Wildlife and Birdwatching Tour in Patagonia
A 10-Day birding Patagonia tour in the southernmost tip of the American Continent is a land of vast solitudes and unexplored wilderness. Remote Patagonia is an immense geographical region in the south of Argentina and Chile. Flanked by the Atlantic Ocean on the east, and the Pacific on the west, Patagonia spans north to south from the Colorado River in Argentina and Reloncaví Sound in Chile, to the Beagle Channel and Cape Horn.
To the east of the Andes, Patagonia is mostly a dry bushy steppe, rising westwards in a succession of 13 abrupt terraces, roughly 100 metres at a time, all the way to the Andean Range. Western and Andean Patagonia are very humid. The dominant habitat is the Southern Beech forest, with secondary tree species varying slightly with latitude. There’s even a temperate rainforest called Valdivian Forest, spanning over northwestern Patagonia, mostly within Chile, but with a wedge-shaped section crossing the Andes way into Argentina.
Strong westerly winds sweep the Southern Hemisphere, between the latitudes 40 and 49. These are the famous Roaring Forties. Air displaced from the Equator towards the South Pole, which travels close to the surface between the latitudes of 30 and 60 degrees south, combines with the earth's rotation to cause west-to-east air currents. Because there is little land below the 40th parallel south, greater wind speeds are able to build than at the same latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. After crossing the Pacific Ocean, the Roaring Forties carry a great amount of humidity, thus turning the western coast of Patagonia into a generally wet and rainy region. These wet winds finally hit the Andean Range, producing heavy downpours on the western slope of the Andes, to drastically dry out before entering eastern Patagonia transformed into very dry, astringent winds running all the way to the Atlantic coast and beyond.
We will explore the steppes and forests of mighty Patagonia, searching for their unique birds. Patagonia hosts 60 bird species almost restricted or endemic to the region. It is also an incredible place for marine mammals, with the Valdes Peninsula standing out as the only breeding colony of Southern Elephant Seal in the entire continent. This is also the main breeding area for Southern Right Whale, and home to the famous sea-lion hunting Orcas that made the substance of innumerable nature films. The Patagonian forests are home to spectacular birds like Magellanic Woodpecker, and Lesser Horned Owl, but Andean Patagonia is also unique for its spectacular scenery, including such spectacular glaciers like the Moreno, which we’ll have the chance to see at Los Glaciares National Park. No trip to Patagonia is complete without paying a visit to Ushuaia, the southernmost city on earth, and ours is no exception, so we will also explore the same forests and islands seen and described by Charles Darwin in the early 19th century.
Previous Tour Name: Birds and Wildlife of Argentine Patagonia