After visiting Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego in January 2004, a two week trip to Chile seemed the natural next step, in terms of a gentle introduction to South American birding. As we had visited the far south during our Argentina trip, we limited our time in Chile to northern and central areas. Flights and car hire were arranged through www.wildwings.com.
Chile is a fabulous country to visit, with some amazing scenery and equally good birds. We experienced no real hitches getting around and all our internal flights with LAN ran to time. If you plan to visit during the Austral summer, you may want to pack some insect repellent, as we found them a bit of a nuisance at a few sites.
Both our pelagics (Valparaiso and Arica) were arranged through www.fantasticosur.com , along with our accommodation at Vina del Mar and Arica, whilst www.hualamo.com provided a minibus and guides during our final two days in the Santiago area. This proved to be a very wise move and Jorge Ruiz, together with his colleague Marcelo Flores, worked tirelessly to ensure that we caught up with the Chilean endemics we were still missing such as Crag Chilia, Moustached Turca and White-throated Tapaculo. We would definitely recommend their services.
During our time in Putre, we stayed at Casa Barbarita, a house rented out by Barbara Knapton of www.birdingaltoandino.com. Barbara knows the birds of the Putre area very well indeed and was very helpful. If visiting the Putre area, serious consideration should be given to staying at Casa Barbarita, even if like us, you opt not to use her guiding services.
We made full use of Mark Pearman’s “Birding in Chile”, and this was supplemented by a number of trip reports printed off the Internet. Alvaro Jaramillo’s excellent “Birds of Chile” was a more than adequate Field Guide and another essential companion was “Voices of Chilean Birds (Voces de Aves Chilenas)” by Guillermo Egli, which proved invaluable in tempting a few well known skulkers into the open.
Wednesday 18 January
Arrived Santiago International Airport at 10.00 after an overnight Iberia flight from London Heathrow via Madrid. Collected hire car and headed straight to the coast ticking two fly-over Chilean Pigeons on the way. A quick stop at Isla Negra produced Peruvian Pelican, Peruvian Booby and Franklin’s Gull. Upon arrival at Laguna El Peral, we quickly located our main target bird, Stripe-backed Bittern and a good selection of other birds included Plumbeous Rail, Spot-flanked Gallinule, Many-coloured Rush-Tyrant, Wren-like Rushbird, Plain-mantled Tit-Spinetail and Tufted Tit-Tyrant. Water birds included White-winged, Red-gartered and Red-fronted Coots, along with Lake Duck and several Red Shovelers.
On our way to Viña del Mar, we stopped for our first of many Chilean Mockingbirds and after checking into our hotel, we took a late lunch before heading up the coast towards Concon.
It didn’t take too long to find our main target, Chilean Seaside Cinclodes, feeding along the shoreline at the north end of the town. A quick sortie to the nearby Rio Aconcagua produced several thousand Franklin’s Gulls, Grey Gull, Black Skimmer, Elegant Tern and Inca Tern. On our way back to Viña del Mar, we located another pair of Chilean Seaside Cinclodes feeding on rocks at the south end of Concon. Night at Marina del Rey Hotel, Viña del Mar.
Thursday 19 January
An early breakfast was followed by our first pelagic of the trip, from Valparaiso, on board the Karina Masiel. The first birds encountered as we left port were large numbers of South American Terns, quickly followed by small numbers of Sooty, Pink-footed and Buller’s Shearwaters, along with a single Manx Shearwater. Wilson’s Petrels were an almost constant feature, whilst several Peruvian Diving-Petrels were soon dwarfed by the first of many Salvin’s Albatrosses. Both White-chinned and Westland’s Petrels put in regular appearances, as did Northern and Southern Giant Petrels, but the star bird as we reached our first fishing trawler, was without doubt, the magnificent Northern Royal Albatross. We had great views of two birds sat amongst the Salvin’s Albatrosses and the appearance of a Black-browed Albatross, took our Albatross species tally to three.
Heading back to port, we were graced with fly-pasts by two more Northern Royal Albatrosses when we unexpectedly encountered a whale-blow up ahead. A few minutes later, we were right along side a logging male Sperm Whale - a real bonus, and superb close range views were had before it finally dived, after a period of several minutes on the surface.
A few more Peruvian Diving-Petrels and a distant unidentified whale finished off the pelagic nicely and upon return to dry land, next stop was La Campana National Park. By the time we arrived, it was fairly late in the day, but even so, a quick venture into the park through the main entrance produced, Chilean Flicker, Striped Woodpecker, White-throated Treerunner, Dusky-tailed Canastero, Thorn-tailed Rayadito and Austral Pygmy Owl. However, although we heard both White-throated Tapaculo and Moustached Turca, neither responded to playback and after returning to Viña del Mar to collect our luggage, we headed back to Santiago Airport, where we spent the night at the nearby Hotel Diego de Almagro.
Friday 20 January
Up early again for our 07.00 flight to Arica, via Iquique. After checking into our hotel and ticking off Croaking Ground-Dove, we headed into the Azapa Valley. An Aplomado Falcon sat on a roadside telegraph pole was a nice start and it wasn’t too long before we had notched up Slender-billed Finch, Blue-black Grassquit and Chestnut-throated Seedeater. We returned to our hotel for lunch and following an afternoon siesta, headed back into the Valley. A stop at km 9.5 produced Oasis Hummingbird and Peruvian Sheartail, whilst several other stops gave us Cinereous Conebill and Peruvian Thicknee. However, there was no sign of our main target bird, the endangered Chilean Woodstar.
Final stop of the day was Arica Harbour, where we encountered large numbers of Franklin’s Gulls and Elegant Terns, along with smaller numbers of Grey Gulls and Inca Terns. We also added another gull species, Band-tailed Gull and just along the coast at the Alacran Peninsula we found Surfbird, Blackish Oystercatcher and Whimbrel. Night at Hotel Azapa Inn, Arica.
Saturday 21 January
Today we undertook our second pelagic of the trip, heading out of Arica at 6.30am on board the Maelle Pesquero. As it got light, a steady stream of Inca Terns set the scene and after a few Sooty and Pink-footed Shearwaters, a Swallow-tailed Gull was the first real surprise. This was followed by a Peruvian Tern and great views of a pod of Risso’s Dolphins, which also contained some smaller unidentified Dolphins. Other sightings included Peruvian Diving-Petrel, Arctic, Pomarine and Chilean Skuas, Peruvian Booby, Peruvian Pelican, Grey Pharalope, Guanay Cormorant and a further 2 Swallow-tailed Gulls.
Back in Arica, we collected our bags from our hotel and after birding the Lluta River Mouth, where we added American Oystercatcher and Killdeer, we commenced our ascent to Putre and the high Andes. Peruvian Meadowlark and Andean Swift were easily found in the Lluta Valley, whilst a stop just before Pukara de Copaquilla produced Greyish Miner, Greenish Yellow-Finch and Ashy-throated Sierra-Finch. A further stop at km 99 added numerous new species including Streaked Tit-Spinetail, Dark-tailed Canastero, Black-hooded Sierra-Finch, Straight-billed Earthcreeper and Andean Condor.
The final stop of the day, as we dropped down into Putre also proved very productive, with highlights being Black-throated Flower-piercer, “Creamy-winged” Cinclodes, Mourning Sierra-Finch, Band-tailed Seedeater, Blue and Yellow Tanager and Dark-winged Canastero. Night at Casa Barbarita, Putre.
Sunday 22 January
We spent a bird-filled morning in Putre Dry Gorge (see Pearman), adding a succession of new species. Mourning Sierra-Finch, Band-tailed Seedeater and Bare-faced Ground Dove were all numerous, while other notable birds included Black-throated Flower-piercer, Mountain Parakeet, Plain-breasted Earthcreeper, Andean Hillstar, Sparkling Violet-ear, Canyon Canastero, Blue and Yellow Tanager and Golden-billed Saltator. Following a late breakfast we moved onto the very impressive Lauca National Park. Several roadside stops in search of Diademed Sandpiper-Plover were unsuccessful and the well-known site at Las Cuevas no longer appears to hold this species. We did, however, do well with our mammals, encountering four North Andean Deer, along with Guanaco, Vicuña and Mountain Vizcacha. We also managed a close encounter with a roadside Andean Condor, which could barely fly, having gorged itself on a nearby carcass. Other additions as we headed up to the Altaplano included Grey-breasted Seedsnipe, White-winged Diuca-Finch, Puna Miner, Puna Ground-Tyrant, Puna Ibis and Giant Coot.
The best part of the afternoon was spent in the vicinity of Lago Chungara where we saw large numbers of Silvery Grebes, along with Andean Coot, Andean Ruddy Duck, Puna Teal, Andean Gull and Andean Avocet. Our best views of Chilean and Andean Flamingos were had from the second police checkpoint, whilst a detour through Parinacota (see Pearman) turned up Andean Flicker and a pair of Puna Tinamous. However, with the altitude beginning to take its toll, we returned to Putre mid evening, stopping en route to check several Bofedalas Bogs for Diademed Sandpiper-Plover. Whilst this proved fruitless, we did manage to catch up with our only Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe of the trip. Night at Casa Barbarita. Putre.
Monday 23 January
Yet another early start and another crack at Diademed Sandpiper-Plover. Yesterday’s frustration was soon forgotten, as we found a very obliging bird on the edge of the first Bofedales Bog we checked. We also added White-fronted Ground-Tyrant and were relieved to have finally nailed one of our main targets. We then set off in search of some key missing birds and upon reaching the second police checkpoint again, this time, we opted to walk out towards the series of small lakes which yesterday, we had viewed distantly from the road. This was definitely the right tactic and before long, we were scoping Puna Plover, Puna Flamingo and Andean Lapwing. Moving onto Parinacota, we had more great views of several Andean Flickers feeding in the Bofedales Bog, along with a pair of fly-over Mountain Caracaras. We also had our first good views of Andean Swallow, however, we failed in an attempt to locate yesterday’s Puna Tinamous.
Back in Putre, another visit to the Dry Gorge gave us White-throated Earthcreeper but attempts to find Black-billed Shrike-Tyrant and D’Orbigny’s Chat-Tyrant proved unsuccessful. We did, however, get good views of a roosting Magallenic Horned Owl and also managed to spotlight a Band-tailed Nightjar near the town’s football pitch. Night at Casa Barabarita, Putre.
Tuesday 24 January
A pair of Ornate Tinamous on the old road between Putre and Lauca National Park were the only new birds of the morning. A quick look at Las Cuevas failed to produce the hoped for Rufous-naped Ground-Tyrants as did several roadside stops on the way back to Putre. After collecting our luggage and fuelling the car up, we began the descent to Arica, stopping for lunch in the Lluta Valley, where we added our second new bird of the day, Groove-billed Ani.
A further stop at km 38 gave us more great views of Andean Swift and after checking back into the Azapa Inn, we drove into the Azapa Valley, to try again for the must see Chilean Woodstar. This time we made straight for Maria Teresa’s Hummingbird Garden, on the outskirts of San Miguel de Azapa. The garden can be found when heading out of town by turning right immediately after the Hydraulics Institute. Eventually the gravel track leads to a house (c1km) with a “Hummingbird Garden” sign and all three of the valley’s Hummingbird species can be found around the excellent range of flowering plants. Morning is apparently best, but our two visits during the late afternoon/early evening produced good numbers of Hummingbirds, which much to our relief included a male Chilean Woodstar.
Back on the main Azapa Highway, the Peruvian Thicknees were in the same spot as several days ago (km 7), and we finally managed to catch up with a male Peruvian Sheartail, complete with “full” tail streamers. A nearby Burrowing Owl was our third of the trip, whilst a brief visit to the Lluta River Mouth failed to add anything to the trip list. However, a seawatch off the Alacran Peninsula produced a steady stream of Sooty Shearwaters and Franklin’s Gulls moving south. Other birds seen offshore included Guanay Cormorant, Inca Tern, Peruvian Booby and Peruvian Pelican, whilst the rocky coast held Surfbird, Blackish and American Oystercatcher, Whimbrel and Band-tailed Gull. Night at Hotel Azapa Inn, Arica.
Wednesday 25 January
Most of today was spent travelling and we left Arica on a 07.00 flight, not arriving in Puerto Montt until mid afternoon. First stop was Chiquihue on the coast, where we caught up with a species we had missed in Argentina, Snowy-crowned Tern. We also found a large flock of Hudsonian Godwits, which contained several Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs.
Our subsequent journey between Puerto Montt and Puyehue National Park burst into life near Osorno, when several Slender-billed Parakeets flew across the motorway. This was followed by two further fly-over sightings before we reached our final destination, Aquas Calientes. After checking into our cabin for the next two nights, a quick look along the nearby river produced Dark-bellied Cinclodes, Austral Thrush, Austral Blackbird and several calling, but not seen Chucao Tapaculos. Night at Aquas Calientes, Puyehue National Park.
Thursday 26 January
A pre-breakfast walk down to the nearby river gave us good views of Chucao Tapaculo, Black-throated Huet Huet and Striped Woodpecker. After breakfast we drove up to Antillanca Ski lodge. Several Des Murs’ Wiretails were seen on the way up, although a calling Ochre-flanked Tapaculo could not be tempted into view. Black-chinned Siskin and Austral Parakeet at the ski lodge were both new, as were Dark-faced Ground-Tyrant and White-throated Hawk on the rim of the nearby volcano crater. However, birding was severely hampered by hoards of huge Horse Flies.
In the afternoon we moved down to the Gol Gol River, on the road up to the Argentina border and at the first of the two road bridges, we found a pair of the hoped for Torrent Ducks, although again viewing was difficult, due to the large number of flies. After returning to our cabin for a mid afternoon siesta, some birding in the cool of the evening, gave us further views of Chucao Tapaculo and Des Murs’ Wiretail, whilst CD playback produced good views of both Magellanic Tapaculo and Austral Pygmy Owl. Night at Aquas Calientes, Puyehue National Park.
Friday 27 January
Whilst today was mainly a travel day from Puyehue to Nahuelbuta National Park, some early morning birding around Aquas Calientes again produced Chucao Tapaculo and Black-throated Huet Huet. We finally arrived in Angol late afternoon and after finding somewhere to stay, we headed up towards the National Park. Several very frustrating hours followed, as we struggled to get any sort of view of a calling Ochre-flanked Tapaculo, at Vegas Blancas (see Pearman). The bird seemed pretty disinterested in our CD playback and in the end we had to settle for several brief if somewhat unsatisfactory glimpses. We fared slightly better with Magellanic Tapaculo and Des Murs’ Wiretail and on our way back to Angol, we flushed several parties of California Quails. Final bird of the day was a calling Barn Owl, as we spent over an hour waiting to be let back into our locked accommodation ! Night at Hostal El Vergel, Angol.
Saturday 28 January
The day started with what must have been the stalest bread in the whole of South America – a truly awful breakfast. The Ochre-flanked Tapaculo at Vegas Blancas proved equally as frustrating as yesterday and eventually we gave up and ventured into the confines of Nahuelbuta National Park. Following one of the trails that led from the Information Centre, we spent several hours birding the forest. This proved hard work and our only real reward was to finally catch up with Patagonian Tyrant, about 1.5km down the trail. Some fly-over Slender-billed Parakeets and several more Black-throated Huet Huets were the only other birds of real note and early afternoon we headed off to Temuco to catch our evening flight to Santiago. Arriving at the hotel, we met up with our guides for the next two days, Jorge Ruiz and Marcelo Flores and promptly handed them a list of our missing species! Night at Hotel Monte Carlo, Santiago.
Sunday 29 January
After a somewhat better breakfast than yesterday, we headed out of Santiago in our minibus, to the foothills of the Andes and the very impressive El Yeso Valley. Today was much more productive than yesterday and throughout the day we notched up a procession of new species, starting off with Moustached Turca, Black-winged Ground-Dove and Crag Chilia. Moving up through the valley, Rufous-naped Ground-Tyrant and Black-billed Shrike Tyrant, were soon added, followed by White-sided Hillstar, Scale-throated Earthcreeper, South American Snipe, Greater Yellow-Finch, Grey-headed Sierra-Finch, Yellow-rumped Siskin, Grey-flanked Cinclodes, Rufous-tailed Plantcutter, White-browed Ground-Tyrant and Rufous-banded Miner. Add in the superb views of Band-tailed Nightjar and numerous Andean Condors, today was certainly one of the best of the trip. Night at Hotel Monte Carlo, Santiago.
Monday 30 January
First destination was the ski resort at Farellones. Several stops on the way up produced good views of Dusky Tapaculo and Dusky-tailed Canastero, along with Band-tailed Sierra-Finch, whilst a Chilean Tinamou with chicks caused a hasty exit from the minibus. Up at Farellones, we had plenty of Rufous-banded Miners and White-browed Ground-Tyrants, but the only siskins we could find were Black-chinned rather than the hoped for Thick-billed Siskins.
By now, with just one afternoon of birding left, attention turned to White-throated Tapaculo and after a quick discussion with our guides and driver we were on our way to La Campana for a second crack at this species, but not until we had taken a short detour for some superb views of a pair of Mountain Caracaras.
This time we entered La Campana from the Ocoa sector off Ruta 5, and after an ill-advised lunch stop right next to a wasps nest, we set off in search of our target. It took some time and a considerable amount of playback before we finally got any response. Fortunately, everybody got good, albeit brief views as the bird ran around on the ground under a bush.
This was followed by a second, showier individual a little later. Mission accomplished, we took some time to get further views of another Chilean endemic, Moustached Turca and final birds of note were a pair of Harris’s Hawks circling overhead. On arrival back in Santiago, the obligatory last night beers rounded the trip off nicely and eventually, we retired to the Holiday Inn Express for the night.
Tuesday 31 January
After a chilled last morning we caught a taxi to Santiago International Airport for our 14.00 Iberia flight back to the UK via Madrid, arriving back in the UK just after 10.00 the following day.
In total we saw 231 species. The list below follows the ‘Clements 5th Edition - 2005’ sequence, nomenclature and taxonomy.
Lesser (Puna) Rhea Rhea pennata ( tarapacensis)
A single bird in Lauca NP.
Ornate Tinamou Nothoprocta ornata
2 birds along old road leading from Putre to Lauca NP.
Chilean Tinamou Nothoprocta perdicaria Endemic
A single bird at La Campana NP and an adult with young en route to Farellones.
Puna Tinamou Tinamotis pentlandii
A pair seen near Parinacota, Lauca NP.
Humboldt Penguin Spheniscus humboldti
Small numbers on both Valparaiso and Arica pelagics.
White-tufted Grebe Rollandia rolland
25+ Laguna El Peral.
Great Grebe Podiceps major
4 Laguna El Peral and 1 Puyehue NP. Also 5 en route from Puyehue to Nahuelbuta NP on 27/1.
Silvery Grebe Podiceps occipitalis
1500+ Lago Chungara, Lauca NP of form juninensis, although at least one bird photographed appeared to be of the form occipitalis.
Royal Albatross Diomedea epomophora
Superb close range views of 4 individuals during Valparaiso pelagic. All of the Northern form sanfordi.
Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophris
3 birds during Valparaiso pelagic.
Shy (Salvin's) Albatross Thalassarche cauta salvini
50+ Valparaiso pelagic.
Antarctic (Southern) Giant Petrel Macronectes giganteus
At least 3 birds seen on Valparaiso pelagic.
Hall’s (Northern) Giant Petrel Macronectes halli
3+ Valparaiso pelagic.
Giant Petrel sp. Macronectes giganteus/halli
9 unidentified birds seen during Valparaiso pelagic.
White-chinned Petrel Procellaria aequinoctialis
12 Valparaiso pelagic and a single bird during Arica pelagic.
Westland Petrel Procellaria westlandica
Good views of up to 10 birds on Valparaiso pelagic.
Pink-footed Shearwater Puffinus creatopus
15+ Valparaiso pelagic and a further 3 during Arica trip.
Buller's Shearwater Puffinus bulleri
10+ Valparaiso pelagic.
Sooty Shearwater Puffinus griseus
60+ Valparaiso pelagic, 20+ Arica pelagic and 1000+ birds moving south during an evening seawatch from the Alacran Peninsula.
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus
A single bird during Valparaiso pelagic.
Wilson's Storm-Petrel Oceanites oceanicus
A constant feature during Valparaiso pelagic. 200+ birds.
Peruvian Diving-Petrel Pelacanoides garnoti
10+ Valparaiso pelagic and a further 15+ during Arica trip.
Peruvian Pelican Pelecanus thagus
Common along coast.
Peruvian Booby Sula variegata
Common along coast.
Neotropic (Olivaceous) Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus
Very numerous along coast, with largest count of 500+ in Arica Harbour.
Guanay Cormorant Phalacrocorax bougainvillii
Small numbers seen along coast.
Great Egret Ardea alba
7 birds seen in total.
Snowy Egret Egretta thula
Maximum count of 10 birds on 19/1.
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
90+ at Laguna El Peral on first day was the largest count. Small numbers seen elsewhere on 3 other days.
Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
Birds of the widespread obscurus race seen on 6 dates, with a maximum of 10 in Arica area on 24/1. Also a single bird of the altiplano race hoactii seen in Lauca NP on 22/1.
Stripe-backed Bittern Ixobrychus involucris
2 birds at Laguna El Peral.
Black-faced Ibis Theristicus melanopis
Puerto Montt and Angol areas only. All birds of the melanopis race, with a maximum of 200 on 27/1.
Puna Ibis Plegadis ridgwayi
Up to 12 birds seen in the high Andes at Lauca NP.
Chilean Flamingo Phoenicopterus chilensis
40+ Lauca NP.
Andean Flamingo Phoenicopterus andinus
30+ Lauca NP.
Puna (James's) Flamingo Phoenicopterus jamesi
4 immatures in Lauca NP.
Black-necked Swan Cygnus melanocoryphus
12 Laguna El Peral and 10 at Chiquihue near Puerto Montt.
Andean Goose Chloephaga melanoptera
Common Lauca NP.
Torrent Duck Merganetta armata
A pair seen along the Gol Gol River during our visit to Puyehue NP.
Chiloe (Southern) Wigeon Anas sibilatrix
8 birds on the first day was the only sighting.
Speckled Teal Anas flavirostris
Small numbers in Lauca NP were of the altiplano form oxyptera, whilst 30+ in the Puerto Montt area were of the more widespread southern form flavirostris. Also a single bird at El Yeso.
Crested Duck Anas specularioides
Only in Lauca NP. Maximum count of 50.
Yellow-billed (Brown) Pintail Anas georgica
A single bird in Lauca NP and 20+ Chiquihue near Puerto Montt.
Puna Teal Anas puna
Maximum of 50 birds Lauca NP.
Cinnamon Teal Anas cyanoptera
2 Laguna El Peral.
Red Shoveler Anas platalea
4 Laguna El Peral.
Andean Duck Oxyura ferruginea
3 Lauca NP.
Lake Duck Oxyura vittata
6 Laguna El Peral.
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus
Seen only in and around Puyehue and Nahuelbuta NPs.
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
Small numbers around Santiago. Very common Arica.
Andean Condor Vultur gryphus
Great views of a roadside bird en route from Putre to Lauca NP. 10+ birds at top end of El Yeso and a few more near Farellones on 30/1.
White-tailed Kite Elanus leucurus
Small numbers seen from roadside, mainly in Santiago area.
Harris's Hawk Parabuteo unicinctus
Seen only in La Campana/Santiago areas.
Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle Geranoaetus melanoleucus
Several birds in Santiago area.
White-throated Hawk Buteo albigula
Single birds in Puyehue and Nahuelbuta NPs.
Red-backed (Variable) Hawk Buteo polyosoma
Regular sightings throughout trip, with both ‘Red-backed (polysoma)’ and ‘Puna (poecilochrous)’ forms noted.
Mountain Caracara Phalcoboenus megalopterus
3 birds in Lauca NP and superb views of a pair and a young bird near Farellones.
Southern Caracara Caracara plancus
Up to half a dozen birds in vicinity of Puyehue NP.
Chimango Caracara Milvago chimango
A common sight, although absent in far north.
American Kestrel Falco sparverius
Aplomado Falcon Falco femoralis
Several sightings in Arica/Putre area included excellent views of a bird sat on a roadside telegraph pole in the Azapa Valley.
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
Several birds seen in Arica/Putre areas.
California Quail Callipepla californica
Several family parties on the approach to Nahuelbuta NP. Also fairly numerous in hills around Santiago.
Plumbeous Rail Pardirallus sanguinolentus
At least 4 birds at Laguna El Peral.
Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
Seen only at Laguna El Peral and Lluta River Mouth.
Spot-flanked Gallinule Gallinula melanops
3 birds at Laguna El Peral were the only sightings.
Slate-coloured (Andean) Coot Fulica ardesiaca
30+ Lauca NP.
White-winged Coot Fulica leucoptera
10+ Laguna El Peral and 1 at Chiquihue, near Puerto Montt.
Red-gartered Coot Fulica armillata
15+ Laguna El Peral, 4 Puyehue NP and 7 El Yeso.
Red-fronted Coot Fulica rufifrons
25+ Laguna El Peral.
Giant Coot Fulica gigantea
600+ Lauca NP.
Blackish Oystercatcher Haematopus ater
5 birds in total, all Arica area.
American Oystercatcher Haematopus palliatus
20+ Arica and a single bird at Chiquihue, Puerto Montt.
Andean Avocet Recurvirostra andina
Seen on two dates in Lauca NP, maximum of 11 birds.
Peruvian Thick-knee Burhinus superciliaris
3 birds in roadside fields in Azapa Valley.
Southern Lapwing Vanellus chilensis
Andean Lapwing Vanellus resplendens
No more than 4 individuals in Lauca NP.
Killdeer Charadrius vociferus
2 Lluta River Mouth.
Puna Plover Charadrius alticola
4 birds Lauca NP.
Diademed Sandpiper-Plover Phegornis mitchellii
Great views of a single bird in Lauca NP.
South American (Magellanic) Snipe Gallinago paraguaiae (magallanica)
Just the one bird flushed at El Yeso.
Hudsonian Godwit Limosa haemastica
A flock of 90 birds at Chiquihue, Puerto Montt.
(Hudsonian) Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
Small numbers at both Arica and Chiquihue, Puerto Montt.
Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca
3 Chiquihue, Puerto Montt.
Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes
Small numbers seen on five different dates.
Willet Catoptroporus semipalmatus
A single bird at Rio Aconcagua was the only sighting of the trip.
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Seen along the coast at both Concon and Arica.
Surfbird Aphriza virgata
5 birds at Concon and a flock of 100+ at the Alacran Peninsula.
Sanderling Calidris alba
A flock of 300+ at the Lluta River Mouth was the only sighting.
Baird's Sandpiper Calidris bairdii
20+ Lauca NP, a single bird at Chiquihue, Puerto Montt and 9+ El Yeso.
Wilson's Phalarope Phalaropus tricolor
100+ Lauca NP.
Red (Grey) Phalarope Phalaropus fulicaria
3 on Valparaiso pelagic and 12 during Arica trip.
Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe Attagis gayi
A single bird Lauca NP.
Grey-breasted Seedsnipe Thinocorus orbignyianus
6+ Lauca NP and a single bird at El Yeso.
Chilean Skua Stercorarius chilensis
Singles on both pelagics.
Pomarine Jaeger (Skua) Stercorarius pomarinus
3 during Arica pelagic.
Parasitic Jaeger (Arctic Skua) Stercorarius parasiticus
2 birds during Valparaiso pelagic and a further 2 during Arica pelagic.
Belcher’s (Band-tailed) Gull Larus belcheri
All sightings in and around Arica. Maximum count of 60 birds.
Grey Gull Larus modestus
Common Arica with a daily maximum of 250. Small numbers also seen off Concon and Valparaiso.
Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus
Fairly common in Valparaiso and Puerto Montt areas. Several birds also seen at Arica.
Brown-hooded Gull Larus maculipennis
40+ Laguna El Peral and 1000+ Chiquihue, Puerto Montt.
Andean Gull Larus serranus
Up to a dozen birds Lauca NP.
Franklin's Gull Laris pipixcan
Very common along coast. Count of at least 10,000 birds roosting in Arica harbour.
Swallow-tailed Gull Creagrus furcatus
3 birds on the Arica pelagic were a very welcome surprise.
Elegant Tern Sterna elegans
1 Rio Aconcagua, 2 Valparaiso pelagic and good numbers in Arica area, with at least 1500+ on 21/1.
South American Tern Sterna hirundinacea
400+ as we headed out of Valparaiso harbour for our pelagic. Another 2 birds seen up at Arica.
Snowy-crowned (Trudeau's) Tern Sterna trudeaui
A single bird sat amongst Brown-headed Gulls at Chiquihue, Puerto Montt.
Peruvian Tern Sterna lorata
Just the one bird seen during Arica pelagic.
Inca Tern Larosterna inca
10 birds seen off Rio Aconcagua on the first day were followed by large numbers off Arica, maximum 750 on 22/1.
Black Skimmer Rynchops niger
30+ Rio Aconcagua and 15+ Arica were of the amazon race cinerascens.
Rock (Feral) Pigeon Columba livia
Regular sightings throughout.
Spot-winged Pigeon Patagioenas maculosa
Up to 15 birds in and around Putre. The origin of this small population is unknown.
Chilean Pigeon Patagioenas araucana
First tick of the trip, with 2 flyover birds as we headed from Santiago airport to the coast. Seen on 6 different dates with a daily maximum of 7 during our drive from Puerto Montt to Puyehue NP.
Eared Dove Zenaida auriculata
Plenty of sightings. Maximum count of 35 during trip to El Yeso.
Pacific (West Peruvian) Dove Zenaida meloda
All sightings Arica/Putre areas, maximum of 50 on 24/1.
Picui Ground-Dove Columbina picui
Small numbers around Santiago. Also seen in vicinity of Nahuelbuta NP.
Croaking Ground-Dove Columbina cruziana
Only in Arica. Maximum daily count of 30 birds.
Bare-faced Ground-Dove Metriopelia ceciliae
Common Putre Dry Gorge and nearby areas.
Black-winged Ground-Dove Metriopelia melanoptera
8 El Yeso and 10 during drive up to Farellones.
Austral Parakeet Enicognathus ferrugineus
12 Puyehue NP and a further 6 birds in Nahuelbuta NP.
Slender-billed Parakeet Enicognathus leptorhynchus Endemic
7 birds seen during drive from Puerto Montt to Puyehue NP. A further 5 birds encountered in Nahuelbuta NP.
Mountain Parakeet Psilopsiagon aurifrons
Excellent views of 4 birds in Putre Dry Gorge.
Groove-billed Ani Crotophaga sulcirostris
A pair in the Lluta Valley was the only sighting.
Barn Owl Tyto alba
A single bird heard calling in Angol.
Magellanic Horned Owl Bubo magellanicus
1 bird at daytime roost in Putre.
Austral Pygmy-Owl Glaucidium nanum
Single birds at La Campana and Puyehue NPs.
Burrowing Owl Athene cunicularia
Singles seen en route to Santiago on 19/1 and in both Lluta & Azapa Valleys.
Band-winged Nightjar Caprimulgus longirostris
All 3 forms encountered. A single bird spotlighted on the ground in Putre (atripunctatus) and another bird flushed in daylight whilst at El Yeso (bifasciatus). Also a single bird dead on road near the Lluta River Mouth (decussatus).
Andean Swift Aeronautes andecolus
Seen only in Lluta Valley, maximum count of 10.
Sparkling Violet-ear Colibri corruscans
A total of 5 birds, all in and around Putre.
Andean Hillstar Oreotrochilus estella
The common hummingbird of the Putre area.
White-sided Hillstar Oreotrochilus leucopleurus
4 birds El Yeso and 1 near Farellones.
Giant Hummingbird Patagonas gigas
First seen at La Campana NP, we had further close encounters with this monster of a hummingbird at El Yeso, Farellones and Putre (peruviana race).
Green-backed Firecrown Sephanoides sephanoides
The only hummingbird seen during the southern leg of our trip to Puyehue and Nahuelbuta NPs. Maximum count of 20 on 26/1.
Oasis Hummingbird Rhodopis vesper
The common hummingbird of the Azapa Valley. Daily maximum of 15 birds.
Peruvian Sheartail Thaumastura cora
At least 5 individuals seen, including a cracking male sat on wires along the Azapa Highway.
Chilean Woodstar Eulidia yarrellii
Good views of a single male at San Miguel de Azapa. Several suspected females but very hard to tell from female Sheartails.
Ringed Kingfisher Ceryle torquata
3 birds in and around Puyehue NP.
Striped Woodpecker Picoides lignarius
In total, 3 birds seen at La Campana NP. Also 1 in Puyehue NP and 1 Faronelles.
Chilean Flicker Colaptes pitius
A pair in La Campana NP, 2 Puyehue NP and up to 8 birds seen in Nahuelbuta NP.
Andean Flicker Colaptes rupicola
All sightings in Lauca NP, including great views of 5 individuals feeding in the bofedalas bog just before the village of Parinacota.
Greyish Miner Geositta maritima
A single roadside bird at Pukara de Copaquilla, whilst en route from Arica to Putre.
Common Miner Geositta cunicularia
2 Lauca NP were of the altiplano form titicacae.
Puna Miner Geositta punensis
Small numbers seen in Lauca NP.
Rufous-banded Miner Geositta rufipennis
The common Miner at both El Yeso and Farellones.
Scale-throated Earthcreeper Upucerthia dumetaria
4 El Yeso.
Plain-breasted Earthcreeper Upucerthia jelskii
At least 4 birds, best views in Putre Dry Gorge.
White-throated Earthcreeper Upucerthia albigula
4 birds, all in Putre Dry Gorge.
Straight-billed Earthcreeper Upucerthia rufucauda
3 birds seen in Putre area.
Crag Chilia Chilia melanura Endemic
At least 5 birds seen at El Yeso.
Chilean Seaside Cinclodes Cinclodes nigrofumosus Endemic
2 different pairs along the coast at either end of Concon.
Dark-bellied Cinclodes Cinclodes patagonicus
Regular sightings whilst in Puyehue NP. Singles also seen near Nahuelbuta NP and at El Yeso.
Grey-flanked Cinclodes Cinclodes oustaleti
1 El Yeso and another during a stop en route to Farellones.
Bar-winged Cinclodes Cinclodes fuscus
Altiplano form ‘Cream-winged Cinclodes’ seen in Lauca NP, with a maximum daily count of 20. Also central/southern form ‘Buff-winged Cinclodes’ seen, with 6+ at El Yeso and 1 Farellones.
White-winged Cinclodes Cinclodes atacamensis
10+ birds, all in Lauca NP.
Des Murs' Wiretail Sylviorthorhynchus desmursii
Excellent views of 6+ birds in Puyehue and Nahuelbuta NPs.
Thorn-tailed Rayadito Aphrastura spinicauda
Small numbers seen in La Campana, Puyehue and Nahuelbuta NPs and Farellones.
Streaked Tit-Spinetail Leptasthenura striata
Several sightings whilst in Putre area.
Plain-mantled Tit-Spinetail Leptasthenura aegithaloides
All sightings Santiago area. Seen at Laguna El Peral, El Yeso and Farellones.
Wren-like Rushbird Phleocryptes melanops
Seen only on first day, with 2 birds at Laguna El Peral.
Dark-winged Canastero Asthenes arequipae
Regular sightings whilst in Putre area.
Dusky-tailed Canastero Asthenes humilicola Endemic
A single bird at La Campana NP on 15/4, was followed by another there on our final day. Also seen at Farellones.
Canyon Canastero Asthenes pudibunda
6+ birds Putre area.
Cordilleran Canastero Asthenes modesta
Several sightings at El Yeso and Farellones. Also seen whilst in Putre area.
White-throated Treerunner Pygarrhichas albogularis
A single bird in La Campana NP was followed by small numbers in Puyehue and Nahuelbuta NPs.
Black-throated Huet-huet Pteroptochos tarnii
Good views obtained after a bit of perseverance, with at least 6 individuals seen in Puyehue NP and a further 2 in Nahuelbuta NP.
Moustached Turca Pteroptochos megapodius Endemic
10+ birds. First seen at El Yeso. Also seen en route to Farellones and in La Campana NP.
White-throated Tapaculo Scelorchilus albicollis Endemic
After some effort, 2 birds eventually seen well in La Campana NP.
Chucao Tapaculo Scelorchilus rubecula
A common sound in Puyehue NP. Although easier heard than seen, we eventually managed some excellent close range views of up to 6 birds.
Ochre-flanked Tapaculo Eugralla paradoxa
A single calling bird at Las Vegas Blancas, Nahuelbuta NP proved exceptionally difficult to see. A further 2 birds were heard in Puyehue NP.
Magellanic Tapaculo Scytalopus magellanicus
A few calling birds in Puyehue NP, one or two of which we managed to see well. Also seen at Las Vegas Blancas, Nahuelbuta NP.
Dusky Tapaculo Scytalopus fuscus Endemic
Just the one bird seen during a roadside stop en route to Farellones.
Rufous-tailed Plantcutter Phytotoma rara
A single bird seen at El Yeso.
White-crested Elaenia Elaenia albiceps
Common. We also saw the “Peruvian” form up at Arica.
Yellow-billed Tit-Tyrant Anairetes flavirostris
Several birds seen in Putre.
Tufted Tit-Tyrant Anairetes parulus
First seen at Laguna El Peral, thereafter, seen on 4 separate days.
Many-coloured Rush-Tyrant Tachuris rubrigastra
4 birds, all at Laguna El Peral.
Vermilion Flycatcher Pyrocephalus rubinus
All sightings Arica area, mainly in Azapa Valley.
White-browed Chat-Tyrant Ochthoeca leucoprhys
Just the one bird seen in Putre Dry Gorge.
Patagonian Tyrant Coloramphus parvirostris
2 of this elusive species seen at Nahuelbuta NP.
Fire-eyed Diucon Xolmis pyrope
Seen at Laguna El Peral and La Campana, though most numerous in Puyehue NP, with 6+ on 27/1.
Black-billed Shrike-Tyrant Agriornis montana
3 El Yeso and 1 the following day at Farellones.
Dark-faced Ground-Tyrant Muscisaxicola maclovianus
A single bird above Antillanca Ski lodge, Puyehue NP.
Rufous-naped Ground-Tyrant Muscisaxicola rufivertex
After checking a large number of Ground-Tyrants, we eventually caught up with one at El Yeso.
Puna Ground-Tyrant Muscisaxicola juninensis
Fairly common Lauca NP.
White-browed Ground-Tyrant Muscisaxicola albilora
15+ El Yeso and 10 the following day in and around Farellones.
White-fronted Ground-Tyrant Muscisaxicola albifrons
Not as common as Puna Ground-Tyrant, but easy enough to see in Lauca NP.
Andean Negrito Lessonia oreas
Easily seen in Lauca NP, with a daily maximum of 10 birds.
Austral (Patagonian) Negrito Lessonia rufa
1 near Puerto Montt was the only bird of the trip.
Spectacled Tyrant Hymenops perspicillatus
1 near Puerto Montt and another near Angol.
Chilean Swallow Tachycineta meyeni
Absent in far north, otherwise plenty of sightings.
Blue-and-white Swallow Notiochelidon cyanoleuca
Andean Swallow Haplochelidon andecola
No more than 8 individuals, all in Lauca NP, with best views obtained near Parinacota.
Cliff Swallow Petrochelidon pyrrhonota
1 Lluta Valley.
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
All sightings in Arica/Putre areas, maximum of 20 on 24/1.
(Southern) House Wren Troglodytes musculus
Small numbers seen on most days.
Chilean Mockingbird Mimus tenca Endemic
Easiest endemic to see. Maximum count of 15 on last day.
Chiguanco Thrush Turdus chiguanco
Regular sightings in Putre area. Maximum of 6 on 23/1.
Austral Thrush Turdus falcklandii
Absent in far north, otherwise numerous, particularly in Puyehue and Nahuelbuta NPs.
Cinereous Conebill Conirostrum cinereum
Small numbers seen in both Azapa Valley and Putre area.
Blue-and-yellow Tanager Thraupis bonariensis
Regular sightings in Putre area, maximum of 6.
Black-hooded Sierra-Finch Phrygilus atriceps
Only in Putre/Lauca NP, daily maximum of 6.
Grey-hooded Sierra-Finch Phrygilus gayi
30+ El Yeso and 10+ Farellones.
Patagonian Sierra-Finch Phrygilus patagonicus
8+ birds during our visits to Puyehue and Nahuelbuta NPs.
Mourning Sierra-Finch Phrygilus fruticeti
Common Putre and Lauca NP. We also encountered small numbers at El Yeso and Farellones.
Plumbeous Sierra-Finch Phrygilus unicolor
6+ Lauca NP and 2 El Yeso.
White-throated Sierra-Finch Phrygilus erythronotus
8+ Lauca NP.
Band-tailed Sierra-Finch Phrygilis alaudinus
8+ birds during roadside stop en route to Farellones.
Ash-breasted Sierra-Finch Phrygilus plebejus
Common Lauca NP.
White-winged Diuca-Finch Diuca speculifera
Small numbers seen in Lauca NP, maximum 8 birds.
Common Duica-Finch Diuca diuca
Fairly common in vicinity of Santiago. Also seen during visits to Puyehue and Nahuelbuta NPs.
Slender-billed Finch Xenospingus concolor
Seen only in Azapa and Lluta Valleys, with a daily maximum of 10 birds.
Blue-black Grassquit Volatinia jacarina
5 birds in Azapa Valley.
Chestnut-throated Seedeater Sporophila telasco
20+ seen in Azapa Valley
Band-tailed Seedeater Catamenia analis
Numerous in and around Putre.
Black-throated Flower-piercer Diglossa brunneiventris
Small numbers seen in and around Putre.
Grassland Yellow-finch Sicalis luteola
2 birds near Nahuelbuta NP.
Bright-rumped Yellow-Finch Sicalis uropygialis
8+ birds seen in Lauca NP.
Greater Yellow-Finch Sicalis auriventris
18 El Yeso were followed by 4 at Farellones.
Greenish Yellow-Finch Sicalis olivacens
Common Putre/Lauca NP.
Rufous-collared Sparrow Zonotrichia capensis
Golden-billed Saltator Saltator aurantiirostris
2 Putre Dry Gorge.
Yellow-winged Blackbird Agelaius thillus
25+ Laguna El Peral.
Peruvian Meadowlark Sturnella bellicosa
12+ birds, all in Lluta Valley.
Long-tailed Meadowlark Sturnella loyca
Regular roadside sightings in Santiago area. Also seen in vicinity of Nahuelbuta NP.
Shiny Cowbird Molothrus bonariensis
3 birds Nahuelbuta NP.
Austral Blackbird Curaeus curaeus
Fairly common around Santiago, although most numerous at Nahuelbuta NP, with a maximum daily count of 30+.
Hooded Siskin Carduelis magellanica
Small numbers seen at Putre and in Lauca NP.
Black-chinned Siskin Carduelis barbata
4 Puyehue NP, 6 Nahuelbuta NP and 10+ El Yeso.
Black Siskin Carduelis atrata
18+ birds Lauca NP.
Yellow-rumped Siskin Carduelis uropygialis
7 El Yeso.
House Sparrow (introduced) Passer domesticus
Sperm Whale Physeter macrocephalus – Valparaiso pelagic
Risso’s Dolphin Grampus griseus – Arica pelagic
Southern Sea Lion Otaria byroni – Valparaiso and Arica pelagics
Guanaco Lama guanico – Lauca National Park
Vicuña Lama vicugna – Lauca National Park
North Andean Deer Hippolcamelus bisulcus – Lauca National Park
South American Grey Fox Dusicyon griseus – Puyehue & La Campana National Parks
Coypu Myocastor coypus – Laguna El Peral
Mountain Vizcacha Lagidium viscacia – Lauca National Park
Big-eared Mouse Auliscomys boliviensis – Lauca National Park
Degu Octodon degus – La Campana National Park
European Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus
European Hare Lepus europaeus
A big thanks to Jorge Ruiz and Marcelo Flores for two excellent days birding in the Santiago area. Also to Barbara Knapton for kindly pointing us in the right direction on a few missing birds during our stay in Putre. Last, but not least, a big thanks to MCP for the many hours spent sorting out all our pre trip arrangements.
Contact Details: Alex@Bevan9950.freeserve.co.uk