• Spectacular and surprisingly diverse scenery, and magnificent Torres del Paine
• Very pleasant, comfortable and attractive country: southern South America's equivalent of New Zealand and Scotland
• Many special target species and endemics: penguins, seabirds, shorebirds, waterfowl and a host of unusual and unique landbirds
Chile is South America’s hidden gem, a place that few people have discovered but is a tourist and naturalist dream come true. Infrastructure is modern, with good roads, comfortable hotels and all the amenities one finds in North America and Europe. In our birding pre-tour to southern Chile, we encounter windswept Nothofagus forests, landscapes of lakes and rivers, snow-capped peaks, dramatic southern sounds (senos), steppe, and world famous Torres del Paine National Park, with spectacular scenery as a wonderful backdrop for excellent birding. Our trip is scheduled to coincide with the Chilean spring, a time of activity and rebirth—remember that for the most part this is a temperate country. Get ready to see penguins, albatrosses, steamer ducks, rayaditos, firecrowns, miners, earthcreepers, and wiretails, and lots more with such unfamiliar names!! Join us on our tour of Chile’s south, a rather un-South American part of South America!
Combine this tour with our main birding tour to Chile.
Day 1: Arrival in Punta Arenas
Day 2: Ferry to Tierra del Fuego
Day 3: Birding the Patagonian steppe
Day 4: Torres del Paine
Day 5: Senos and Steppe
Day 6: Departure
We arrive today in Punta Arenas after a flight from Santiago. Near Punta Arenas are open steppe and wetlands where we should see many waterfowl including Upland Goose, Flying Steamer Duck and Chiloe Wigeon and get our first glimpses of Southern Giant Petrel and Black-browed Albatross along the shoreline of the straits of Magellan. Night in Punta Arenas.
We cross the Straits of Magellan over to Tierra del Fuego today on a ferry that takes us to the town of Porvenir. This can be a productive 2.5 hour crossing, with good looks at Black-browed Albatross, Southern Giant-Petrels and other procellarids. We then bird the area around Porvenir for specialties such as Magellanic Plover, Short-billed Miner and Ruddy-headed Goose. Night in Punta Delgada,
From Punta Delgada we drive northeast and head inland along the Pali Aike Road searching the landscape for special birds such as Black-throated Finch, Rufous-chested and Tawny-throated Dotterels, and Chocolate-vented Tyrant. We end our day in the town of Puerto Natales.
The world famous Torres del Paine National Park is our destination for the day. Its spectacular scenery provides a wonderful backdrop for our birding. Here we hope to find specialties such as Austral Rail, Yellow-bridled Finch and White-throated Caracara. Night in Puerto Natales.
Our return to Punta Arenas is via the dramatic southern sounds (senos) of Patagonia and the windswept Nothofagus forests that line them. This route also keeps us close to the steppe and we should see a wonderful mix of bird species. Ruddy-headed Goose, Spectacled Duck, Kelp Goose and Flightless Steamer-Duck are some of the birds we’ll be looking for. Night in Punta Arenas.
Time permitting, we spend the morning looking for species not yet located, perhaps a visit to a nearby Magellanic Penguin colony out in the strait on Magdalena Island.
For those continuing on the main Chile Birding Tour, we will catch our flight north to Puerto Montt.
• Magellanic Plover
• Magellanic Penguin
• Tawny-throated Dotterel
• Magellanic Woodpecker
• Ruddy-headed Goose
• Black-browed Albatross
• Austral Rail
• Flightless Steamer Duck
• Chocolate-vented Tyrant
• Southern Giant Petrel
• Yellow-bridled Finch
2014 Chile Pre-tour species list (pdf)2012 Chile Tour species list (pdf) 2006 Chile Tour species list (pdf) 2001 Chile Tour species list (pdf)
Our daily travel schedule will vary to account for weather, tides, bird species and travel times. You can expect some early morning, pre-breakfast walks. The tour generally involves easy to moderate walking; there is some hill-climbing which we take at a steady pace. In general, we keep all our nature study to a reasonable pace, maximizing the number of things we see but allowing enough time to properly enjoy them. Having two leaders, we may split into "faster" and "slower" groups. Around noon, we stop for a box lunch at a scenic spot or stop for a sit-down meal at a local restaurant.
Weather will be pleasant; during the day it will be warm but unlikely hot, and participants should be prepared for some cool days and cold nights. We should encounter little rain. In the evening, we discuss the day's activities and review the list of birds and wildlife seen, and outline events for the next day.
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• Internal flights are additional
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