Santiago-Humboldt Extension Nov 15—20, 2017

Posted by Andrew Whittaker


Andrew Whittaker

Andrew Whittaker, a senior member of the VENT staff, has led VENT tours since 1993 throughout Brazil, Peru, Chile, Bolivia, Colombia, Argentina, Costa Rica, Panama, Europe,...

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Upon our arrival in the bustling capital of Santiago, we rested up after a fine meal. This year all of the participants on our “Wild Patagonia & Central Chile” tour joined us for this exciting extension.

Rested up and raring to go, early the next morning we headed east towards the rich coastline with the famously rich Humboldt Current, our destination the Miapo Estuary. The place was simply brimming with migrant shorebirds, waterfowl, terns, gulls, skimmers and, of course, a host of cool passerines. The limelight was stolen by a family of confiding Many-colored Rush Tyrants, their blaze of vivid colors always stupendous. Tape playback rewarded us with fantastic studies of the recently split Ticking Dorodito (recently arrived) and a Chilean endemic breeder, the odd Wren-like Rushbird; a skulky Dusky Tapaculo showed well after  some work. The sea was alive with a bait ball attracting hundreds of diving Peruvian Boobies offshore and streams of Guanay “one-eyed” Cormorants!

Diademed Sandpiper-Plover

Diademed Sandpiper-Plover— Photo: Andrew Whittaker


We also enjoyed superlative studies of Collared Plover with Ruddy Turnstones and active Sanderlings running up and down the beach like clockwork toys! Quiet freshwaters were graced with courtly Great Grebes, huge flocks of Black Skimmers (fresh from the Amazon), Coscoroba Swans, and both Yellow-billed Pintail and Teal.

We next moved on to visit a few more marshes and were rewarded with great views of Lake Duck, White-necked Stilt, Red-garted Coot with young and, at last, the much sought after Black-headed Duck, unique in being the only obligate parasitic waterfowl. We followed with a scrumptious seafood meal at an incredibly picturesque cove. Sadly, this afternoon we missed out on our Stripe-backed Bittern but did nail a very responsive Striped Woodpecker instead. Retiring to our lovely beach hotel situated above a quiet cove in Quintero, we enjoyed a Marine Otter fishing below while we had another fabulous meal.

Read Andrew’s full report in his Field Report.