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. Like only four other places in the world, all central part of Chile has been classified as a Mediterranean Region because it has Mediterranean Climate (rainy and cold winters and very hot and dry summers). Due to the high rates of biodiversity and endemism. The Mediterranean region of Chile has been classified as one of the 25 Hot Spots in the world with priority for its conservation.
DAY 0. 31st OCT 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. 1st NOV. BIRDING AT FARELLONES AND VALLE NEVADO
This morning we will drive up into the Andes to Farellones, where, amongst fantastic scenery, we will be looking for Crag Chilia, Dusky Tapaculo, Greater Yellow-finch, Rufous-banded and Creamy-rumped Miners and White-sided Hillstar, amongst other Andean birds. Massive Andean Condors should be soaring above (and sometimes below!) us, with hopes of Variable Hawk, Black-chested Buzzard-eagle and Mountain Caracara.

We will also do some birding at lower elevations, where we will be looking for the endemics - Chilean Tinamou, Moustached Turca, White-throated Tapaculo and Dusky-tailed Canastero.

We should return to our hotel in Santiago in time to enjoy a relaxing evening there, taking dinner at a different local restaurant and having a little more time than usual to savor the excellent local wines! Night at our hotel in Santiago B: L: D
DAY 2. 2nd NOV. FULL DAY ON THE COAST
Today we will set off very early, heading for the coast. Once at the coast we should see a wide variety of species, including the endemic Seaside Cinclodes, 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.
At the Maipo estuary we will be looking for a variety of gulls, Black Skimmers and a number of terns, including the rare Snowy-crowned Tern. We also have a chance here to see the beautiful White-tailed Kite, along with a good number of other shore and marsh birds. The marshes will give us a chance to see the recently-described Ticking Doradito and the noisy endemic Dusky Tapaculo. Leaving the estuary, we will drive gradually north up the coast, stopping for lunch and at various birding sites along the shore. Arriving in the historic port city of Valparaiso, we will check in to our comfortable hotel where we will be spending the night. B: L: D
DAY 3. 3rd NOV. PELAGIC TRIP OFF VALPARAISO AND COASTAL BIRDING
Early this morning we will sail out of Valparaiso port on our second Humboldt current pelagic, this time sailing some 12 miles out into the ocean. During our pelagic we will have the chance to see several species of albatross including Salvin's, Black-browed, Buller's, Northern, Southern Royal and Chatham Island. Tubenoses are a main feature of this pelagic and we will be hoping to encounter Southern Fulmar, Masatierra and Westland Petrels, Peruvian Diving-petrel and the more numerous White-chinned Petrel and Northern Giant Petrel. Wilson's Storm-petrels (local sub-species) will "foot-patter" close to the boat and we often see large numbers of Red Phalaropes. Other species should 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 will continue birding this time towards to the north of Valparaiso to look for the scarce and elusive Stripe-backed Bittern and any other species we might have missed the day before. Return to Santiago. Night in Santiago. B: L: D

DAY 4. 4th NOV. THE YESO VALLEY AND THE HIGH ANDES

Today we will make an early start (to miss the rush hour traffic!), heading 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. At 2,500 meters altitude we will stop at a particular bog which is a favorite site for what is arguably Chile´s number one target bird-the rare and very unusual Diademed Sandpiper-plover.

We will also 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 group including Grey-flanked Cinclodes, Rufous-banded and Creamy-rumped Miners and Scale-throated Earthcreeper. Ground-tyrants will be 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 hummingbirds we will be looking for up here is White-sided Hillstar and we also have a chance for both Black-billed and Great Shrike-tyrants, as well as Grey-breasted Seedsnipe. After what is often voted as being the most scenically spectacular day of the tour, we will return to our hotel in Santiago for a second night. B: L: D

DAY 5. 5th NOV. COLBÚN LAKE AND VILCHES

We will drive towards the south to get to Talca and then continue our trip to Colbún Lake. Still in the Mediterranean Region our main targets will be the large, spectacularly colourful and very noisy Burrowing Parakeet and beautiful Spectacled Duck. Hopefully we will also find a good number of other interesting ducks and grebe species and an opportunity to see Spectacled Tyrant and Andean Gull. We will then make a short trip to the north to spend the rest of the day and the next in the magnificent Altos de Lircay National Park. At dusk we will look for the hard to see Rufous-Legged Owl before spending the night in a quiet and comfortable forest lodge in Vilches.
DAY 6. 6th NOV. ALTOS DE LIRCAY NATIONAL PARK
Located in the southern border of the Mediterranean Region, this park is in the ecotone (transition area between two biomes) between the Temperate Rain Forest and the Mediterranean Region. Usually an ecotone appears on the ground as a gradual blending of the two communities or ecosystems. Because of this, in Altos de Lircay it is possible to observe the occurrence of species of Nothofagus forest. While walking along trails participants will be amazed with the spectacular mature Nothofagus trees as well as ferns, mosses and forest bird species that are unique to the southern cone of South America. oday will be spent exploring the extensive forest of the Altos de Lircay National Park, located 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. This is, perhaps, the least-often found Chilean virtual endemic on most tours. We will also be looking for more Nothofagus forest specialties, such as Austral Parakeet, the plump Chucao Tapaculo (with its explosive voice), Magellanic Tapaculo and Patagonian Sierra-finch. This will also be our first opportunity to see the truly spectacular Magellanic Woodpecker, which is quite common here. There is also an outside chance of seeing the rare and difficult-to-find Chilean Hawk.

After a full day’s birding in the forest we will return to our Vilches lodge and again dine in the excellent restaurant there. Second night in our Vilches forest lodge. B: L: D
DAY 7. 7th NOV. CERRO ÑIELOL AND TEMUCO
We will set off early this morning, heading to Temuco, making selected stops along the way. One of our stops today will be at the Santa Elena lagoon, south of Chillan, where we will look for Ticking Doradito, along with other lake specialties.
We will spend the end of the afternoon birding at Cerro Ñielol, where the possibilities will 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 will then spend the night in Temuco, walking out to a good local restaurant for our well-deserved dinner. B: L: D
DAY 8. 8th NOV. ARAUCARIA FOREST
This morning we will head off to explore the very beautiful Conguillío National Park. In this fantastic higher altitude Nothofagus and Araucaria forest, with excellent mountain views, we will look for the recently-split Patagonian Forest Earthcreeper, as well as Flying Steamer-duck, Magellanic Tapaculo, Austral Parakeet, Striped Woodpecker, Chilean Flicker, White-throated Treerunner and other forest species.

After a full day's birding we will drive to Temuco airport to take the short evening flight to Santiago, where we will spend the night in our comfortable airport hotel. B: L: D
DAY 9. 9th NOV. FLIGHTS HOME
Transfer to the airport for flights home B.
NOTE PRICE EXCLUDES: Internal Flight Temuco-Santiago

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.

Submit a testimonial

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.

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
6 + 7 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.