here or send a PM.
cheers,
James


Holy smokes! That's quite a list, James!

I was thinking two, maybe three sites in the week we'll be there. (To each his own birding style; if I were asked to describe myself in bird terms, I think I would say that I am of the "puffbird" fraternity - fluff up, sit, and wait.)

One of our "perches" is set already - we'll be spending four nights at "Laguna Torca", a reserve near the coast near Vichuquén. It looks excellent for various rails, anserforms, and of course the essential "seite colores"; also the coast is very convenient.

For the remaining three nights, it's the mountains - but not sure where. Altos de Lircay looks promising - where did you stay in the vicinity?
 

James Lowther

Well-known member
Hi Peter,
at Altos de Lircay i stayed at the Hosteria de Vilches
http://www.hosteriadevilches.cl/
this place is 10 mins drive from the reserve entrance, with really nice cabins and an excellent restaurant. Also the management and staff were incredibly kind to me as i somehow contrived to turn up late in the evening in the middle of a rainstorm with no money and they let me stay for two nights on credit!
If you do go there let them know i sent you!
also if you spend a few days there you should definitely head down to lago colbun, at the eastern end i saw loads of stuff including white-browed ground tyrant, spectacled tyrant, spectacled duck, plus loads of fly-by burrowing parrots.
good luck!
James
 

Peter C.

...just zis guy, you know?
James,

Thanks, you are a wealth of useful information! About 10 min. from the gate sounds like just the thing; had a look at the site, they seem to have a good variety of cabins, of various sizes, which not all places have.

Looks like the Lago Colbun is very convenient, too ... I am really looking forward to seeing a ground-tyrant (or two), a group of which I have so far seen exactly none.

Just two more q. for you:
About how long does it take to get in there for Ruta #5?

On a tangentially-related note: Is it true, as I've read elsewhere, that the earthquake buried the stream that runs through the "Siete tazas"?

James Lowther said:
Also the management and staff were incredibly kind to me as i somehow contrived to turn up late in the evening in the middle of a rainstorm with no money and they let me stay for two nights on credit!
(Hope they won't be under the impression that bird-watchers always turn up late and broke... ;))

Peter C.
 

njlarsen

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If you drive down to Altos de Lircay, don't forget that Rio Cipresos is relatively close to the route that you take -- about four total hours extra to add the park with ground parrots and other stuff and the lovely little canal right outside. (3/4 hour each way driving, 1 hour inside, one hour outside)

Ground Tyrants are easily seen towards El Yeso, if you are so inclined. If I were to choose only one of Yeso vs Lircay, it would be the first of these -- do I need to say more than "Condor"?

Niels
 

James Lowther

Well-known member
Hi Peter, i reckon it takes about an hour, maybe a touch more to drive from ruta 5 to Vilches, but it depends how assertively (aggressively?) you drive on dirt roads (of which the last section after you turn off the road to lago colbun consists).
Regards ground tyrants, the ones at lago colbun were a bit strange as it is basically a lowland site - not sure of the altitude but there wasn't a great deal of climbing from ruta 5. But there were thousands of white-browed (which isn't meant to occur in the lowlands) and a single dark-faced. This may be a seasonal thing however.
Yeso is an excellent site as niels mentions with lots of ground-tyrants (4 sp. when i was there), plus condors, cinclodes, earthcreeper, crag chilia, sierra-finches etc. but be warned, when i was there two weeks ago the road along the reservoir was irretrievably blocked to vehicles, necessitating a 16 km round walk to try unsuccessfully(!) for diademed sandpiper plover.

:-/

but yeso (windswept andean grasslands and crags etc.) is a very different area to altos de lircay, which is basically mixed nothofagus and bamboo forest at a moderate altitude. You get a totally different set of birds there, woodpeckers, rayaditos, treerunners, tapaculos, huet-huets etc. (not all of which are easy to see though). Having said that if you are prepared to tackle a long hike up into the mountains you might come across some more typical andean species.
but personally i'm glad i went to both!!

regards Siete Tazas, i believe a crack opened up which drained the stream but they are hopeful it will either fix itself or can be fixed - i would have a look on google for up to date news.

cheers,
James
 
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Peter C.

...just zis guy, you know?
If you drive down to Altos de Lircay, don't forget that Rio Cipresos is relatively close to the route that you take -- about four total hours extra to add the park with ground parrots and other stuff and the lovely little canal right outside. (3/4 hour each way driving, 1 hour inside, one hour outside)

Ground Tyrants are easily seen towards El Yeso, if you are so inclined. If I were to choose only one of Yeso vs Lircay, it would be the first of these -- do I need to say more than "Condor"?

Niels

Thanks for the time estimates, Niels, that's just the sort of concrete thing I need. It looks like we might be spending one night around Rancagua, on our way "down country", which is very convenient to R. las Cipreses.

Yes, "condor" is a "the magic word" (one of them, at least) for me. Problem is, practically every reserve and park in the country claims to have them! So it's hard to know how much weight to give to this one species, when it looks like it could turn up anywhere in the cordillieras.

(Keep in mind that I've never been to Chile - or, for that matter, anywhere south of about -2º latitude, in South America. So, for me, everywhere - and virtually every bird - is good!)

Regards ground tyrants, the ones at lago colbun were a bit strange as it is basically a lowland site - not sure of the altitude but there wasn't a great deal of climbing from ruta 5. But there were thousands of white-browed (which isn't meant to occur in the lowlands) and a single dark-faced. This may be a seasonal thing however.
Yeso is an excellent site as niels mentions with lots of ground-tyrants (4 sp. when i was there), plus condors, cinclodes, earthcreeper, crag chilia, sierra-finches etc. but be warned, when i was there two weeks ago the road along the reservoir was irretrievably blocked to vehicles, necessitating a 16 km round walk to try unsuccessfully(!) for diademed sandpiper plover.
but yeso (windswept andean grasslands and crags etc.) is a very different area to altos de lircay, which is basically mixed nothofagus and bamboo forest at a moderate altitude. You get a totally different set of birds there, woodpeckers, rayaditos, treerunners, tapaculos, huet-huets etc. (not all of which are easy to see though). Having said that if you are prepared to tackle a long hike up into the mountains you might come across some more typical andean species.
cheers,
James

Thanks again for the advice.

I was considering the trip to El Yeso, but since it's looking like a real challenge to get there, I think I will have to let it slip for want of time. So the Sandpiper-plover will have to wait for another trip (a longer one). And, more critically, Crag Chilla (according to Jaramillo et al, doesn't go as far south as we'll be).

Hoping to spend two whole days at Altos de Lircay. I'm mostly hoping for some of the tapaculos and other forest birds that you mentioned. However, there's a long, steep, but do-able hike that goes up above tree line (I found a detailed account of on "wikiexplora"). If all goes well, we'll find a few of the high-altitude species up there.

Regarding the ground-tyrants from the Lago Colbun - I think you may be right, about their occurrence there being strictly seasonal (I certainly wouldn't expect Dark-faced!). Just going by what Jaramillo et al. and Ridgley & Tudor say, I can well believe that they would in all kinds of unexpected places in migration. (And, strongly suspect that Chile's birdlife still has all kinds of surprises in store, in any case.)

Peter
 

njlarsen

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Ebird Chile is well developed, and it is probably by now possible to get a good idea of the distribution of all Chilean birds by using the automated map function - http://ebird.org/content/ebird/.

You mentioned my report in one of the previous posts: the species I had in El Yeso was seen below the embalsa, because the road was blocked when we were there. That did include Crag Chilia. We found the Condor easy in El Yeso and Torres del Paine, but did not see any around Altos de Lircay or Lago Colbun. It is possible that could have been possible by continuing further up the road at the lake, but the weather was really awful when we were there.

The long trek in Lircay: we saw someone who went on a camping expedition with horses up the mountain, I wonder if that is necessary to get as far as you are mentioning? anyway, be aware that you cannot get a really early start inside the park unless you camp, the entrance is not open that early.

Niels
 

Peter C.

...just zis guy, you know?
The long trek in Lircay: we saw someone who went on a camping expedition with horses up the mountain, I wonder if that is necessary to get as far as you are mentioning? anyway, be aware that you cannot get a really early start inside the park unless you camp, the entrance is not open that early.

Niels

Yes, I had some awareness of that (the fact that we can't enter at a reasonable hour, I mean). It did make camping seem like a good option, but I really can't justify hauling all our gear there for (at most) three days of camping!

It really bugs me how many places have such limited hours - not just in Latin America, but in ah, other places too (Minsmere, grrr). How the heck are we supposed to get in a good days' birding starting at 8:00 or 9:00 in the morning?

You might find it handy to know that, while I was staying at Punta Leona (CR), we took a taxi to Carara early one morning. But although we really wanted to go in via the north trail (the one along the river) the driver drove us to the main entrance instead, and refused to go any further. His rationale? We had to pay to get in (makes perfect sense), and this was the only place to get tickets. And it didn't open until 0900, so we'd just have to wait around until the office opened.

We ended up paying off the driver, and then walking about 2km up the highway to other entrance (got a Grey Hawk out of it). There, we met a ranger, with whom I could not communicate very well (I had almost no Spanish at the time). But I was able to get across that we wanted to pay to get in - he absolutely refused our money, but let us in anyway.

After hiking the excellent trail (Blue Ground-dove, Scarlet Macaw, Pygmy Kingfisher [!!!]), we hiked back down the highway, paid our fee there, and took the bus back to the Punta Leona entrance. Should really have taken the bus both ways, it cost 100 colones, a lot less than the taxi. I mean, about 1/20th the rate of the taxi. And, being a "milk run" kind of bus, it lets you off wherever you damn well please!
 

James Lowther

Well-known member
Hi Peter,
the only place in 2 weeks in Chile where i saw condors was El Yeso. Got really good views of 2 above the embalse (about the only good birds we saw there in desperately windy conditions) but also saw several more distantly from the road up to the embalse. Saw loads of other good stuff on the way up also (incl. Crag Chilia). Stumbled onto a great spot for Moustached Turca just above Cascada de las animas also if you're interested.

I'll be honest and say tapaculos gave me big problems at Altos de Lircay. The place to go is the aliwenmawida interpretative trail near the visitor centre, which has lots of bamboo and also has a fantastic mirador.
I'd seen 7 out of the 8 species before i got there so was really mostly interested in chestnut-throated huet-huet, but nevertheless my grand total of tapaculos seen in walking the trail very slowly 4 or 5 times over two days was one glimpse of a large sp (Chucao probably) hopping away from me. Heard lots of chucao and a few distant huet-huets, plus a magellanic, and also heard a dusky at lago colbun. But to be fair there was quite a serious amount of snow on the ground which was a problem for the ground dwellers i think.

cheers,
James
 

njlarsen

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When I was in Lircay the weather might have been too good, saw one larger tapaculo SP but no sounds at all. A guide I talked with later said they seem more active on less sunny days ;)

Niels
 

willito

Guillermo Cartagena
Hello,
just as a side hint, I thought you could be interested in these pictures I took last weekend on the road to Farellones, not far from Santiago. The pictures are not very good, but I think they provide a good idea of what can be found there.
 

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willito

Guillermo Cartagena
Aguilucho = Red-backed hawk
Bandurrilla = Patagonian forest earthcreeper
Churrete acanelado = Buff-winged cinclodes
Cometocino de Gay = Gray hooded sierra-finch
Chirihue dorado = Greater yellow-finch
Chuncho = Austral pigmy owl
Churrete chico = Grey-flanked cinclodes
Cóndor = Andean condor
Mero gaucho = Black-billed shrike-tyrant
Minero cordillerano = Rufous-banded miner
 

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Peter C.

...just zis guy, you know?
Muchas gracias, Guillermo! They certainly look good to me! This is a great preview.

I guess that the road to Farellones must climb fairly quickly - I'm a bit surprised to see all that snow still. But it looks like the weather is very good, at least for the moment.

The birds seem very approachable - especially those two species of Churrete. Good pose on those two, although I see that the light was quite a challenge.

And is that a lizard that the Mero guacho is eating?
 

albatross02

Well-known member
Sorry, this doesn't contain any information about this "patch" - yet.

I am hoping to go to Chile in late Dec./early Jan., and would like to know of places to stay that are in vicinity of Santiago, but not right in the city. Looking at Niels' (extremely useful!) report, Cascada las Animas looks promising - out of town, but not too far, seems to have potential for birding right out of the cabin. Also, it looks to me as though it is convenient - relatively speaking - to some good areas in the mountains (I'm planning to rent a 4X4).

My question is, are there any similar cabañas/hotels/lodges that I may be missing?

(I note that, if I had not read Niels' account, I never would have heard of las Animas - I seem to have difficulty "filtering" my searches, and don't find anything outside of Satiago or the coast. Hence the query here.)

Peter

4 x 4, I am not sure if this is needed, but can be an advantage because some streets in the mountain are a little bit rough e.g. to El Yeso.

From Santiago to Cayon del Maipo some inexpensive Cabanas not far from Santiago. They are not difficult to find.
In Cayon del maypo e.g. is Refugio de Aleman a nice hut from German Adino Club. The chief is from England.
Around the hut is possible to see some birds, but in opposite of the hut is an protected area ( small fee for entry ).

El Yeso is good for Diadem Sandpiper Plover, but also Bairds Sandpiper, South American Snipe, Crag Chilia, Dark Billed Cynclode, Grey flaked Cynclode and so on.
But in the mornig are different birds in the rock area along the lake.

From Larva ( 2.700 m altitude ) are some hikes for birding also with chance for Condor, but also Montain Caracara, White Side Hillstar, Rufous Naped Ground Tyrant and at the mountain nearby I saw also Black faced Ibis.
Farellones ( almost 2.500 m ) has bushes and trees where is possible to see different kind birds.
There are accomodations from the Andino Club, but very basic ( for me it was enough, I had a sleeping bag with me ).

Lampa reserve ( 30 km north of the airport ) is worth to see, even if it is dry and you have no chance to see Painted Snipe, but also herons, ducks, coots and some waders are there.

La Campana national park is not to far from Santiago and there are 6 or 9 endemic birds of Chile.

Rio Clarillo reserve is very near to Santiago.
It is a big suprise in this dry area with very rare vegation and you will in the forest area in the reserve ( ask for the entrance time, not sure 8 a.m ? ).
Good place for Giant Hummer, but also Moustached Turca, White-throated Tupaculo, Dusky Tupaculo and at the picnic place in front the entry also Chilean Pigeon.
 

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