Birding Chile – Chilean Patagonia, Torres del Paine and Tierra del Fuego

A Trip to the End of the Earth

Photographer: Fabrice Schmitt
This tour offers the experience of most impressive landscapes and mythical places of Chile. We will cross the famous Magellan straight, bird Tierra del Fuego, drive through the Patagonian steppe and look for the recently rediscovered Austral Rail at the base of the wonderful Torres Del Paine. Some stunning species are found here including King Penguin, Magellanic Plover, Ruddy-headed Goose, Chocolate-vented Tyrant, White-bridled Finch and so many more. Patagonia is also a destination for other wildlife, including the common Guanaco, Grey Fox, Peale's Dolphin, and with more luck the rare Puma or a Fin Whale, when crossing the Magellan Straight. Weather is unpredictable here, can be sunny, cold, very windy, rainy, snowy, and even just warm – all in one single day!
DAY 0. 8th NOV ARRIVAL IN SANTIAGO
After arrival, we will transfer to Santiago’s airport hotel, where we will have dinner and our introductory meeting. Night in the Santiago airport hotel. D
DAY 1. 9TH NOV. BIRDING AROUND PUNTA ARENAS
This morning we will take the early flight from Santiago to Punta Arenas, Chile’s most southerly city.

Upon arrival we will bird on the coast near the city, looking for Flying and Flightless Steamer-ducks, Magellanic Oystercatcher, Imperial Shag, Upland Goose, Two-banded Plover, Chilean Skua, Dolphin Gull and the tiny Austral Negrito. In the afternoon we will drive to the Estancia San Juan where the very rare Ruddy-headed Goose breeds, before heading back to our hotel in Punta Arenas where we will spend the night, dining out at a nearby shoreline restaurant. B: L: D
DAY 2. 10th NOV. TIERRA DEL FUEGO AND KING PENGUIN COLONY
We will take the early morning ferry crossing (2.5 hrs.) to Porvenir, which is the main town in the North-West sector of this mythical island at the end of the world, Tierra del Fuego. We should see scores of Southern Giant Petrel, Magellanic Diving Petrel, Chilean Skua, Black- Browed Albatross and Peale ́s dolphins. We will spend the afternoon birding in visiting Laguna Verde and Laguna Santa Maria. Bird species the next couple of days will be Ashy- Headed and Upland Goose, Two- Banded Plover, Magellanic Plover, Chilean Skua, Short- Billed Miner, Tawny-Throated Dotterels, Flightless Steamer-Duck, Black-necked Swan and Crested Duck.
A trip to Bahia Inútil to see a colony of magnificent King Penguins. In the afternoon we will be looking for Rufous-Chested Dotterel, Chocolate-Vented Tyrant and Cinnamon-Bellied Ground-Tyrant before returning to our lodge in Cerro Sombrero.
DAY 3. 11th NOV. BIRDING THE STEPPES AND DRIVE TO PUERTO NATALES
We will bird our way to North-East of the Tierra del Fuego island, where we will take our ferry to mainland (Punta Delgada). This is a shorter ferry crossing with the great chance of seeing Commerson ́s Dolphin, Magellanic Diving-Petrel, Wilson's Storm Petrel and White- Chinned Petrel, and other seabirds. Back on the mainland we will make a stop at Buque Quemado because there is a great chance of seeing variety of waterfowl, including Silver Teal, Rosy-billed Pochard, Chiloe Wigeon, White-cheeked Pintail, Coscoroba Swan, and variety of shorebirds. We will continue our trip to Puerto Natales and will look for Darwin's Rhea, Austral Canastero, Chocolate-Vented Tyrant, Band-Tailed Earthcreeper, Common Miner Patagonian Yellow-Finch and White-bridled Finch. We will spend the night in our hotel in Puerto Natales.
DAY 4. 12th NOV. TORRES DEL PAINE AND SIERRA BAGUALES
Today we will make an early start, heading for the spectacular Torres del Paine National Park. The park is famous for it’s amazing scenery, but it is also rich in bird and mammal life. We will be birding the eastern side of the park, looking for waterfowl on the lakes, whilst on reed-fringed pools we will be hoping to find the recently re-discovered Austral Rail.

Other birds that we might encounter here will include Cinereous Harrier, Dark-faced and Cinnamon-bellied Ground-tyrants, White-throated Caracara, Yellow-bridled Finch and Patagonian Mockingbird. Guanaco, Patagonian Skunk and Gray Fox are some of the mammals that we may see. This is also the best place in Chile to see Puma, but daytime sightings are extremely rare.

Leaving the National Park, we will take the road to Sierra Baguales, looking for Band-tailed Earthcreeper, Patagonian and Greater Yellow-finches, Andean Condor, the very rare Gray-bellied Shrike-tyrant and a variety of ground-tyrants. We will then head back to Puerto Natales and our hotel, walking out for dinner to a nearby restaurant where the carnivores in our group will hopefully be able to sample the famous Patagonian specialty of Cordero al Palo!! We will then spend a second night in our hotel in Puerto Natales. B: L: D
DAY 5. 13th NOV .PUNTA ARENAS AIRPORT
Sadly, this is the last day of our expedition. We will drive back to Punta Arena’s airport where we will take our flight back to Santiago and connecting international flights B.
NOTE PRICE EXCLUDES: Internal Santiago-Punta Arenas- Santiago.

Customer Testimonials

Cheers, Romney Bathurst - USA

Just wanted to thank you again for arranging our jaunt to Mantanayoc and to say how very much we enjoyed Silverio – he is a delightful fellow and a very good guide. I also want to commend Aurelio, Walter and Alejandro, all of whom did everything possible to make the main trip a successful and comfortable experience for all – and always with smiles too! The food, of course, was especially good - they are a great crew and I look forward to travelling with them again on the N. Peru trip in Nov.

Nick Blackwood - UK

What a wonderful three weeks - thank you. Exciting, exhausting, enthralling, overwhelming, hot, wet, bright, biting, glorious, inspiring, imposing.... You´ll have heard it all before. The guide was simply marvelous. The most attentive, unfailingly courteous, unendingly patient, enthusiastic, amusing and professional guide it has been my privilege to bird with. And his knowledge of the birds and their calls, wildlife in general was simply astonishing. The whole trip was carried off so efficiently - not a single hitch in three weeks. Anyway I wish you and the whole of your group a very happy Christmas and successful New Year. This is not the last you have heard of me.

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Comments

What a wonderful three weeks - thank you. Exciting, exhausting, enthralling, overwhelming, hot, wet, bright, biting, glorious, inspiring, imposing.... You´ll have heard it all before. The guide was simply marvelous. The most attentive, unfailingly courteous, unendingly patient, enthusiastic, amusing and professional guide it has been my privilege to bird with. And his knowledge of the birds and their calls, wildlife in general was simply astonishing. The whole trip was carried off so efficiently - not a single hitch in three weeks. Anyway I wish you and the whole of your group a very happy Christmas and successful New Year. This is not the last you have heard of me.

Just wanted to thank you again for arranging our jaunt to Mantanayoc and to say how very much we enjoyed Silverio – he is a delightful fellow and a very good guide. I also want to commend Aurelio, Walter and Alejandro, all of whom did everything possible to make the main trip a successful and comfortable experience for all – and always with smiles too! The food, of course, was especially good - they are a great crew and I look forward to travelling with them again on the N. Peru trip in Nov.

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