Birding Chile – Central Chilean endemics and Pelagic

Photographer: Fabrice Schmitt
During this trip, we will visit all the main habitats of central Chile and see most of the birds living here, including 6 Chilean endemics. We will travel from the highlands above Santiago, to Nothofagus forests farther south, and bird interior and coastal wetlands. We will even go on a Humboldt Current pelagic trip. The scenery of this trip is spectacular, accommodation is comfortable, plus food is tasteful and world famous Chilean wine unforgettable. The climate on this trip varies a lot – from a Mediterranean in the Santiago area to temperate beech forests farther South. This trip concentrates on Chilean endemics and near-endemics.
Day 1: Santiago Arrival in Santiago on international flights or from the North Chile Tour and transfer to our select hotel. D.
Day 2: Birding above Santiago at Farellones and Valle Nevado We take a morning drive into the Andes to Farellones to look for Crag Chilia, Dusky Tapaculo, Greater Yellowfinch, Rufous-banded and Creamy-rumped Miners and White-sided Hillstar amongst other Andean birds. Massive Andean Condors should be soaring around above and sometimes below us with hopes of Variable Hawk, Black-chested Buzzard Eagle and Mountain Caracara. We'll also be birding lower elevations looking for 4 endemics, Chilean Tinamou, Moustached Turca and White-throated Tapaculo and Dusky-tailed Canastero. This is great day with fantastic scenery. We should be back in Santiago in time to enjoy a relaxing evening there with dinner at a different local restaurant and with a little more time than usual for the excellent local wines! B: L: D
Day 3: Full day on the coast (Maipo Estuary, Cartagena, Laguna El Peral, and Algarrobo)Today we set off very early and head for the coast. We should see a wide variety of species here including Black-necked and Coscoroba Swans, 3 species of Coot, Spot-flanked Gallinule, the rare Black-headed Duck, Plumbeous Rail, Lake Duck, Great Grebe, Many-colored Rush-tyrant, Wren-like Rushbird and other ducks and grebes and the endemic Seaside Cinclodes. At the Maipo estuary we will be looking for a variety of Gulls, for Black Skimmers and a number of Terns, including the rare Snowy-Crowned Tern with the hope of the beautiful White-tailed Kite and a good number of other shore and marsh birds. The marshes hopefully give us the chance to see the recently described Ticking Doradito and the noisy little endemic Dusky Tapaculo. Leaving the estuary, we drive gradually north up the coast, stopping for lunch and at various birding sites along the shore ending up in Chile´s number one port, the historic city of Valparaiso, where we spend the night and have our dinner in a nearby restaurant. B: L: D
Day 4: Pelagic from Valparaiso and coastal birdingEarly in the morning we sail out of the port on our second Humboldt Current pelagic where we go some 12 miles out into the ocean. We have the chance to see several species of Albatross including Salvin's, Black-browed, Buller's, Northern and Southern Royal and Chatham Island. Tubenoses are a main feature of this Pelagic and we'll hope for Southern Fulmar, Masatierra and Westland Petrels, Peruvian Diving-Petrels as well as the more numerous White-chinned and Northern Giant Petrels. Wilson's Storm-Petrels (local sub-species) "foot-patter" close to the boat and we often see large numbers of Red Phalaropes. Other species include Guanay and Red-legged Cormorants, Kelp Gull and South American Tern. After the pelagic and a good lunch in a fish restaurant in the harbor we continue birding along the coast to look for any of the species we might have missed the day before and return to our hotel in Valparaiso again dining in a restaurant near to the hotel. B:L:D
Day 5: Coastal birding and Lampa wetlands After a final hunt along the coast we set off back to Santiago with our main target bird being the rare Great Shrike-tyrant and we take a trip to the Lampa wetlands to the northwest of the city. Here we will be looking for the secretive South American Painted Snipe along with a host of waterfowl species that we may have missed on the coast and especially Rosy-billed Pochard, Black-headed Duck and occasionally Wilson´s Phalarope along with Cinereous Harrier and Burrowing Owl. We then drop back into Santiago where we spend the night in Santiago B: L: D
Day 6: El Yeso and the Andes Today we make an early start to miss the rush hour traffic and head south and east from the city driving up the very scenic Maipo valley and out on the mine road to the Yeso dam and beyond. The bog here at 2500 meters is a favorite site of what is, arguably Chile´s number one bird target the rare and very unusual Diademed Sandpiper-Plover. We'll bird the lower reaches of the valley looking for the endemic and very beautiful Crag Chilia and the fast running Moustached Turca. We will see a variety of Sierra-Finches and Furnarids here; the latter includes Grey-flanked Cinclodes, Rufous-banded Miner, Creamy-rumped Miner, Scale-throated Earthcreeper. Ground-Tyrants are everywhere including Rufous-naped, White-browed, Ochre-naped, Cinereous and Spot-billed. Our best views of Andean Condor will probably be here in this valley and Torrent Ducks are regular on the streams. One of the hummers we'll be looking for up here is the White-sided Hillstar and we have a chance for both Black-billed and Great Shrike-Tyrants as well as Grey-breasted Seedsnipe. After what is often voted the most scenically spectacular day in our expedition we return to Santiago where we spend the night and dine. B: L: D
Day 7: Santiago to Talca, Colbún lake and Vilches We make an early start and drive southwards on the motorway to Talca then head east to Colbún lake where our main targets are the large, spectacularly colorful and very noisy macaw like Burrowing Parrot and the chance on the Lake or the Rio Claro to find the rare and beautiful Spectacled Duck. Hopefully we will also find a good number of other interesting duck and grebe species and an opportunity to see the Spectacled Tyrant and the Andean Gull. We then make the short trip north to spend the rest of day and all of the following day in the Altos de Lircay National Park. This is old Nothofagus forest with spectacular tree and plant life and interesting geological rarities along with a host of forest bird species. At dusk, we will look for the hard to see Rufous-legged Owl before spending the night in our quiet and comfortable forest lodge at Vilches, just outside the park boundary dining in and enjoying some good local dishes. B: L: D
Day 8: Full day at Altos de Lircay National ParkWe will have a full day to explore the extensive forest of this National Park that sits in the Andean foothills. In particular, we will be listening for the nasal scolding of Chile's least known Tapaculo, the Chestnut-throated Huet-huet, perhaps the least often found Chilean virtual endemic on most tours. We will also be looking for more Nothofagus forest specialties such as the Austral Parakeet (the world's most southerly parrot species), the plump Chucao Tapaculo with its explosive voice, Magellanic Tapaculo and Patagonian Sierra-Finch. This will be our first opportunity to see the truly spectacular Magellanic Woodpecker, which is quite common here and there´s an outside chance of the rare and difficult to find Chilean Hawk. After a hard day´s labor in the forest we return to our Vilches lodge and again dine in the excellent restaurant there. B: L: D
Day 9: Cerro Ñielol and Temuco Early in the morning we will travel to Temuco making selected stops along the way including Santa Elena lagoon, south of Chillan, where we can look for the Ticking Doradito along with the lake specialties. We will spend the end of the afternoon birding at Cerro Ñielol where the possibilities include Black-throated Huet-huet, Rufous-tailed Hawk, Des Mur's Wiretail, Chucao Tapaculo, the near endemic Slender-billed Parakeet and Ochre-flanked Tapaculo. We spend the night in Temuco and walk out to a good local restaurant for our well-deserved dinner. B: L: D
Day 10: Conguillío National Park We set off in the morning to the very beautiful Conguillío National Park. In this fantastic higher altitude Nothofagus and Araucaria forest with excellent mountain views we'll look for the recently split Patagonian Forest Earthcreeper, the Flying Steamer-duck, along with Magellanic Tapaculo, Austral Parakeet, Striped Woodpecker, Chilean Flicker, White-throated Treerunner and other forest species. After a full day birding we drive to Temuco airport for the short evening flight to Santiago where we check into our comfortable airport hotel and dine there. B: L: D
CAN BE COMBINED WITH THE NORTH CHILE TOUR OR CHILEAN PATAGONIA TOUR
Does not include air Temuco - 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 & www.skyairline.cl

Customer Testimonials

Jeanine Felker - USA

In addition to touring with Legacy, I have also been on tours with Victor Emanuel Nature Tours, Wings, Sunbird and Field Guides. I have been with many guides with varying skills and personalities. In regards to Ricardo, I found him to be extremely knowledgeable about not only the birds but also, the plants and animals, as well as the history of Peru. He showed great care and concern for the comfort and safety of the group (at times, he anticipated what we would need before we realized that we needed it). We had a couple of participants who required extra time and help. Ricardo was consistently patient and courteous with them. On more than one occasion, I had a chance to talk with him on a variety of subjects and found him to be a delightful conversationalist. He did an outstanding job of dealing with the entire group and all of the variables.

Bill Heinsen - Canada

It was just incredible. Everything was so well organized, the staff so efficient, the food excellent, our guide, I don’t know how he could have been better. I know it is not easy to juggle around the expectations of birders, but he did it. We were given absolute patience in trying to accommodate each of us and making sure we got our money’s worth made everything flawless. He was knowledgeable in so many ways. You certainly got a gem of a guide when you hired him. The drivers, like all your staff were excellent, and very accommodating. The two men who looked after us on the river were superb. We felt totally safe in their hands. You can be certain that we will recommend Manu Expeditions to anyone

Ann & Mervyn de Winter –UK

Silverio is very likeable and one of the top birders I have ever travelled with, and I have gone on nearly 20 birding trips.

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Comments

Silverio is very likeable and one of the top birders I have ever travelled with, and I have gone on nearly 20 birding trips.

It was just incredible. Everything was so well organized, the staff so efficient, the food excellent, our guide, I don’t know how he could have been better. I know it is not easy to juggle around the expectations of birders, but he did it. We were given absolute patience in trying to accommodate each of us and making sure we got our money’s worth made everything flawless. He was knowledgeable in so many ways. You certainly got a gem of a guide when you hired him. The drivers, like all your staff were excellent, and very accommodating. The two men who looked after us on the river were superb. We felt totally safe in their hands. You can be certain that we will recommend Manu Expeditions to anyone

In addition to touring with Legacy, I have also been on tours with Victor Emanuel Nature Tours, Wings, Sunbird and Field Guides. I have been with many guides with varying skills and personalities. In regards to Ricardo, I found him to be extremely knowledgeable about not only the birds but also, the plants and animals, as well as the history of Peru. He showed great care and concern for the comfort and safety of the group (at times, he anticipated what we would need before we realized that we needed it). We had a couple of participants who required extra time and help. Ricardo was consistently patient and courteous with them. On more than one occasion, I had a chance to talk with him on a variety of subjects and found him to be a delightful conversationalist. He did an outstanding job of dealing with the entire group and all of the variables.

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