Day 1: Arrival in Buenos Aires and afternoon birding

Upon arrival in Buenos Aires, you will be met by a ground
agent and transferred to our designated hotel in Buenos
Aires. There will be an afternoon trip to a marsh within the
city limits of Buenos Aires (marsh is not far from our hotel).
This area teems with waterbirds, including Fulvous Whistling-
Duck, Black-necked Swan, Coscoroba Swan, Red Shoveler,
Yellow-billed Pintail, Silver Teal, Yellow-billed Teal, Rosy-
billed Pochard, Masked Duck, Lake Duck, White-tufted
Grebe, Cinereous Harrier, Common Gallinule, Red-gartered
Coot, Red-fronted Coot, White winged Coot, Black-necked
Stilt, Brown-hooded Gull, Gray-hooded Gull, Snowy-crowned
Tern and more. We have even seen the rare Ringed Teal
and Black-headed Duck here occasionally, as well as South
American Painted-Snipe! There is usually a variety of small
land birds as well, among them Picui Ground-Dove, Eared
Dove, Guira Cuckoo, Green-barred Woodpecker, Monk
Parakeet, Nanday Parakeet (introduced), Rufous Hornero,
Wren-like Rushbird, Freckle-breasted Thornbird, Sulphur-
throated Spinetail, White-crested Elaenia, Many-colored
Rush-Tyrant, Spectacled Tyrant, Cattle Tyrant, Fork-tailed
Flycatcher, Gray-breasted Martin, White-rumped Swallow,
Masked Gnatcatcher, Rufous-bellied Thrush, Chalk-browed
Mockingbird, Yellow-billed Cardinal, Blue-and-yellow
Tanager, Long-tailed Reed Finch, the lovely Black-and-
rufous Warbling-Finch, Black-capped Warbling-Finch,
Saffron Finch, Great Pampa-Finch, Rufous-collared Sparrow,
Yellow-winged Blackbird and Hooded Siskin.

Overnight in Buenos Aires

Day 2: Morning flight to Trelew in northern Patagonia,
followed by some birding on the way to Las Grutas

The San Antonio and Las Grutas area has proven to be one
of the most exciting birding spots in all of Patagonia. At least
five rarely seen Argentine endemics are present here:
Darwin's Nothura, Sandy Gallito, White-throated Cacholote,
Carbonated Sierra-Finch and Yellow Cardinal. Irregularly, a
sixth endemic, the Cinnamon Warbling-Finch, can also be
found here. The area boasts a tremendous roost and nesting
site for Burrowing Parakeets (local and persecuted in many
places) and many other sought-after species, with splendid
aquatic habitats.

The Yellow Cardinal, a rare and rapidly declining species, is
listed as endangered in the ICBP Red Data Book, and the
Sandy Gallito is local and infrequently seen. It also must rank
as one of the most charming little birds imaginable, running
rapidly like a wind-up toy, climbing up through bushes,
popping up to sing, then climbing down again, and racing off
across the sand, although it has proven difficult to see on a
number of occasions.

Overnight in Las Grutas

Day 3: Full day birding in the San Antonio del Oeste
and Las Grutas area

We plan to visit several areas in the vicinity of San Antonio
del Oeste and Las Grutas today and will concentrate
specifically on seeing some of the endemic and near-
endemic species of this interesting area. In addition to the
species already mentioned, we will be searching for Elegant
Crested-Tinamou, Least Seedsnipe, Spot-winged Pigeon, the
Lesser, or Magellanic, race of the Great Horned Owl (rare),
Short-eared Owl (also rare), Checkered Woodpecker, Band-
tailed Earthcreeper, Scale-throated Earthcreeper, Short-
billed Canastero, Sharp-billed Canastero, Patagonian
Canastero, Yellow-billed Tit-Tyrant, Greater Wagtail-Tyrant
(here at southern end of range), Lesser Shrike-Tyrant, Black-
crowned Monjita, Rusty-backed Monjita, White-tipped
Plantcutter, Patagonian Mockingbird, White-banded
Mockingbird, Common Diuca-Finch, Ringed Warbling-Finch
(surprisingly common) and Golden-billed Saltator.

The rare Hudson's Black-Tyrant breeds here, although the
similar-looking White-winged Black-Tyrant is also present.
There often are good mud and tidal flats exposed where we
can see many aquatic species, especially Baird's Sandpiper
and White-rumped Sandpiper, and gulls, terns and the lovely
Two-banded Plover.

Overnight in Las Grutas

Day 4: Las Grutas south to the Valdez Peninsula and
Punta Piramides birding

This will be a long driving day, but we have several
spectacular sites on today's itinerary. We will spend a short
time in the Las Grutas area this morning searching for
species not found the previous day, but we will leave soon for
the drive south to the Valdez peninsula where we will spend
the afternoon and evening. We will continue on to Trelew late
this evening and plan on a very late arrival at our hotel.

The overlook at Punta Piramides is a fairly reliable location
for the Snowy Sheathbill which winters here. However, at this
time of year most of them have migrated southward, although
there are usually one or two still present, as well as a variety
of cormorants, terns, and oystercatchers. Nearby scrub,
grassland, dune and wetland habitats harbor numerous
interesting Patagonian species such as Elegant Crested-
Tinamou, Variable Hawk, American Kestrel, Plain-mantled Tit-
Spinetail, Patagonian Canastero, Austral Negrito, Rusty-
backed Monjita, Short-billed Pipit, Patagonian Yellow-Finch
and often a few surprises as well.

Overnight in Trelew

Day 5: Punta Tombo birding adventure

Our destination today will be Punta Tombo, a narrow
peninsula about two hours south of the city of Trelew. Punta
Tombo is the breeding site of a colony of nearly one and a
half million Magellanic Penguins. For obvious reasons, the
park service permits access to only a small portion of the
colony. Skuas frequently patrol back and forth over the
colony, while Elegant Crested-Tinamous forage in nearby
shrubby areas. Other species frequently seen among the
colony include Scale-throated Earthcreeper, Sharp-billed
Canastero, Patagonian Yellow-Finch and Long-tailed
Meadowlark. Giant-Petrels, Magellanic Cormorant, Imperial
Cormorant, Two-banded Plover, Dolphin Gull and South
American Terns are often seen on or near the rugged cliffs
at the edge of the colony.

There should be an excellent opportunity to study the White-
headed Steamer-Duck, described in 1980 as a separate
species, but still taxonomically controversial. It occurs only in
the vicinity of Punta Tombo.

Watching carefully as we drive to and from the penguin
colony also may produce views of some of Patagonia's more
spectacular large birds and mammals, such as Lesser Rhea,
Guanaco, and Patagonian Cavie. Other birds along the road
include several canasteros, Plain-mantled Tit-Spinetail,
Yellow-billed Tit-Tyrant, Mourning Sierra-Finch and the local
and often difficult to find Carbonated Sierra-Finch.

Overnight in Trelew

Day 6: Trelew Area Birding /Sewage Lagoons and by
noon reach airport

Depending upon our flight schedule, we may also visit the
Trelew sewage lagoons just a short distance east of town.
The lagoons usually host tens of thousands of waterfowl.
Although we may have previously seen many of these
species of waterfowl in the pampas, this will give us another
chance to find any species we might have missed as well as
to see large numbers of Chilean Flamingos.

Two species that could be new are White-cheeked Pintails
and ‘Andean’ Ruddy Duck although most of the Oxyura
ducks here are Lake Ducks. Other species, often in large
numbers, could include coots, Crested Duck, Red Shoveler,
Silver Teal, White-tufted Grebe, Silvery Grebe, Brown-
hooded Gull and Kelp Gull.

In the afternoon, we will make a flight to Calafate. This small
but bustling resort town lies about an hour and a half to the
east of Los Glaciares National Park.

Our birding activities today will depend upon flight schedules,
but may include an afternoon at a small but very productive
lake near the town of Calafate. At this lake, we have a good
chance of seeing Chiloe Wigeon, Red Shoveler, Yellow-billed
Pintail, ‘Andean’ Ruddy Duck, Lake Duck, Cinereous Harrier,
one or more species of coots, and a variety of gulls and
shorebirds, as well as the ubiquitous Austral Negrito. We will
also be searching for the locally-distributed Magellanic
Plover, a shorebird that is so unusual it is placed in a family
of its own.

Overnight in Calafate

Day 7: Birding at The Far Southern Andes

Los Glaciares National Park is perhaps Argentina's most
spectacular national park. We plan to spend most of our day
here, including a visit to the park's most famous glacier,
Perito Moreno. Newly-constructed park trails permit a
breathtakingly close approach to this enormous glacier. It is a
photographer's paradise, and usually we are able to witness
huge chunks of ice calving into the lake.

The park hosts a fine list of exciting birds, including Upland
Goose, Flying Steamer-Duck, Chilean Flamingo, Black-faced
Ibis, Andean Condor, Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle, Austral
Pygmy-Owl, Chilean Flicker, Austral Parakeet, Dark-bellied
Cinclodes, Thorn-tailed Rayadito, Fire-eyed Diucon, Rufous-
tailed Plantcutter, Austral Thrush, Patagonian Sierra-Finch,
Austral Blackbird and Black-chinned Siskin. The rare Bronze-
winged (Spectacled) Duck also nests in marshy wetlands
higher up and is occasionally seen. The park is an excellent
locality for Magellanic Woodpeckers as well.

In beautiful high country grasslands outside the park, we can
find both Least Seedsnipe and occasionally Gray-breasted
Seedsnipe. The broad-but-shallow braided streams often
teem with many kinds of waterfowl, canasteros, ground-
tyrants, sierra-finches, and occasionally the rare Great

At this time of year many species are beginning to nest or
already have young. Throughout the area, we will be
watching for Patagonian Tinamou (rare), as well as
Cinnamon-bellied Ground-Tyrant and Gray hooded Sierra-

Overnight in Calafate

Day 8: Calafate to Rio Gallegos birding and on to

This morning we will spend a short time around Calafate
searching for additional Patagonian species we may have
missed, before beginning the drive southeastwards across
southern Patagonia towards Rio Gallegos.

The land around Rio Gallegos is rather flat and bleak. If the
day is typical, we will experience some of the famous
Patagonian winds. The vegetation around Rio Gallegos,
though now considerably modified (damaged) by
overgrazing, consists of low, well-spaced shrubs varying to
grasslands (formerly tall but now very short in most areas).

A sampling of bird life on our transect across this south
Patagonian steppe could include Black-necked Swan, Upland
Goose, Crested Duck, Chiloe Wigeon, Magellanic
Oystercatcher, Long-tailed Meadowlark, and the most
common little passerine of all, the Austral Negrito.

Once we reach Rio Gallegos we will mount a search for some
of the special birds of the region, including, Lesser Rhea,
Rufous-chested Dotterel, Least Seedsnipe, Short-billed
Miner, Austral Canastero, Chocolate-vented Tyrant and Gray-
hooded Sierra-Finch. Most of these species can be found
relatively close to town. We will also be watching for the now
rare and local White-bridled (Black throated) Finch, although
we are not always successful in finding it because the
grasslands here have been so heavily overgrazed by sheep
that little of the tall grass habitat favored by this species still
exists in this area. We frequently see Patagonian Foxes on
this drive as well.

Our time will be relatively limited this afternoon and soon we
will board a plane for our late afternoon flight to Ushuaia,
which takes us across the Straits of Magellan and over Isla
Grande, a spectacular flight when the weather is good.

Overnight in Rio Gallegos

Day 9: AM Arrival and PM birding in Ushuaia

3:45 AM Flight and Arrive at About Noon into Ushuaia: Rest
and Birding in PM. We will visit a municipal dock facility where
we hope to see the White-throated Caracara, a species that
is quite local here. In addition there are always hundreds of
gulls, cormorants, skuas and other species present.

Days 10 &11: Full day Birding at Tierra del Fuego
National Park and Beagle Channel boat trip

We have two full days to explore the region of Ushuaia,
situated at the southern end of Isla Grande de Tierra del
Fuego. Isla Grande, part of the larger region known as Tierra
del Fuego, or “Land of Fire,” is a spectacular region of rolling
grasslands, snowy mountains, glaciers, and beech forests.
The diversity of birds in Tierra del Fuego is low, but most of
them are found nowhere else in the world but here and in a
few adjacent parts of southern Patagonia and Chile.

Birds that we should see include the spectacular south
temperate geese, Upland Goose, Kelp Goose, and Ashy-
headed Goose, plus Magellanic Woodpecker, Magellanic
Tapaculo, White throated Treerunner, Dark-bellied
Cinclodes, Thorn-tailed Rayadito, Fire-eyed Diucon, Rufous-
tailed Plantcutter, Austral Thrush, Patagonian Sierra-Finch,
Austral Blackbird and Black-chinned Siskin.

The cold oceanic waters surrounding Tierra del Fuego are
richer in food than the land. Consequently, many interesting
seabirds may be seen from the shorelines and on the Beagle
Channel boat trip (Day 10).

On our first day we will visit Tierra del Fuego National Park in
the morning and a highland basin (via ski lift) in the afternoon
where, in addition to searching for the Ochre-naped Ground-
Tyrant and Yellow-bridled Finch, we will have unparalleled
views of the Beagle Channel and the southern end of Tierra
del Fuego.

The following day we will board a catamaran for an afternoon
and evening boat trip on the Beagle Channel. We'll visit
several important island breeding colonies of cormorants and
get a fine panorama of the entire eastern half of the Beagle
Channel from Ushuaia to the Haberton Ranch located near
the eastern end of the channel. We will visit the historic
Haberton Ranch, situated well to the east of Ushuaia. The
ranch was founded by Thomas Bridges in 1871. Bridges, a
peripatetic missionary, entrepreneur, and scholar of the
Yahgan language, was one of the first foreign settlers to be
given a land grant by the Argentine government and his
ranch remains today a sterling example of his bold vision and
dedication to the settlement of this wild region.

Our route today also visits a small breeding colony of
Magellanic Penguins at the southeast end of the channel,
and for the last decade a small colony of Gentoo Penguins
has also nested here.

This trip is very scenic with a sweeping array of snow-clad
mountains from start to finish and a fine overview of the
wildlife of the Beagle Channel. Though some wildlife has
diminished in numbers (whales are seldom seen in the
channel now), we will see Upland Geese, Kelp Geese, good
numbers (even flocks) of Flightless Steamer-Ducks,
occasional Flying Steamer-Ducks, tiny Magellanic Diving-
Petrels scattering across the water and Black-browed
Albatrosses. Magellanic Cormorants, Imperial Cormorants, as
well as Chilean Skuas and Dark-bellied Cinclodes are also
present. Other possibilities include Southern Fulmar, Snowy
Sheathbill (most migrate southward to breed by the
beginning of December), Blackish Oystercatcher, Magellanic
Oystercatcher and Blackish Cinclodes.

The seas within the channel are usually rather calm and will
almost certainly be so within the numerous bays where we
stop. There will be one opportunity to get off the ship and
walk around when we visit the Haberton Ranch.

Our late-afternoon return, with the lights of Ushuaia and the
afternoon sun streaming over the mountains and onto the
bay, provides a lovely conclusion to the day.

Note that on one of the two nights that we are in Ushuaia we
will offer, weather permitting, a late night owling trip into
Tierra del Fuego National Park to search for the Rufous-
legged Owl. Because the weather is often rainy and because
of the late departure hour and the time required to search for
this bird, we offer this as an option only. The cost of this
excursion (which can last from 9:30 or 10:00 PM until after
midnight) is not included in the trip price.

Two nights in Ushuaia

Day 12: AM Birding and Mid-day flight from city of
Ushuaia to Buenos Aires or Santiago

This morning will be free for sight-seeing in Ushuaia, for
shopping, resting or for a walk along the nearby beaches
and harbor where there are always numbers of gulls and
waterfowl. We will check out of our hotel at mid-morning or a
bit later for the short drive to the airport to catch our flight to
Buenos Aires and continuing international flights later this
Spectacular Patagonia Birding Trip in
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Patagonia Birding Trip
in Argentina  
Detailed Itinerary
More Details on This Trip
Black-browed Albatross and Chiloe Wigeon
banner Photo by Kit Larson
White-chinned Petrel
Photo by Kit Larson
Red Shoveler
Photo by Kit Larson
Upland Goose
Photo by Kit Larson
Chiloe Wigeon
Photo by Kit Larson
Photo by Kit Larson
Austral Thrush
Photo by Kit Larson
Great Grebe
Photo by Kit Larson
Black-faced Ibis
Photo by Kit Larson
Spectacled Duck
Photo by Kit Larson
Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle
Photo by Kit Larson
Ashy-headed Goose
Photo by Kit Larson
Dolphin Gull
Photo by Kit Larson
Ashy-headed Goose
Photo by Kit Larson
Black-browed Albatross
Photo by Kit Larson
White-chinned Petrel
Photo by Kit Larson
Red Shoveler
Photo by Kit Larson
Upland Goose
Photo by Kit Larson
Chiloe Wigeon
Photo by Kit Larson
Photo by Kit Larson
Austral Thrush
Photo by Kit Larson
Great Grebe
Photo by Kit Larson