TRAVELLING NATURALIST TRIP REPORT

Patagonia
Argentina & Chile

Sat 3 - Sun 18 Nov 2001 (ext to Wed 21 Nov)


Leaders:
Neil Arnold - The Travelling Naturalist

Luis Segura - Birding Argentina

and a team of drivers, guides and leaders recruited by Luis

INTRODUCTION

This was undoubtedly one of the most varied trips ever organized by The Travelling Naturalist. I am most grateful to the members of the group, to Luis and to the host of other professionals who made the trip so enjoyable. I hope we will all travel together in the future.

Best wishes

Neil Arnold

December 2001

DIARY

SATURDAY 3 NOVEMBER

We flew to Buenos Aires.

SUNDAY 4 NOVEMBER

We arrived in Buenos Aires in the morning to be greeted by our local guides German and Hernan.

We were soon enjoying a bright sunlit day.

Costanera Sur Nature Reserve, adjacent to the River Plata but still in the midst of the city, resembled a colonial animal writhing with activity: passive sun worship contrasting with active cycling and running. The smell of suntan oil and cooking sausages was all-pervasive. The arrival of the group caused much curiosity.

The water birds were particularly attractive, especially the very active Lake Duck and the subtly coloured Spot-flanked Gallinule. After careful watching we were able to identify two species of coot, the Red-fronted and the Red-gartered. As we walked the river-side more duck came into view: Rosy-billed Pochard, Silver Teal and Speckled Teal. Herons were also well represented: Great, Snowy and Cattle Egrets vied for our attention and a number of Striated Heron showed the usual wide variation in plumage. Monk Parakeets were abundant as were noisy Guira Cuckoos. Coscoroba and Black-necked Swans frequented the deeper water. The trees lining the pools were full of songbirds despite the high level of disturbance. Masked Yellowthroat, Yellow- billed Cardinal and Masked Gnatcatcher were much admired as were the two local species of Warbling Finch - Black-headed and Black-and -Rufous. The other delight of the day was a very attractive reptile, Hillair's Side-necked Turtle, all of which were sunning themselves. Eventually, with White-rumped Swallows flying overhead and the call of the Greater Kiskadee ringing in our ears, we dragged ourselves away.

After an excellent lunch we flew to Trelew where we met Luis, and our driver, who drove us safely to Puerto Piramides

MONDAY 5th NOVEMBER

PUERTO PIRAMIDES

WEATHER: Heavy overnight rain. 8/8 cumulus, dull, heavy rain, strong wind. Mid morning

and afternoon lighter winds and sunnny.

The drive to Puerto Norte was punctuated by sightings of Elegant -crested Tinamou and a host of Guanaco.

On our arrival at the Estancia La Ernestina we transferred to four wheel drive vehicles for the drive over the dunes to a private beach. Before we had even left the vehicles it was obvious that we were in an extensive Magellanic Perguin colony. Almost every bush seemed to provide shelter for a nesting burrow. The birds were wonderfully confiding in this unspoilt place. Perhaps the most endearing moment was when a party of penguins emerged from, the sea and waddled past us to their nests.

Out at sea there was great activity. Southern Giant Petrels were constantly passing offshore, sometime accompanied by Sooty Shearwaters and a handful of Black-browed Albatross. There was also a brief sighting of a single Great Shearwater. A large fishing flock of South American Terns were frustratingly far out to sea. As we watched, a party of Sanderling flew by, a reminder of our own northern origins. The sand dunes were dominated by Long-tailed Meadowlarks and Mourning Sierra Finches. We also managed to see our first European Hare of the trip.

On our return to the estancia we were entertained to a fine local lunch. A walk around the buildings bought us into contact with a fine Burrowing Parrot and a very unexpected Yellow Cardinal.

The nature reserve at Punta Norte was our next port of call. It was here that we were able to watch Southern Elephant Seals, American Oystercatchers and Rock Shags at our leisure. During the day we had brief views of Southern Right Whales offshore.

The drive to Puerto Piramides gave us a chance to relax in readiness for the boat trip. By late afternoon we were standing on the beach at Puerto Piramides waiting to board a fast boat. We were soon out in the bay. Suddenly in front of us a whale blew and an adult Southern Right Whale surfaced. In the next hour we were to see several whales. Perhaps the most memorable episode was our close encounter with a mother and calf swimming in close proximity to each other. At one stage the calf emerged alongside the boat. A lone adult was not to be outdone though as it 'showed off' by 'lob-tailing', slapping its tail violently against the water. What a day!

TUESDAY 6th NOVEMBER

PUERTO PIRAMIDES

WEATHER Clear,sunny, wind force six.

We started the day with an exploration of the nearby pampas. We were soon enjoying good views of Rusty-backed Monjita, Grey-bellied Shike Tyrant, Common Diuca Finch and Scale-throated Earthcreeper.. After driving in the direction of Punta Delgada we stopped again to watch Lesser Canastero and Patagonian Canastero. In the paddock of a small farmhouse we were also delighted to see a Burrowing Owl sunning itself outside its burrow. As we drove we looked out for Lesser Rhea and Elegant-crested Tinamou.

At the edges of the Salina Chica, a vast saltlake, we expected to be able to see waders . The area, however, was full of sheep. Even so Southern Lapwing and a solitary Baird's Sandpiper did make an appearance. They shared the stage with the first pair of Upland Geese of the trip and Cinereous Harriers. The harriers, three males and two females gave us a fine flying display.

By mid-day we were at the Rincon Chica, a fine estancia set back from the sea. Here we were treated to a very fine lunch of spitted lamb, a traditional local dish.

It was then time to drive to the shore, to a sandy beach surrounded by low cliffs. Here we found a colony of Elephant Seals. These largely consisted of many 'weaners' and a handful of young males pretending to protect imaginary harems. Being careful to keep a low profile we moved slowly towards a group of seals. Eventually we were able to sit down within five or six metres of a male surrounded by youngsters. This was a real David Attenborough moment. This privileged experience was undoubtedly the highlight of the day.

On returning to the Rincon for a wonderful tea we were able to enjoy excellent views of Fork-tailed Flycatcher and a roosting Black-crowned Night Heron. The nearby sealion colony was our next port of call. Not only were there huge numbers of Southern Sealions but birds galore. In bright sunshine we were able to watch Snowy Sheathbills, Dolphin Gulls, Crested Ducks and Blackish Oystercatchers at our leisure.

As we drove to Puerto Madryn we noted an Elegant-crested Tinamou with chicks and, during a stop, a Hairy Tarantula in the road. On the outskirts of the city we searched a gully for small birds , finding, amongst others, White-winged Black Tyrant. The most obvious feature of the area, though, was a Burrowing Parrot nesting colony which still had four parrots in attendance.

Overnight P M.

WEDNESDAY 7th NOVEMBER

PM

WEATHER 0/8,sun,4-5. Ushuaia 8/8 cu. dull, E 3-4

A brief trip to the Burrowing Parrot colony before breakfast enabled us to see eight birds in wonderful sunlight. The flight to Ushuaia took us from sunny conditions to the dull, windswept weather of the Beagle Channel.

When we arrived at the Hotel Tolkeyen on the shores of the Channel we were catapulted into a totally different world of birds dominated by geese and steamer ducks, oystercatchers and caracaras.

THURSDAY 8th NOVEMBER

TOLKEYEN, USHUAIA

WEATHER 4-7/8 Cu, dull, SE 4-5. Very light showers and sunny spells

Marcelo, our driver-guide was full of enthusiasm as he drove us towards the Tierra del Fuego National Park, an area of Southern Beech forest, bogs, rivers and bays to the west of Ushuaia.

We were soon enjoying many of the scrub and forest birds including Fire-eyed Duicon, Austral Thrush and Patagonian Sierra Finch. Then, out of the blue came a flock of very noisy Austral Parakeets.

On the shore of one of the bays we discovered Black-bellied and Bar-winged Cinclodes and a pair of radiant Kelp Geese. At a very impressive American beaver dam we discovered the first Southern Wigeon and Brown Pintail of the trip.

At mid-day we reached Lapiata Bay, the surpriingly primitive end of the Pan-american Highway. Here we found a delightful Austral Pygmy Owl calling loudly as it was mobbed by a variety of small birds including Austral Negrito and Tufted Tit Tyrants. A walk in the forest here enabled us to find a magnificent female Magellanic Woodpecker which we watched for some minutes. Eventually it was joined by a male. This was the climax of yet another thrilling day.

FRIDAY 9th NOVEMBER

TOLKEYEN, USHUAIA

WEATHER 3-5/8 cu., sunny light wind - SE

No wildlife trip is complete without visiting a rubbish dump. Ushuaia's dump is at the eastern end of the town, on the shore. There can be few places where Crested, Chimango and White-throated Caracara mingle with Kelp and Dolphin Gulls and Chilean Skuas. Off shore were twenty-five Southern Giant Petrel and an Antarctic Skua. Watching the elegant White-throated Caracara in flight and perched was particularly exciting as they are both dramatic and very local in their distribution.

Further along the coast we walked through a fine area of Southern Beech forest where we were reacquainted with White-crested Elaenia, Thorn-tailed Rayadito, Black-chinned Siskin and a large flock of Austral Parakeet. Overhead soared a fine pair of Andean Condor.

Before we left the coast we enjoyed close views of Magellanic Penguin and Black-browed Albatross.

SATURDAY 10th NOVEMBER

TOLKEYEN, USHUAIA

WEATHER 8/8 Cu., dull, showers SE4-5

The whole day was spent on the catamaran 'Tolkeyen' sailing the Beagle Channel between Ushuaia and the settlement at Harberton to the east.

Soon after leaving port we came alongside a series of rocky islands that harboured a great many breeding birds and marine mammals. As we neared the islands we encountered thousands of South American Terns flying over their colony. Soon we were also enjoying close views of South American Fur Seals and South American Sea Lions. King Shags were also abundant. Perhaps the most unexpected sighting was a flock of thirty White-rumped Sandpipers sheltering from the wind Sheathbills were also in evidence.

As we moved east Black-browed Albatross and Southern Giant petrel became move evident. We also faced the challenge of separating Antarctic Skua from the more common Chilean Skuas and Common Diving Petrels from the very similar Magellanic Diving Petrels. We eventually decided that of the forty-seven diving petrels seen, five were Magellanic, twelve were Common and the rest were not specifically identified.

As we approached the open waters of the South Atlantic we came across two Antarctic Fulmars.

Eventually we arrived at Hammer Island where we saw six Gentoo Penguins on nests and Magellanic Penguins feeding near the shore.

Most of the afternoon was spent at the farmstead of Harberton, the first settlement to be established in the area, described as 'The Uttermost Part of the Earth' by Lucas Bridges, the first English settler. The history of the site was explained to us and then we visited the newly created Whale Museum. Here we marvelled at the huge variety of skeletal remains that had been recovered from the sea swept beaches of Atlantic Tierra del Fuego. As we emerged from the museum two magnificent Andean Condors circled overhead.

SUNDAY 11th NOVEMBER

TOLKYEN, USHUAIA

WEATHER 1-3/8 Cu., Sun,SE2-3

In the morning we took the ski-lift to the approaches to the Martial Glacier. Here we walked through the snow in search of mountain birds. Eventually we found a pair of splendid Yellow-browed Finches and the more subtle Ochre-naped Ground-tyrant.

We then made for the airport, where, much to our surprise, we discovered a pair of Grass Wrens.

We had soon made the short flight to El Calafate. The Laguna Nimes on the edge of the town was alive with birds. Brown-headed Gulls flicked their way over the surface of the water which held a variety of widfowl and a flock of fifty Chilean Flamingoes. The edges of the lagoon were patrolled by two pairs of Cinereous Harriers.

The nearby Bahia Redonda of the huge Lago Argentino held a mass of waders including over forty Baird's Sandpiper and Magellanic Oystercatchers. The thrill of the afternoon was finding Five Magellanic and two Two-banded Plover, the former a rare and local species and the only member of a single family.

By the time we reached the Estancia Alice we were ready for a rest and a meal.

MONDAY 12th NOVEMBER

ESTANCIA ALICE

WEATHER 5/8 Cu,Cirrus. Sunny W 1-2

The day started well when Luis found a fine Magellanic Owl roosting in a nearby Eucalyptus. The nearby pond also produced Plumbeous Rail, Black-faced Ibis, Black-crowned Night-Heron and a Correndera Pipit.

Luciano, our local guide, and Luis then took us to the Los Glaciares National Park. En route we stopped at a series of pools where we had our first views of White-winged Coot, Andean Ruddy Duck, White-tufted Grebe, Yellow-winged Blackbird and Spectacled Tyrant. In the park we were able to watch a variety of song birds including a fine pair of Rufous-tailed Plantcutters. We also glimpsed a Magellanic Woodpecker.

Two hours were spent at the face of the Moreno Glacier. Standing in the shadow of the face of the glacier was awe-inspiring. It emphasised the fragility of man and even of the nearby soaring Andean Condors. We all felt a sense of wonder.

The heavily crevassed face shone, a mixture of white and a hundred shades of blue. Our thoughts were nearly drowned by the roar of water rushing through the ice tunnel from one part of the lake to the other, and the straining ice constantly creaking, braking and falling with a cannon shot into the cold, cloudy water. The red rock of the cliff face, the dark green of the forest and the towering peaks beyond the glacier formed a dramatic backdrop to what must be one of the world's most stunning landscapes.

It was difficult to drag ourselves away.

TUESDAY 13th NOVEMBER

ESTANCIA ALICE

WEATHER Dull start. Wonderful sunny day. 4/8 Altostratus W1-2

Octavius, a national park guide, joined us for the boat trip into the park. On our way to Puerto Bandera we scanned the ponds again, finding a variety of wildfowl including Red Shoveler.

The catamaran 'Serac' took us close to the wonders of the Spegazzini, Onelli and Upsala Glaciers. We were able to walk into the wonderful mature woodlands at Bahia Onelli. The area abounded with typical woodland species including Thorn-tailed Rayadito, White-throated Treerunner and Austral Thrush. At one point small leaves fell on our heads as a pair of Austral Parakeets fed above us. It was a thrill to see this common, but elusive species at point blank range.

WEDNESDAY 14th NOVEMBER

ESTANCIA ALICE

WEATHER Snow overnight. 3/8 Cu,sun. W 3-4 Sleet and rain showers.

The morning was spent driving across the Pategonian Plateau to Cerro Castillo in Chile. At one point on the wind swept plateau we encountered a number of Least Sandpipers. A male sitting on a fence post was suddenly overflown by three others and two Tawny-throated Dotterel. Probably the most dramatic moment of the morning, though, was the sighting of a male Lesser Rhea trying to protect its twelve young from a marauding Crested Caracara. As the Caracara attempted to take one of the youngsters by charging at the group on foot the male would leap to their defence. It was also surprising to see a Peregrine way out on the plateau.

CHILE

Having met Ricardo, our local guide, and completed the immigration formalities at Cerro Castillo we drove towards the mountains. Our first encounter was with yet more Andean Condors, the Chilean brand being equally as exciting as that of Argentina!

A careful search of a flock of geese revealed that four Ashy-headed Geese were amongst the Uplands. We were also re-acquainted with Lesser Rhea and Least Seedsnipe. It was clear that although we had crossed a political boarder we were still in Patagonia. The whole area was dominated by the mountain scenery. We were able to photograph the famous 'Pillars' in bright sunlight.

A windswept patch of vegetation soon revealed half a dozen Grey-headed Sierra Finches, a somewhat faded version of the Patagonian Sierra Finch. Guanacos were very common. We came across one that was lame, seemingly the object of attention of a pair of Grey Foxes that were circling the area.

We were soon at the entrance to the Torres del PaineNational Park. Here we had to leave our bus and take a smaller vehicle to the Hosteria. This was due to the narrowness of the bridge over the river. Everyone held their breath as the driver slotted his vehicle through the narrow gap between the cast iron superstructure.

On arrival at the Hosteria Las Torres we took a short walk in the grounds. It was immediately obvious that the Brown Hare was a strong local feature - they were everywhere. We were glad to relax with a fine meal and a drink after the drive.

THURSDAY 15th NOVEMBER

HOSTERIA LAS TORRES

WEATHER 4-78 Cu. Sun. a.m. W 3-4 pm. W 8+

The whole of the day was spent in the Torres del Paine National Park. Once again the most striking feature of the area were the towering mountains. The other physical property of note was the variety of water bodies at various levels within a complex series of dells and valleys. Many small ponds were filled or edged with water plants, some surrounded by shrubs, others completely open. There was also a great contrast in the nature of the water, most lakes and ponds were filled with clear sparkling water but the glacial outflows were cloudy, but not as much so as those we had seen in Argentina. Consequently many of the outflows held fish and invertebrates and consequently some birds.

As soon as we arrived at the park gates a Black-billed Shrike-Tyrant popped up on a stake, This was a very pleasant surprise. Much of the morning was spent watching the birds of the smaller lakes and ponds and enjoying the wide variety of plants which surrounded them. Many of the bird species were ones that we had already encountered but here they were numerous and seen at close range thus enhancing our enjoyment of them. Many of the water birds had young. We also spent some time examining a range of small birds, including Cinnamon-breasted Ground Tyrant.

Near the park information centre we discovered a pair of Spectacled Ducks with well-grown young. The sight of these elegant ducks in wonderfully clear light was a great thrill.

Lunch was taken at the Lago Grey Hosteleria, a hotel on one of the most remote roads in the park. It was all the more gratifying therefore to sit down to a first class four-course lunch! As though this was not exciting enough lunch was interrupted by a pair of stunning Striped Woodpeckers in the tree in the nearby garden. We were then overflown by a pair of Austral Parakeets; what more could one ask?

The post-lunch walk along the banks of the River Pingo was both necessary and invigorating. Any thoughts of lethargy were soon dispersed as the wind increased to gale force and possibly more. Despite this we all managed to seen the rather subtle White-browed Ground Tyrant and several other passerine species. An Austral Tapaculo was heard but we had no chance of seeing this arch skulker in such a wind. Ricardo was constantly watching the river as we walked. Suddenly he beckoned us towards the riverside vegetation. For a moment we scanned the river, which was in spate and being buffeted by the wind. In the midst of this turmoil was a fine male Torrent Duck seemingly quite unconcerned by the maelstrom. It was swimming upstream with powerful strokes of its feet. From time to time it dived to feed and then came bobbing to the surface. Every now and again it climbed onto a rock. We were able to marvel at this sight for some minutes before the duck allowed the force of the river to sweep it downstream.

The 'tourist' then took over in us and we walked over a suspension bridge towards the shore of Lago Grey. The walk over the bridge was an adventure in itself as it was buffeted with a force 9 {?} wind. We walked over the shore of the lake to photograph the icebergs washed up in shallow water against a backdrop of the 'Towers.'

Our drive back to the Hosteria was made memorable by yet another encounter with Spectacled Duck. There by the side of the road in a clear shallow pond was a pair in full sunlight. As there was no vegetation to obstruct our view we were able to enjoy the dark crescent flank markings and the flashing iridescent specula which changed colour from a deep green to a warm peach as the ducks swam gently around the pond. Once again the vehicle had made a perfect hide.

FRIDAY 16th NOVEMBER

TORRES DEL PAINE

WEATHER 4-7/8 Cu, sunny,W 5-6 dropping 2-3

As we left Torres del Paine, a huge lenticulate cloud soared over the 'Towers', giving a fairy tale atmosphere to the morning. The highlight of the drive to the border was the sparring of young male Guanacos on the edge of a dry lake bed. We also encountered yet more Grey Foxes. Having bade farewell to Ricardo at the border we were welcomed to Argentina by a guard of honour of Andean Condors!

ARGENTINA

Amazingly we were soon watching yet more condors: A fine male adult Andean Condor and six juveniles were gathered around an ailing sheep. There too was an expectant Crested Caracara.

We drove on, soon to be surrounded by waders. A Least Seedsnipe in the midddle of the dirt road was joined by two Tawny-chested Dotterel. It was then that a flurry of Baird's Sandpipers arrived. With them were three Two-banded Plover. It appeared that these birds were wanderers flying from lake to lake on the plateau. The next great event was a flock of forty-two Lesser Rhea quietly feeding in a shallow valley by the roadside.

Soon afterwards we witnessed a territorial dispute between two pairs of Grey Foxes. This culminated in a speedy chase across the open country, leaving one pair on territory.

As we arrived at the airport in El Calafate, having already dined and shopped, we were greeted by a fine Black-chested Buzzard Eagle. On to Buenos Aires.

SATURDAY 17th NOVEMBER

BUENOS AIRES

WEATHER Cloudless, sunny, light breeze

After saying our goodbyes the group split, one half making for home, the other for Iguazu.

Having met our guide Miguel and checked into the Hotel Internacional at Iguazu we explored the nearby Falls.

The warmth and the variety of exotic birds and animals soon persuaded us that we had reached the Tropics. We were overpowered with Toco Toucans, Plush-crested Jays and Red-rumped Caciques whilst overhead Plumbeous Kites were hawking for insects.

Whilst having a snack at a bar near the falls we saw nature, raw in tooth and claw, as a small Troupidurus lizard was devoured by the bigger lizard, Common Tegu.

The falls were amazing, water tumbling hundreds of metres to the river below and filling the air with a constant cloud of spray. It was difficult to take in the full splendour of the scene. As we admired the wonderful cascades of the waterfalls Great Dusky Swift flew through the water to their nests behind: an incredible sight. Along the river edge were Black-crowned Night-herons, Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets and an occasional Anhinga. The shrubs were full of birds including Blue-winged Parrots, Green-headed Tanagers and brilliant Red-headed Finches.

As we reached the hotel we were overflown by thousands of swift going to roost.

SUNDAY 18th NOVEMBER

HOTEL INTERNACIONAL, IGUAZU

WEATHER Clear, calm and sunny.

Before breakfast we drove to Ruta 101, a dirt road surrounded by lush forest. Here our senses were assaulted by perfumed plants and noisy, flamboyant birds. There were woodpeckers, woodcreepers, flycatchers, trogons, hummingbirds, parrots, tanagers, finches, pigeons, toucans and more. By breakfast time we had noted over fifty bird species.

The rest of the morning was spent in exploring the nearby Macuco Trail. The highlight here were the 'dancing' male Blue Manakins and the skulking Southern Antpipit; sadly the latter only being seen by a couple of the group. There was little sense of disappointment over this though as there was such a lot to see, including the local Brown-capped Capuchin monkey and a wonderful Common Potoo in full sunlight only ten metres from the trail. It was here too that we saw a myriad of butterfly species enjoying the heat of the day.

After a siesta we returned to Ruta 101 where we took a private trail into the forest. Once again we were surrounded by a host of tropical birds ranging from the minute Eared Pygmy-tyrant to the massive Solitary Tinamou. As the evening approached and we made our way back to the road we were lucky enough to see an Azar's Agouti, a Brazilian Rabbit and an unidentified Opossum. Whilst our ears were full of the night song of a variety of frogs our eyes were attracted to at least two species of firefly, one very large and the other markedly smaller.

What a day!

MONDAY 19th NOVEMBER

HOTEL INTERNACIONAL, IGUAZU

WEATHER Fine, sunny, light breeze

Even before we had left the hotel we were overflown by a Bat Falcon. We set off for the town of Iguazu , stopping en route to admire four Chestnut-eared Aracari.

Miguel took us to the suburban garden of a friend. It is not always what you know but who you know! Here amongst the fine selection of flowers and a selection of feeders was a glittering array of birds including a number of hummingbirds, tanagers, finches, doves and orioles. There was even a diminutive Ochre-collared Piculet, the smallest of the local woodpeckers. As we left a Swallow-tailed Kite soared overhead.

We were soon at a small pond where we delighted in watching the antics of Wattled Jacana and American Purple Gallinule. There was also a solitary Muscovy Duck which soon swam into cover. A Ringed Kingfisher then made an appearance.

Our final port of call was an araucaria forest. The highlights here were a Blue and Yellow Tanager, two Yellow-headed Caracara and the very local Araucaria Tit-spinetail.

We drove to the airport with a sense of elation, our minds full to the brim with tropical sensations!

Flight to Buenos Aires.

TUESDAY 20th NOVEMBER

BUENOS AIRES

WEATHER Fine

We had a comfortable flight home.

SPECIES LISTS

BIRDS

Abbreviations: BA -Buenos Aires

VP -Valdes Penninsula

TF -Tierra del Fuego

EC -El Calafate

T - Torres del Paine

A - Argentina

CH - Chile

I - Iguazu

PENGUINS Spheniscidae

Gentoo Penguin Pygoscelis papua Six, Harberton (TF)

Magellanic Penguin Spheniscus magellanicus Colonies at Punta Norte (VP) and Harberton (TF)

RHEAS Rheidae

Lesser Rhea Rhea pennata Widespread on the Patagonian grasslands.

TINAMOUS Tinamidae

Solitary Tinamou Tinamus solitarius One (I)

Elegant-Crested Tinamou Eudromia elegans Numerous (VP)

GREBES Podicipedidae

Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps Only (BA)

White-tufted Grebe Rolandia rolland Mainly(C), two E. Alice (EC)

Great Grebe Podiceps major Widespread

Silvery Grebe Podiceps occipitalis (BA),(EC) but mainly (C), where numerous

ALBATROSSES Diomedeidae

Black-browed Albatross Diomedea melanophris A handful of records (VP) but up to 150 (TF)

PETRELS & SHEARWATERS Procellariidae

Southern (Antarctic) Giant Petrel Macronectes giganteus Noted (VP) and (TF)

Southern / Antarctic Fulmar Fulmarus glacialoides Two records Beagle Channel (TF)

Sooty Shearwater Puffinus griseus Six Punta Norte (VP)

Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus One Punta Norte (VP)

DIVING-PETRELS Pelecanoididae

Common Diving-petrel Pelecanoides urinatrix At least twelve, Beagle Channel (TF)

Magellanic Diving-petrel Pelecanoides magellani Thirty diving petrels sp were noted in the Beagle Channel (TF) of which five were of this species.

DARTERS Anhingidae

Anhinga Anhinga anhinga Two records (I)

CORMORANTS Phalacracoracidae

Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus Noted commonly (BA) and (VP) and one record (C)

Rock Shag Phalacrocorax magellanicus Recorded (VP and (TF)

King Cormorant Phalacrocorax atriceps Common (TF)

HERONS & BITTERNS Ardeidae

Cocoi / White-necked Heron Ardea cocoi One (I)

Cattle Egret Ardeola ibis Only at (BA)

American Great White Egret Casmerodius albus Mainly (BA) and (I)

Snowy Egret Egretta thula Only (BA) and (I)

Striated Heron Butorides striatus Only at (BA)

Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax Up to sixty (I) and other scattered records

FLAMINGOS Phoenicopteridae

Chilean Flamingo Phoenicopterus chilensis Fifty (VP) and Twenty-five on the Patagonian Plateau (A)

IBISES & SPOONBILLS Threskiornithidae

Black-faced Ibis Theristicus melanopis Numerous and widespread in Pategonia (C) and (A)

WILDFOWL Anatidae

Black-necked Swan Cygnus melanocorypha In (BA) and Patagonia (EC) and (T)

Coscoroba Swan Coscoroba coscoroba A handful (BA) and (EC)

Andean [Ruddy] Duck Oxyura ferruginea A single bird (EC) and at least 25 (T)

Lake Duck Oxyura vittata In (BA) and over fifty sightings (EC)

Upland (Magellan) Goose Chloephaga picta Common and widespread in Patagonia

Kelp Goose Chloephaga hybrida Common on the coast (TF)

Ashy-headed Goose Chloephaga poliocephala Numerous (TF) and some in flocks of Upland Geese (T)

[Magellanic] Flightless Steamerduck Tachyeres pteneres Common (TF)

Flying Steamerduck Tachyeres patachonicus Common (TF) a single bird (EC) and five (T)

Muscovy Duck Cairina moschata A single bird (I)

Chiloe / Southern Wigeon Anas sibilatrix Flocks (TF), (EC) and (T)

Speckled Teal Anas flavirostris Widespread Patagonia.

Spectacled Duck Anas specularis Wonderful views of two pairs in (T)

(Patagonian) Crested Duck Anas specularoides Throughout the whole of Patagonia

Yellow-billed Pintail [Brown] Anas georgica Widespread in Patagonia

Silver Teal Anas versicolor A fine male Rio Pingo (T)

Red Shoveler Anas platalea Twelve (EC)

Rosy-billed Pochard Netta peposaca Only in (BA)

AMERICAN VULTURES Catharidae

Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura Small numbers in (VP) and (TF). Very numerous (I)

American Black Vulture Coragyps atratus Only in (I) where numerous

Andean Condor Vultur gryphus Three sightings of pairs (TF) in wonderful sunlight Fifty four records from (EC) and (T)

HAWKS Accipitridae

American Swallow-tailed Kite Elanoides forficatus A single record (I)

Snail Kite Rostrhamus sociabilis Three records(I)

Plumbeous Kite Ictinia plumbea Six (I)

Cinereous Harrier Circus cinereus Wonderful views of six (VP), three pairs (EC) and three other birds at E. Alice and Puerto Bandera

Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle Geranoaetus melanoleucus Two records (VP),three (EC) and four (T)

Roadside Hawk Buteo magnirostris Only (I)

FALCONS & CARACARAS Falconidae

White-throated Caracara Phalcoboenus albogularis [megalopterus] Six sightings (TF) and one (T)

Crested Caracara Polyborus plancus Widespread throughout Patagonia

Chimango Caracara Milvago chimango Noted throughout the trip except (I)

Yellow-headed Caracara Milvago chimachima Two (I)

American Kestrel Falco sparverius Seen (VP),(EC),(T) and (I)

Bat Falcon Falco rufigularis One (I)

Peregrine Falco peregrinus One on the Patagonian Plateau (A)

RAILS & COOTS Rallidae

Plumbeous Rail Pardirallus sanguinolentus Four, E.Alice (EC)

Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus Several (BA)

Spot-flanked Gallinule Gallinula melanops Three (BA)

American Purple Gallinule Porphyrio martinicus Four (I)

Red-gartered Coot Fulica armillata Noted (BA), (EC) and up to fifty (T)

White-winged Coot Fulica leucoptera One (EC)

Red-fronted Coot Fulica rufifrons Only at (BA)

JACANAS Jacanidae

Wattled Jacana Jacana jacana One (BA) and a few (I)

OYSTERCATCHERS Haematopodidae

American Oystercatcher Haematopus palliatus Flocks of up to twenty (VP)

Magellanic Oystercatcher Haematopus leucopodus Throughout Patagonia

Blackish Oystercatcher Haematopus ater Close views (VP) and (TF)

PLOVERS Charadriidae

Southern Lapwing Vanellus chilensis Noted daily throughout the trip

Two-banded Plover Charadrius falklandicus Two (EC) and three on the Patagonian Plateau (A)

Magellanic Plover Pluvianellus socialis Five (EC)

Rufous-chested Dotterel Eudromias modestus Nine on the Patagonian Plateau (A)

SANDPIPERS Scolopacidae

Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus One (T)

Sanderling Calidris alba Six Punta Delgada (VP)

White-rumped Sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis Thirty on an island in the Beagle Channel (TF)

Baird's Sandpiper Calidris bairdii One (VP), forty-five (EC) and a flock of some fifty on the Patagonian Plateau (A)

SEEDSNIPES Thinocoridae

Least Seedsnipe Thinocorus rumicivorus Eight on the Patagonian Plateau and two (T)

SHEATHBILLS Chionididae

Snowy Sheathbill Chionis alba Fifty at P. Delgada (VP) and six on a small island in the Beagle Channel (TF)

SKUAS Stercorariidae

Chilean Skua Catharacta chilensis At least a hundred records (TF)

Antarctic (Southern) Skua Catharacta antarctica Fifteen records (TF)

GULLS Laridae

Dolphin Gull Larus scoresbii Widespread (VP)

Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus Throughout Patagonia

Brown-hooded Gull Larus maculipennis Throughout Patagonia although elusive in (VP)

TERNS Sternidae

Cayenne Tern Sterna sandvicensis eurygnatha A single record from the whale watching boat P. Piramides (VP)

South American Tern Sterna hirundinacea Common in (VP) and (TF) where at least 500 were seen at a breeding colony in the Beagle Channel.

PIGEONS & DOVES Columbidae

Rock Dove (Feral Pigeon) Columba livia Only in built up areas of (BA) and (VP)

Picazuro Pigeon Columba picazuro Only in (BA) and (I)

Pale-vented Pigeon Columba cayennensis Common (I)

Eared Dove Zenaida auriculata Widepread in Patagonia and (I)

Ruddy Ground Dove Columbina talpacoti Only (I)

Picui Ground Dove Columbina picui Only (I)

Gray-fronted Dove Leptotila rufaxilla One on the Macuco trail

PARROTS Psittacidae

White-eyed Parakeet Aratinga leucophthalmus Common (I)

Burrowing Parrot Cyanoliseus patagonus One P. Norte and at least eight Puerto Madryn (VP)

Reddish-bellied Parakeet Pyrrhura frontalis Flocks (I)

Austral Parakeet Enicognathus ferrugineus Excellent views throughout Patagonian forests

Monk Parakeet Myiopsitta monachus Flocks (BA)

Blue-winged Parrotlet Forpus xanthopterygius Flocks (I)

Red-capped Parrot Pionopsitta pileata Flocks in flight (I)

Scaly-headed Parrot Pionus maximiliani Common (I)

ANIS Crotophagidae

Greater Ani Crotophaga major Two (I)

Smooth-billed Ani Crotophaga ani Common (I)

Guira Cuckoo Guira guira Flocks (BA) and (I)

NEW WORLD CUCKOOS Coccyzidae

Squirrel Cuckoo Piaya cayana Three (I)

TYPICAL OWLS Strigidae

Austral Pygmy-Owl Glaucidium nanum One (TF) mobbed by passerines.

Burrowing Owl Athene cunicularia Four records (VP)

Magellanic Owl Bubo magellanicus One at Estancia Alice

POTOOS Nyctibiidae

Common Potoo Nyctibius griseus A single record (I)

SWIFTS Apodidae

Ashy-tailed Swift Chaetura andrei Common (I)

Great Dusky Swift Cypseloides senex Thousands (I)

HUMMINGBIRDS Trochilidae

Scale-throated Hermit Phaethornis eurynome Several (I)

Black-throated Mango Anthracothorax nigricollis Only (I)

Glittering-bellied Emerald Chlorostilbon aureoventris Noted (I)

Violet-capped Woodnymph Thalurania glaucopis Two (I)

Gilded Sapphire Hylocharis chrysura Only (I)

Versicolored Emerald Agyrtria versicolor Only (I)

TROGONS Trogonidae

Black-throated Trogon Trogon rufus A single record (I)

Surucua Trogon Trogon surrucura Several (I)

GIANT KINGFISHERS Cerylidae

Ringed Kingfisher Ceryle torquata One (I)

Green Kingfisher Chloroceryle americana One (BA)

MOTMOTS Motmotidae

Rufous-capped Motmot Baryphthengus ruficapillus One (I)

TOUCANS Ramphastidae

Chestnut-eared Aracari Pteroglossus castanotis Four (I)

Toco Toucan Ramphastos toco Common (I)

WOODPECKERS

Ochre-collared Piculet Picumnus temminckii Two sightings (I)

Yellow-fronted Woodpecker Melanerpes flavifrons Seen well (I)

Striped Woodpecker Picoides lignarius A pair Lago Grey (T)

Green-barred Woodpecker Colaptes melanochloros Only (I)

Magellanic Woodpecker Campephilus magellanicus A pair in the Tierra del Fuego National Park (TF) and a male glimpses in the National Park Los Glaciares (EC)

WOODCREEPERS Dendrocolaptidae

White-throated Woodcreeper Xiphocolaptes albicollis Only (I)

OVENBIRDS Furnariidae

Common Miner Geositta cunicularia A handful of sightings in Patagonia

Scale-throated Earthcreeper Upucerthia dumetaria Noted in (VP), (EC) and (C)

Bar-winged Cinclodes Cinclodes fuscus Widespread In Patagonia

Dark-bellied Cinclodes Cinclodes patagonicus Scattered records in Patagonia

Rufous Hornero Furnarius rufus Only in (BA), (VP) and (I)

Thorn-tailed Rayadito Aphrastura spinicauda Commmon in woodland in Patagonia including (C)

Araucaria Tit-spinetail Leptasthenura setaria A single bird in the Araucaria forest (I)

Rufous-capped Spinetail Synallaxis ruficapilla Only (I)

Lesser Canastero Asthenes pyrrholeuca Three records (VP)

Cordilleran Canastero Asthenes modesta One (VP)

Patagonian Canastero Asthenes patagonica

Wren-like Rushbird Phleocryptes melanops One building a nest (BA)

Ochre-breasted Foliage-gleaner Philydor lichtensteini Only (I)

Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner Philydor rufus Only (I)

White-eyed Foliage-gleaner Automolos leucopthalmos Only (I)

White-throated Treerunner Pygarrhichas albogularis One (TF) and two (EC)

ANTBIRDS Thamnophilidae

Tufted Antshrike Mackenziaena severa Seen unusually well (I)

Plain Antvireo Dysithamnus mentalis One record (I)

Rufous-winged Antwren Herpsilochmus rufimarginatus A delight (I)

TAPACULOS Rhinocryptidae

Andean/Magellanic Tapaculo Scytalopus magellanicus One heard Rio Pingo (C)

TYRANT-FLYCATCHERS Tyrannidae

Southern Beardless Tyrannulet Camptostoma obsoletum Three records (I)

Yellow-bellied Elaenia Elaenia flavogaster One (I)

White-crested Elaenia Elaenia albiceps Common in Patagonian forests

Tufted Tit-Tyrant Anairetes parulus Six records (TF) and (EC)

Yellow Tyrannulet Capsiempis flaveola Three (I)

Southern Antpipit Corythopis delalandi Very elusive (I)

Eared Pygmy-Tyrant Myiornis auricularis Two (I)

Ochre-faced Tody-flycatcher Todirostrum plumbeiceps A lovely diminutive bird (I)

Euler's Flycatcher Lathrotriccus euleri A single record (I)

Fire-eyed Diucon Xolmis pyrope Widespread (TF) and (EC)

Rusty-backed Monjita Xolmis rubetra Four (VP)

Chocolate-vented Tyrant Neoxolmis rufiventris A brief encounter on the Patagonian Plateau (A)

Black-billed Shrike-tyrant Agriornis montana Two sightings (T)

Grey-bellied Shrike-tyrant Agriornis microptera Two pairs (VP)

Dark-faced Ground-tyrant Muscisaxicola macloviana Widespread in Patagonia

Cinnamon-bellied Ground-tyrant Muscisaxicola capistrata A single bird (T)

White-browed Ground-tyrant Muscisaxicola albilora One (T)

Ochre-naped Ground-tyrant Muscisaxicola flavinucha Two on the approaches to the Martial Glacier (TF)

Austral Negrito Lessonia rufa Very common and widespread in Patagonia

White-winged Black Tyrant Knipolegus atterrimus A pair near Puerto Madryn (VP)

Spectacled Tyrant Hymenops perspicillatus Three birds seen (EC)

Yellow-browed Tyrant Satrapa icterophrys Only (BA)

Long-tailed Tyrant Colonia colonus One (I)

Cattle Tyrant Machetornis rixosus Two (I)

Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus Common (BA) and (I)

Boat-billed Flycatcher Megarhynchus pitangua One (I)

Social Flycatcher Myiozetetes similis Noted (I)

Three-striped Flycatcher Conopias trivirgata Recorded (I)

Streaked Flycatcher Myiodynastes maculatus One (I)

Piratic Flycatcher Legatus leucophaius Two (I)

Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus Only at (I)

Fork-tailed Flycatcher Tyrannus savana One (BA), one P. Norte (VP) but more common (I)

Chestnut-crowned Becard Pachyramphus castaneus One (I)

Short-crested Flycatcher Myiarchus ferox One (I)

MANAKINS Pipridae

Blue Manakin Chiroxiphia caudata Several at a lek (I)

Wing-barred Manakin Piprites chloris One (I).

PLANTCUTTERS Phytotomidae

Rufous-tailed Plantcutter Phytotoma rara A pair and another male seen well (EC)

SWALLOWS Hirundinidae

White-winged Swallow Tachycineta albiventer A single record (I)

White-rumped Swallow Tachycineta leucorrhoa Only (BA)

Chilean Swallow Tachycineta meyeni Throughout Patagonia

Grey-breasted Martin Progne chalybea Only in (BA) and (I)

Southern Martin Progne modesta Only in (VP)

Blue-and-white Swallow Notiochelidon cyanoleuca Very widespread

Southern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx ruficollis Common (I)

Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica One (BA)

WAGTAILS & PIPITS Motacillidae

Correndera Pipit Anthus correndera Two sightings (EC)

WRENS Troglodytidae

Sedge (Grass) Wren Cistothorus platensis A pair Ushuaia Airport (TF)

House Wren Troglodytes aedon Noted almost daily

MOCKINGBIRDS Mimidae

Chalk-browed Mockingbird Mimus saturninus Only in (BA)

Patagonian Mockingbird Mimus patagonicus Only in (BA) and (VP)

THRUSHES Turdidae

Rufous-bellied Thrush Turdus rufiventris Only in (BA) and (I)

Austral Thrush Turdus falcklandii Common throughout Patagonia

Pale-breasted Thrush Turdus leucomelas Common (I)

Creamy-bellied Thrush Turdus amaurochalinus Only at (I)

White-necked Thrush Turdus albicollis One (I)

GNATCATCHERS Polioptilidae

Creamy-bellied Gnatcatcher Polioptila lactea One (I)

Masked Gnatcatcher Polioptila dumicola One (BA)

JAYS & CROWS Corvidae

Plush-crested Jay Cyanocorax chrysops Common (I)

BUNTINGS Emberizidae

Rufous-collared Sparrow Zonotrichia capensis Recorded daily

Grey-hooded Sierra-Finch Phrygilus gayi Several (C)

Patagonian Sierra-Finch Phrygilus patagonicus Common in Patagonia

Mourning Sierra-Finch Phrygilus fruticeti Widespread in Patagonia

Yellow-bridled Finch Melanodera xanthogramma A stunning pair on the approach to the Martial Glacier (TF)

Common Diuca-Finch Diuca diuca Six (VP)

Black-and-rufous Warbling-finch Poospiza nigrorufa Only (BA)

Black-capped Warbling-finch Poospiza melanoleuca Only (BA)

Patagonian Yellow-Finch Sicalis lebruni Four, P. Delgada (VP)

Saffron Finch Sicalis flaveola Numerous (I)

Double-collared Seedeater Sporophila caerulescens Only in (BA)

Lesser Seed-Finch Oryzoborus angolensis One (I)

Red-crested Finch Coyphospingus cucullatus Four records (I)

CARDINALS & GROSBEAKS Emberizidae - Cardinalinae

Yellow Cardinal Gubernatrix cristata A surprise at Punta Norte (VP)

Yellow-billed Cardinal Paroaria capitata Only at (BA)

Green-winged Saltator Saltator similis Common (I)

TANAGERS & ALLIES Emberizidae - Thraupinae

Magpie Tanager Cissopis leveriana Several (I)

Guira Tanager Hemithraupis guira Only (I)

Ruby-crowned Tanager Tachyphonus coronatus Only (I)

Black-goggled Tanager Trichothraupis melanops Several (I)

Red-crowned Ant-Tanager Habia rubica Two (I)

Sayaca Tanager Thraupis sayaca Common (I)

Blue-and-yellow Tanager Thraupis bonariensis Common (I)

Violaceous Euphonia Euphonia violacea One (I)

Chestnut-bellied Euphonia Euphonia pectoralis A pair (I)

Blue-naped Chlorophonia Chlorophonia cyanea Several (I)

Green-headed Tanager Tangara seledon Common (I)

Blue Dacnis Dacnis cayana A pair (I)

Swallow-Tanager Tersina viridis Several (I)

BANANAQUIT Coerebidae

Bananaquit Coereba flaveola Numerous (I)

NEW WORLD WARBLERS Parulidae

Tropical Parula Parula pitiayumi

Masked Yellowthroat Geothlypis aequinoctialis Only (I)

Golden-crowned Warbler Basileuterus culicivorus Only (I)

Chestnut-vented Conebill Conirostrum speciosum One (I)

VIREOS Vireonidae

Red-eyed Vireo Vireo olivaceus Two (I)

FINCHES Fringillidae

Hooded Siskin Carduelis magellanicus A flock (BA)

Black-chinned Siskin Carduelis barbata Numerous in Patagonia

SPARROWS Passeridae

House Sparrow Passer domesticus Very widespread

TROUPIALS AND ALLIES Icteridae

Red-rumped Cacique Cacicus haemorrhous Common (I)

Golden-winged Cacique Cacicus chrysopterus A single record (I

Epaulet Oriole Icterus cayanensis Several (I)

Yellow-winged Blackbird Agelaius thilius Only in (BA) and (T)

White-browed Blackbird Leistes superciliaris One (I)

Long-tailed Meadowlark Sturnella loyca Very widespread in Patagonia

Austral Blackbird Curaeus curaeus In (TF),(EC) and (T)

Bay-winged Cowbird Molothrus badius Only at P. Norte (VP)

Shiny Cowbird Molothrus bonariensis Noted (BA) and (VP)

Giant Cowbird Scaphidura oryzivora

MAMMALS

Opossum Didelphidae sp One Iguazu.

Argentine Grey Fox Dusicyon griseus Fourteen records, mainly in the West.

South American Coati Nasua nasua Only at Iguazu.

Brown Capuchin Monkey Cebus apella One Iguazu.

South American Sea Lion Otaria flavescens Common on the Valdes Penninsula and Ushuaia.

South American Fur Seal Arctocephalus australis About twenty Ushuaia.

Southern Elephant Seal Mirounga leonina Stunning encounters on the Valdes Penninsula.

Southern Right Whale Eubalaena australis Wonderful views on the Valdes Penninsula.

Guanaco Lama guanicoe Very common, especially in Chile.

American Beaver Castor canadensis One Tolkeyen, Ushuaia.

Mara Dolichotis patagonum Common in a restricted area of the Valdes Penninsula.

Azara's Agouti Dasyprocta azarae One Iguazu.

Cavy Cavia abera Common Iguazu.

Coypu Myocaster coypus Two at Costanera Sur, BA.

Brown Hare Lepus europaeus Noted on the Valdes Peninsula and in the West.

Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus On the Valdes Penninsula and at Ushuaia.

Brazilian Rabbit Sylvilagus brasiliensis One Iguazu.


© The Travelling Naturalist 2001