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Argentina ~ Birding Patagonia to Tierra del Fuego

Magellanic Woodpecker Tierra del Fuego National Park, ArgemntinaPatagonia is a vast area in southern South America, 1,000,000 sq. kilometers with a population density under 2 inhabitants per square km. It has a great variety of landscapes, from the dry stepp of Valdez Peninsula to the spectacular Andean range.

The Atlantic coast is rich in wildlife, especially birds and mammals, like the Southern Right Whale and the Southern Elephant Seal. Glacier carved valleys above timberline are inhabited by the spectacular Yellow-bridled Finch. The southern beech forest is home for some majestic birds such as Magellanic Woodpecker and the delightful Thorn-tailed Rayadito. In the grassland we can find Lesser Rheas and big herds of a native camel, the Guanaco.

At the southern tip of the world, in Tierra del Fuego, some birds we seek are Magellanic and Gentoo Penguins along the coast and Andean Condors in the mountains. The impressive bird list includes species occurring only in this part of the country.

Mammals will also be a focus, especially on the Valdez Peninsula where whale watching and visiting Elephant Seal colonies are top attractions.

The scenery will have many highlights as well, such as Perito Moreno Glacier, near El Calafate, and the beautiful Beagle Channel in Ushuaia. Huge Penguin Colonies, vast pieces of land inhabited by the wild Guanaco, and the surreal trails through the moss-covered Beech forest are all good reasons to visit this part of the world.

  • Tour Cost
  • 11 Day/10 Nights

     

    2016 Cost
    $6000 from Buenos Aries, Argentina
    Prices per person, double occupancy

    Cost if for a minimum of 6 participants. If fewer register, we plan to make the trip go with a small increase in cost.

    We have set the maximum participation at only 8 participants, small than most other companies.

    *Cost includes all local flights within Argentina. It does not include international flights.

     

    Deposit
    A deposit of $1500 is required to hold your space. You may register with credit card on-line using the form to the right, or download the registration form and mail it with a check or call toll free 888.875.9453 with your credit card.

     

    Final Payment
    Final payment by check required 120 days prior to departure date.

     

    Single Room
    If a single room is preferred, or a roommate is not available, a single supplement fee of $575 will be assessed for the trip.

  • Itinerary
  • ITINERARY

     

    Pre-Day 1 - Depart USA

    You will need to depart the USA the day before the tour starts date as all flights to Buenos Aires are overnight.

     

    Day 1 – Early arrival to Buenos Aires Alternative 1

    Check In at local hotel. During the afternoon we plan visit to Costanera Sur Natural Reserve. It’s a convenient location near downtown on a reclaimed piece of land. Some of the possible birds found here include White-tufted Grebe, Black-and-Rufous Warbling-Finch, Masked Gnatcatcher, Great Pampa-finch and Yellow-winged Blackbird. If water level is high we can also include Black-necked Swam, Whistling Heron, Red-fronted Coot among ducks and others. Night in Buenos Aires.

     

    Day 2 – Fligth to Trelew and Puerto Piramides

    Early flight to Trelew, the gateway to Valdez Peninsula. From there we drive to Puerto Piramides stopping for birds on the way, Burrowing Parrot, Grey-hooded Sierra-Finch, Shiny Cowbird and Patagonian Mockingbird are possible as well as the endemic Carbonated Sierra-finch. Before checking-in we will have good chances to spot our first Elegant Crested Tinamou and the native Guanaco, a south American type of camel.

     

    Once in town we’ll board a boat for a sunset cruise in search for Southern Wright Whales and maybe some pelagic birds. Night in Puerto Piramides.

     

    Day 3 – Valdez Peninsula Full Day

    A great day that will combine a variety of wildlife. Guanacos and Maras are possible along the road, providing great opportunities to photograph them. By midmorning, at Punta Delgada light house, we will have the chance to visit a big Elephant seal colony. Bird life includes, South American, Sandwich and Royal Terns, Black-browed Albatross, Southern Giant Petrels, American and Blackish Oystercatchers and Brown Skuas. This will be our lunch place to recover some energy and enjoy the vast views the Atlanctic Ocean provides.

     

    During the afternoon we will be searching for Burrowing Owls, Grey-bellied Shrike-tyrant, Twany-throated Dotterels, White-throated Cachalote, Patagonian Canastero and Eared Dove as we continue towards Caleta Valdez. A short walk will lead as again to a bird and sea mammal’s colony having also great photographic opportunities for Southern Giant Petrels, our first Magellanic Penguin, and maybe if we are lucky enough a Killer Whale. Night in Puerto Piramides.

     

    Day 4 - Punta Tombo Penguin Colony

    We will devote our day enjoying one of the highlights in the region, the biggest Magellanic Penguin colony of the world with over 500000 individuals. To get there it is a straight drive across wide open pampas scrublands, with stops for Elegant Crested Tinamous and views of Rusty-backed Monjita. At Punta Tombo Southern Martins will welcome us. It is a huge place well organized with boardwalks; there are Magellanic Penguins everywhere, under the bushes and in burrows.

     

    Patagonian Mockingbirds are around the scrubs, and as we get to the point, we will have a view of Chubut Steamer Ducks and Brown Skuas. On our way back to Trelew we will have our last stop today in a nice lagoon to enjoy Angentine Ruddy-Duck, Chilean Swallows, White-winged Coots, White-tailed Kite, Spectacled Tyrant, Picui Ground-Dove, Wren-like Rushbird, Spectacled Tyrant if we are lucky Many-colored Rush-tyrant amd others. Night in Trelew.

     

    Day 5 - Fly to El Calafate and Lake Argentino

    Short drive to local airport with chances to do some birdwatching. Morning flight to our next destinantion, El Calafate. During the afternoon we will visit Laguna Nimes Natural Reserve by Lake Argentino.

     

    This great wetland, will provide good views of Cinereous Harrier, Chilean Flamingo, Upland Goose, Southern Lapwing, Two-banded Plover, Black-necked and Coscoroba Swans. Along the shore of Lake Argentino, including faraway icebergs, there are good chances to see our first Magellanic Plover. Also possible are Least Seedsnipe, Ashy-headed Goose and beautiful Austral Negrito which is a summer migrant, first arriving the males and around a month later the females. Nigth in El Calafate.

     

    Day 6 - Los Glaciares National Park

    This will be for sure a great day, spectacular scenery and superb birds are guaranteed. We’ll search above our heads for the majestic king of the Andes, the Andean Condor. The Condor is one of the biggest flying birds on hear, its impressive 3 meters wingspang makes it wider than the biggest tour bus. In the forest we’ll seek Black-chinned Siskin, White-crested Elaenia, Tufted Tit-tyrant, Austral Thrush and Austral Blackbird.

     

    In the open spaces, luckily Spectacled Duck on a lagoon, Rufous-tailed Plantcutter and Chilean swallow are also possible. In addition to Austral Parakeets and Patagonian Sierra Finches we will make an effort to find two species characteristic of the area, Austral Pigmy-Owl and Chilean Flicker. Perito Moreno Glacier will provide a great photo opportunities been the most dramatic and impressive scenery in Patagonia. Night in El Calafate.

     

    Day 7 - The Steppe at Gobernador Gregores area.

    Day trip through steppe landscape should produce, Lesser Rhea, Correndera Pipit, Mourning Sierra Finch, Long-tailed Meadowlark, the endemic Patagonian Tinamous, Chocolate-vented Tyrant, Least and Gray-breasted Seedsnipe among others. In Scrubs we will search for Austral Canastero, Scale-throated Earthcreeper, Plain-mantled Tit-Spinetail, Common Diuca-Finch and Cordilleran Canastero. Today there are some chances to find the really endangered Hooded-grebe. This particular grebe, first discovered just some decades ago, has specific nesting needs and just some lagoons can provide this environment. Hopefully some of them will provide good views to us. Night in El Calafate.

     

    Day 8 – Flight to Ushuaia

    According to flight schedule we will spend some time in the vicinity of El Calafate searching for some bird we might need. Flight to Ushuaia. Once at the hotel we will take a short walk along the Beagle Channel coast before dinner. Here there are good spots to find Kelp Goose, Ashy-headed Goose, Flightless and Flying Steamer-Duck, White-rumped and Baird´s Sandpiper, and Dolphin Gull. We will enjoy excellent views of the impressive scenery. Just behind the hotel there is a nice piece of forest; maybe an Austral Parakeet or a Rufous-collared Sparrow will provide a good contrast with the sea life. Many times Black-faced Ibis, Southern Lapwing and Upland Goose wander near the parking area. Night in Ushuaia

     

    Day 9- Tierra del Fuego National Park

    Tierra del Fuego National Park provides a perfect contrast, for here we visit the dense Southern Beech forest, home of the White-throated treerunner and the Magellanic Woodpecker. On rivers and lakes there are good chances for Ducks, Great Grebe, Ringed Kingfisher, and Flying Steamer-Ducks among others.

     

    We will search above our heads for Black-chested Buzzard-eagle. Fire-eyed Diucon, Chilean Swallow, Austral Thrush, Black-chinned Siskin, Patagonian Sierra-finch, Tufted Tit-Tyrant and the delightful Thorn-tailed Rayadito are also possible to spot. Sometimes it is possible to find diving-petrels using a scope from the coast. This protected area offers great trails to explore, time permitting we will spend time searching for the cryptic Magellanic Tapaculo. Nigth in Ushuaia.

     

    Day 10 - Magellanic Penguin Colony

    By catamaran we will explore along the Beagle Channel. While sailing, different sea birds can be observed, such as Black-browed Albatross, Southern Fulmar, Magellanic Diving-Petrel, Southern Giant Petrel and South American Tern. On islands we will concentrate attention on Rock Cormorant, Blue-eyed Cormorant, Flightless Steamer Duck, Snowy Sheathbill and Dolphin Gull.

     

    In recent years there are several records of Blackish Cinclodes near Cormorant colonies, so a focus on this bird will be done. On Martillo Island we’ll get excellent views of the Magellanic Penguin, it is a small colony, but produces good views of them including Gentoo Penguin and sometimes King Penguin. During the afternoon we will drive through the Andes Range to get to Lake Fagnano. We will have chances for forest birds such as the really common Chimango and Southern Caracara and the least common White-throated Caracara. Nigth in Ushuaia.

     

    Day 11 - Martial Glacier - Flight to Buenos Aires

    After a short drive we will arrive to a small sky resort near Ushuaia where we will start walking through beech forest until we reach the timberline. Once we get there we will search for some of the specialties of the Andes such as Dark-faced Ground-Tyrant, Ochre-napped Ground-Tyrant, White-throated Caracara and beautiful Yellow-bridled Finch. We’ll also search for the really scarce White-bellied Seed-snipe.

     

    Lunch in town before late afternoon flight to Buenos Aires to catch late-night flights home.

  • Accommodations
  • All lodging are of good quality with en suite facilities, near our birding sites.

  • Trip Reports
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  • Species Lists
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