David and myself flew out of Heathrow on the 31st October, 2001 for a birding trip to Chile. We landed at Santiago and hired a car and drove to Quintero on the Pacific coast where we were able to arrange a pelagic trip for the following day. Chile is a very long but extremely narrow South American country, and by carefully planning and using internal air flights we visited birding sites from Northern Chile bordering onto Peru and enclosed by the Atacama Desert, to the far South of Chile in Patagonia and even caught a ferry to Tierra del Fuego. We also visited a number of sites in central Chile, and on our final day we did a second pelagic trip again from Quintero. We departed Chile on the 24th November, 2001 back to Heathrow.
Flying over the Andes heading towards Santiago, Chile.
As we left Santiago Airport, we soon ticked off Rufous Collared Sparrow.
We drove straight to the coast to the port of Quintero.
This shows Peruvian Pelicans in the harbour at Quintero.
We approached the local coastguard office, and managed to
arrange a pelagic trip out off Quintero for the following day.
We then visited Punta Concon and the mouth of Rio Aconcagua
both nearby, and spent our first night camping at La Campana Reserve.
We had 15 Red Legged Cormorants at Punta Concon.
A pair of Silvery Grebes belonging to the race ocipitalis
with the yellow ear tufts were on the sea off Punta Concon.
Peruvian Boobies at Punta Concon.
Humboldt Penguin off Punta Concon.
In total we saw 15 Humboldt Penguins of Punta Concon
& we also saw 2 on our first pelagic trip off Quintero.
A pair of Kelp Gulls on the rocks at Punta Concon.
Franklin's Gulls, Inca Tern & Surfbird off Punta Concon.
Inca Terns off Punta Concon
We saw 250 Inca Terns off Punta Concon
We saw 20 Surfbirds at Punta Concon.
We recorded 300 at Rio Aconcaqua and at least 1,000
at a fish factory near Arica.
Adult Franklin's Gull at Punta Concon.
Sea-birds seen on the two pelagics, the first at the start of
our trip and the second at the end of the trip.
Both pelagics were done from the port of Quintero, skippered by
Franco in the m/v Franco Romo.
Pink Footed Shearwater with 700 seen on our first pelagic
and 500 seen on the second.
Pink Footed Shearwater with Southern Fulmar & Cape Petrel.
Pink Footed Shearwaters were the commonest sea-bird
seen on both our pelagics off Quintero.
Ten Southern Fulmars were seen on both the pelagics off Quintero.
On our two pelagic trips we saw a combined total of 25
White Chinned Petrels.
Just 1 South Polar Skua was seen on the first pelagic.
Sooty Shearwater, we had 50 on the first pelagic & 12
on the second.
Salvin's Albatross with Pink Footed Shearwaters & Southern Fulmar.
Salvin's Albatross with Southern Fulmar etc. on the pelagic.
8 were seen on the first with 6 on the second trip.
Salvin's Albatross seen on the pelagic.
Peruvian Pelicans seen on the pelagic.
Eight Cape Petrels were seen on both pelagics.
Cape Petrel & Pink Footed Shearwater on the pelagic.
Sub-adult Black Browed & Salvins Albatrosses, 10 Black
Browed's were seen on the first and 8 on the second pelagic trips.
Black Browed & Salvins Albatrosses with other sea-birds
seen on the pelagic.
Sub adult type Black Browed Albatross seen on the pelagic.
Sub-adult Black Browed Albatross.
Two views of the forest at La Campana.
Dusky Tapaculo gave a stunning performance just a few feet
from us at La Campana.
Rufous Tailed Plantcutter were recorded from 3 sites
during our trip.
Moustached Turca in the evening light at La Campana.
Several Moustached Turcas were seen at La Campana
and odd birds were also seen at El-Yeso.
We heard 6 White Throated Tapaculo singing at La Campana,
but only 1 bird could be enticed out.
Our only sighting of an Austral Pygmy Owl was during
daylight hours at La Campana.
Rufous Collared Sparrows were the most widespread species
seen in Chile and in most habitats, as this one was seen in
the open forest area at La Campana.
Odd Tufted Tit-Tyrants were seen at several sites on the trip,
with 8 at La Campana.
Flying out of Santiago to Arica
We flew from Santiago to Arica and this view shows us passing
over the coastal town of Inquqno and how the
Atacama Desert almost flows into the Pacific Ocean.
Arriving at Arica and shows the Alacran Peninsula to the
right of Arica harbour.
Looking across the bay from Arica.
Approx. 1,000 Grey Gulls including both adults and juveniles, were on the
rocks just to the south of the Alacran Peninsula at Arica.
Thirty 1sy year Band Tailed Gulls were resting on the
beach in the Arica area.
We saw 40 Willets near to the Alacran Peninsula.
Willets & Hudsonian Whimbrels etc on the Alcacran Peninsula.
Peruvian Pelicans were loafing around on the rocks at Arica.
A constant stream of Peruvian Boobies were flying over
the Alacran Peninsula at Arica and we must have seen in
excess of 1,000 Boobies.
Just 5 Blackish Oystercatchers were seen in the Arica area.
Eighty Hudsonain Whimbrels were seen on the
Alacran Peninsula at Arica.
A short drive inland to the Azapa river valley surrounded
both sides by the Atacama Desert.
This shows the fertile Azapa Valley with the Atacama Desert
encroaching either side of the Valley.
As you travel further inland, the valley becomes narrower.
Leaving the Azapa Valley behind for a 60km drive up into
the Andes from sea-level to 9,000 feet to Putre.
We found 6 Slender Billed Finches in the Azapa Valley
& 10 in the Chaca Valley.
The Slender Billed Finch has a small and declining population.
With the evening light beginning to fade we located a stunning
flock in stubble of 33 Peruvian Thicknees in the Lluta Valley.
We had to be quick with the photography in the fading light.
Peruvian Thicknee in the Lluta Valley and our only ones seen
on the trip. We passed this field the following day,but there were
no sign of any in a brief look.
White Crested Elaenia ssp. modesta proved to be common
in a number of sites visited including the Azapa Valley.
Male Peruvian Sheartail in the Azapa Valley.
Small numbers of the local race cocachacra of the Vermillion
Flycatcher could be seen in both Lluta & Azapa Valleys.
Small numbers of Croaking Ground Doves could be found
in the Azapa valley
Up to 10 Cinereous Conebills could be seen in the Azapa Valley.
We now drove away from the coast Arica up into the Andes
towards the mining town of Putre at 9,000 feet.
The scenery became extremely barren.
Approaching Putre with the snow top volcanoes in Lauca
National Park showing at the top of the picture.
Arriving at the mining town of Putre
The valley behind Putre.
Top end of the valley.
Rocky gorge near Putre.
View taken looking from Putre.
Another view looking up towards Lauca Nat. Park
A pair of Variable Hawks were breeding in Putre valley.
Helped some local ringers to catch this Blue & Yellow Tanager,
just 2 were seen at Putre.
We saw 10 Black Throated Flowerpiercers in the
valleys at Putre.
We found 12 Plain Breasted Earthcreepers at Putre.
We were delighted to find 3 White throated Earthcreepers
at the lower end of Wet Gorge A, and they appeared distinctive
from the more commoner Plain Breasted with a white supercillium
and a white throat.
Good numbers of Mourning Sierra Finches were seen at various sites.
A poor record shot of a Hooded Siskin, we saw 80 at Putre.
Greenish Yellow Finch proved to be common in the Putre area.
We saw 6 Giant Hummingbirds of the resident race
peruviana at Putre.
Bar Winged Cinclodes belong to the race albiventris were
present in the valleys at Putre.
We saw 10 Black Winged Ground Doves at Putre.
Up to 200 Bare Faced Ground Doves were seen in the
valleys at Putre.
Forty Andean Hillstars were seen in the valleys at Putre and
we also saw 2 in the Lauca National Park.
We had 10 Black Hooded Sierra Finches in the Putre Valley.
We saw 5 Ash Breasted Sierra Finch at Putre
but at Laguna Miscanti we had 50.
The entrance sign to Lauca National Park situated at
around 11,000 feet.
Views taken in Lauca National Park.
Volcanoes in Lauca National Park, while we were there
one started to smoke.
The motor track through the Park showing Parinacota
volcano and is 20,833 feet high.
View of Lago Chungara in Lauca National Park.
Lago Chungara in Lauca National Park.
John at Lago Chungra at about 14,000 feet.
Moss covered rock in Lauca National Park.
Vicunas with the volcanoes as a back drop in Lauca Nat. Park.
Llamas in Lauca National Park.
Vizcacha near the entrance gate in Lauca National Park.
Vicunas in Lauca National Park
Ornate Tinamou on the entrance track as we approached
Lauca National Park.
Seen in both the early mornings and the evenings when we
were leaving, with as many as 14 on one occasion.
White Winged Cinclodes were recorded in small numbers
on all three days in Lauca National Park.
Excellent views obtained of the Giant Coot in Lauca Nat. Park.
Good numbers were seen with almost 100 present on Lago Chungara.
Giant Coot with young in Lauca Nat. Park
Diademed Sandpiper-Plover - the star bird of the trip.
Diademed Sandpiper-Plover, we located a pair in a marsh
on the left hand side as you entered Luaca Nat. Park
Gave excellent views of this high altitude shorebird.
We also located another pair at El-Yeso near Santiago.
Diademed Sandpiper-Plover at Lauca Nat. Park.
Female Grey Breasted Seed-snipe of the race ingae at Lauca Nat. Park.
Male Grey Breasted Seed-snipe. We saw 14 in total at Lauca Nat.Park.
Speckled Teal at Lauca Nat.Park.
Silvery Grebe of the race juninensis on Lago Chungara in
Lauca Nat. Park. We saw 60 on this Lago.
We only saw Puna Ibis in Lauca Nat. Park where we had
up to 20 on a day.
Crested Ducks were found at several sites during our trip.
Just 1 pair of Andean Lapwings were seen in Lauca Nat.
Park and this was our only sighting of the trip.
Andean Gull with Speckled Teal in Lauca Nat. Park
Up to 12 Andean Gulls seen daily in Lauca Nat. Park.
We had a total of 5 Andean Avocets in Lauca Nat. Park
This pair had a chick and was present all 3 days on a roadside
Up to 40 Andean Geese were seen in Lauca Nat. Park.
Up to 8 Andean Flickers on a day were seen in Lauca Nat. Park.
Cordilleran Canasteros belonging to the race modesta
were found in small numbers in Lauca Nat. Park.
We found 20 Bright Rumped Yellow Finches in Lauca Nat.Park.
White Winged Diuca Finches were only seen in small numbers
and only in Lauca Nat. Park.
White Throated Sierra Finches were only seen in Lauca Nat. Park
in small numbers.
White Fronted Ground Tyrants were only seen in Lauca Nat.Park.
Up to 25 Puna Miners on a day could be seen at Lauca.
Night Heron of the sooty race obscurus on a dam at Lauca Nat. Park.
Bar Winged Clnclodes of the race albiventris was seen at
various sites in Chile.
San Pedro's 16th century church.
Arriving at Laguna Miscanti & Menique.
Views taken at Laguna Miscanti & Menique.
We came across this Ass in the heat haze out in the Atacama
Desert on our way to Laguna Miscante from San Pedro.
It was very wary and soon disappeared. Wild Ass has become
extinct in Chile
P to 15 Chilean Flamingos were seen at Laguna Miscanti.
We broke our flight south, to visit Laguna Miscanti in the
hope of seeing Horned Coot, a specie we missed when we
We found 55 Horned Coots on Laguna Miscanti and Menique,
with breeding taken place on Laguna Menique.
Horned Coots feeding young on Laguna Menique.
A Mountain Caracara came flying in at Laguna Miscanti
and landed briefly close to the car.
Golden Spotted Ground Doves were common around Laguna
Miscanti & Menique with at least 200 being seen.
Puna Miner at Laguna Miscanti
20 Rufous Naped Ground Tyrants of the race rufivertex
were seen at Laguna Miscanti.
4 Spot Billed Ground Tyrants were seen at Laguna Miscanti
and they were also seen at Putre and El-Yeso.
Laguna Laja National Park entrance sign. We spent 2 nights
Orchids found at Laguna Laja National Park.
Maihueh cacti, found only at Laguna Laja and is almost extinct.
10 White Browed Ground Tyrants were seen at Laguna Laja.
One of the star birds at Laguna Laja is the Chucao Tapacuo,
we saw 3 along Trail B with 4 there the following day, also 6
at Nahuelbuta with many more being heard.
Up to 6 Austral Negrito's were seen at Laguna Laja, and 50
were also seen in Patagonia.
Band Winged Nightjar found roosting along Trail B at Laja.
A pair of Spectacled Ducks photographed at Laja just as
it was getting light.
White Crested Elaenia of the chilensia race were seen at several forest
sites, whereas the race modesta was only seen in the dry open country
areas and perhaps their is a pair of biological species are involved. (Ridgley & Tudor, 1994).
Thorn Tailed Rayadito's were seen at 3 different sites
with 5 at Laja & 15 at Nahuelbuta.
Proved extremely difficult to photograph in the dark lichen
forest at Laja
Striped Woodpecker taken in poor light in the forest at Laja.
Nehuelbuta National Forest Park , with Monkey Puzzle
Views taken in Nehuelbuta Reserve.
David at Nehuelbuta
Orchids found growing along the entrance road to Nehuelbuta.
Chimango Caracara was seen along the entrance road to Nehuelbuta.
Fire-Eyed Diucon were seen at several sites and this
one was potographed at Nehuelbuta.
Poor record shot of a Magellanic Tapacula were calling throughout
the day at Nehuelbuta but only odd birds were seen.
Ochre Flanked Tapaculo were very skulking and only seen
or heard at Nehuelbuta, where we saw only three.
Austral Blackbirds were seen at several sites during our trip.
We found 3 Patagonian Tyrants along Forest Trail B at Nehuelbuta.
Leaving Conception for Punta Arenas.
View taken north of Punta Arenas.
Rufous Collared Sparrow near Punta Arenas.
Seven Andean Condors came in to feed on a dead
sheep along the Puerto Natales Road.
An Andean Condor flew right over our heads along the Punta Prat Road.
Magellanic Penguin found standing on the beach along the
Punta Prat road.
Six Dark Bellied Cinclodes were found in a small wooded
area along the Punta Prat road.
Ten Least Seed-snipe of the race rumicivorus were seen
in the Punta Arenas area.
We saw odd Chocolate Vented Tyrants along the
Punta Dungeness Road and 12 near Pali Aike.
Up to 60 Lesser Rheas of the race pennata were seen on a day
north of Punta Arenas.
By using the car as a hide we were able to approach this
bird very closely.
4 males of Cinereous Harriers were seen daily in Patagonia.
Long Tailed Meadowlarks were seen in good numbers
virtually throughout Chile
We found pairs of Ruddy Headed Geese along the Punta Dungeness Road.
Twenty Two Banded Plovers were found along the road
to Pali Aike
We found 15 Rufous Chested Dotterel including a pair with
a chick along the road leading to Pali Aike
Both Coscoroba & Black Necked Swans were seen
on road side lakes, to the north of Punta Arenas.
Our only Rock Shags were seen at the ferry terminal
at Punta Delada, waiting for the ferry to Tierra del Fuego.
A Fox came walking right past us on Tierra del Fuego.
Guanaco's were also seen on Tierra del Fuego.
A Chilean Skua flew over the car ferry to Terria del Fuego.
Laguna Cisnes on Tierra del Fuego
We found a pair of Magellanic Plovers on Laguna Cisnes.
We also found their nest on the beach, with one large green
egg speckled with brown
The following morning we found 2 pairs on Laguna Cisnes
& another pair on a near by lake.
60 Imperial Shags were seen around Porvenir.
Good numbers of South American Terns were seen during our trip,
including these 2 at Porvenir Harbour.
Thirty Brown Hooded Gulls were present in Porvenir Harbour.
The distinctive under-wing pattern of Brown Hooded Gull.
One South America Snipe found in a stream on Tierra del Fuego.
We also had 4 displaying and drumming just north of Punta Delgada.
Magellanic Oystercatcher were seen in small numbers
in both the Puntre Arenas/Tierra del Fuego areas.
Showing the distinctive wing pattern on the
Up to 100 White Rumped Sandpipers were seen on
Tierra del Fuego, chiefly around the coast.
Baird's Sandpipers were seen in good mainly away
from the coast during our trip.
Two Banded Plovers were seen around Punta Arenas and Terria del Fuegon
Seventy Dolphin Gulls were seen behind Porvenir Harbour
Two juvenile Dolphin Gulls
Dolphin Gull in flight
We found 10 Flying Steamer-Ducks in Porvenir Harbour.
Upland Geese - We saw large numbers daily around Punta Arenas &
Tierra del Fuego with a daily maximum of 800, also a pair were seen
A pair of Ruddy Headed Geese on Tierra del Fuego.
We had 60 Black Faced Ibis on their breeding cliffs on
Tierra del Fuego, but we did not approach to close.
On the drive back to the car ferry terminal on Tierra del Fuego,
we came across this adult Apolomado Falcon sat close to the road.
After staying up late the previous night looking for the Megellanic
Horned Owl, it was a real bonus to flush one from the side of the road,
and for it to land in a nearby bush, when we were driving to catch the
ferry from Tierra del Fuego.
Four views taken at El-Yeso, we spent 2 days here.
The Dam at El-Yeso
Mountain type Lillies were common at El-Yeso.
Twenty Yellow Rumped Siskins were found at El-Yeso
Up to 25 White Browed Ground-Tryants were seen at El-Yeso.
Rufous Banded Miners were only seen at El-Yeso, where up to 20
on a day could be found.
Just 3 Ochre Naped Ground-Tryants were seen all at El-Yeso.
Grey Hooded Sierra-Fiches were common at El-Yeso and
we also found them at other sites in Chile.
We found 4 Grey Flanked Cinclodes at El-Yeso.
Four of the race orbignyianus Grey Breasted Seed-Snipe were
seen at El-Yeso.
A pair of Crag Chilia's were watched attending their nest at El-Yeso.
Cinereous Ground-Tryant 6 were seen at El-Yeso
Black Winged Ground-Dove were very common at El-Yeso
Black Chested Buzzard-Eagle soaring over El-Yeso
A pair of Diademed Sandpiper-Plover were seen at El-Yeso
Our return flight back over the Andes to London