TRAVELLING NATURALIST TRIP REPORT
26th October to 13th November 2002
Germán Pugnali in Buenos Aires and Miguel Castelino at Iguazú.
Marcelo was our enthusiastic guide in Tierra del Fuego.
We owe special thanks to Luis, Germán, Marcelo and Miguel for an outstanding trip, excellent organisation, great patience and unlimited enthusiasm for birding with us in Argentina.
A large flock of Burrowing Parrots at the roadside outside Puerto Madryn.
Breaching Southern Right Whales over a beer in the bar at Puerto Pirámidess.
Vast shingle banks with hundreds of basking Southern Elephant Seals.
Wilson's Petrels feeding close inshore at Caléta Valdés headland.
Whales popping up high in the water to look at us, tail-fluking and nursing their calves.
Mary's birthday beach-party.
Three male Cinereous Harriers displaying over El Calafate lagoon.
Peregrine plucking Southern Lapwing while wheeling in a thermal with two Andean Condors.
Ice stacks crashing into the aquamarine-blue Lake Argentina accompanied by a noise like gun-shot and thunder combined.
Four Andean Condors sitting on a rock as we set off for Chile.
Views of Mount Fitzroy and later our first sighting of Torres del Paine as we crossed into Chile.
The awe-inspiring views of Torres del Paine, its towers and the Devil's Horns.
A male Magellanic Woodpecker drumming and picking at the bark of a beech tree just a few metres away from us.
The boat trip up the Beagle Channel, following the wake of such eminent explorers.
A Rufous-legged Owl and its blood-curdling screams in a dark beech forest.
The monumental electrical and rain storm which raged for six hours over Iguazú on our first night there.
Great Dusky Swifts diving into the thundering maelstrom at the Devil's Mouth, Iguazú.
The bright yellow eyes of a Ferruginous Pygmy-owl as it gazed down at us.
Costanera Sur with its fantastic bird-life which contrasts so well with the city backdrop of Buenos Aires.
Sunday 27 October
After uneventful flights (except for severe turbulence due to a tropical storm as Tim and Celia passed over Iguazú a day before the main group) we were met at Buenos Aires International Airport. Tim and Germán took the second contingent to the Hotel Lafayette to collect Celia and on to Costanera Sur nature reserve, for a short walk before catching the internal flight to Puerto Madryn.
As always the reserve was alive with birds and we were able to walk only 100m before having to leave for the domestic airport nearby. Indeed, we had not even entered the reserve when the first birds were seen - a pair of Guira Cuckoos which were behaving and looking more like their North American Roadrunner cousins.
Entering the reserve Germán pointed out two mud nests of Rufous Hornero which explained why the species is in the Ovenbird family. Hooded Siskin were in the trees and we were able to get good views of the male. A Masked Gnatcatcher was found by Nick and we all enjoyed watching a Masked Yellowthroat, the song of which was similar to our Willow Warbler.
A small group of doves included Picui Ground-dove and Eared Dove. Our first Rufous-collared Sparrows, were already becoming familiar when a Rufous Hornero was found feeding (and looking) much like a thrush.
Tim found a female/immature Saffron Finch, and Nigel picked out our first House Wren, now split from the similar Cobb's Wren found in the Falklands.
Celia found three Guira Cuckoos sitting together, preening each other, backing up Germán's account of how they breed communally, many females laying in the same nest.
We could have stayed longer, stretching legs after the long overnight flight from Frankfurt, but time ran out. A Kelp Gull and a White-tailed Kite were seen on the way to the airport.
The flight to Puerto Madryn was uneventful, except for Tim who found himself among the nursing mothers, hyperactive children and would be free-style wrestlers at the front of the aircraft. 'Happily,' he said later, 'the emergency exits would not work at 7,000m. or I would have been out.'
Luis met us at Puerto Madryn and we were soon on our way.
A breaching Southern Right Whale over a beer in the Hotel Paradise bar in Puerto Pirámidess was a superb climax to the day. We had been watching flukes, flippers and spouts of possibly a dozen in the rough waters of the bay in front of us for some time when Pauline called our attention to one which was coming right out of the water, a magnificent sight as it repeated the manoeuvre, breaching several times.
It was not the only highlight of the afternoon. A trip to see Burrowing Parrots was unsuccessful, unless a hastily laid egg in the entrance to one nest-hole could be counted. But a pair of White-winged Black-tyrant and an American Kestrel made up for that.
Not five minutes later, however, we stopped next to a flock of five Burrowing Parrots perched beautifully in wonderful light on a bush next to the road. Both their size and colour was far greater than the field-guide suggested. They were more like Macaws than parrots. Only a few seconds after they and we left the spot another flock, this time of 65 birds, was found on the ground. They had a solid 'wow!' factor.
Luis spotted a young Guanaco as we drove onto the narrow isthmus leading to the Valdes Peninsula and we stopped for this beautiful but timid member of the camel family. The committee that designed the South American animals certainly knew what they were doing. Another animal was found a short while later and John called our attention to a herd of 14 a long way off. Our last encounter with Guanacos for the day was a small herd of five close to the road affording good views.
Good views were had of a Red-backed Hawk perched on a telephone post. We were discussing the fact that it could be an immature male or a female when a male flew down and mated with the bird - it was clearly a female. The reminder that it was springtime in Patagonia over, the two birds sat preening until we drove off.
The day ended with a super seafood and steak meal in the hotel's public bar and restaurant. Many toasts to birds, mammals and spotters were drunk.
Monday 28 October
The last of our 16 or more whales wafted her tail in the air, arched her back to allow the calf to suckle and, in a stunning mother-and-child moment, let him slide over her back. The zodiac trip to see the Southern Right Whales was one of the major highlights of this extraordinary trip. Organised by Jorge Schmid, whose skipper Quique was brilliant, we had great expertise in a super craft.
We started by allowing a mother and calf to watch us just 100m off the beach. They swam around the boat looking at us, diving just under the hull on a couple of occasions.
After inspecting basking Southern Sea Lion, roosting Rock and Blue-eyed cormorant, Blackish and American Oystercatcher, we headed out to a group of whales some way off. One was tail-fluking as it dived and we needed a closer look. After most of us had run out of film, it really put on a show, rising out of the water to look at us before diving.
But the ohs and ahs stopped as the group went silent watching the last female. It was simply one of those long moments when we were all at one with the nature we were watching. We wondered how on earth anyone could ever get the idea of killing these magnificent animals, let alone eat them.
Finally the engine started and we headed quietly back into the bay and up onto the cradle which housed the zodiac. With a roar, the tractor it was attached to drove up the beach with us in tow, a reversal of the launching manoeuvre.
The day had started with the disappointment of having the trip postponed. The sea was too rough and instead we set off to find some of the near-endemic species of the area.
In a more sheltered area of Monte steppe we sought and found Short-billed Pipit, some of which were singing their buzzy songs high above us in the blue, blue sky, Scale-throated and Band-tailed earthcreeper, Rusty-backed Monjita and Patagonian Canastero.
Elegant-crested Tinamou was common along the roadside along with Mourning Sierra-finch, Patagonian Mockingbird and Long-tailed Meadowlark. Two Burrowing Owls sat on bushes close to the minibus receiving admiring looks from us all.
Guanaco were present in small flocks most for the day with the exception of one group which numbered more than 80. Another mammal was added to the list when a Grey Fox crossed the road in front of us.
We headed for the north coast of the Valdes Peninsula in search of Orcas made famous by the David Attenborough film showing them stealing Southern Sea Lions from the Patagonian beaches. We found the seals in their hundreds but Orcas were off hunting elsewhere.
Perhaps the two sightings of male Lesser Rheas, with 15 and nine young respectively, was compensation. Tim asked Luis why, if it was a male, the adult seemed to be wearing a skirt. Luis joked that it was like him - of Scottish descent, which prompted Tim's obvious retort: 'Oh yes! It must be Scottish because you can see its Rhea.'
A magnificent lunch was taken at Caléta Valdés, a headland overlooking the huge seal colonies, with a couple of Southern Right Whales as company.
Examining the seabirds afterwards proved exciting with Royal Tern, both Southern and Northern Giant Petrel off the beach, Southern Martin and Blue and White Swallow along the cliff top and Southern Sea Lions patrolling the water's edge. But it was the appearance of two or three Wilson's Storm Petrels which really excited the leader, if not everyone in the group. These highly pelagic wanderers are rarely seen close inshore.
Time was pressing and to catch the tide at Punta Norte we had to leave for the 100km journey. It flew past in no time as we made occasional stops to watch Silvery Grebe, Patagonia Crested Duck, American Golden Plover, White-rumped Sandpiper and Least Seedsnipe.
Sea watching from the point gave us our first Black-browed Albatross while Olivaceous Cormorants were sharing the beach with King Cormorants and Rock Shags. Our first Magellanic Oystercatcher was found by Luis while Tim found a beautifully coloured lizard, Lilaemus sp., which has no common name.
The trip back to catch the late-afternoon whale-watching excursion was punctuated with a stop to watch about 15 Coscoroba Swans, three Red Shoveler and lots more Crested Ducks.
Tuesday 29 October
Yet another brilliant day greeted us as we headed off along the south coast of the peninsula. Already the more common birds of the area were becoming familiar. However, our first stop was to watch strange animals with kangaroo heads and spindly dogs' legs - our first Mara, a huge member of the Guinea-pig family. Their colour was not unlike a European Hare which was found conveniently close to the Maras. Although good eating and twice the size of the hare, they are left alone by hunters who prefer the European import.
We stopped to look across at a huge salt lake which is 50m below sea level. The large field down to it had several flocks of Baird's Sandpipers, a single Yellow-billed Pintail, several Speckled Teal, and a number of Southern Lapwings and Mara.
In among the sandpipers we found several Two-banded Plovers, and a couple of stunning, but distant Austral Negrito. Nigel was on form as ever and picked out a beautiful male Cinereous Harrier some way off.
The birding came to an end when a grader, which was responsible for our smooth rides around the peninsula's un-metalled roads, moved the minibus on.
The habitat had changed from the bushy Monte steppe around Puerto Pirámides to Patagonian steppe - more open grassland - as the area became drier. We stopped for Burrowing Owls and a Rhea which was running like the clappers across the steppe. It must have got its Rhea into gear, we mused.
The journey ended at a beach right on Punta Delgada where we were able to get close to several harems of Southern Elephant Seals, watch the lumbering gait of the big bulls and listen to their abdominal-sounding grunts and belches.
A pair of Great Kiskadee was the unexpected find of the morning and we were pleased to see Austral Negrito at much closer quarters on the beach - one of their favoured habitats. South American and Cayenne Terns were roosting on reefs just offshore, but not for long. They were soon pushed off as the tide rose.
Yellow Finches were busy on the low cliff ledges, unaware that they were hopping along a raised beach full of marine fossils. Southern Martin and Blue and White Swallows were nesting in holes in the sandy parts of the cliff.
Once again this super trip attracted Southern Right Whales offshore and we were able to see tail flukes raised skywards once again and on one occasion the white belly of one whale which was rolling on the surface with another. They might have been mating but we were not sure.
Our new most-popular bird became Rusty-backed Monjita again on the way back to the Estancia Rincón Chico where a magnificent barbeque lunch was being prepared. Great views of a Least Seedsnipe were had before we settled down to the meal.
Luggage was collected from Puerto Pirámides on the way through to Puerto Madryn and as we drove out of the town everyone looked back for one last view of the whales.
There was no need to worry. More Southern Right Whales were in the bay off Puerto Madryn when we arrived. This was hardly surprising as we were only over the other side of the Golfo Nuevo.
A Hudsonian Godwit and several Austral Negrito were on the beach before we checked into the hotel, a taster for the following morning's pre-breakfast walk?
Wednesday 30 October
There can be little doubt that we had two 'birds of the day' - the first was Mary who was celebrating a birthday and as a special treat Luis found three Many-coloured Rush-tyrant to the delight of us all. Highlight of the day was a special birthday picnic lunch organised by Luis who had told everyone we were to have a 'box-meal'.
We met three of his friends at a remote beach and ate the most delicious chicken casserole with salad followed by a traditional Argentinean birthday cake. We toasted Mary's health, wealth and many happy returns, in delicious wine and a gay time was had by all.
Several of us started the day with the pre-breakfast walk along the beach at Puerto Madryn. It was a beautiful day but the rush of expected birds was limited to a flock of Brown-hooded Gull and South American tern roosting on the sand. Several Southern Right Whales were seen offshore - with a couple later in the day these were to be the last of the trip. A Hermit Crab was found hiding in a pretty dog-whelk shell.
A snow-cloud of Wilson's Phalarope, their white rumps flashing as the flock flew tightly packed in formation before us, greeted the group as we arrived at the settlement pools on the outskirts of Trelew. We were dizzy trying to work out what to watch at any one time.
The pools were surrounded by fields containing Southern (Chiloe) Wigeon and Southern Lapwing. The latter were continually calling and mobbing Chimango Caracara which were attempting to steal their chicks. Correndera Pipit was fluttering around singing its distinctive buzzing display song.
Highlights of the pools included a drake and two Cinnamon Teal ducks, Red-fronted, White-winged and Red-gartered Coot, Lake Duck, Rosy-billed Pochard, 80 Coscoroba Swan and more than 100 Chilean Flamingo, a fantastic display of birds.
Passerines were there too. Besides the incredible Many-coloured Rush-tyrants, which were classy despite their varied hues, we enjoyed Spectacled Tyrant, Grassland Yellow-finch, Great Kiskadee and distant views of Fork-tailed Flycatcher. Once again we remembered The Travelling Naturalist's brochure which promised that it would 'be with reluctance that we will drag ourselves away'.
Lunch was followed by a visit to a huge Magellanic Penguin colony. One's first penguins are always remembered and this on top of the birthday celebrations and great birds was another highlight for Mary and us all. Lesser Canastero was found in the bushes and several Chubut (White-headed) Steamerduck were watched diving for mussels in the calm waters off the colony.
A flight from Puerto Madryn to El Calafate was impossible so we caught the late afternoon shuttle from Trelew for a night in Buenos Aires.
Sadly, your poor reporter is running out of superlatives for this outstanding trip.
Thursday 31 October
The lagoon on the outskirts of El Calafate might seem an unlikely place as an introduction to southern Patagonian birding but it was a wonderful place to start. We had already commented on the quality of the light, the distant snow-topped hills and mountains, and the fresh, cool atmosphere which was such a pleasure after the three-hour flight from Buenos Aires.
A nature reserve surrounds the lagoon and we enjoyed close views of our first Upland Goose, Mouse-brown Monjita and five Ashy-headed Goose. Familiar species such as Austral Negrito, Brown-hooded and Kelp Gulls, Chilean Flamingo all looked stunning in the clear sunlight. Red-gartered Coot paddled across the lagoon, several Cinereous Harrier quartered the far bank while the southern, crest-less race of Southern Lapwing complained every time a Chimango Harrier went near them.
A child's toy car was heard honking its squeaky horn when we realised that this noise was made by a bird. Two Black-faced Ibis flew past, the first of several found in the area during the afternoon.
It was time to leave for the other end of the lagoon but as we got into the bus Nigel called for five strange birds in with a flock of Upland Goose. They were pristine Ashy-headed Goose, a species which was to become familiar over the next few days. After admiring their almost cinnamon-coloured breasts and ashy heads we started to board the bus again.
'What's this?' Nick called. A quick check had us all admiring a soaring Peregrine, a grey bird with indistinct facial markings.
Arriving at the far end of the lagoon our first stop was to study 30 local 'stiff-tails'. With broader blue bills and a deep rufous colour, they were confirmed as Andean Lake Duck, a close relative of the controversial Ruddy Duck back home and the Lake Ducks we had seen in Valdes.
As we set off up a track Tim pointed out a White-crested Elaenia which was closely followed by a shout from Luis that we should follow him over a sand dune and down to the edge of a huge, deep-blue lake. We went down quietly, straining to see what had caught his attention. There, in the white frothy foam on the water's edge were about eight Magellanic Plover, feeding in the froth. And what a technique - they were spinning around in circles, a little like washed-up Phalaropes, raking the wet sand with their feet and picking out invertebrates. Several Baird's Sandpipers accompanied them and gave us lots to watch.
As he scanned the waters of the lake trying to make out the species of coot visible, he found a superb Black-necked Swan, our first of the trip.
The dramatic hills had become even more so as a broad black band of cloud swept past behind us dropping its contents on the town. It passed us by, however, and we left sky-watching several male Cinereous Harrier displaying to females below them. The grey and black birds looked superb against the almost black sky backdrop as they twisted and turned, soared and sank, flashing their suitability as mates to the females below. It was a magnificent aerial display.
Approaching the bus, we tried to find a singing Plain-mantled Spinetail without success although a pair of Grey-hooded Sierra-finch turned out to be the last sight of the stop.
After a pizza and a short stop to explore El Calafate we set off for the short drive to Estancia Alice. Many more Chilean Flamingos were seen and we took the count of Black-necked Swans up to more than 10. About 30 Coscoroba Swans were seen too.
We settled into our rooms at the Estancia where some group members took a walk before dinner.
Friday 1 November
Breakfast was taken overlooking the magnificent nature reserve below the Estancia. Black-faced Ibis were constantly flying out of their reed-bed colony to feed or returning, a pair of Magellanic Oystercatcher had to mob passing Crested and Chimango caracara, the former as they returned to their nest which was lined with sheep's wool.
The reeds teemed with nesting Brown-hooded Gull, Black-browed Night-heron, Red-gartered Coot, Andean Lake Duck, Silver Teal and Black-necked Swan while Upland Goose and Southern Lapwing were in the meadow in front. A pair of Dark-bellied Cinclodes had nested under the roof above a corner of the restaurant.
And, as if that were not enough, the view had a backdrop of the ice-blue waters of the lake and a line of snow-topped hills. All were bathed in brilliant sunshine as we enjoyed yet another fine day.
We set off for the Moreno Glacier in the national park along a paved road which went most of the way. The first Andean Condor of the day (but not the trip - yesterday's 10 birds had been at some distance and were, well, disappointing) was seen cruising along, and many more were to follow. The first group were found dropping in to feed on a carcass about half a mile away. Even at a distance we could see just how big they were, standing as tall as a sheep. By the end of the day we had seen more than 40, some so close that their white collars, dazzling wing-tops and 'fingers' could be seen without binoculars.
A stop overlooking a wet plain with hundreds of pools revealed flocks of Upland and Ashy-headed geese, Chilean Flamingo, Southern Wigeon, Speckled Teal and few Yellow-billed Pintail. Crested Caracara were patrolling constantly while occasional small kettles of Condors formed in the thermals. In one, two birds were joined by a Peregrine which was plucking its prey - probably a Southern Lapwing - sending a line of feathers which looked like smoke from a Red Arrows jet.
Luis pointed out Hellmayr's Pipit which was similar to the Short-billed Pipit we had become used to but that had a speckled throat and chest, rather than streaked.
We soon entered the park and stopped occasionally to search the southern beech forests. One stop to see Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle also produced wonderful views of four Austral Parakeets which were feeding in a low bush. A pair of Thorn-tailed Rayadito popped up to see what was going on.
Another stop produced a pair of Tufted Tit-tyrant which were most confiding. Tim found Fire-eyed Diucon as we stopped to get our first view of the glacier and a Rufous-tailed Plantcutter was found a few minutes later.
We split up at the glacier and went our own ways to watch and film this magnificent sight. Huge ice stacks crashed into the aquamarine-blue lake with a noise like gun-shot and thunder combined while the sunshine created deep-blue caverns in the glacier as it edged closer to us at two metres a day. This was one of the highlights of the trip. It was awe-inspiring to sit close to the vast, face of the glacier with its cold blue caverns set off by a backdrop of russet-coloured cliffs and green-sided mountains. The noise was terrific too as water rushed from under the glacier which creaked and groaned in its inexorable journey down the valley.
Our return to the Estancia was broken by two stops. On the first Caesar, our driver, found a pair of Spectacled Duck with seven ducklings which were followed immediately by an Magellanic Tapaculo which Luis heard and was able to call up. Fleeting views of this arch skulker were had. The second stop was to wake a dozing bus-load of Travelling Naturalists as a low-flying Condor crossed the road in front of us just before we reached the Estancia Alice in time for a leisurely shower and dinner.
The day ended on a fascinating note when Luciano Bernacchi, a friend of Luis' who takes parties on walking tours across the glacier, came in to give us a fascinating talk and slide-show about glaciation and its geographical effects.
Saturday 2 November
Armed with our new-found knowledge of the area's ice formation, we took the catamaran Serac close to the stunning Spegazzini, Onelli and Upsala Glaciers, leaving at 9am. Ten Condors were soaring around the port as we left in cold, dull, but dry conditions.
After a box lunch on board we stopped to walk into the wonderful mature woodlands at Bahia Onelli. The area was quiet but we saw typical woodland species including House Wren, White-crested Elaenia, Black-chinned Siskin and lots of Austral Thrush. The walk ended at the edge of a glacier, surprisingly wet, with views up the valley to see five more ice-flows which merge to form the Onelli.
We were disturbed to discover that some hill-sides strewn with fallen trees had been deliberately burnt by settlers to create pasture in the 1930s. Their enterprises failed and they departed leaving their cattle behind. These had gone wild and were responsible for the lack of re-generation of the woodland.
The trip continued until we got to a huge ice-field of bergs which had calved from the Upsala Glacier 5km away, where we could go no further. The Bertachi and Cono glaciers were visible through binoculars as they merged to form the Upsala.
The whole trip gave us the opportunity to see geography in the making - at least 15 glaciers were seen, some 'hanging' as they finished on the slopes of mountains. The big glaciers had produced vast u-shaped valleys which had formed the lake our comfortable catamaran was on. Smaller ones merging with them had made the hanging valleys which came in from the right and left as we made out way through.
The sun made a good attempt to come out in the afternoon shining on a vast iceberg which had broken away from the Upsala Glacier. It warmed us gently for the first part of the long journey back but it was getting cold again by the time we reached the port at 7pm.
We stopped briefly to watch Andean Duck, Speckled Teal, Yellow-billed Pintail and our first Yellow-winged Blackbirds at a pool outside Puerto Bandera.
Dinner was brought forward as a huge party was expected at the restaurant which gave us an early night before the next day's drive into Chile and the Torres del Paine National Park.
Sunday 3 November
Excitement built as we crossed into Chile in perfect visibility. We had left stunning views of Mount Fitzroy behind and the Torres del Paine was cloud-free, except for the very left-hand side. This was one of the most beautiful geological formations in the world and it was getting ever nearer. Our progress dropped to a crawl after entering Chile as we stopped to admire and examine the vast formation.
Being Travelling Naturalists, the journey had been interesting for wildlife too. Three female Condors and an immature, just waking on their roost rock only a few hundred yards away, gave terrific views as they saw us off. Many more were seen in both countries during the day.
A stop by a stream produced Two-banded Plover, Baird's Sandpiper and a Common Miner while a few miles on a stunning pair of Least Seedsnipe was examined in close detail.
We turned around to admire a Patagonian Grey Fox, its thick coat shimmering in the wind, many Lesser Rheas showed well and the flood plains of some rivers were dotted with brilliant pink Chilean Flamingo, some so close we could see their distinctive red 'knees'.
A flock of Ashy-headed Goose was found as we stopped for fuel on a windy pass, and our last Argentinean birds were five Coscoroba Swan.
Crossing the border was an adventure straight out of a spaghetti western with tons of paperwork preceding the departure from Argentina and a search of our hand-luggage marking entry into Chile after crossing several miles of bird-less 'no-man's land'.
Our Chilean list started with five Condors, although these were difficult as we were certain that they had followed us from Argentina. More Ashy-headed Goose were seen along with Black-faced Ibis, scores of Guanaco - two fighting with such ferocity that they both had bloody necks - Crested Caracara and three lovely Chiloe Wigeon.
We transferred into a hotel bus for the final few miles to the Hosteria los Torres as our vehicle could not cross a narrow suspension bridge originally imported from its London manufacturers to take herds of sheep across a river. The crossing was accompanied by a Fire-eyed Diucon and a White-browed Ground-tyrant. Many birds were seen on the short journey and we resolved to walk part of the track the following day.
A short walk around part of the extensive hotel grounds produced Austral Negrito, Thorn-tailed Rayadito, and many more common birds.
A great buffet dinner was preceded by a patrolling Grey Fox while the walk back to our rooms was livened by the drumming of South American Snipe high above us in the darkness, inspired no doubt by the proximity of the Torres del Paine massif.
Monday 4 November
The backdrop of Torres del Paine was with us all day as we explored this fantastic, beautiful and fascinating national park. Our route took us three quarters of the way around the massive mountain with its various peaks which we were able to study from many angles.
The day was not without its wildlife, however, starting with a magnificent Magellanic Owl which Luis had heard during the night. He had an early breakfast and as we started tucking into pancakes Luis began waving his arms frantically from a nearby willow copse. Down we trooped and there, perched in full view, was a beautiful grey owl which characteristic ear tufts and long eye-lashes most women would die for.
It was a great start but got better when, on leaving along the hosteria's approach road, we came across another group watching a female Torrent Duck in an un-typically slow river. This was a major target bird for the day under our belts leaving Tim and Luis visibly more relaxed.
Not that they stopped working - another three pairs were found, in one case two males were engaged in a territorial dispute on the river at Cascades Rio Paine.
The road that skirts Torres del Paine is dotted with small pools which were checked for likely inhabitants. This produced sightings of Chiloe Wigeon, Coscoroba Swan, Yellow-billed Pintail and Red-gartered Coot. A stop at a view-point to see the Torres was accompanied by the sight of a Grey Fox being fed. The poor animal was used to humans and cars appearing unafraid.
Behind the vantage point was a pond which was home to two of the day's good birds - Flying Steamer-duck and White-tufted Grebe. A Cinnamon-bellied Ground-tyrant was seen briefly by some of the group. A pair of Spectacled Duck sitting on the bank of a pool, close to the road, allowed great views of their bronze wing patches which give rise to the alternative name.
Just a short way down the road, the lakes started getting larger with the result that Great Grebe was found displaying on one and Andean Duck on another. Sadly, our lunch stop was 10 minutes late and the four Austral Parakeets which were supposed to be over our heads for the meal flew off just after we arrived.
A walk in the woods at Lago Grey gave us great 'scope views of Chilean Flicker, plus the usual White-crested Elania and Patagonian Sierra-finch. The third pair of Torrent duck was found in the Rio Pingo.
We finished the organised part of the day with a walk along the hosteria's approach road. This produced our first young birds of the trip - two Southern Lapwing chicks.
The day's events did not end here, though. Returning from dinner several group members met Tim who pointed out a Patagonian Skunk which had been unsuccessfully attacked by a young Grey Fox. While watching that another four foxes went past, unperturbed by mobbing Southern Lapwing, us, or our oohs and aahs.
Tuesday 5 November
An early start was made easier by a good breakfast before leaving the hosteria at 6am. As planned we arrived at the Chilean / Argentinean border at 7.30 after a short stop to admire an adult Patagonian Skunk (two in eight hours) which was close to the bus. Several Lesser Rhea and a Grey Fox were also seen.
We were at the head of the queue when the border opened at 8am and after clearing both customs posts we were on our way to El Calafate with final views of Las Torres del Paine slipping behind us.
A short-cut which could have taken 70km off the journey was closed and we were pleased when the paved road started and our progress could pick up a little.
A few Chilean Flamingo, Ashy-headed Goose, five Coscoroba Swan (probably the same ones we had seen on the way out) and single Short-billed Miner and Tawny-throated Dotterel were seen on the way.
After an uneventful but full flight to Ushuaia we settled into our hotel before a familiarisation walk and free afternoon.
The walk proved to be something of an event as we saw our first Southern Fulmar, Dolphin Gull and Flightless Steamerduck and reacquainted ourselves with Blackish and Magellanic Oystercatcher, Ashy-headed Goose, Black-browed Albatross, Patagonian Crested Duck and King Cormorant. It was a great taster for the next two full days in Tierra del Fuego.
Some of the group went into 'downtown' Ushuaia, the most southerly city on earth, to explore and buy souvenirs.
Wednesday 6 November
The beech woods of Tierra del Fuego National Park had far more life in them than others we had encountered. Little flocks of mixed species were encountered frequently throughout the morning as we sought the fabled woodpecker and pygmy owl of the region.
But spirits dropped as each site visited drew a blank. There were compensations such as the four Kelp Goose and many South Polar Skua at Ensenada Bay (which also gave us views of Magellanic Penguin, huge flocks of feeding Black-browed Albatross, Kelp Gulls and South American Tern).
A Black-chested Buzzard-eagle was sitting in a tree watching Lake Roca, where the first of three Andean Condors flew over and Tufted Tit-tyrant scolded us for imitating the pygmy owl.
But in truth we were all a little depressed as we sat down for a huge salad lunch at La Pataia Bay. Two Fire-eyed Diucon came up to commiserate and we enjoyed stunning views of these aptly-named birds.
Two mammals were added to our ever-growing list when five European Rabbit and an American Beaver (both introduced many years previously) were seen.
A light breeze got up after lunch and blew luck our way. Firstly, we located two Austral Pygmy Owl and enjoyed great 'scope views as they hooted at us and were mobbed by Austral Thrush, Patagonian Sierra-finch and Rufous-collared Sparrows for their pains.
Then, as we revisited a site on Lake Roca, a deep drumming noise was heard and we eventually had 'crippling' views of a stunning male Magellanic Woodpecker as it drummed, picked at bark and flitted to several trees around us as if we were not there.
Whoopee! We all went off for a celebratory coffee after the bird finally moved off.
It was time to call it a day and we returned to the hotel where the stalwarts had a short spell sea-watching, seeing plenty of albatross and two Southern Fulmar as payment.
An extra trip was organised after dinner to visit the secret territory of a rare owl with a blood-curdling call that echoed through the dark woods. Our second stop and walk through the dark beech woods resulted in great views of Rufous-legged Owl and we all retired to bed happy.
Thursday 7 November
Our first rainy day of the trip could not have been better timed as it had no effect on the enjoyment of a cruise up the Beagle Channel.
Before we started out from Ushuaia port, Southern Fulmars and Southern Giant Petrels were coming close to the vessel. Chilean Skua sitting on the water was a surprise, the more so when it turned out to be the first of several. We had difficulty in separating the less obvious South Polar and Antarctic Skuas which were also seen.
As we left Ushuaia Bay a number of Magellanic and Common Diving-petrels were seen, looking for the world like our more familiar auks back home. We worked on the distinguishing features of both and finally got them sorted out.
Calling at a number of rocky islands, we found our first flock of Snowy Sheathbill feeding among Southern Sea Lion and Southern Fur Seal colonies. The rocks held surprises in the form of Dark-bellied Cinclodes, Black-faced Ibis and a lone Baird's Sandpiper, while the sea was alive with Black-browed Albatross, King Cormorant and South American Terns.
Passing through stunning scenery, the comfortable catamaran Tolkeyen took us up the Beagle Channel towards the South Atlantic Ocean until we reached the island of Hammer where we had stunning views of a beautifully marked Chilean Skua, with almost pure cinnamon under-wings and body, 14 Gentoo Penguin and numerous Magellanic Penguin.
Arriving at Harberton settlement, described by its founder Lucas Bridges in his book 'Uttermost Part of the Earth', we were met by his descendant Tom Goodall. He showed us a boat-house, complete with two home-stuffed Condor corpses, workshop where the ribs of boats were made from specially chosen L-shaped blocks of southern beech, and the shearing shed with its ancient steam-driven (later to be replaced by a generator) machinery. Sadly, the latter is no longer needed as the farm has come out of wool-production and the whole place had an air of redundancy about it.
Not so the newly created large sea-mammal museum where we were given a fascinating tour by one of the research students. And in the preparation shed, where bones are boiled and scrubbed, Tim and Luis pointed out the corpse of a Fire-eyed Diucon which was being dried, only to realise that after two weeks of correcting people's identification of Rufous-collared Sparrow (as anything from 'wazzat?' to an Upland Goose) they had fallen into the same trap.
The day ended in watery sunshine as the catamaran made its way, hugging the coast, to Ushuaia. To put the icing on this particular slice of our cake a pair of Magellanic Woodpeckers flew out of the hotel grounds as we drove in. The day had been near-perfect.
Friday 8 November
Most of us had a lie-in on our last and free morning in the most southerly city in the world. Some went souvenir hunting while others caught up on diaries and notes of this wonderful trip.
Once again we were blessed with glorious sunshine, tempting strolls along the Beagle Channel, watching Ashy-headed Goose, Steamer Duck, gulls, skuas, Chilean Swallows (the hotel was built in Swallow Bay) and the snow-capped mountains of southern Patagonia.
The late spring meant that our walk at the top of a ski-run was in deep snow in parts. But we pressed on up towards Le Martial Glacier reaching the floor of a hanging valley, carpeted with Bog Balsam. The search for birds did not last long as we found several Grey-flanked Cinclodes which were displaying and singing, clearly establishing territories, one female Austral Negrito, a splendid Yellow-bridled Finch and an Ochre-naped Ground-tyrant.
The trip down on the ski-lift was almost as good as the ascent, a ride of 15 minutes silently gliding over the breaking beech trees below. A few House Wrens and Rufous-collared Sparrows were seen on the way, while the descent of some party members was delayed as we watched two Chimango Caracara found by Mary.
The journey to the ski-lift was broken by a rather unpromising stop at the town's tip. Many Dolphin and Kelp gulls were there, as one might expect, but a dark bird of prey with an off-white chin, breast and belly caught our attention. It was an adult White-throated Caracara soon joined by a juvenile.
The day ended with an uneventful flight back to Buenos Aires after we had said our goodbyes to Marcelo, who had been our guide to birds for the last two days.
On arriving at the hotel we had another sad farewell - to Luis Segura who had been our delightful companion for the last two weeks. We had all benefited from his good humoured approach to sorting out any problems, fixing all sorts of arrangements, booking guides and drivers all over Patagonia, and finding us a great cross-section of the birds of Patagonia.
On behalf of the entire group, Luis, we thank you most sincerely.
Saturday 9 November
Mary's hair band, worn ready for the heat and humidity of Iguazú, ought to qualify her for Travelling Naturalist discount. Unable to find anything else she wore a TN luggage label, and looked most fetching, we all decided, while waiting for our aircraft.
After an uneventful flight we were met by Miguel and taken to the hotel which opened onto Iguazú Falls, forest and parkland. Needless to say, we were soon out birding and sightseeing - yet again this trip amazed us with the spectacular, thunderous, misty, mighty falls.
And as a cap to the scenery, there were huge flocks of Dusky Swift seemingly committing themselves to certain death as they plunged into the maelstrom to reach their nests behind the many torrents of water pouring over the falls. Hundreds of American Black Vulture roost on the huge island in the falls and these filled the air above this dramatic scene. What a fantastic sight.
Among the outstanding birds seen were Plumbeous Kite, Black-throated and Surucua trogon, Red-breasted and Toco toucan, Plush-crested jay, Violaceous and Chestenut-bellied Euphonia, Swallow Tanager and Pale-breasted Thrush.
Other animals included Golden Tegu and Tropidurus Lizard, Coati and, later in the day, Brazilian Cavy, the original Guinea-pig.
We went to bed early for a 6am start, excited by the birds and animals, keen to sample more of Iguazú's wildlife.
Sunday 10 November
We were all woken by a violent and dramatic storm, the power of which put even the mighty falls down a rank. The view from our windows went from total blackness to scenes of the Iguazú Falls in an eerie electric light as the whole sky shimmered with sheet lightening. Jagged bolts of lightening were followed instantly by the crack of thunder. This storm was all around us and to prove the fact it rained in quantities second only to the falls. And it went on all night.
The early morning walk was cancelled and we all had an extra two hours sleep.
Happily, the rain stopped as we left the hotel and remained off, except for a few drops, all day. The morning was spent catching an eco-friendly, propane-powered train to a cat-walk across the falls to the Devil's Mouth where the main body of water thunders down the cliff. Here we saw the Dusky Swifts once more attacking the water to reach their nests.
Leaving the hotel, great views of an Ochre-collared Piculet were enjoyed as the bird pecked away at slender twigs in its search for insects. Several Cattle Tyrant were hunting in the grass and a Rufous-bellied Thrush was another good find.
But other birds were found too, including Yellow-headed Caracara and Snail Kite, Rusty-margined Guan and Black-fronted Piping-guan, Boat-billed Flycatcher and Yellow-browed Tyrant, White-winged and Black-collared Swallow, and a stunning Yellow-billed Cardinal.
Lunch was eaten in a smart Iguazú restaurant before we were lucky enough to find a flock of feeding hummingbirds, tanagers, orioles and Bananaquit. Scaled Dove was as surprise find. We were enjoying views across the junction of three rivers, the corners of which were in Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil (three countries just a few metres apart) when Streaked and Variegated Flycatchers were found.
Perhaps the richest part of the day came when we strolled down a lane at the edge of the Iguazú National Park during which we found White-spotted and Yellow-fronted Woodpecker, Planalto Woodcreeper, our first of this exacting family, Ferruginous Pygmy-owl, Rufous-capped Motmot, and American Swallow-tailed Kite, among many others.
Once again we had an early night in anticipation of an exciting first-light forest walk.
Monday 11 November
The beautiful sunrise which turned pink the plume of spray above Iguazú Falls, was compensation enough for the 6am start. Further compensations were to come, however, as we walked the Sendero Macuco (Solitary Tinamou trail) behind the hotel. For several this was their first taste of rainforest walking and Miguel's suggestion of an early start paid off. Cyclists, walkers and the heat of the day were putting many of the birds off by the end of the walk.
Rufous-bellied Thrush and Epaulet Oriole were the first on our list - in the palms on the hotel ramp. John found two Smooth-billed Ani and the walk was off to a cracking start. A Plumbeous Kite shared a dead tree with Scaly-headed Parrot and several Red-crested Finch were seen.
Brazilian Cavy had been seen around the pool but an Azara's Agouti was new for the trip as it crossed the road before we entered the trail.
Many stops were made, most because Miguel had heard something which he helped us to find. White-eyed, Black-capped and Ochre-breasted Foliage-gleaners, Greenish Elaenia, Euler's, Sepia-capped and Grey-hooded Flycatchers, were found his way. We also managed to see some really difficult skulkers such as Tufted Antshrike, Plain Antvireo, Rufous-winged Antwren and, eventually, Southern Antpipit.
A lek of male White-bearded Manakin was in full swing when we arrived with much wing-cracking and buzzing song. They were ferociously hard to find, however, but eventually we had poor views of one male. Another lek, of Blue Manakin proved equally difficult much later in the morning but again we were successful eventually. A lone female Band-tailed Manakin gave us a third example of this extraordinary group of birds.
Distant calls of a cuckoo were pointed out to us by Miguel who said that the bird was extremely rare for Argentina. It responded to a tape recording of its call, however, but hid in deep foliage until Tim was able to get the Pearly-breasted Cuckoo in his 'scope and we all had good view. Happily, this perfectly-camouflaged bird moved into a patch of sunlight closer to us and the views became even better.
Many other forest birds were seen and heard but an increase in human activity coincided with our time for departure and we returned to the hotel for an early lunch before returning to Buenos Aires.
The day ended with a wonderful celebratory meal at the hotel with Germán. We toasted him, Luis Segura, Miguel Castelino, and of course your author, for the great efforts they had put into the holiday.
Germán and Tim insisted that it is not all over until the group has enjoyed the final aria at Costanera Sur.
Tuesday 12 November
What better way to prepare for a long flight than a morning walking the paths of a fabulous nature reserve? Surrounded by birds, many of which we had not recorded on the trip so far, we joined joggers, bike-riders and school nature classes which make use of the comfortable tracks of Costanera Sur with its impressive backdrop of Buenos Aires business centre. We were fortunate to have Argentina's top birder Germán Pugnali as our guide.
Our last day in Argentina was a little surprising. We had driven through streets lined with Jacaranda trees in full blue flower to enter an area of pampas - the city's original habitat. What appeared to be reed-beds were expanses of pampas grass, with last season's flowers battered from a winter's weather. To prove the point, a Great Pampa-finch popped up on a dead flower stem. The pampas beds were dotted with Choral Trees - Argentina's national bloom - which were festooned with hanging red flowers that were attractive to several species of large bees.
Singing Rufous-and-black Warbling-finch greeted our arrival with their 'nice-to-see-you' songs and we chuckled at our new name for the Kiskadee which seemed to be calling 'Iguazú'. A nesting Black-capped Warbling-finch gave great views as did many Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Tropical Kingbird and a pair of Glistening-bellied Emerald which were all hawking through swarms of black flies.
A flock of passing ibis had some birds showing their long legs behind their tails (White-faced Ibis) and others which did not (Bare-faced Ibis).
A Scarlet-headed Blackbird gave stunning views, looking like a smaller version of the Magellanic Woodpeckers seen in Ushuaia.
As we started to pass the lagoons Pied-billed Grebe, Red-fronted, White-winged and Red-gartered Coot, Striated Heron, Wattled Jacana, and Silver Teal were all seen, some in abundance. Single Cocoi Heron and Maguari Stork flew past. Both Fulvous and White-faced Tree-duck were seen in the reeds.
Mammals were represented by Nutria (Coypu) while three species of turtle were seen - Painted, Hillair's Side-necked and Striped.
Monk Parakeets and Nanday (Black-hooded) Parakeet were seen on rapid fly-pasts although the former was also watched feeding with Eared Doves on the ground.
Once again we were sad to be leaving the birds, this time especially as we were off home. After lunch at the hotel we drove out to the international airport.
Suddenly, a shout from Tim saw us pulling up alongside a flooded verge where a Whistling Heron was stalking invertebrates and frogs. As we watched it Germán pointed out two Field (Campo) Flicker - our last new species of the trip.
RHEAS Rheiformes Rheidae
Rhea pennata Puerto Pirámides steppe (2 + 25 young on 28th, 10 on 29th), crossing to Chile (18 in Argentina on 3rd), crossing to Argentina (30 in Chile on 5th)
TINAMOUS Tinamiformes Tinamidae
Eudromia elegans Common daily on the Puerto Pirámides steppe
PENGUINS Sphenisciformes Spheniscidae
Pygoscelis papua Beagle Channel trip (14 on 7th)
Spheniscus magellanicus Punta Tombo (hundreds of pairs on 30th), Ensenada Bay, Tierra del Fuego NP (2 on 6th), Beagle Channel trip (75 on 7th)
GREBES Podicipediformes Podicipedidae
Podilymbus podiceps Costanera Sur nature reserve (6 on 12th)
Rollandia rolland Trelew settlement ponds (6 on 30th), Puerto Bandera ponds (1 on 2nd), Torres del Paine NP (4 on 4th), Costanera Sur nature reserve (6 on 12th)
Podiceps major Common daily on the sea off Valdes Peninsula, Torres del Paine NP (4 on 4th), Tierra del Fuego NP (2 on 6th)
Podiceps occipitalis Valdes north coast (3 on 28th), Trelew settlement ponds (6 on 30th), Estancia Alice (1 on 31st)
ALBATROSSES Procellariiformes Diomedeidae
Thalassarche melanophris Punta Norte (1 on 28th), Tolkeyen Hotel, Tierra del Fuego (50 on 5th, 6th and 8th), Beagle Channel trip (250 on 7th)
SHEARWATERS & PETRELS Procellariiformes Procellariidae
Antarctic (Southern) Giant Petrel
Macronectes giganteus Caléta Valdes (100 on 28th), common daily on the sea off Valdes Peninsula; Tolkeyen Hotel, Tierra del Fuego (several 6th to 8th), Beagle Channel trip (30 on 7th)
Hall's (Northern) Giant Petrel
Macronectes halli Caléta Valdes (6 on 28th), a few daily on the sea off Valdes Peninsula,
Fulmarus glacialoides Tolkeyen Hotel, Tierra del Fuego (1 on 5th, 3 on 6th), Beagle Channel trip (14 on 7th)
STORM-PETRELS Procellariiformes Hydrobatidae
Oceanites oceanicus Caléta Valdes (3 on 28th)
DIVING-PETRELS Procellariiformes Pelecanoididae
Pelecanoides magellani Beagle Channel trip (3 on 7th)
Pelecanoides urinatrix Beagle Channel trip (10 on 7th)
CORMORANTS Pelecaniformes Phalacrocoracidae
Neotropic (Olivaceous) Cormorant
Phalacrocorax brasilianus Common daily on the sea off Valdes Peninsula, Estancia Alice
(olivaceus) (1 on 31st and 1st), Costanera Sur nature reserve (20 on 12th)
Phalacrocorax magellanicus Valdes north coast (30 pairs on 28th), common daily on the sea off Valdes Peninsula, Tierra del Fuego NP (10 on 6th), Beagle Channel trip (50 on 7th)
Imperial Shag (King or
Phalacrocorax atriceps Caléta Valdes (60 on 28th), common daily on the sea off Valdes Peninsula, Tolkeyen Hotel, Tierra del Fuego (50 on 5th and 6th), Beagle Channel trip (00s on 7th), Ushuaia tip (0s on 8th)
ANHINGAS Pelecaniformes Anhingidae
Anhinga anhinga Iguazú Falls (2 on 9th, 6 on 10th)
HERONS, EGRETS & BITTERNS Ciconiiformes Ardeidae
Syrigma sibilatrix Road to Buenos Aires airport (2 on 12th)
Ardea cocoi Costanera Sur nature reserve (1 on 12th)
Ardea alba Iguazú Falls (30 on 9th), Costanera Sur nature reserve (1 on 12th)
Bubulcus ibis Iguazú Falls (30 on 9th), Iguazú (15 on 10th)
Butorides striatus Costanera Sur nature reserve (12 on 12th)
Nycticorax nycticorax Estancia Alice (1 on 31st, immature on 2nd), Beagle Channel trip (3 on 7th), Iguazú Falls (50 on 9th)
STORKS Ciconiiformes Ciconiidae
Ciconia maguari Costanera Sur nature reserve (1 on 12th)
IBIS & SPOONBILLS Ciconiiformes Threskiornithidae
Theristicus melanopis Common around Calafate, breeding colony at Estancia Alice, Puerto Bandera (10 on 2nd), crossing to Chile (50 on 3rd), Torres del Paine NP (40 on 4th), Tierra del Fuego NP (10 on 6th), Beagle Channel trip (5 on 7th)
Mesembrinibis cayennensis Iguazú Falls (1 on 9th and 10th)
Phimosus infuscatus Costanera Sur nature reserve (20 on 12th)
Plegadis chihi Costanera Sur nature reserve (1 on 12th)
FLAMINGOS Phoenicopteriformes Phoenicopteridae
Phoenicopterus chilensis Trelew settlement ponds (100 on 30th), Calafate lagoon (100 on 31st), Moreno Glacier (100 on 1st), crossing to Chile (36 in Argentina on 3rd), crossing to Argentina (2 in Chile, 15 in Argentina on 5th)
SWANS, GEESE & DUCKS Anseriformes Anatidae
Dendrocygna bicolor Costanera Sur nature reserve (2 on 12th)
Dendrocygna viduata Costanera Sur nature reserve (2 on 12th)
Cygnus melanocorypha Calafate lagoon (10 on 31st), Estancia Alice (2 pairs, one with cygnets, on 31st), Moreno Glacier (30 on 1st), Puerto Bandera (10 on 2nd), crossing to Chile (8 on 3rd), Torres del Paine NP (10 on 4th), Costanera Sur nature reserve (50 on 12th)
Coscoroba coscoroba Puerto Pirámides steppe (15 on 28th), Trelew settlement ponds (100 on 30th), Calafate lagoon (30 on 31st), crossing to Chile (5 on 3rd), Torres del Paine NP (2 on 4th), Costanera Sur nature reserve (30 on 12th)
Upland (Magellanic) Goose
Chloephaga picta Common daily in Patagonia
Chloephaga hybrida Tierra del Fuego NP (10 on 6th), Beagle Channel trip (30 on 7th), Ushuaia (10 on 8th)
Chloephaga poliocephala Calafate lagoon (5 on 31st), Moreno Glacier (00s on 1st), crossing to Chile (60 on 3rd), Torres del Paine NP (6 on 4th), Tolkeyen Hotel and Tierra del Fuego NP (50 on 5th, 6th and 8th), Beagle Channel trip (30 on 7th)
Tachyeres pteneres Tolkeyen Hotel, Tierra del Fuego (50 on 5th to 8th)
White-headed (Chubut) Steamerduck
Tachyeres leucocephalus Punto Tombo (three pairs on 30th)
Tachyeres patachonicus Torres del Paine NP (2 on 4th), Tolkeyen Hotel, Tierra del Fuego (1 on 5th, 3 on 6th to 8th)
Merganetta armata Torres del Paine NP (1 female and 3 pairs on 4th)
Anas sibilatrix Trelew settlement ponds (150 on 30th), Moreno Glacier (30 on 1st), Hosteria los Torres (3 on 3rd), Torres del Paine NP (10 on 4th), Tierra del Fuego NP (6 on 6th), Ushuaia tip (7 on 8th)
Anas flavirostris Common daily, max: Moreno Glacier (100 on 1st), Tolkeyen Hotel (1 with 6 ducklings on 5th)
Anas specularis Moreno Glacier (pair with 7 ducklings on 1st), Torres del Paine NP (2 pairs on 4th)
Anas specularioides Puerto Pirámides steppe, a few daily; elsewhere a few daily, Torres del Paine NP (2 on 4th), Tolkeyen Hotel and Tierra del Fuego NP (20 on 5th, 5 plus 6 ducklings on 6th)
Anas georgica Salinas Grandes, Valdes Pen. (1 0n 29th), Trelew settlement ponds (6 on 30th), Moreno Glacier (10 on 1st), Puerto Bandera ponds (5 on 2nd), Torres del Paine NP (10 on 4th), Tierra del Fuego NP (10 on 6th)
Anas versicolor Costanera Sur nature reserve (5 on 12th)
Anas cyanoptera Trelew settlement ponds (drake and two ducks on 30th)
Anas platalea Puerto Pirámides steppe (3 on 28th)
Netta peposaca Costanera Sur nature reserve (2 pairs, one with 8 ducklings on 12th)
Andean (Ruddy) Duck
Oxyura ferruginea Calafate lagoon (30 on 31st), Estancia Alice (4 on 31st), Puerto Bandera ponds (10 on 2nd), Torres del Paine NP (4 on 4th)
Oxyura vittata Trelew settlement ponds (25 on 30th)
NEW WORLD VULTURES Falconiformes Cathartidae
(American) Black Vulture
Coragyps atratus Iguazú Falls (00s on 9th, 10th and 11th)
Cathartes aura Common daily in northern Patagonia, Iguazú Falls (2 on 9th, 3 on 10th, 2 on 11th)
Vultur gryphus Calafate (10 on 31st), Moreno Glacier (40 on 1st), Parc de los Glacieros (16 on 2nd), crossing to Chile (34, including 3 fem and an imm just after leaving Estancia Alice on 3rd), Torres del Paine NP (8 on 4th), Tierra del Fuego NP (3 on 6th)
HAWKS, EAGLES & KITES Falconiformes Accipitridae
(American) Swallow-tailed Kite
Elanoides forficatus Iguazú (1 on 10th)
Elanus leucurus Buenos Aires domestic airport (1 on 27th), Puerto Pirámides steppe (1 on 28th)
Rostrhamus sociabilis Iguazú (5 on 10th), road to Buenos Aires Int'l Airport (5 on 12th)
Ictinia plumbea Iguazú Falls (7 on 9th, 5 on 10th, 1 on 11th)
Circus cinereus Southern Valdes Peninsula (5 on 29th), Trelew (male on 30th), Calafate lagoon (small colony, three males displaying on 31st), Moreno Glacier (3 on 1st), Puerto Bandera ponds (6 on 2nd), crossing to Chile (3 on 3rd)
Geranoaetus melanoleucus Calafate (imm on 31st), Moreno Glacier (10 on 1st), Torres del Paine NP (3 on 4th), Tierra del Fuego NP (1 on 6th)
Variable (Red-backed) Hawk
Buteo polyosoma Valdes Peninsula, a few daily
FALCONS & CARACARAS Falconiformes Falconidae
Phalcoboenus albogularis Adult and immature, Ushuaia tip on 8th.
Caracara plancus Estancia Alice (1 pair on 31st), Parc de los Glaciares (20 on 1st, 6 on 2nd), crossing to Chile (10 on 3rd), Torres del Paine NP (5 on 4th), Tolkeyen Hotel and Tierra del Fuego NP (1 on 5th, 10 on 6th), Beagle Channel trip (2 on 7th), Iguazú (1 on 10th)
Milvago chimachima Iguazú (6 on 10th, 1 on 11th)
Milvago chimango Common daily
Falco sparverius Puerto Madryn (1 on 27th), Trelew (3 on 30th), Estancia Alice (1 on 31st), Moreno Glacier (2 on 1st), Tierra del Fuego NP (1 on 6th)
Falco peregrinus Calafate lagoon (female on 31st), Moreno Glacier (1 plucking probable Southern Lapwing in flight on 1st), Iguazú Falls (1 on 10th)
GUANS Galliformes Cracidae
Penelope superciliaris Iguazú Falls (1 on 10th)
Pipile jacutinga Iguazú Falls (2 on 10th)
RAILS, GALLINULES & COOTS Gruiformes Rallidae
Pardirallus sanguinolentus Trelew settlement ponds (2 on 30th)
Gallinula chloropus Trelew settlement ponds (1 on 30th), Costanera Sur nature reserve (2 on 12th)
Gallinula melanops Costanera Sur nature reserve (2 on 12th)
Fulica leucoptera Trelew settlement ponds (50 on 30th), Costanera Sur nature reserve (20 on 12th)
Fulica armillata Trelew settlement ponds (5 on 30th), Calafate lagoon (10 on 31st), Estancia Alice (5 pairs 31st to 3rd), Torres del Paine NP (10 on 4th), Costanera Sur nature reserve (20 on 12th)
Fulica rufifrons Trelew settlement ponds (2 on 30th), Costanera Sur nature reserve (12 on 12th)
JACANAS Charadriiformes Jacanidae
Jacana jacana Costanera Sur nature reserve (50 on 12th)
OYSTERCATCHERS Charadriiformes Haematopodidae
Haematopus leucopodus Punta Norte (1 on 28th), Estancia Alice (1 pair 31st to 3rd), Puerto Bandera ponds (1 on 2nd), crossing to Chile (common on 3rd), Tolkeyen Hotel, Tierra del Fuego (10 on 5th, 30 on 6th, 7th and 8th)
Haematopus ater Puerto Pirámides (6 on 28th), Tolkeyen Hotel, Tierra del Fuego (40 on 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th)
Haematopus palliatus Caléta Valdes (20 on 28th), Punta Delgada (20 on 29th)
AVOCETS & STILTS Charadriiformes Recurvirostridae
Himantopus mexicanus Trelew settlement ponds (20 on 30th)
PLOVERS & LAPWINGS Charadriiformes Charadriidae
Vanellus chilensis Common daily
Pluvialis dominica Caléta Valdes (20 on 28th)
Charadrius falklandicus Salinas Grandes, Valdes (3 on 29th), crossing to Chile (4 on 3rd)
Oreopholus ruficollis Between Esperanza and El Calafate (1 on 5th)
MAGELLANIC PLOVER Charadriiformes Pluvianellidae
Pluvianellus socialis El Calafate lagoon (10 on the lake shore on 31st)
SANDPIPERS Charadriiformes Scolopacidae
South American Snipe
Gallinago paraguaiae Hosteria los Torres (several drumming on 3rd)
Limosa haemastica Puerto Madryn beach (1 on 29th)
Tringa flavipes Trelew settlement ponds (5 on 30th)
Calidris fuscicollis Caléta Valdes (1 on 28th)
Calidris bairdii Salinas Grandes, Valdes (1 on 29th), Calafate lagoon (30 on 31st), crossing to Chile (15 on 3rd), Beagle Channel trip (1 on 7th)
Phalaropus tricolor Trelew settlement ponds (300 on 30th)
SEEDSNIPES Charadriiformes Thinocoridae
Thinocorus rumicivorus Caléta Valdes (1 on 28th), Rincon Chico (1 on 29th), crossing to Chile (a pair on 3rd), near Esperanza (one on a post 5th)
SHEATHBILLS Charadriiformes Chionididae
Chionis alba Beagle Channel trip (14 on 7th)
JAEGERS & SKUAS Charadriiformes Stercorariidae
Catharacta chilensis Beagle Channel trip (14 on 7th)
South Polar Skua
Catharacta maccormicki Ensenada Bay, Tierra del Fuego NP (25 on 6th), Beagle Channel trip (40 on 7th), Ushuaia (4 on 8th)
Brown (Antarctic or Southern) Skua
Catharacta antarctica Beagle Channel trip (5 on 7th)
GULLS Charadriiformes Laridae
Larus scoresbii Punta Tombo (1 on 30th), Tolkeyen Hotel, Tierra del Fuego (50 on 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th)
Larus dominicanus Common daily
Larus maculipennis Puerto Madryn (20 on 30th), Calafate lagoon (30 on 31st), Estancia Alice (25 pairs nesting), Hosteria los Torres (20 on 3rd and 4th), Costanera Sur nature reserve (12 on 12th)
TERNS Charadriiformes Sternidae
Sterna sandvicensis Punta Delgada (1 on 29th)
Sterna maxima Caléta Valdes (3 on 28th), Punta Dalgada (1 on 29th)
South American Tern
Sterna hirundinacea Punta Delgada (15 on 29th), Puerto Madryn (25 on 30th), Tierra del Fuego NP (30 on 6th), Beagle Channel trip (150 on 7th), Ushuaia (70 on 8th)
SKIMMERS Charadriiformes Rynchopidae
Rynchops niger Iguazú Falls (8 on 10th)
PIGEONS & DOVES Columbiformes Columbidae
Columba livia Common daily in towns
Columba picazuro Iguazú Falls (10 on 9th), Iguazú (3 on 10th), Buenos Aires (common on 11th and 12th)
Columba cayennensis Iguazú Falls (0s on 9th, 10th and 11th)
Zenaida auriculata Common most days
Columbina talpacoti Iguazú (8 on 10th)
Columbina picui Costanera Sur nature reserve (1 on 27th), Trelew settlement ponds (1 on 30th)
Columbina squammata Iguazú (2 on 10th)
PARROTS Psittaciformes Psittacidae
Aratinga leucophthalmus Iguazú Falls (2 on 9th)
Nanday (Black-hooded) Parakeet
Nandayus nenday Costanera Sur nature reserve (2 on 12th)
Cyanoliseus patagonus Puerto Madryn to Valdes Peninsula (70 on 27th), same flock on 29th, road to Trelew (1 on 30th)
Pyrrhura frontalis Iguazú (4 on 10th)
Enicognathus ferrugineus Moreno Glacier (5 on 1st), Torres del Paine NP (4 on 4th), Tierra del Fuego NP (15 on 6th)
Myiopsitta monachus Costanera Sur nature reserve (8 on 12th)
Pionus maximiliani Iguazú Falls (2 on 9th, 6 on 10th, 4 on 11th)
CUCKOOS Cuculiformes Cuculidae
Coccyzus euleri Tinamou walk, Iguazú (1 on 11th)
Piaya cayana Iguazú (8 on 10th)
Crotophaga major Iguazú Falls (2 on 9th, 20 on 10th)
Crotophaga ani Sheraton Hotel, Iguazú (1 on 11th)
Guira guira Costanera Sur nature reserve (3 on 27th, 2 on 12th), Iguazú (4 on 10th)
OWLS Strigiformes Strigidae
Magellanic Horned Owl
Bubo magellanicus Torres del Paine NP (1 seen on 4th, heard hooting that evening)
Strix rufipes Tierra del Fuego NP (1 on a night-drive 6th)
Glaucidium brasilianum Iguazú (1 on 10th)
Glaucidium nanum Lake Roca, Tierra del Fuego NP (2 on 6th)
Athene cunicularia Puerto Pirámides steppe (2 on 28th), southern Valdes Peninsula (6 on 29th)
SWIFTS Apodiformes Apodidae
Great Dusky Swift
Cypseloides senex Iguazú Falls (thousands on 9th, 10th and 11th)
Chaetura andrei Iguazú Falls (4 on 10th)
HUMMINGBIRDS Trochiliformes Trochilidae
Phaethornis eurynome Iguazú (10 on 10th)
Florisuga fuscus Iguazú (3 on 10th)
Anthracothorax nigricollis Iguazú (10 on 10th)
Chlorostilbon aureoventris Iguazú (3 on 10th), Costanera Sur nature reserve (3 on 12th)
Thalurania glaucopis Iguazú Falls (pair on 9th), Iguazú (10 on 10th)
Hylocharis chrysura Iguazú (10 on 10th)
Agyrtria versicolor Iguazú (10 on 10th, 1 on 11th), Costanera Sur nature reserve (1 on 12th)
TROGONS Trogoniformes Trogonidae
Trogon rufus Iguazú Falls (pair on 9th)
Trogon surrucura Iguazú Falls (female on 9th), Iguazú (male on 10th)
KINGFISHERS Coraciiformes Alcedinidae
Ceryle torquata Iguazú Falls (1 on 9th, 10th)
Chloroceryle amazona Iguazú Falls (2 on 9th, 10th)
MOTMOTS Coraciiformes Momotidae
Baryphthengus ruficapillus Iguazú (2 on 10th)
TOUCANS Piciformes Ramphastidae
Ramphastos dicolorus Iguazú Falls (1 on 9th)
Ramphastos toco Iguazú Falls (12 on 9th)
WOODPECKERS Piciformes Picidae
Picumnus temminckii Iguazú Falls (1 on 10th 4 on 11th)
Melanerpes flavifrons Iguazú (1 on 10th)
Veniliornis spilogaster Iguazú (1 on 10th)
Colaptes pitius Torres del Paine NP (1 on 4th)
Campo (Field) Flicker
Colaptes campestris Road to Buenos Aires International Airport (2 on 12th)
Campephilus magellanicus Lake Roca, Tierra del Fuego NP (male on 6th), Tolkeyen Hotel (pair on 7th)
OVENBIRDS Passeriformes Furnariidae
Geositta cunicularia Valdes Peninsula, common daily, crossing to Chile (1 on 3rd)
Geositta antarctica Between the Chilean border and Esperanza (1 on 5th)
Upucerthia dumetaria Puerto Pirámides steppe (2 on 28th), Torres del Paine NP (2 on 4th)
Eremobius phoenicurus Puerto Pirámides steppe (2 on 28th)
Cinclodes patagonicus Estancia Alice (pair nesting in restaurant roof), Puerto Bandera ponds (1 on 2nd), Tierra del Fuego NP (2 on 6th), Beagle Channel (2 on 7th)
Cinclodes oustaleti Le Martial Glacier, Ushuaia (8 on 8th), Ushuaia tip (7 on 8th)
Cinclodes fuscus Moreno Glacier (1 on 1st), Hosteria los Torres (pair on 3rd), Tierra del Fuego NP (1 on 6th), Beagle Channel trip (1 on 7th)
Furnarius rufus Buenos Aires (common), Iguazú (10 on 10th and 11th), Costanera Sur nature reserve (20 on 12th)
Aphrastura spinicauda Moreno Glacier (4 on 1st), Hosteria los Torres (1 on 3rd), Tolkeyen Hotel and Tierra del Fuego NP (1 on 5th, 5 on 6th)
Cranioleuca sulphurifera Costanera Sur nature reserve (1 on 12th)
Asthenes pyrrholeuca Punta Tombo (3 on 30th)
Asthenes patagonica Puerto Madryn dump (1 on 27th), Puerto Pirámides steppe (2 on 28th)
Philydor lichtensteini Tinamou walk, Iguazú (1 on 11th)
Philydor atricapillus Tinamou walk, Iguazú (1 on 11th)
Automolus leucophthalmus Tinamou walk, Iguazú (2 on 11th)
WOODCREEPERS Passeriformes Dendrocolaptidae
Dendrocincla fuliginosa Tinamou walk, Iguazú (1 on 11th)
Dendrocolaptes platyrostris Iguazú (1 on 10th)
TYPICAL ANTBIRDS Passeriformes Thamnophilidae
Mackenziaena severa Tinamou walk, Iguazú (2 on 11th)
Dysithamnus mentalis Tinamou walk, Iguazú (1 on 11th)
Herpsilochmus rufimarginatus Tinamou walk, Iguazú (3 on 11th)
TAPACULOS Passeriformes Rhinocryptidae
Scytalopus magellanicus Moreno Glacier (1 seen, 1 heard on 1st)
PLANTCUTTERS Passeriformes Phytotomidae
Phytotoma rara Moreno Glacier (1 on 1st)
MANAKINS Passeriformes Pipridae
Manacus manacus Tinamou walk, Iguazú (1 at a lek on 11th)
Chiroxiphia caudata Tinamou walk, Iguazú (1 at a lek on 11th)
Pipra fasciicauda Tinamou walk, Iguazú (lone female on 11th)
TYRANT FLYCATCHERS Passeriformes Tyrannidae
Capsiempis flaveola Iguazú Falls (2 on 10th)
Elaenia flavogaster Iguazú (1 on 10th)
Elaenia albiceps Calafate lagoon (2 on 31st), Parque Nacional los Glaciares (10 on 1st and 2nd), El Calafate (1 on 3rd), Torres del Paine NP (0s on 4th), Tolkeyen Hotel and Tierra del Fuego NP (3 on 5th, 10 on 6th, 2 on 8th)
Elaenia parvirostris Tinamou walk, Iguazú (1 on 11th)
Mionectes rufiventris Tinamou walk, Iguazú (1 on 11th)
Leptopogon amaurocephalus Tinamou walk, Iguazú (1 on 11th)
Anairetes parulus Moreno Glacier (pair on 1st), Tierra del Fuego NP (2 on 6th)
Tachuris rubrigastra Trelew settlement ponds (3 on 30th)
Myiornis auricularis Tinamou walk, Iguazú (2 on 11th)
Corythopis delalandi Tinamou walk, Iguazú (1 seen several heard on 11th)
Lathrotriccus euleri Tinamou walk, Iguazú (1 on 11th)
Xolmis pyrope Moreno Glacier (5 on 1st), Hosteria los Torres (1 on 3rd), Torres del Paine NP (2 on 4th), Tierra del Fuego NP (6 on 6th)
Xolmis rubetra Puerto Pirámides steppe (10 on 28th)
Agriornis livida Torres del Paine NP (1 on 4th)
Agriornis murina Calafate lagoon (1 on 31st)
Muscisaxicola macloviana Moreno Glacier (1 on 1st)
Muscisaxicola capistrata Torres del Paine NP (1 on 4th)
Muscisaxicola rufivertex Moreno Glacier (1 on 1st)
Muscisaxicola albilora Hosteria los Torres (1 on 3rd)
Muscisaxicola flavinucha Le Martial Glacier, Ushuaia (1 on 8th)
Lessonia rufa Common daily in Patagonia
Knipolegus aterrimus Puerto Madryn dump (pair on 27th)
Hymenops perspicillatus Trelew settlement ponds (3 on 30th)
Black-backed (Pied) Water-tyrant
Fluvicola pica Costanera Sur nature reserve (4 on 12th)
Satrapa icterophrys Iguazú Falls (1 on 10th), Costanera Sur nature reserve (1 on 12th)
Colonia colonus Iguazú (1 on 10th)
Machetornis rixosus Iguazú Falls (4 on 10th)
Sirystes sibilator Iguazú (1 on 10th)
Pitangus sulphuratus Rincon Chico, Valdes Peninsula (2 on 29th), Trelew settlement ponds (2 on 30th), Iguazú Falls (abundant daily), Costanera Sur nature reserve (20 on 12th)
Megarynchus pitangua Iguazú Falls (2 on 10th)
Myiozetetes similis Iguazú Falls (2 on 9th and 10th)
Myiodynastes maculatus Iguazú (1 on 10th)
Empidonomus varius Iguazú (1 on 10th and 11th)
Tyrannus melancholicus Iguazú Falls (2 on 9th, 10th), Costanera Sur nature reserve (6 on 12th)
Tyrannus savana Trelew settlement ponds (3 on 30th), Iguazú Falls (10 on 10th), Costanera Sur nature reserve (12 on 12th)
Tityra cayana Iguazú (1 on 10th)
SWALLOWS Passeriformes Hirundinidae
Progne chalybea Costanera Sur nature reserve (0s on 27th, and 12th), Iguazú Falls (20 on 9th, 10 and 11th)
Progne elegans Puerto Pirámides (2 on 28th), Puerto Madryn (2 on 30th)
Tachycineta albiventer Iguazú Falls (10 on 10th)
Tachycineta leucorrhoa Costanera Sur nature reserve (00s on 27th, 20 on 12th)
Tachycineta meyeni Estancia Alice (10 on 31st), Parque Nacional los Glaciares (100 on 1st, 20 on 2nd), Torres del Paine NP (0s on 4th), Tolkeyen Hotel, Tierra del Fuego (0s on 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th)
Pygochelidon cyanoleuca Common daily in Patagonia
Atticora melanoleuca Iguazú Falls (2 on 10th)
WAGTAILS & PIPITS Passeriformes Motacillidae
Anthus correndera Trelew settlement ponds (3 on 30th)
Anthus furcatus Puerto Pirámides steppe (3 pairs on 28th), Rincon Chico, Valdes Peninsula (1 on 29th), Calafate lagoon (1 on 31st)
Anthus hellmayri Moreno Glacier (3 on 1st)
WRENS Passeriformes Troglodytidae
Troglodytes aedon Common in woods and around hotels daily
MOCKINGBIRDS & THRASHERS Passeriformes Mimidae
Mimus saturninus Buenos Aires 1 on 27th), Sheraton Hotel, Iguazú (10 on 9th, 10th and 11th), Costanera Sur nature reserve (6 on 12th)
Mimus patagonicus Common in Patagonia daily
THRUSHES Passeriformes Turdidae
Turdus rufiventris Costanera Sur nature reserve (2 on 27th, 6 on 12th), Iguazú Falls (1 on 10th and 11th)
Turdus falcklandii Puerto Madryn (1 at the hotel on 29th), Estancia Alice (1 on 31st), Parque Nacional los Glaciares (5 on 1st and 10 on 2nd), Torres del Paine NP (20 on 4th), Tierra del Fuego NP (30 on 6th)
Turdus leucomelas Iguazú Falls (10 on 9th, 10th and 11th)
Turdus amaurochalinus Iguazú Falls (1 on 10th), Costanera Sur nature reserve (2 on 12th)
GNATCATCHERS Passeriformes Polioptilidae
Polioptila dumicola Costanera Sur nature reserve (1 on 27th, 6 on 12th)
CROWS & JAYS Passeriformes Corvidae
Cyanocorax chrysops Iguazú Falls: a few daily (Costanera Sur 1 on 12th)
OLD WORLD SPARROWS Passeriformes Passeridae
Passer domesticus Common in towns daily
VIREOS & ALLIES Passeriformes Vireonidae
Vireo olivaceus Tinamou walk, Iguazú (1 on 11th)
FINCHES Passeriformes Fringillidae
Carduelis magellanica Costanera Sur nature reserve (3 on 27th, 6 on 12th)
Carduelis barbata Puerto Madryn (3 on 30th), Parque Nacional los Glaciares (10 on 1st and 3 on 2nd), Torres del Paine NP (10 on 4th), Tolkeyen Hotel and Tierra del Fuego NP (15 on 5th, 30 on 6th)
NEW WORLD WOOD WARBLERS Passeriformes Parulidae
Geothlypis aequinoctialis Costanera Sur nature reserve (1 on 27th, 10 on 12th), Iguazú Falls (1 singing on 10th)
Basileuterus culicivorus Iguazú (2 on 10th), Tinamou walk, Iguazú (2 on 11th)
BANANAQUIT Passeriformes Coerebidae
Coereba flaveola Iguazú (30 on 10th)
TANAGERS & ALLIES Passeriformes Thraupidae
Cissopis leveriana Iguazú (2 on 10th)
Hemithraupis guira Iguazú (1 on 10th)
Trichothraupis melanops Iguazú Falls (male in flight on 9th), Tinamou walk, Iguazú (3 on 11th)
Habia rubica Tinamou walk, Iguazú (2 on 11th)
Thraupis sayaca Iguazú (2 at feeder on 10th)
Euphonia violacea Iguazú Falls (3 pairs on 9th), Iguazú (1 pair on 10th and 11th)
Euphonia pectoralis Iguazú Falls (1 pair on 9th), Iguazú (1 pair on 10th)
Tangara seledon Iguazú Falls (5 on 10th)
Dacnis cayana Iguazú (1 on 10th), Tinamou walk, Iguazú (1 pair on 11th)
Tersina viridis Iguazú Falls (10 on 9th, 4 on 10th)
BUNTINGS & SEEDEATERS Passeriformes Emberizidae
Coryphospingus cucullatus Iguazú (4 on 10th), Tinamou walk, Iguazú (4 on 11th)
Phrygilus gayi Calafate lagoon (2 on 31st), Hosteria los Torres (2 on 3rd)
Phrygilus patagonicus Parque Nacional los Glaciares (10 on 1st, 1 on 2nd), Torres del Paine NP (20 on 4th), Tierra del Fuego NP (10 on 6th)
Phrygilus fruticeti Patagonian steppe, common daily
Melanodera xanthogramma Le Martial Glacier, Ushuaia (male on 8th)
Diuca diuca Patagonian steppe common daily
Poospiza nigrorufa Costanera Sur nature reserve (20 on 12th)
Poospiza melanoleuca Costanera Sur nature reserve (4 on 12th)
Sporophila caerulescens Iguazú Falls (1 pair on 10th), Costanera Sur nature reserve (1 on 12th)
Sicalis flaveola Costanera Sur nature reserve (fem/imm male on 27th), Iguazú (15 on 10th)
Sicalis luteola Trelew settlement ponds (5 on 30th)
Sicalis lebruni Punta Dalgada (8 on 29th)
Embernagra platensis Costanera Sur nature reserve (1 on 12th)
Paroaria coronata Costanera Sur nature reserve (1 on 12th)
Paroaria capitata Iguazú Falls (1 on 10th), Costanera Sur nature reserve (4 on 12th)
Zonotrichia capensis Common to abundant daily, one dead in Museum, Harberton, Beagle Channel trip on 7th
SALTATORS & CARDINALS Passeriformes Cardinalidae
Saltator fuliginosus Tinamou walk, Iguazú (1 on 11th)
Saltator similis Iguazú (1 heard but seen only poorly on 10th)
TROUPIALS & ALLIES Passeriformes Icteridae
Agelaius thilius Puerto Bandera pools (5 on 2nd, Costanera Sur nature reserve (6 on 12th))
Sturnella loyca Valdes Peninsula, Calafate, Patagonia, common daily, Torres del Paine NP (2 on 4th)
Molothrus badius Costanera Sur nature reserve (2 on 27th, 4 on 12th)
Molothrus bonariensis Puerto Pirámides steppe (5 on 28th), Punta Tombo (3 on 30th), Costanera Sur nature reserve (20 on 12th)
Icterus cayanensis Iguazú (3 on 10th), Sheraton Hotel Iguazú (2 on 11th)
Cacicus haemorrhous Iguazú Falls (1 on 9th, 00s on 10th nesting in colonies), Tinamou walk, Iguazú (10 on 11th)
Amblyramphus holosericeus Costanera Sur nature reserve (1 on 12th)
RABBITS & HARES Lagomorpha Leporidae
Oryctolagus cuniculus Tierra del Fuego NP (5 on 6th)
Lepus europaeus Common, almost daily in Patagonia, abundant Torres del Paine, Chile
SQUIRRELS Rodentia Scuridae
Sciurus aestuans Iguazú Falls (2 on 9th)
BEAVERS Rodentia Castoridae
Castor canadensis Tierra del Fuego NP (1 seen, plus several dams and lodges, on 6th)
AGOUTIS & PACAS Rodentia Agoutidae
Dasyprocta azarae Tinamou Walk, Iguazú (2 on 10th)
CAVIES & GUINEA PIGS Rodentia Caviidae
Southern Mountain (Lesser) Cavy
Microcavia australis Punta Tombo (3 in Magellanic Penguin colony on 30th)
Brazilian Guinea Pig (Cavy)
Cavia aperea Iguazú Falls (5 on 9th and 10th)
Dolichotis patagonum Common on the Valdes Peninsula especially Punta Delgada on 29th
SPINY-RATS Rodentia Echimyidae
Myocastor coypus Costanera Sur, Buenos Aires (5 on 12th)
DOGS & FOXES Carnivora Canidae
Patagonian Grey Fox
Pseudalopex griseus Valdes steppe (1 on 28th), journey to Chile (1 on 3rd), Torres del Paine (1 on 3rd, 1 at a lay-by on 4th), Hosteria los Torres (5 on 4th, one attacking Patagonian Skunk), journey to El Calafate (1 on 5th)
EARED SEALS Carnivora Otariidae
South American Fur seal
Arctocephalus australis Colony of about 12 on a small island in the Beagle Channel off Ushuaia on 7th
South American Sea-lion
Otaria byronia Valdes Peninsula, about 11 including 3 on the Puerto Pirámides whale-watching trip; three colonies of about 12 each on the Beagle Channel trip on 7th
EARLESS SEALS Carnivora Phocidae
Southern Elephant Seal
Mirounga leonina Thousands along the Valdes Peninsula north coast on 28th
OTTERS, WEASELS & BADGERS Carnivora Mustelidae
Conepatus humboldtii Hosteria los Torres, Torres del Paine NP (1 attacked by young grey fox 4th), crossing to Argentina (1 in Chile on 5th)
RACCOONS Carnivora Procyonidae
South American Coati
Nasua nasua Iguazú Falls (5 on 9th - all wearing coloured ear tags)
APES Primates Hominidae
Homo sapiens Common daily, especially nursing mothers and infants on aircraft (too many on 27th) and nursing mothers Iguazú Falls (2 on 9th)
RIGHT WHALES Cete Balaenidae
Southern Right Whale
Balaena australis Possibly more than 16 blowing, surfacing, tail-lobbing and breaching off Puerto Pirámides, Valdes Peninsula, 27th to 29th. About 16 on the whale-watching trip on the 28th
CAMELS Artiodactyla Camelidae
Lama guanicoe Two singles and herds of 14 and 5 seen Valdes Peninsula (27th); up to 80 per herd (28th); Torres del Paine, Chile, abundant (150 on 4th)
Golden Tegu Iguazú (several of these large lizards daily).
Climbing Lizard Iguazú (2 on 9th).
Lidaemus Lizard Lidaemus sp. Valdes Peninsula (singles on 28th and 30th).
Painted Turtle Costanera Sur (4 on 12th).
Stripe-necked Turtle Costanera Sur (8 on 12th).
Hillair's Side-necked Turtle Costanera Sur (2 on 12th).
Bullet Ant Patagonia (an extraordinary looking creature seen a few times).
Golden-bellied Ant Iguazú (a small colony on a tree close to one of the walkways).
Orion's Belt Seen well but in the southern hemisphere it was upside down with the sword pointing up.
Southern Cross Seen well on all clear nights.