Chile ........ 23rd November to 9th December 2018

From Atacama Salt Flat to Patagonia


Andean Condor
Chile is a long and narrow country with a wide variety of habitats. It is 4,000 km long and is flanked by the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. In the south it ends in Tierra del Fuego and Cape Horn, but juts out into Antarctica. The north is dominated by the Atacama Desert, the driest desert in the world, and it includes the Altiplano (high plateau) with its particularly diverse wildlife. The central region consists of one of the five Mediterranean environments on the planet, as well as the southernmost forests in the world, with the unique Monkey-Puzzle Tree, and the Patagonian steppe in the extreme south. In addition you have extensive lakes, majestic glaciers and the influence of the Pacific Ocean along the entire Chilean coast. Chile reaches across the ocean to islands like the Juan Fernandez Archipelago and Easter Island. The Andes Mountains, with its numerous active volcanoes that have determined the physical structure of Chile, is the country’s principal geographical referent.
About 480 species of birds have been recorded in Chile. Nine species, belonging to the Mediterranean ecosystem, are endemic to the central region of the country and about 60 species are endemic to the extreme south of the continent (shared between Chile and a small part of Argentina). Added to this, the length of the country, giving diversity, enables tropical birds to co-exist with Andean species in the north.

Day 1. Overnight Flight to Santiago from London

Puna Plover
Day 2. Introduction to Chilean Birds
After arrival in Santiago and having rested a few hours in the hotel, we will make a brief birding trip near the town, in the foothills of the Andes. We will be looking for birds like Harris Hawk, Variable Hawk, Eared Dove, Tufted Tit-Tyrant, Plain-mantled Tit-Spinetail, Chilean Swallow, Mourning Sierra-Finch, Common Diuca-Finch, and also the endemics Dusky-tailed Canastero, Moustached Turca, and Chilean Mockingbird, with luck, also the White-throated Tapaculo.
Overnight in Santiago

Day 3. First view of the central Andes
In the morning we will head to Farellones, a ski resort located in the Andes. On the way we will look out for birds of the central valley and the Andean foothills, like the endemics Chilean Tinamou, Dusky-tailed Canastero, Moustached Turca, and Chilean Mockingbird. As we climb higher we will encounter Andean birds, like the impressive Andean Condor, the national bird of Chile. Also Variable Hawk, Mountain Caracara, Grey-breasted Seedsnipe, White-sided Hillstar, Black-winged Ground-Dove, Magellanic Tapaculo (Andean morph), Rufous-Banded Miner, Scaled-throated Earthcreeper, Sharp-billed Canastero, three different Ground-Tyrants (White-browed, Rufous-naped, and Black-fronted), Band-tailed Sierra-finch, and Greater Yellow-Finch and others.
Overnight in Santiago

Diademed Plover
Day 4. El Yeso Reservoir
In the morning we will go to El Yeso Reservoir, located deep in the Andean mountains. Here we will discover environments that are typical of the Andes of Central Chile, like high altitude bogs, lakes, rivers and grasslands. We will be looking for birds that live in the foothills and in the mountains, like Californian Quail, Crested Duck, Variable Hawk, Mountain Caracara, Diademed Sandpiper-Plover, South American Snipe, Grey breasted Seedsnipe, Crag Chilia (endemic), Sharp-billed Canastero, Cordilleran Canastero, Moustached Turca, Magellanic Tapaculo (Andean morph), Bar-winged Cinclodes, Gray-flanked Cinclodes White-Browed Ground Tyrant, Black-Fronted Ground Tyrant, Black-Billed Shrike-Tyrant, Grey-hooded Sierra-finch, Mourning Sierra-finch and Yellow-rumped Siskin among others.
Overnight in Santiago

Day 5. Waterfowl and shorebirds
We will dedicate this day to waterfowl and shorebirds making it a longish trip. We will visit wetlands near Santiago and lagoons on the coast, among them the well-known Natural Sanctuary “Laguna El Peral”. In addition, we will look for birds at various specific spots. We will try to find birds like the Black-necked Swan, Chiloé Wigeon, Cinnamon Teal, Pied-billed Grebe, White-tufted Grebe, Great Grebe, Stripe-backed Bittern, Plumbeous Rail, Spot-flanked Gallinule, Black-necked Stilt, Grey Gull, Franklin’s Gull, Elegant Tern, Picui Ground-dove, Dusky Tapaculo, Warbling Doradito, Many-coloured Rush-Tyrant, Spectacled Tyrant, Rufous-tailed Plantcutter and Grassland Yellow-finch among others.
Overnight stay at the coast in Quintero or Viña del Mar

Black-browed Albatross
Day 6. Birds of the Humboldt Current
We will leave at about six o’clock in the morning to sail in the waters of the Humboldt Current. This is one of the marine currents with the highest biological productivity, which originates far to the south, near the Antarctic. It is very cold and very rich in nutrients. This attracts lots of sea birds as well as marine mammals along the South American Pacific coast. We will find birds like Humboldt Penguin, Northern Royal Albatross, Black-browed Albatross, Buller's Albatross, Salvin's Albatross, Southern Giant Petrel, Northern Giant Petrel, Southern Fulmar, Pintado Petrel, Juan Fernandez Petrel, White-chinned Petrel, Westland Petrel, Pink-footed Shearwater, Wilson’s Storm–Petrel, Peruvian Diving-Petrel, Peruvian Pelican, Peruvian Booby, Chilean Skua and Inca Tern among others. After the pelagic trip we will drive to a Humboldt Penguin colony and look for other birds, like the Seaside Cinclodes (endemic). From Santiago airport, flight to San Pedro de Atacama.
Overnight stay in San Pedro de Atacama

Day 7. Atacama Salt flat
In the morning we will be setting out to the Atacama Salt Flats. We will be hoping to see the three flamingo species living there, the Chilean Flamingo, the Andean Flamingo and James’s Flamingo, as well as the Wilson’s Phalarope, Andean Avocet, Puna Plover and Baird’s Sandpiper. On the road we will be looking for Tamarugo Conebill, Scale-Throated Earthcreeper and other species.
Overnight stay in San Pedro de Atacama

Andean Avocet
Day 8. Rivers, lagoons and bogs.
Today will be a long and interesting day. We will focus on the high Andes birds. We will travel up into the mountains, reaching 4,500m, on our way there, we will stop more than once, hoping to spot the Andean Goose, Chilean Flamingo, Grey-breasted Seedsnipe, Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe, Golden-spotted Ground-Dove, Creamy-rumped Miner, Puna Miner, Cordilleran Canastero, Ochre-naped Ground-Tyrant and Red-backed Sierra-Finch. We will try for the Puna Snipe and with luck, the glorious Diademed Sandpiper Plover.
Overnight stay in San Pedro de Atacama

Day 9. The Atacama High-plateau
Early morning we’ll be starting to an area with many different wetlands (rivers, ponds and bogs), where we can spend a relaxed day looking for birds. As an example, we can find Lesser Rhea, Chilean Flamingo, Andean Flamingo and James’s Flamingo, as well as the Andean Avocet. Also Giant Coot, Andean Coot, Crested Duck, Puna Teal, Andean Goose, Creamy-winged Cinclodes, Greenish Yellow-Finch, Black Siskin, Red-backed Sierra-Finch among others. Fly to Santiago in the evening.
Overnight in Santiago

Magellanic Plovers
Day 10. Chilean Patagonia
Early morning flight to Punta Arenas, we will drive along the coast of the Magellan Straits, where we can find species like the Crested Duck, Flightless Steamer-Duck, Magellanic Oystercatcher, Two-banded Plover, Rufous-chested Dotterel, Chilean Skua, Dolphin Gull, South American Tern, Dark-bellied Cinclodes, Rufous-backed Negrito, Dark-Faced Ground Tyrant and Patagonian Sierra-finch. We will probably be able to spot the Kelp Goose on the road. We will spend the afternoon on the shores of Ottway Sound, in a breeding colony of Magellanic Penguins. On the way we will have the chance to see Lesser Rhea, many Upland Geese, Ashy-headed Geese and if we are lucky, we might even sight the threatened Ruddy-headed Goose. The Southern (aka Crested) Caracara is common in this area, together with many other smaller birds.
Overnight stay in Punta Arenas

Day 11. Torres del Paine National Park (NP)
We leave Punta Arenas and travel to the fantastic Torres de Paine National Park, one of the most wonderful places on Earth, and which has been nominated a Biosphere Reserve. In the National Park, we will try Coscoroba Swan, Torrent Duck, Flying Steamer-Duck, Spectacled Duck, Red Shoveler, Ruddy Duck, Andean Condor, Chilean Flamingo, Cinereous Harrier, Austral Rail, South American Snipe, Austral parakeet, and Correndera Pipit. This is also a reserve for many mammal species such as the Guanaco, Mountain Lion, Austral Grey Fox and Culpeo Fox.
Overnight stay in Puerto Natales.

Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle
Day 12. Sierra Baguales (NP)
We start early north from Puerto Natales to Sierra Baguales. Here we can find birds linked to steppe habitat, like Chocolate-vented Tyrant, Patagonian Yellow-Finch, Patagonian Mockingbird, Yellow-bridled Finch, Cinnamon-bellied Ground Tyrant; Scale-Throated Earthcreeper, Short-billed Miner, Common Miner, Andean Condor, White-throated Caracara among others. Sometimes Lesser Rhea, Black-chested Buzzard Eagle and with luck mammals like Guanaco, Austral Grey Fox and Patagonian hog-nosed skunk.
Overnight stay in Puerto Natales

Day 13. Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fire)
We will have a lengthy day going through different environments. We will be driving to the Magellan Strait, and during the crossing, we should be able to see the Flightless Steamer-Duck, Crested Duck, Sooty Shearwater and South American Tern. Also there are probably the Commerson’s Dolphin or the Dusky Dolphin. Later on, we will go on a trip through Tierra del Fuego, crossing wetlands that contain an interesting collection of waterfowl, and where we will be able to look for the Upland Goose, Ruddy-headed Goose, Ashy-headed Goose, Rufous-chested Dotterel, South American Snipe and the Rufous-backed Negrito among others. Later we will visit a wetland in search of the Magellanic Plover, White-rumped Sandpiper, Two-banded Plover, Wilson’s Phalarope and Short-billed Miner.
Overnight in Porvenir


King Penguins
Day 14. Penguins in Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fire)
After a good rest during the night, we will be going to a little colony, unique in America, of King Penguins, located south of Porvenir city, in a protected area. On the road we will see many coastal birds, like Black-necked Swans, Coscoroba Swan, Chiloe Wigeon, Imperial Cormorants, South American Terns and others. Also it’s possible find Dolphins, like the Dusky Dolphin. If, on the previous day we were not able to look for the Magellanic Plover, this afternoon will be dedicated to this species.
Overnight in Porvenir


Day 15. Punta Arenas and flight to Santiago
On the last day, we will cross to Punta Arenas, spending about three hours on the Straits of Magellan. Right after leaving Porvenir bay, we will observe groups of Dolphins that usually follow our boat. It is a very interesting trip and during the crossing we hope to observe various species of pelagic birds. We anticipate seeing the Black-browed Albatross, Giant Petrels (Southern and Northern), White-chinned Petrel, and the Magellan Diving-Petrel, among others. After disembarking, we will head for Punta Arenas Airport and fly to Santiago, ending the ground trip.
Overnight in Santiago


Day 16. Santiago & flight to London
Today will be a day of rest, waking up late for lunch and wait for the international flight.
Lunch at the hotel and then transfer to Airport. (Depending on the flight time)

Day 17. Arrive home.


Tour ref: AA1855

Cost:
£6,485
Deposit: £800
Single Room Supplement: £795

Leaders: Shena Maskell & Cristian Jensen

Max. Group: 12 plus Leaders

Includes: Scheduled tourist class return flights (UK-Santiago-UK), domestic flights, pelagic trip, transfers and transportation in Chile, accommodation, all meals and services of Leader & Guides.

Excludes: Travel insurance, airport departure tax, drinks and items of a personal nature.
The Americas