Birding All Chile.. North to South. The most complete Tour!

 

This programme contains 3 weeks of birding adventures and enables participants to see all the main species and landscape highlights of one of the world´s most beautiful countries. You will experience mountains, glacier, volcanoes, the world´s highest lake, Pacific Ocean, driest desert and spectacular Torres Del Paine. Birds vary as sceneries do, you will see from Albatross, Condor, Southernmost Parrot, Hummingbird species, Chilean and Southern Cone endemics, Many Coloured Rush Tyrant, Burrowing Parakeet and Diademed Sandpiper-Plover.

 

DATES

28th Oct - 17th Nov 2017

27th Oct - 16th Nov 2018

 

EXTENSIONS:

Pre-Tour: Easter Island or Robinson Crusoe Island

Post-Tour: Falklands Islands or Puma Safari

 

2017 Tour Price Per Person: US$7000 (Double occupancy, price excludes domestic flights)

Single Occupancy Supplement: US$951

 

This tour is limited to 8 participants with one leader, and 9-10 with 2 leaders.

List of all participants has to be presented at least 3 months before the tour takes place and sent to contact@albatross-birding.com.

Included in the price:

-20 nights in hotels/lodges

-Meals

-Some drinks

-Two Pelagic trips: Valparaiso, Arica

-Transport

-Entrance fees (national parks and reserves)

DAY1. ARRIVAL TO SANTIAGO

After arrival to Santiago’s airport hotel we will have dinner and meeting with the guide, who will give you all the instructions for the trip.

DAY 2. BIRDING IN ARICA VALLEYS

Early in the morning we will fly from Santiago to Arica, which is right next to the Peruvian border. Today we will be birding in the Atacama Desert, one of the driest regions on earth. Nevertheless, there are many small rivers carrying water from the Andes. Their well-cultivated flood plains form rich oasis in this harsh environment. Our most important target species will be hummingbirds: Sturdy Oasis Hummingbird, Peruvian Sheartail and Chilean Woodstar (critically endangered, whose world population is 350). After our lunch in Valle de Azapa, we will be birding along the coastline and at the estuary of the Lluta River. Our main targets will be shorebirds, and we hope for Killdeer, Snowy Plover, American and Blackish Oystercatchers, Surfbirds, Willet and a selection of Gulls and Terns.

DAY 3. PELAGIC TRIP AND BIRDING ON THE WAY TO PUTRE

We will start our day with pelagic trip and enjoy 6 hours of Humboldt Current, which allows us to see sub-Antarctic seabirds and warm water Petrels. We hope to find Salvin's, Buller's and Black-Browed Albatross, Northern Giant-Petrel, White-Chinned Petrel, Sooty Shearwater, Elliott´s Storm-Petrel, Markham's Storm-Petrel, Peruvian Diving Petrel, Humboldt Penguin, Chilean Skua and Swallow-tailed Gull. Inshore species should include Red-Legged and Guanay Cormorants, Inca and South American Terns, Peruvian Boobies and Peruvian Pelican. After our tasty lunch at restaurant on the beach, we will head to the arable areas outside Arica and then to Putre, with some birding stops on the way. We will also be searching for the impressive Peruvian Thick-knee, Pacific Dove, Croaking Ground-Dove, Groove-Billed Ani, Burrowing Owl, Andean Swift, Peruvian Elaenia (the form here of White-Crested Elaenia), Vermilion Flycatcher, local race of Bran-Coloured Flycatcher (a strong candidate for a future split), Cinereous Conebill, Chestnut-Throated Seedeater, Blue-Black Grassquit, Slender-Billed Finch and Peruvian Meadowlark.

Putre has an altitude of 3500m (11483ft) and is our gateway to high Andes adventure.

DAY 4. FULL DAY AT LAUCA NATIONAL PARK

The Lauca National Park is a place of outstanding natural beauty. The towering snow-capped volcanoes of Pomerape and Parinacota soar to over 6300m (11811ft) and reflect perfectly in the deep blue water of Chungara and Cotocotani Lakes. This is our venue today and the highlight is Lake Chungara, which is one of the highest altitude lakes in the world with its hordes of birds, including Andean Grebe (the form here of Silver Grebe), Puna Teal and Giant Coot along with ducks and Andean Gulls. On our way up to the lakes we will search the high altitude bogs for the stunning and difficult to find Diademed Sandpiper Plover. Other birds for today are Puna Rhea, Andean Flicker, White-Winged Cinclodes, Black Siskin, Puna Tinamou, Puna Ibis, Andean Goose, Mountain Caracara, Andean Lapwing, Puna Plover, Andean Avocet, Andean Gull, Puna Miner, Puna and White Fronted Ground-Tyrants, Andean Negrito, White-Winged Diuca-Finch and White-Throated Sierra-Finch. We will also be looking for Flamingos, and with some luck we will be able to spot all three of its species: Chilean, Andean and Puna. At the end of an excellent and adventurous day we return to our lodge in Putre.

DAY 5. BIRDING IN PUTRE AND RETURN TO ARICA

We will spend the morning around the village and we will be looking for Bare-Faced Ground-Dove, White-Throated Earthcreeper, Yellow-Billed Tit Tyrant, Canyon and Dark-Winged Canastero, Blue-and-Yellow Tanager, Cream-Winged and White-Winged Cinclodes, Streaked Tit-Spinetail, D'Orbigny's and White-Browed Chat-Tyrants, Chiguanco Thrush, Black-Throated Flower-Piercer, Golden- Billed Saltator, Black-Hooded and Ash-Breasted Sierra-Finches along with Greenish Yellow-Finch, Band-tailed Seedeater and maybe Ornate Tinamou and Spot-winged Pigeon. We will then drive slowly down the windy mountain road back to Arica looking for any birds we may have missed on the way to Putre. We will then return to our hotel in Arica.

DAY 6. BIRDING AROUND ARICA, FLIGHT TO SANTIAGO

This morning we will travel to the south of Arica, until Caleta de Camarones, where we will look for Pied-crested Tit-Tytant, Raimondi’s Yellos-Finch and Tamarugo Conebill. After our lunch we will return to the airport and fly to Santiago.

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DAY 7. BIRDING AT FARELLONES AND VALLE NEVADO

We will take a morning drive to the Andes to look for high altitude specialists like Greater Yellowfinch, Rufous-Banded and Creamy-Rumped Miners and White-Sided Hillstar among other special Andean birds. Massive Andean Condors should be flying above and sometimes below us. We are hoping to see Variable Hawk,Black-Chested Buzzard Eagle and Mountain Caracara. We will also be birding in lower altitudes, looking for 5 endemics: Chilean Tinamou, Moustached Turca, White-Throated and Dusky Tapaculos, Crag Chilia and Dusky-Tailed Canastero. This is a great day with fantastic scenery.

DAY 8. FULL DAY ON THE COAST

We will start this day very early and will head to the coast. We should see a wide variety of species including Black-necked and Coscoroba Swans, 3species of Coot, Spot-Flanked Gallinule, Plumbeous Rail, Lake Duck, Great Grebe, Many-Colored Rush-Tyrant, Wren-Like Rushbird and other ducks and grebes. At the Maipo estuary we will be looking for a variety of Gulls, Black Skimmers and a number of Terns, including the rare Snowy-Crowned Tern, with the hope of the beautiful White-tailed Kite ad a good number of other shore and marsh birds. The marshes hopefully give us chance to see the Ticking Doradito and the noisy little endemic Dusky Tapaculo. Leaving the estuary we will drive gradually towards north along the coast. We will stop for lunch in a restaurant, which is next to the sea and is a great place to look for the endemic Seaside Cinclodes. Along our way to Valparaiso there are various birding sites.

DAY 9. PELAGIC TRIP OFF VALPARAISO AND COASTAL BIRDING

Early in the morning we will sail out of the port and go around 19km (12miles) out into the ocean. We will have the chance to see several species of Albatrosses,including Salvin's, Black-browed, Buller's, Northern and Southern Royal and Chatham. Tubenoses are main feature of this pelagic trip and we will hope to spot Southern Fulmar, Masatierra and Westland Petrels, Peruvian Diving-Petrel as well as White-chinned and Northern Giant Petrels, Wilson's Storm-Petrel (local subspecies is Fuegian), Red Phalaropes, Guanay, Red-legged Cormorants, Kelp Gull and South American Tern. After our pelagic trip and delicious lunch, we will continue birding watching along the coast to look for any of the species we might have missed the day before.

DAY 10. COASTAL BIRDING AND LAMPA WETLANDS

After a final hunt along the coast we will go back to Santiago with our main bird target being the rare Great Shrike-Tyrant. We will stop in Lampa wetlands, which is located in north-west of Santiago. Here we will be looking for the secretive South American Painted Snipe along with a host of waterfowl species that we may have missed on the coast, especially Rosy-billed Pochard, the rare Black-headed Duck, Wilson´s Phalarope, Cinereous Harrier and Burrowing Owl. We will then continue our trip to Santiago.

DAY 11. EL YESO VALLEY AND THE HIGH ANDES

Today we will leave our hotel early to avoid the rush hour traffic and head to the very scenic Maipo valley from where we will take the road to El Yeso dam. The bog at 2500m (8202ft) is favourite site of Chile´s number one bird target the rare and charismatic Diademed Sandpiper-Plover. We will look for endemic and beautiful Crag Chilia and the fast running Moustached Turca, in the lower parts of the Valley. We will see a variety of Sierra-Finches and Furnarids here; the latter includes Grey-Flanked Cinclodes, Rufous-Banded Miner, Creamy-Rumped Miner and Scale-Throated Earthcreeper. Ground-Tyrants are everywhere, including White-Browed, Ochre-Naped, Black-Fronted, Cinereous and Spot-Billed. We will also look for Torrent Ducks, which are regular on the streams. One of the hummers we will be looking for is White-Sided Hillstar, and we will have a chance for Black-

Billed Shrike-Tyrants as Grey-breasted Seedsnipe.

DAY 12. VILCHES AND COLBÚN LAKE

We will drive towards south to Talca and continue our trip to Colbún Lake, where our main targets are the large, spectacularly colourful and very noisy macaw Burrowing Parakeet and beautiful Spectacled Duck. Hopefully we will also find a good number of other interesting ducks, grebe species and opportunity to see Spectacled Tyrant and Andean Gull. We will then make short trip to north to spend the rest of the day and all of the following day in the Altos de Lircay National Park. This is old Nothofagus forest with spectacular tree, plant life and interesting geological rarities along with forest bird species. At dusk we will look for the hard to see Rufous-Legged Owl before spending the night in quiet and comfortable forest

lodge in Vilches.

DAY 13. NATIONAL PARK ALTOS DE LIRCAY

We will spend full day in Altos de Lircay to explore the extensive forest. We will be looking for the nasal scolding of Chile's least known Tapaculo and Chestnut-Throated Huet-Huet. We will also be looking for more Nothofagus forest’s specialities such as Austral Parakeet (the world's most southerly parrot species), Chucao Tapaculo with its explosive voice, Magellanic Tapaculo and Patagonian Sierra-Finch. This will be our first opportunity to see the truly spectacular Magellanic Woodpecker, and there is a chance to spot rare and difficult to find Chilean Hawk. After a long day we will return to Vilches.

DAY 14. CERRO ÑIELOL AND TEMUCO

We will travel to Temuco and Cerro Ñielol where we can see Black-throated Huet- Huet, Rufous-Tailed Hawk, Des Mur's Wiretail, Chucao Tapaculo, Slender-billed Parakeet and Ochre-Flanked Tapaculo.

DAY 15. ARAUCARIA FOREST

We will head to higher altitude Nothofagus and Araucaria forest with excellent mountain views, where we will look for Patagonian Forest Earthcreeper, along with Magellanic Tapaculo, Austral Parakeet, Striped Woodpecker, Chilean Flicker, White-Throated Treerunner and other forest species. After a full day of birding we will drive to Temuco’s airport for the short evening flight to Santiago.

We will catch the first flight of the day to the very far south city of Chile, Punta Arenas. We will be birding on the coast near the city, and looking for Flying and Flightless Steamer-Ducks, Magellanic Oystercatcher, Imperial Cormorant, Upland Goose, Chilean Skua along with the splendid Dolphin Gull. Tiny Austral Negrito is sure to be found as well. In the afternoon, we will drive to the Estancia San Juan, where we will see the very rare Ruddy Headed Goose breeds. We will look also for Kelp Goose, and end our trip in Punta Arenas.

DAY 17. TIERRA DEL FUEGO, CROSSING THE MAGELLAN STRAIGHT

We will take the early morning ferry crossing (2.5 hrs) to Porvenir, which is main town in the North-West sector of the mythical island at the end of the world, Tierra del Fuego. We should see scores of Southern Giant Petrel, Magellanic Diving Petrel, Chilean Skua, Black-Browed Albatross and Peale´s dolphins. We will spend the afternoon birding in visiting Laguna Verde and Laguna Santa Maria. Bird species the next couple of days will be Ashy-Headed and Upland Goose, Two- Banded Plover, Magellanic Plover, Chilean Skua, Short-Billed Miner, Rufous- Chested and Tawny-Throated Dotterels, Flightless Steamer-Duck, Black-necked Swan and Crested Duck. We spend the night in Cerro Sombrero.

DAY 18. KING PENGUIN COLONY, BIRDING THE STEPPES

After breakfast we will drive to Bahia Inútil to see a colony of magnificent King Penguins. In the afternoon we will be looking for Rufous-Chested Dotterel, Chocolate-Vented Tyrant and Cinnamon-Bellied Ground-Tyrant before returning to our lodge in Cerro Sombrero.

DAY 19. DRIVE TO PUERTO NATALES

We will bird our way to North-East of the Tierra del Fuego island, where we will take our ferry to mainland (Punta Delgada). This is a shorter ferry crossing with the great chance of seeing Commerson´s Dolphin, Magellanic Diving-Petrel, Wilson's Storm Petrel and White-Chinned Petrel, and other seabirds. Back on the mainland we will make a stop at Bosque Quemado because there is a great chance of seeing variety of waterfowl, including Silver Teal, Rosy-billed Pochard, Chiloe Wigeon, White-cheeked Pintail, Coscoroba Swan, and variety of shorebirds like South American Snipe. We will continue our trip to Puerto Natales and will look for Darwin's Rhea, Austral Canastero, Chocolate-Vented Tyrant, Band-Tailed Earthcreeper, Common Miner Patagonian Yellow-Finch and White-bridled Finch. We will spend the night in our hotel in Puerto Natales.

DAY 20. TORRES DEL PAINE AND SIERRA BAGUALES

Early in the morning we will head to the scenic highlight of the entire expedition – Torres Del Paine. While the park is most famous for its astonishing scenery, it is also rich in bird and mammal life. We will be looking for Dark-Faced Ground- Tyrant, Cinnamon-Bellied Ground-Tyrant, White-Throated Caracara and Patagonian Mockingbird. We will be birding in the eastern side of the park and its lakes looking for waterfowl, and on reed fringed pools looking for the re-discovered Austral Rail. Cinereous Harriers are fairly common.

Guanaco, Patagonian Skunk and Gray Fox are some mammals we may also see. This is the best spot in Chile for Puma watching but daytime sightings are extremely rare. Leaving the Park we will take the road to Sierra Baguales looking for Band-Tailed Earthcreeper, Patagonian and the pretty Yellow Bridled Finch and a variety of Ground-Tyrants. As well as White-Throated Caracara and the very rare Gray-Bellied Shrike-Tyrant we would hope for good views of Andean Condor before heading back to spend the night in Puerto Natales.

DAY 21. PUNTA ARENAS AIRPORT

Sadly this is the last day of our expedition. We will bird our way back to the airport at Punta Arenas where we will take our flight to Santiago and connecting international flights.

Birding All Chile.. North to South

The most complete Tour!

DAY 16. BIRDING AROUND PUNTA ARENAS