Photographer: Fabrice Schmitt
Day 1: Arrival in Santiago: Arrive in Santiago and overnight.
Day 2: Santiago to Arica: To the airport and flight to Arica right on the Peruvian border. Today we will be birding in the Atacama Desert, one of the driest regions on earth, but through which flow several rivers. Although only small rivers carrying melt-water down from the Andes, their well-cultivated flood plains form a rich oasis in this harsh environment. Our most important target species will be a trio of hummingbirds; the sturdy Oasis Hummingbird, the entertaining Peruvian Sheartail and the diminutive Chilean Woodstar (one of Chile's rarest and most threatened birds, whose world population is now believed to number no more than 2000). We will also have our best chance for the rare Tamarugo Conebill, and we shall also be searching for the impressive Peruvian Thick-knee, Pacific Dove, Croaking Ground-Dove, Groove-billed Ani, Burrowing Owl, Andean Swift, White-crested Elaenia (the form here is sometimes split as Peruvian Elaenia), Vermilion Flycatcher, the local race of Bran-coloured Flycatcher (a strong candidate for a future split), Cinereous Conebill, Chestnut-throated Seedeater, Blue-black Grassquit, Slender-billed Finch and Peruvian Meadowlark. Night in Arica. B:L:D
Day 3: Putre and Lauca: After our drive to Putre, we'll spend the rest of the day around there, acclimatising to our new environment. We'll be looking for Bare-faced Ground-Dove, White-throated Earthcreeper, Yellow-billed Tit-Tyrant, Canyon and Dark-winged Canasteros, Blue-and-yellow Tanager, Cream-winged and White-winged Cinclodes, Streaked Tit-Spinetail, D'Orbigny's and White-browed Chat-Tyrants, Chiguanco Thrush, Black-throated Flower-piercer, Golden-billed Saltator, Black-hooded and Ash-breasted Sierra-Finches, Greenish Yellow-Finch and Band-tailed Seedeater, also maybe Ornate Tinamou. We will be on the lookout for the scarce Tamarugo Conebill. We may search some high altitude bogs for Diademed Sandpiper-Plover here as well in the afternoon. Night in Putre. B:L:D
Day 4: Lauca National Park: The park is a place of outstanding natural beauty. The towering snow-capped volcanoes of Pomerape and Parinacota soar to over 6300 meters and reflect perfectly in the deep blue waters of Chungara and Cotocotani Lakes. This is our venue today and Lake Chungara with its hordes of birds including Silvery Grebe, Puna Teal and Giant Coot. Other birds here are Puna Rhea, Andean and Puna (James's) Flamingos, Andean Flicker, White-winged Cinclodes, Black Siskin, Puna Tinamou, Puna Ibis, Andean Goose, Mountain Caracara, Andean Lapwing, Puna Plover, Andean Avocet, Andean Gull, Puna Miner, Puna and White-fronted Ground-Tyrants, Andean Negrito, the impressive White-winged Diuca-Finch and White-throated Sierra-Finch. We'll be looking for Flamingo's and with luck we'll be able to approach within range to identify three species here: Chilean, Andean and Puna. Night in Putre. B:L:D
Day 5: Putre to Arica: Looking for what we may have missed in the morning and then after lunch we'll head south to Arica for the night. B:L:D
Day 6: Arica to Santiago: A full morning's pelagic trip out of Arica. Sailing out into the Humboldt Current allows us to see sub-Antarctic seabirds and warm water Petrels depending on the time of year. This 6 hour excursion gives us an opportunity at any of the following depending on the time of year: Salvin's, Buller's, and Black-browed Albatross, Antarctic Giant Petrel, White-chinned Petrel, Pink-footed and Sooty Shearwater, White-vented Storm-Petrel, Chilean Skua, Swallow-tailed Gull and Peruvian Diving Petrel. Inshore species include 3 species of Cormorants, Inca and South American Terns, Peruvian and Blue-footed Booby's, Peruvian Pelican and Humboldt Penguin. After a tasty lunch by the beach we'll head to the airport and fly to Santiago to join the main tour. B:L:D.
Does not include air Santiago - Arica - Santiago but we will do this on request - the price depends on when we get your full name, deposit and passport numbers - you can check current prices at www.LAN.com