Santiago-Humboldt Extension: Nov 15—20, 2018
Andes, Wetlands & Albatross Galore!
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This extension to our Wild Patagonia & Central Chile tour explores the stunning mountains and rich coastal marshes and coastal waters (with a fantastic pelagic trip) close to Santiago for a range of regional endemics, range-restricted species, and albatrosses galore. Outstanding scenery assured, as well as excellent photographic opportunities.
In close proximity to the Chilean capital, Santiago, the mountains and coast of central Chile boast an alluring mix of breathtaking scenery and fine birding. From sea level to above tree line, this part of Chile abounds in natural wonders and endemic wildlife not accessed as easily in other parts of the country.
This optional extension to our Wild Patagonia & Central Chile tour will appeal to those who want to see more of Chile beyond what is offered on the main tour, and to those who seek a shorter stand-alone trip. Our excursions will take us from the coast to the high mountains in pursuit of a host of range-restricted birds. Remarkable species like Andean Condor, the enigmatic Diademed Sandpiper-Plover, Gray-breasted Seedsnipe, White-sided Hillstar, Rufous-tailed Plantcutter and several neat endemics including Chilean Tinamou, Crag Chilia, White-throated Tapaculo, Moustached Turca, and Seaside Cinclodes are representative.
We’ll visit the Andes right outside Santiago for the chance to see birds of the foothills and higher elevations, seeking an array of woodpeckers, hummingbirds, miners, earthcreepers, ground-tyrants, and sierra-finches. Our travels will take us to the breathtaking El Yeso Valley with textbook perfect Andean scenery in a tremendous glacial valley serving as a backdrop to equally spectacular montane birding. Here we seek out an array of neat birds including Giant Hummingbird, Chilean Flicker, miners, earthcreepers, ground-tyrants, and colorfu sierra-finches and siskins. Another exciting and very contrasting day of birding will find us exloring the extremely rich Maipo Estuary (one of Chile’s most important coastal reserves) and the Laguna Cartagena Marshes for a variety of exciting birds associated with saltwater and freshwater ecosystems, such as Stripe-backed Bittern, the recently described Ticking Dorodito, dazzling Many-colored Rush Tyrant, endemic Seaside Cinclodes, and, among a great variety of wildfowl, the rare and odd parasitic Black-headed Duck.
However, the “creme de la creme” will be a pleasant half-day offshore boat trip into the Humboldt Current, renowned as one of the world’s most productive waters, simply teeming with life. Our objective will be locating a stellar mix of seabirds unique to the southern Pacific Ocean. Many majestic albatrosses, up to 5 or 6 species, are possible including such greats as the Salvin’s Albatross, immense “Northern” Royal Albatross, and beautiful Buller’s Albatross; as well as Peruvian Diving-Petrel, Humboldt Penguin, and an assortment of shearwaters and storm-petrels. On shore we will appreciate the stunning Inca Tern, localized Gray Gull, Red-legged Cormorant, and many others. The marine mammal viewing can also be very good here with chances for the unique looking Sperm Whale, Dusky Dolphin, and giant South American Fur Seal among others.
High quality meals and accommodations; travel from sea level to treeline; walking and birding conditions easy; half-day pelagic trip; warm to pleasant weather expected.