Birding in the North of Chile: Lauca National Park and North Chile specialties

 

Scenically breathtaking with stunning birdlife, the Andes conjure up a mouth-watering birding feast. Soaring Andean Condors above high peaks in clear blue skies and Diademed Sandpiper-Plovers on mineral-rich bogs with the sound of Seedsnipe echoing in the valley. These are the magical experiences of this trip. In just few days we shall visit, not only the high Puna grasslands but also the arid Pacific coast with its endemic species, the stunning Lauca National Park and fit in a Humboldt Current pelagic trip and look for the critically endangered Chilean Woodstar.

 

DATES

28th Oct - 2nd Nov 2017

27th Oct - 1st Nov 2018

 

EXTENSIONS:

Pre-Tour: Easter Island or Robinson Crusoe Island

Post-Tour: Falklands Islands or Puma Safari

 

2017 Tour Price Per Person: US$1855 (Double occupancy, price excludes domestic flights)

Single Occupancy Supplement: US$195

 

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:

-5 nights in hotels/lodges

-Pelagic trip in Arica

-Meals

-Some drinks

-Transport

-Entrance fees (national parks and reserves)

 

 

DAY 1. 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

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 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.

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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.

Birding in the North of Chile: Lauca National Park and North Chile specialties