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Birding Tour in Southern Patagonia & Hooded Grebe - 5 Days

Birding Tour in Southern Patagonia & Hooded Grebe
1972

Birdwatching Patagonia Tour

A 5-day birding Patagonia tour in the barren steppes and vast woodlands of Southern Patagonia hold a variety of wildlife specially adapted to the unique conditions of this extreme land. This trip is specifically aimed to look for the species of this remote region, the Hooded Grebe being our main target. Its recent addition to the endangered species list makes it one of the most sought after birds in Patagonia. Although populations are declining and the terrain is challenging, we'll go looking for it high up on the plateaus where we’ve been successful in recent seasons. Chances are good for finding other range restricted birds here, exclusive to this ultimate boundary of continental South America.

Our birding starts in El Calafate birding at Laguna Nimez, a nice wetland reserve in the outskirts of town. Then we drive to El Chaltén where we will look for specialties of the South Beech forest, such as Magellanic Woodpecker, White-throated Treerunner, Rufous-tailed Plantcutter and Spectacled Duck. Next day we continue our trip entering the wildest part of Patagonia driving towards a typical Estancia, crossing a vast and arid expanse of steppe land. On arrival, Río Chico resembles an oasis, with its extensive marshes, home to a variety of birds, most notably, the elusive Austral Rail.

Uphill from here is the Strobel Plateau, a remote area of barren deserts dotted with small lakes, where the mythical Hooded Grebe still survives. Although numbers have been dropping over the last few years, we’ll dedicate our time to concentrate our search on those lakes which offer the best conditions of finding this spectacular bird. Searching the coasts of every lake, we hope to encounter another speciality, the Magellanic Plover.

Crossing the steppes on our return to El Calafate, we'll also keep a lookout for yet another elusive species, the Patagonian Tinamou, as well as the beautiful Tawny-throated Dotterel and Chocolate-vented Tyrant.

Alternative Name: Birding Southern Patagonia + Hooded Grebe
Day 1
Day 1 - El Calafate - Drive to El Chalten

We start our tour birding at Laguna Nimez, a nice wetland reserve near El Calafate. Then we move North skirting the Lakes Viedma and Argentino on our way to the mountain hamlet of El Chaltén. With the Fitz- Roy and Torre peaks as a background, it has excellent forest habitat nearby.

(Dinner)

Day 2
Day 2 - South Beech forest

Today we'll go on a full day trip birding the South Beech forest North from El Chaltén. As we drive along the Río de las Vueltas, we'll explore a diversity of habitats including steppes, wetlands, peat bogs and lush sub-antarctic woodlands.

(Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner)

Day 3
Day 3 - El Chaltén - Río Chico

Today we drive towards the Patagonian Plateau, a remote place seldom visited by tourists but ideally positioned to look for the endangered Hooded Grebe. The place we stay in is an "Estancia", a sheep ranch located right in front of the marshes and reeds of the River Chico, a key site to look for another specialty, the Austral Rail.

(Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner)

Day 4
Day 4 - Hooded Grebe expedition

We'll dedicate a full day to search for grebes on the plateau, visiting several lakes in remote areas including private land, where Hooded Grebes had been frequenting in the last seasons, sometimes even nesting.

(Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner)

Day 5
Day 5 - Return to El Calafate birding en route

As we return to El Calafate we'll try luck with yet another speciality, the Patagonian Tinamou. Finding them will completely depend on our luck, since there is no particular site they prefer and they could be anywhere around. So we'll be paying attention to any ground birds crossing the road as we return to El Calafate, where the tour ends.

Breakfast

Lesser Rhea, Patagonian Tinamou, Hooded Grebe, Andean Condor, Black-faced Ibis; Upland and Ashy-headed Geese; Chiloe Wigeon, Spectacled Duck, Austral Rail, Chilean Flamingo, Two-banded Plover, Magellanic Plover, Tawny-throated and Rufous-chested Dotterel, Least Seedsnipe, Lesser Horned-Owl, Austral Pygmy-Owl, Chilean Flicker, Austral Parakeet, Cinereus Harrier, Dark-bellied Cinclodes, Short-billed Miner, Austral Canastero, White-throated Treerunner, White-crested Elaenia, Chocolate-vented Tyrant, Cinnamon-bellied Ground-Tyrant, Fire-eyed Diucon, Correndera Pipit, Austral Thrush, Rufous-tailed Plantcutter, Patagonian Sierra-finch, Patagonian Yellow-Finch, Austral Blackbird.

What is included?

  • Private surface transportation.
  • Professional birding guide fluent in English and Spanish.
  • Birding equipment (telescope, torches, MP3, etc)
  • Bird Checklist
  • 4 nights accommodation on a double basis (single available upon request at an additional charge).
  • Meals as per program.
  • Bottled water for meals and excursions.
  • Admission fees to National Parks, Fauna Reserves, and Private Properties.

What is not included?

  • Tips of any kind.
  • Medical, travel and luggage insurance.
  • Items of a personal nature, such as telephone calls, internet connection, laundry service, á la carte dishes, etc.
  • Other unspecified costs in the itinerary

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5 Days

Price & Availability

From
USD1,972 / per person
Based on twin/double room
This tour is operated by: Seriema Nature Tours

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Tour Facts

  • Santa Cruz Province, Argentina
  • Birds
  • Maximum 8 pax
  • 5 days / 4 nights
  • October to February
  • Moderate
  • English / Spanish
  • Tour starts in El Calafate airport / city
  • Tour ends in El Calafate airport / city