Wild Patagonia & Central Chile Nov 02—17, 2017
Posted by Andrew Whittaker
Wondrous Chile came up trumps again! We enjoyed a sensational second spring with a non stop array of exciting, easy birding (200 species) with a backdrop of stupendous world-class scenery, great mammals (16 species), and an amazing abundance of gorgeous wildflowers combined with super weather and scrumptious Chilean food! Life cannot get much better! We cleaned up on all the fantastic endemics and specialties and enjoyed yet another fabulous year of Pumas galore (last year 7 cats, this year 8)! Wild Patagonia rewarded us with the wonderful antics of an active King Penguin colony and its cute chicks, and we nailed so well the much-wanted Magellanic Plover, too. Other birding highlights included classing all the exciting, colourful, and often very confiding tapaculos, killer views of the huge and astounding Magellanic Woodpecker and immense Andean Condor, close views of the rarely seen Pudu (the world’s smallest deer), and much more!
Chile is almost like a European country and well worth visiting for its abundant wildlife alone, but also to experience the incomparable Andean and Patagonian scenery, especially at the famous Torres del Paine National Park (often described as the 8th Wonder of the World) or crossing the famous Straits of Magellan to visit Tierra del Fuego, “the land of fire,” and its stunning steppes and famous wildlife. Wow, Chile simply rocks and is a must to visit for any nature lover, as well as for the superlative Chilean food and famous wines!
Our NEW action-packed tour again surpassed my greatest expectations! We began on a high note in the delightful Andean slopes outside Santiago, scoring on a quick couple of cool endemics: first, the great sounding White-throated Tapaculo, and then we nailed two endemics—the Dusky-tailed Canastero and the Chilean Tinamou (a high record of 7 Tinamous seen)! We marveled over the enigmatic endemic Moustached Turca scratching around in its towhee-like mode, gathering food for its young, against a fine backdrop of millions of poppies. This year the spring flowers were to-die-for, a vibrant kaleidoscope of colors and hues; we enjoyed great studies of not one but 3 different colorful Puya bromeliads. For lunch we arrived at a wonderful restaurant with a panoramic view of the snow-capped peaks of Valle Nevado (the valley of snow); here we had our first soaring Andean Condors of the day.
Read Andrew’s full report in his Field Report.