4 Days of Birding Around Santiago from the High Andes to the Sea

Santiago is a modern, cosmopolitan city and a starting point for those who want to travel through Chile. It is located in the central valley of the country, on the east it is flanked by the imposing high Andes and to the west the mountain of the coast.

Only 120 kilometers from this city it is possible to reach the Pacific Ocean and navigate the rich Humboldt Current. The natural areas near Santiago are considered hot spot of high biodiversity, in them it is possible to observe several of the endemic birds and other specialists of central Chile. On this trip we will travel immersed in the high Andes mountains and sail to observe large Albatross.

 

Day 1. Wednesday. Highlands above Santiago - The Endemic Quest

The main target of the day is the beautiful and sought-after Diademed Sandpiper-Plover. For that, we will drive directly to the El Yeso area, just doing a few selected stops, especially for the endemic Crag Chilia and Moustached Turca.

 

We are involved in the scientific study of this rare and strange bird so have a good record for finding it.

 

Around the El Yeso dam, we will look for the Diademed Sandpiper-Plover where a small population is breeding, and for other high-elevation species, such as Andean Goose, Crested and Torrent Duck, Andean Condor, Mountain Caracara, Grey-breasted Seedsnipe, White-sided Hillstar, Rufous-banded Miner, the rare Creamy-rumped Miner, Scale-throated Earthcreeper, Black-fronted Ground-tyrant and Greater Yellow-finch.

 

The scenery here is the most beautiful and dramatic in Central Chile... mountains, lakes, glaciers and rivers combine to make a magnificent spectacle.

 

Pick-up at your hotel at 6:30 a.m. and drop off at 5:30 p.m.

 

 

 

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The legendary American ornithologist Robert Cushman Murphy said “I now belong to the higher cult of mortals for I have seen the albatross!”

 

If you want to belong to this cult and enjoy one of the best pelagic experience in the world, then you have to go on a pelagic trip on the Humboldt current!

 

The most common tubenoses during these trips are Black-browed, Salvin's and Northern Royal Albatross, White-chinned and Westland Petrels, Sooty and Pink-footed Shearwater, Cape Petrel, Southern Fulmar, Peruvian Diving-Petrel and Fuegian Storm-Petrel (the chilensis subspecies of Wilson's Storm-Petrel). During austral summer we also have good chance to see the two Pterodroma Petrels we have around here, the Masatierra and Juan-Fernandez Petrel, or even the critically endangered Chatham Albatross. On some trips we have seen more than 500 albatrosses of 8 different species!

 

Others marine species include the tiny Humboldt and Magellanic Penguins, Red-legged and Guanay Cormorant, Peruvian Booby, Chilean Skua and Inca Tern. During migration, we can also have huge flocks of migrants like Franklin's Gull, Red Phalarope, South American Tern or Grey Gull.

 

We will leave Santiago at 5 a.m. Pelagic trip will start at 6:30 a.m., and we will end it at lunch time (around 1-2 p.m.). We will continue birdwatching along the coast and back to Santiago.

Birding in Santiago  

Day 3. Friday. Birding the Pacific Coast

 

Shared trip dates 2019-2020:

 

September: 11th - 14th.                                  

 

October: 9th - 12th.                                

 

November: 6th - 9th.                                  

 

December: 4th - 7th.                                  

 

January: 8th - 11th.

 

February: 5th - 8th.

 

March: 4th - 7th.  

 

April: 1st - 4th.

 

April: 29th - 2nd May.

 

 

 

Private trips can be organized any day from September to May.

Day 2. Thursday. The Yeso Valley - Diademed Sandpiper Plover

Leaving Santiago early in the morning we will drive directly to San Antonio and our first destination, the Maipo estuary. There we will probably see thousands of gulls, skimers, terns, pelicans and shorebirds.

At sea, we will perhaps see some Sooty Shearwaters, Guanay Cormorant or even a Black-browed Albatross and White-chinned Petrels and on the beach will roost hundreds of Whimbrel.

 

After scanning the masses of migrant birds in search of a rarity we will spend more attention to the passerines and look for the rare Ticking Doradito (a recent split of Warbling Doradito), Spectacled Tyrant, the Chilean endemic Dusky Tapaculo and few Correndera Pipit.

 

Near the restaurant where we will have our lunch, we will look for another Chilean endemic, the Chilean Seaside Cinclodes.

 

In the afternoon we will visit some other wetlands, where we have good chance to find Spot-flanked Gallinule, Black-necked Swan, Many-colored Rush-tyrant, Plumbeous Rail, Black-headed Duck and maybe even the secretive Stripe-back Bittern.

 

We will also stop near a Peruvian Pelican colony where a few Humboldt Penguins are also breeding.

 

Pick-up at your hotel at 6:30 a.m. and drop off at 5:30 p.m.

 

We have one day to find 6 of the central Chile endemics: Chilean Tinamou, Crag Chilia, Dusky-tailed Canastero, Moustached Turca, White-throated Tapaculo, Dusky Tapaculo. To do that we will bird the foothills and mountains of the Andes near Santiago, doing several stops at different altitudes.

 

Of course, our birding will not be limited to these endemics, and will look for many more wonderful birds like Striped Woodpecker, Chilean Flicker, Austral Pygmy-owl, Giant Hummingbird, White-sided Hillstar, Creamy-rumped Miner, Black-fronted Ground-tyrant, Greater Yellow-finch, Magellanic Tapaculo, Scale-throated Earthcreeper, Andean Condor, Mountain Caracara etc.

 

At our picnic place, we usually have Andean Condor soaring around, and Rufous-banded Miner and Greater Yellow-finch looking for some pieces of bread.

 

Pick-up at your hotel in Santiago around 6:30 a.m. and back at 5:30 p.m.

 

Day 4. Saturday. Pelagic Trip off Valparaíso

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