Friday, 4 April 2014

Argentina, February 2008

An old trip report that I need to revive as the older pdf version has had some problems - I'd really like to go back here one day!

I used to bird exclusively on foreign holidays. I then stopped flying for a number of years, and my interest switched to birding more in the UK, although usually still only on holiday. As my interest in birds rekindled, I went out more locally, but I’m now getting hooked on birding abroad once again. So somehow in summer 2007 I managed to get a green-card to attend a friend’s wedding in Argentina in early 2008. Fifteen hours on a plane means this is not somewhere you go just for the weekend, so I took ten days. I arranged to go with Charlie, a mutual friend of the groom, and who I had lived with for a tough year in the South of France, so we were comfortable with each other’s stupid antics. That year in France had been before I rediscovered birding so Charlie was in no way prepared for my obsessive behaviour. He on the other hand had not changed a bit, and his foibles remained the same – a love of music, of walking, and of eating pizza.

I prepared very well for this trip, as I had booked it seven months in advance. I got a guidebook for Christmas, and scrubbed up thoroughly. I also planned two spectacular days birding, with a guide. I felt that the birds would be so foreign to me, and that so many were plain and brown, that this would pay off handsomely.

Argentina is magnificent for birds and many other things (like Steak). What follows is an account of what I saw. To keep it from being just a list of birds (I don’t really do brevity), I’ll try to only mention new trip ticks on each day. Anyway, overall I would chalk up 188 species, and all but 10 would be lifers. I didn’t even go to the rainforests in the north of the country which have even more diversity. Argentina is enormous; there is every type of habitat you could think of. Across the rainforests, grasslands, swaps, coast, deserts and mountains are around 1000 species. I got over 100 species on the first day, 80-odd on the second, and then gave up counting. I only birded within driving distance of Buenos Aires, and then in one small section of northern Patagonia – the Argentine Lake District – Nahuel Huapi and Lanin National Parks. If you had three weeks, rather than ten days, perhaps you could also spend time up near Iguazu for rainforest species and the odd waterfall, and down south in Tierra del Fuego for the marine and Antarctic species. Once again, with the exception of two days almost entirely dedicated to birding, this was not a birding holiday. Whilst not with the family, Charlie is not a birder, and that wouldn’t have been fair. He did get reasonably excited by the possibility of Andean Condors though.

Wednesday 20th February
I worked a full, bird-less day at the office and then headed for Heathrow where our flight to Buenos Aires, via Sao Paolo, left at 9pm. Slight hiccup before we even started as the baggage system at Terminal 4 failed and passengers were restricted to hand luggage only, but somehow we made it on to the plane. Not a great start, and it got worse: 1) My iPod broke in the departure lounge, and 2) My neighbour for the next 11 hours was, shall we say, malodorous. Washing yourself is a basic prerequisite. The only time when it is acceptable to skip washing yourself is when you are out birding in the middle of nowhere, alone, with no facilities (and in any case, bathing takes up valuable birding time). Not washing yourself for several days prior to getting into a sealed steel tube for 11 hours with 300 other [washed] people is completely unacceptable. He should have been thrown off. I don’t remember much of the flight, I was too busy not listening to music and trying not to be sick.

Thursday 21st February

My fragrant neighbour got off at Sao Paolo, but his presence remained with us until Buenos Aires. We agreed that I would get the window seat on the way back, and that Charlie would be the buffer. A taxi was negotiated into the centre, and we congratulated ourselves on having survived the flight, and on what a cool place South America is. Unless you have been, it is impossible to really convey a sense of what it is like. For a start, the city appears to be European - reminds me of Barcelona - but what gives it away are the cars and particularly the trucks. The concept of MOTs has not yet reached Argentina, roadworthy means it runs, and that’s it. The main highway into Buenos Aires from Pistarini Airport is a wonderful journey of old bangers, overloaded, bits falling off, and cars that have randomly driven off the road to unload people under trees for impromptu siestas or picnics. And of course there are birds everywhere. From the taxi, my first sightings were of Southern Lapwings, which were to be a feature of the trip, and Rufous Horneros, Argentina’s National Bird, not because it is everywhere, but because the Argentines admire its attitude and posture. Screeching flights of Monk Parakeets were seen, as well as Neotropic Cormorants flying in from the sea.

We dumped our stuff in the Art hotel (very nice, pretty cheap, and in the heart of the Recoleta district), incinerated our flight clothes, showered, and went straight out to the civil wedding reception – the “real” wedding was on Saturday – which was being held in the suburb of San Isidro. Here, amongst more Horneros, I found my first Eared Doves, dainty things reminiscent of Mourning Doves in the US. Two hours into a new country, with birds everywhere, Charlie had to drag me to the reception. We met up with not only the happy couple, but also a number of people I had not seen since that year in France a decade ago. As always, there was no awkwardness, ten years of non-contact melted away, and we arranged to meet for dinner later that evening. STEAK!!! What a country. A great evening reminiscing, and Charlie therefore hatched a plan for the next day, when I would be abandoning him in favour of birding in Entre Rios province. We went to bed at around 1am, not ideal following a fifteen hour flight and with a 5.45am start the next day.

Friday 22nd February
Four hours passed in five minutes, and somehow I made it down to reception. What time was it? The streets of Buenos Aires had been washed clean by overnight rain, and the air still felt damp. My guide, Alec Earnshaw, turned up outside just as we had planned, and we set off for Ceibas, an area of wetlands and Pampas interspersed with grazing 150km north of the city. Alec’s trip tick-list showed 223 “of the most likely species” – I was blown away, I don’t think I have ever been anywhere with that potential. Ceibas is in fact in the next province, Entre Rios (literally, among rivers). You reach Entre Rios by crossing some monumental bridges over the Parana, the second longest river in South America at about 2,500 miles including the headwaters. The journey passed quickly, talking about birds, getting to know one another, finding out what made each other tick [ho ho], and what photographic opportunities lay in store. The only problem was that rain threatened, but for the time being it seemed to be holding up. The first birds of the trip were Giant Wood-Rails by the side of the road, and abundant Southern Caracaras, as well as the huge silhouette of a Ringed Kingfisher against the dawn sky. Sadly when we slowed down to stop the Rails scuttled away.

Eventually we pulled into a dust road and parked up. This is not for all, but Alec is a user of playback in certain situations, as it helps his customers get better views of the birds. In any event, the ratio of birds to birders in Argentina is far greater than the UK, on both sides of the equation, so on balance the disturbance of birds is smaller than miniscule. He has a unique contraption on his belt, which is a home-made amplified speaker that sits on one hip, the cord of which runs around his belt loops to an MP3 player on his other hip, which he has on repeat mode, so that when he selects a song or call, it plays continuously, and he then achieves silence by turning the large volume knob on the speaker. It is really very clever, and no doubt contributed to the number of good sightings we had.

Our first stop, just by the side of the road, we saw 2 Picui Ground Dove, tiny birds feeding in the leaf-litter, a Glittering-bellied Emerald, Green-barred Woodpecker, Checkered Woodpecker, White-fronted Woodpecker, and in the fields to one side, a Lark-like Brushrunner – another member of the Furnarid family. The Furnarids are Alec’s favourite bird family, as you will see if you consult his website, and they are unique to South America. Many are very similar, but overall the family is incredibly varied. The Rufous Hornero is also in this family (Furnarid = furnace = oven = like the nest of the Hornero), and we saw a number of these on the road here. Also here was a Great Rhea, many of these birds roam wild, even though they are semi-domesticated. The first bird that Alec used playback for was the Suiriri Flycatcher, a smallish plain flycatcher, and eventually we got good views of this tough bird. We also saw Rufous-collared Sparrow here, and the amazing Red-crested Cardinal – the cover bird from my guide book. Monk Parakeets, a Creamy-bellied Thrush, and Southern Caracara were also seen well.

We continued on down the road, stopping by a small pool. There were 2 Spot-winged Pigeons here, Spot-flanked Gallinule, and my first Wattled Jacanas, with their amazing wing colour when they took off on short flights around the edge of the pool. We also saw Brazilian Teal here, Greater Yellowlegs and a few Pectoral Sandpiper. Also spotted was a Common Snipe, the same species as the UK. This road –  a dusty track, with barren scenery on each side, with low trees and scrubs -  was immense in birding terms. Everywhere we stopped we found birds – Vermillion Flycatcher, Crowned Slaty Flycatcher, White-naped Xenopsaris (particularly abundant), Yellow-browed Tyrants and Cattle Tyrants.

When we hopped over a fence and penetrated a little deeper, we encountered yet more species. This is cattle country, but I’m not exactly sure what they eat. Maybe the answer is not much, as there were bleached bones and skulls all over the place. Amongst this scenery we found a group of Little Thornbirds, a Freckle Breasted Thornbird, many Tufted-tit Spinetails, Short-billed Canastero, Chotoy Spintetail, Sooty-fronted Spinetail, Pale-breasted Spinetail – all of these members of the Furnarid family. The spinetails are exactly what it says on the tin, with medium to long stiff tails, in a variety of formats, from a wedge shaped fan to long streamers, and they are masters at flitting through the tough scrub and vanishing into places you cannot follow. We also got a brief in-flight view of an unknown species of Nightjar here, probably Scissor-tailed, a Golden-billed Saltator, Sayaca Tanager, Sooty Tyrannulet, Warbling Doradito, White-tipped Plantcutter, White-crested Tyrannulet and Masked Gnatcatcher – a delightful little blue-grey bird. Then Alec got very excited, as he thought he had a site tick – Orange-headed Tanager. This very elusive bird led him on a merry dance through the thickets. He couldn’t quite place it, and only a few days later did he realize that it was a juvenile Blue-and-Yellow Tanager. I was more than happy to for him to take some photos. In this respect we share the same interests, and Alec takes some great pictures using modest equipment and a honed technique using a modified mini-tripod which he balances on his chest and then stalks forward, with playback coming from his waist. The Inspector Gadget of Argentine birding.

Our next stop was more prolonged, and we went for a longish walk away from the road towards some marshy scrapes. This tried and tested route proved to be very productive, and it was not long before we had found a big group of Brown-and-Yellow Marshbirds, with some keeping lookout from observation points in the landscape, whilst the others fed on the ground. We were to see quite a few more of these as the day progressed. At this spot we also saw Barn Swallow, Blue-and-White Swallow, Spectacled Tyrant, and White Monjita. Further on, closer to the water, we saw a group of American Wood Storks on the ground and in flight, and 3 juvenile Roseate Spoonbills, sadly only a very light shade of pink. I would love to see breeding adults of this species, but a tick is a tick. Means I have to come back, or go to Florida perhaps. Next up was a gigantic Maguari Stork – the first stork I had ever seen anywhere. Stunning. We also saw a pair of Southern Screamer, huge turkey-like birds that actually fall into the anatidae, Cocoi Heron, Bare-faced Ibis, White-faced Ibis, and a Rufescent Tiger-Heron flushed up and then down again – more Bittern than Heron. The quality of the birds was superb. I could barely keep up, but we gave each species a good grilling. A reedy area held a nervous Wren-like Rushbird, another Furnarid species, and we saw many Yellow-winged Blackbirds. Hooded Siskins were charming birds, and a Masked Yellowthroat was seen, but needed a lot playback to get a view. Here we also got great views of a Savannah Hawk. On the way back to the car, for it was now around lunchtime and we had been on the go for many hours, we got excellent views of Guira Cuckoos, Great Kiskadees, a Tropical Kingbird, a pipit which we could not identify (if you can’t hear it, don’t tick it – a mantra from an old birding friend of Alec’s) and Alec found a Nacunda Nighthawk in one of the fields. He got it set up in the scope, and I could tell from the twinkle in his eye that the game was afoot. Looking in the scope I saw nothing, only grass and a few clods of earth. Then one of the clods of earth winked – absolutely amazing. Back at the car we had a picnic lunch, and watched a gaucho teaching his young son to rope cattle, bare-backed on a horse at aged 8 or thereabouts. We could here the calls of Shiny Cowbirds and Bay-winged Cowbirds here, and after lunch a brief foray back in the direction we had walked soon produced fine views of both these species.

Somewhere along this road we also saw a Brown Cachalote, Black-and-Rufous Warbling Finch, Great Pampa Finch and a Narrow-billed Woodcreeper, something like a giant treecreeper – both the cachalote and woodcreeper are members of the Furnarid family. We also saw many wonderful Fork-tailed Flycatchers that always stayed one step ahead of my lense – beautiful birds, really graceful. Unfortunately it now began to rain. This had threatened all day, and had kept us cool despite the potential for Ceibas to heat up to 36C, but when it became heavier we were forced to make a tough decision. Rain turned the top level of the dust road to mud, which sticks to the tyres, and builds up layer after layer to the point where you cannot move. At that point we would be stuck – it had happened to Alec before - and whilst we wanted to continue birding in this incredible location, it was safest to get back to the main road while we still could. This meant we never got to the ponds further up the Ceibas road that could have been really good, and are on Alec’s usual itinerary.

Once back out of Ceibas, we drove a little further up the main highway, and stopped up at what Alec called a special treat, to make up for the disappointment of needing to leave bird-filled habitat with loads more ticks close at hand. We parked up just off the main road, and set off down a very muddy track with inquisitive cattle following us along the fence the entire way. Here we encountered more Rufous Hornero, and more Fork-tailed Flycatchers, and two new birds, the Firewood Gatherer and the Stripe-crowned Spinetail – we were cleaning up on the Furnaridae. After a short while we found the bird we were here to see, a Burrowing Owl perched up on a grassy mound. The cattle did their level best to restrict our view by moving along the fence-line. A lovely bird, and the only owl of the entire trip. Leaving the fields behind we entered a reedy area, and a bit of playback soon encouraged a Sulphur-bearded Spinetail to show really well, with its bright yellow throat patch. Another Warbling Doradito put in an appearance here. On the way back to the car we got close-up views of Yellowish Pipit on the earthy field borders.

It was mid-afternoon now and we decided to head back to Buenos Aires via a few more locations, all very near the main highway. First up we scoped a pond, and turned up more Wattled Jacana, Limpkin, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Great White Egret, and some White-backed Stilt. A short distance away we found several Scimitar-billed Woodcreepers on telegraph poles, and a distant Long-winged Harrier was seen briefly. We also had some reasonable views of Double-collared seedeater very close to the road, and as we were observing it a car stopped and asked what we were doing. I don’t think bird-watching is a particularly popular past-time in Argentina – I was glad I was with a local who could explain our presence. I think we saw Speckled Teal here as well, but it could have been at another pond as we scoped a few.

Our final stop of the day was close to the Parana River, on an unmetalled road which appeared to be a short cut to somewhere, and found a brilliant ditch, filled with interesting birds. There were a stack of juvenile Black-crowned Night-herons, Great White Egrets, Giant Wood Rails, and a Plumbeous Rail. Using the car as a hide, we got some decent photos here. A little further along the ditch, Alec got onto a Unicolored Blackbird, and a Dark-billed Cuckoo eyed us warily from a bush. We took some time for good views before Alec stalked it for a photo, as he did not have a good one, and he is trying to build a photographic record of all Argentine species. I took a few whilst he was at it. As we moved closer, a Snail Kite that we had previously not noticed flushed up and flew away from us, I got a shot of its departure -a really distinctive bird with its orange legs.

By now it was about 8pm, and we were still some way from the city, so we decided that with our list at well over a hundred, we should call it a day. Alec dropped me off at my hotel at around 10ish, and headed back to his place for a few short hours of sleep – he was meeting me at the hotel at 6.30am the following day for more of the same. I meanwhile met up with Charlie and the gang for dinner. I can’t remember what I had – assume steak. They told me that the day had been a total wash-out, with torrential rain over the city for a large part of the afternoon – we had clearly lucked out in Entre Rios.

Saturday 23rd February
At 6.30 on the dot Alec arrived. Somehow I had managed to get up and be downstairs in time. The wedding was today – starting at 8pm -  I was a little worried what state I would be in having had so little sleep since I arrived, but put those thoughts to one side and headed off to Otamendi, a Marshland habitat that bordered the Parana river. This was on the same route we had taken to Ceibas, but within Buenos Aires Province (see map at the end). Leaving later, it was lighter, and our trip list grew from the car. Fields we had passed in the dark the previous day were filled with Cattle Egret, as well as the odd Snowy Egret and Great White Egret, and we saw a Roadside Hawk and many Chimango Caracaras – the Chimangos are the smaller of the two common Caracaras, and replace crows in the landscape. We stopped only once on the way, but got good views of Brown-chested Martin and Cliff Swallow. At the Otamendi Reserve, there is a road that leads from the main road, across the railway, and down to the river, and we intended to bird the length of this road. One of the first birds we came across was a fine Rufescent Tiger-Heron. We got out to see if we could locate where it had landed – no chance – but were rewarded with some Silver Teal and Brazilian Duck instead. It was incredibly dusty – the thunderstorms must have bypassed Otamendi. Every now and again an old banger would bounce past, no suspension, making a huge racket, with an old guy off on a weekend fishing trip, and the dust would billow up and make birding impossible for a few minutes, and cover my camera with a fine film of dust.

Although the road was only a few miles long, it took pretty much the entire morning to go up and down it, peering over the vegetation into the marsh beyond, or scanning the ditches either side. First up was one of the true specialties of the reserve, the Scarlet-Headed Blackbird. Alec picked up these on sound, a two-toned mournful whistling. Whilst we never got close views, we spent about 10 minutes watching these fantastic birds move through the reeds, and managed some reasonably atmospheric shots, if not the glorious close-up I was hoping for. Near here we found a Curve-billed Reedhaunter, another Otamendi specialty, and of course, another Furnarid. I would have loved to have spent more time observing, but you get only very brief views, and you cannot leave the road to get any closer.

At our next stop, we found a very busy Gilded Sapphire, a blazing ball of colour flitting from leaf to leaf. Whilst stopped here we also found a Chicli Spinetail, another Furnarid we had so far missed, and a Green Kingfisher was spotted flying along the roadside ditch. At an obvious pull-in, Alec used playback to try and draw in a Straight-billed Reedhaunter, and incredibly, very soon after we heard one calling back. Eventually it gave quite close views. Behaviourally, it is quite similar to our Reed and Sedge Warblers. This was another bird we had hoped to see, but was far from guaranteed, and meant we had seen pretty much every local Furnarid. A short way from here we found a Rufous-capped Antshrike, and Long-tailed Reedfinch, and a Bran-coloured Flycatcher.

A short burst of rain confined us to the car, but had the positive effect of preventing the dust from blowing everywhere. And the dust was a different type to Ceibas, so we were in no danger of getting stuck. Further on down the road we pulled up again and began to be tantalized by the calls of a White-winged Becard and Streaked Flycatcher coming from the trees to our right. This latter bird was incredibly elusive, and took about forty minutes to pin down. It seemed to be calling right in front of us but we were just unable to see it.  We eventually left the road and went down alongside the ditch in order to get closer to it. By the time we finally succeeded we had also managed to see an unexpected Rufous-browed Peppershrike in the same tree. There was also a small path along the ditch (more a creek really) leading between fishing spots, and we followed this and got good views of a Red-eyed Vireo, a Small-billed Elaenia, as well as finding a Solitary Black Cacique, an Epaulet Oriole, and a Diademed Tanager. So often when looking for one bird you find another, but this was exceptionally good.

We carried on to the end of the road, and had a quick look at the Parana river, which save for a single Great Grebe was entirely bird-free. This was quite pleasing as it was a new species and Alec had predicted zero birds. The views were not brilliant as it is not a small river and the bird was right on the other side. We then concentrated on a small area of trees to the left of the road. The birds here were awesome. We got brilliant views of another Diademed Tanager, as well as Picazuro Pigeon, and best of all a Tropical Parula – a small yellow, blue and olive-green bird that took about 20 minutes of searching the tree-tops for before finally getting on it. This was my first experience of looking for American Wood Warblers, and my neck let me know it was not happy! A Rufous-bellied Thrush was much easier to get good views of – these birds are very common in fact, and you can get good views of them in many of the parks in Buenos Aires. By now our lunch appointment at a local restaurant just outside the reserve was looming. The ditches continued to be productive, and we were able to get some close photos of a very obliging Striated Heron as it stalked small fish.

The day was always going to have to be slightly truncated. After all it would be a shame to have missed the wedding, the entire point of the many thousands of miles I had traveled. So after lunch we headed back to Buenos Aires via one final location, the Reserva Natural de Vicente Lopez (VL being the name of the district) – just outside the city limits and in fact quite near to Alec’s house. We negotiated some road works and found our way to the boardwalk around a small lake. The first bird we saw was another Plumbeous Rail, which gave very good views in a small culvert, and then we were also rewarded with excellent views of Red-gartered Coot, Common Gallinule (our Moorhen!), more Jacanas, many Striated Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, and a small colony of Neotropic Cormorant. Rufous Hornero were of course omni-present, and there was an easily-photographed group of Monk Parakeets, somewhat to my chagrin, having spent a futile 20 minutes at Ceibas trying to get a decent shot. As we left, we picked up a Glittering-bellied Emerald, and finally a small bird that I spotted turned out to be a Golden-crowned warbler. In common with many birding trips, the last bird we saw was the Eurasian House Sparrow!

Alec dropped me at my hotel exactly at the time planned, and so ended two of the most fantastic birding days I have ever experienced. He headed home for a well-earned rest, and I had an hour zoned-out for a power nap prior to the wedding. I didn’t actually think I would manage to last the course but I somehow got second-wind, and danced/ate/drank until 4am, getting back to the hotel at 5am. By this stage I had been in the country for 66 hours and had had just under 10 hours sleep. Luckily the next day was a day off – we literally had nothing planned at all – well, until the evening anyhow, when we were due on yet another bender.

Sunday 24th February
We spent a lot of the day sleeping, and then had a wander through a reasonably touristy part of Buenos Aires. One of my regrets of this trip is that I spent almost no time exploring one of the great cities of the world. I am not a church or museum person really, and although I did a lot of walking through the many parks, I feel that I missed out to a certain extent. I got a few nice non-bird photos, and enjoyed some great ice-cream. Charlie decided that he needed more sleep, so he went back to the hotel, and I walked to Costenara Sur, a fabulous nature reserve right on the River Plate. It is essentially a recreation area for dog-walkers, joggers, cyclists and families, but retains a lot of wilderness character as it is mostly wetland, with one circular path around the perimeter, and then one through the middle. The proximity to central Buenos Aires makes it extremely popular and even more so at the weekends. It was absolutely rammed, but I nonetheless I had a very pleasant walk around the reserve, and got great views of Snail Kite, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Bay-winged Cowbird, Double-collared Seedeater, Saffron Yellow-finch, and many Great Kiskadees foraging on the dried-up lagoons. I had wondered if the recent heavy rain might have helped restore these wetland basins somewhat, but the whole site other than the deeper central lagoon was bone-dry, so as a result there were no wetland birds at all, other than a few Giant Wood Rails. I added only one new bird, 3 Brown-hooded Gulls flying along the shore on the far side of the reserve. On the way back to the hotel I picked up a White-winged Coot in one of the central parks near Palermo, as well as Monk Parakeets and Chalk-browed Mockingbirds. There was a lot of bird-life in these parks, but I was running late for the restaurant so I could not linger. I resolved to put this right on our final morning in Buenos Aires before we flew back to London.

We had a great evening at a traditional Parilla restaurant, basically a barbeque place. Not for those with small appetites, or vegetarians. The Caipirinhas were awesome. If you’re in Argentina, you have to try one of these places at least once.

Monday 25th February
Today we were off to Northern Patagonia. I added one more bird waiting for the plane in Buenos AiresKelp Gull. The domestic airport – Jorge Newbery - is right on the River Plate, and rather than sit about in the dreary lounge, I just crossed the main road for a spot of birding. The Plate is vast at this point, it basically looks like the sea, except it is muddy brown. The lack of bird-life is startling. The gulls were sat on piers near a pleasure marina a short distance from the airport.

The flight to San Carlos to Bariloche – the heart of the Argentine Lake District - was uneventful, and none of the passengers had hygiene issues. An interesting South American habit is that air passengers clap when a plane lands safely. Not sure what this is indicative of, but I have to say I found our plane pretty ropey, and this was the national carrier. Presumably people scream a lot if the plane does not land safely. Happy to say that we never discovered this alternative, and people clapped on our way back as well. We were extravagant in our choice of hire car – a Toyota Hilux pick-up. Mainly this was to facilitate stupid surfing shots, but also many of the roads in Patagonia are unpaved, so we thought we had better be prepared. In the event though, our giant shiny 4x4 was repeatedly overtaken on these unpaved roads by the most clapped-out cars imaginable, and we didn’t see any breakdowns.

We found our hotel to be pretty crappy, but didn’t really mind as we didn’t intend to spend any time there. We also realized that we were not young anymore, and found that a room looking out onto a street in a town that doesn’t stop until 3am to be less than ideal. San Carlos de Bariloche is a very touristy place, and full of trekkers slumming it. We felt slightly out of place, and decided to spend the remainder of the day out of town. We found the road to Llao Llao and headed off along the side of Lago Nahuel Huapi. I almost drove into the back of the car in front here as I noticed a Black Vulture in a tree – Charlie was eventually to do the bulk of the driving on the grounds I was not concentrating enough – a fair point. This was fine by me, but led to a couple of minor disagreements when he drove past birds I really wanted to stop and look at. We were both having too much of a great time to have any real arguments though, and quality music remedied everything. My iPod had recovered, and so we listened to a series of great albums, alternately chosen, as we drove through stunning scenery. Llao Llao is the site of one of Argentina’s great hotels. We agreed we should have been staying here rather than in Bariloche. We walked up to it for a poke around, and I saw a number of Ashy-headed Goose and Black-faced Ibis on the immaculate golf course that surrounds the hotel. As a result Charlie reached the hotel about 15 minutes before I did – in fact he reached most places well before I did, and I often met him on the way back. Once I got there I found Austral Thrush and Chucao Tapaculo hopping about in the hotel flower-beds. Back at the car, which we had parked near the lake, there was a group of Yellow-billed Pintail.

We carried on up the road through fantastic scenery, and stopped for a longer walk at a small lake just to the north-west along the main road from Llao Llao. It is well signposted from the road, and there is a decent car park. The path took us through bamboo thickets and interesting trees before emerging at a glorious lake. Austral Parakeets flashed above us, and the trail was alive with Thorn-tailed Rayadito, one of the most common Patagonian Furnarids. I was also fortunate to get excellent views of a Black-throated Huet-huet, described as a real skulker. We spent a long time just looking at the Lake, appreciating the silence. Back on the road we continued around to a view-point south of Llao Llao, that looked back over Lago Moreno towards Lago Nahuel Huapi. This is one of the most glorious views I have ever had the pleasure to gaze upon. Photographs just don’t do it justice. It was 8pm at night, in warm sun, haze-free, and we could see for miles.

Tuesday 26th February
Today we planned to climb Cerro Catedral, the mountain at the heart of the ski-resort. It being late summer, there was no snow, so it had potential for a magnificent trek up the pistes. We unfortunately did not leave as early as we had planned, and once we had stopped off to get provisions, it was mid-morning, which meant we would be climbing the mountain in full sun and heat. We were soon on the winding road that led to the ski-village at the base of the mountain, and en-route I enforced a couple of stops where we saw a Cinerous Harrier. We chose the medium route to the summit – these correspond exactly with the grade of ski-run, i.e. gentle, medium, or straight up (down if skiing) – and set off. Stupidly we decided a short-cut up a pony trail would be a good idea, and this unfortunately killed me off, it being rather steeper than anticipated. I’m not used to walking up steep gradients, and within an hour I had nasty blisters developing that I did not want to exacerbate this early on the trip. We were probably about half way up at this point, so Charlie left me bird-watching, and continued to the next ski-lift station, from where he got to the summit (and where he left his sun-glasses…). At this level on the mountain there were some very bleak scree faces, and on these I had soon picked up a number of very alert White-browed Ground Tyrant and Dark-faced Ground Tyrant. They stood like sentries on prominent rocks to check me out. Try as I might, in such exposed terrain, I could not get close enough for a particularly good photo – as soon as I came remotely close the bird relocated up the mountain to the next rocky perch.

I had agreed to meet Charlie at the village – walking downhill was not a problem – and whilst on the way back I saw Red-backed Hawk, more Austral Parakeet, and a number of White-crested Elaenia, whose familiar calls would be such a feature of the landscape over the next few days. I wished I had made it to the top, not only for the view, but for the possibility of raptors. It was an immensely craggy landscape, perfect for large birds of prey beginning with the letter C.

As Charlie had taken the lift up the remainder of the mountain, and then all the way down again, we actually had most of the afternoon free, so we set off for an area close to the Chilean border which had views of a volcano, a waterfall, and some rapids. Once again, the landscape was amazing, and is largely empty. Along the shore of Lago Mascardi I found a group of Silvery Grebes, another new bird for the trip. The route was longer than we had anticipated, and we also discovered that the road to the volcano was single file, and operated on a directional basis, Chile-bound in the morning, back to Argentina in the afternoon. Very odd – and meant of course we could not go. Instead we found our way to the rapids, and water of simply extraordinary colour. We could not resist the temptation to go swimming, and whilst we clearly didn’t swim in the rapids themselves, it was pretty cool to swim downstream of them and be dragged along by the current in the turquoise water. This experience was made all the more satisfying by Chilean Swallows flying over my head as they hawked insects above this pool, whilst a very tame Chimango Caracara stood on the bank. On the way back from here, closer to Lago Nahuel Huapi I saw some Upland Geese fly over the road.

Wednesday 27th February
We left Bariloche to drive to our next base, San Martin de Los Andes. These two towns are connected by what is known as the Seven Lakes Drive (La Ruta de lose Siete Lagos) – one of the scenic drives. We had both been looking forward to this since we had booked our tickets. You head east from Bariloche and skirt around the southern shore of Lago Nahuel Huapi, and then head up on route 234 to Villa La Angostura, and then on upwards to San Martin. On the way you drive alongside parts of seven different lakes – hence the name – and the principal attraction is that you are presented with view after view. The deal was that we each had 45 minutes at the wheel, then we swapped. Charlie was first up, and at our first swap-point I added Fire-eyed Diucon in a bush by the side of the road. As I moved to get closer, a bird I had not noticed got up and flew away. I was unable to identify it as it immediately dipped behind a low ridge, but I felt it was likely, on colouration and size, to be a Black-chested Buzzard-eagle. As I was trying to relocate it, a Rufous-tailed Plantcutter popped up in the scrub. The scenery here was magnificent – a low plain of arid scrub with some distant hills, and then the lake and mountains at your back. A short walk here, just north-east of Nahuel Huapi, would probably be immensely productive, but the day was all about the drive, so we continued on to Villa La Angostura. I only saw one new bird on the rest of this monumental drive, an American Kestrel on a telegraph wire, but the landscape as a whole was mesmerizing, and I believe I actually forgot about birds for a few hours. I cannot recommend this drive highly enough, it is wonderful. Take your camera, but most of all, just breathe it in.

The final stretch of the drive winds along the eastern shore of Lago Lacar, and in the distance we could see the town of San Martin de Los Andes, nestled against the northern tip. As we pulled in to the town we realized we would like it here. The town is far less touristy, reflecting its relative isolation, and the streets were wide, and empty. It had a relaxed and comfy atmosphere. This is the land of the Pehuen, the Monkey Puzzle tree, and our hotel had one in the front garden, and in fact they were all over town. Lanin NP contains the southern-most remaining stands of the Araucaria forests that once covered the Argentine and Chilean slopes at this latitude, and was one of the sights that more than anything I wanted to experience. We went and had some lunch by the shore of the lake – so I had fish rather than steak – and a quick survey of Lago Lacar wildlife produced Kelp Gull, Yellow-billed Pintail, and Chiloe (Southern) Wigeon – the latter being a new tick.

After lunch we went for a walk along the sides of Lago Lacar, about 45 minute’s drive from San Martin. We could not initially find the path we were looking for, so ended up walking along the road for a mile or so before turning back. We were hemmed in by trees on this stretch, so did not get good views, but the road was for some reason raptor-tastic. I got excellent views of 3 Turkey Vulture, and both a Peregrine and an Aplomado Falcon flew overhead. Once back at the car, we realized that the path was about 20 yards behind us, and we had just covered 2 pointless miles. Even though we were running out of daylight, we chose to give it a go anyway, and were soon in deep forest, climbing slowly upwards, and happily engaged in ridiculous Arnie impressions, taken mainly from “Predator”. During one memorable rendition of the “it’s using the trees!” scene, I heard a faint, but deep tap, more like a  “plunk”’. My heart skipped a beat – could this be the bird of the trip? And indeed it was – it took a lot of searching, but eventually I was looking at a female Magellanic Woodpecker. After watching David Attenborough’s “Life of Birds”, this had been one of the two top targets for the holiday, along with Condor. I proceeded to try to attract the bird closer using the same tapping technique as in the series. I had neglected to bring stones, but I found two reasonably dense sticks, picked a tree trunk, and did a rapid double-tap. And it worked!! Within three minutes the male bird had come to investigate me, and I enjoyed wonderful views of this stunning woodpecker before the pair flew off together. Unsurprisingly I was on cloud nine, and we had a very nice walk before heading back to the car, and to San Martin for a celebratory steak.

Thursday 28th February
Our car gained a parking ticket at some point this morning before we got up. We later learned that this was for parking pointing the wrong way on the street. We had just driven up to our hotel, parked, and went and had dinner. We were the only car there. We had to report to some civic office in the town to pay up for this heinous crime, but elected not to bother as it would take up too much time and we were late already. Stupid law anyway. We were off to Lanin Volcano.

It was becoming more and more difficult to add new birds to the trip list, but at the same time the landscape was becoming more and more spectacular. Actually climbing the volcano takes two days and you need a guide, but we planned to get at least to get to the first waypoint on the lower slopes. We took route 61, which starts just north of Junin de los Andes, and you start to see the volcano from a long way off - it dominates the landscape for miles around. It was mandatory to stop and take photos, and at one view point there was an isolated stand of Araucaria. Just after this stop, at another viewpoint, I got a new tick in Common Diuca Finch, which were in a group in some scrub just near the side of the road. Kelp Gulls flew over Lago Huechulafquen in ones and twos.

Maybe it was further away than we thought, or maybe this far into our holiday we were beginning to relax, and so had a slow start, but whichever it was, we arrived at Lanin far later than planned, which meant we did not have time to do the walk. In fact the rangers will not let you leave after lunch, though we convinced the Park Official present that we were not doing the whole thing and would check in with him again in a few hours, which we duly did. If you do want to do this walk and are based in San Martin, you need to leave at first light to arrive there in time, as it is a 7 hour hike, to 2300m. That being the case we decided to do a section of the Lanin walk, as well as a shorter walk up to El Saltito waterfall, at Piedre Mala, which we went to first. We had some sandwiches under a tree near a farm, alongside Black-faced Ibis, and then headed up to the waterfall. This was a great walk, and for once Charlie and I reached the top almost at the same time. I found one bird I was unable to identify, even with a record shot (ie crap) photo, and alongside the stream below the waterfall there was a Dark-bellied Cinclodes. This bird is typical of this habitat, and I was pleased to be able to watch it hopping about on fallen logs, going about its business. I guess the closest comparison is a Dipper. We retraced our route back to the start of the Lanin walk, and set off.

The walk starts at Puerto Canoas alongside a river, and gradually you get into a reasonably unvarying landscape of low trees and scrub. Once again, birding and trekking didn’t go hand in hand, so I lost Charlie (or rather he lost me) after about half an hour. We had previously agreed that we would only walk for an hour and a half before turning back, so I figured that if I kept going and stuck to the path I’d meet him coming back. He ended up having a great walk with his iPod, and I got stuck into some decent birding, but only added a few new birds. I found a colony of Black-chinned Siskin on sound, in pines near the river – this is what caused Charlie to lose me - as well as a Cordilleran Canastero, and many House Wrens. Had we continued, I suspect that the Landscape would have changed, first into pine forest, and then into bare scree, both with different populations of birds. For another trip perhaps. We returned to San Martin, parked the car facing the right way, and went out for dinner.

Friday 29th February
Charlie was feeling a little sick, as was I (we had stopped eating steak and had green stuff instead, this was the problem – as soon as I started eating steak again I was fine – lesson learned). Anyway, he had a lie in, and I went off to find some Araucano forest. I left before dawn, and enjoyed a magical pink sun-rise. The landscape around the volcano is flat scrubby plain with low bushes. It is widely used for grazing cattle, and unfortunately is largely fenced off, but the birding is excellent from the roadside.

This time I took route 60 heading towards the Paso Tromen and Chile. I stopped after only about 2 miles on route 60 to enjoy the sun-rise, and the first new bird I saw was Long-tailed Meadowlark, a very neat red and black bird. Continuing onwards towards Lago Curruhue Chico, past a very noisy Ringed Kingfisher, I was stopped at an Army Checkpoint. In halting Spanish I mentioned the Bosque de Pehuen, which the soldier seemed to understand, but it was clear something else was on his mind. I didn’t understand very much of what he said, but I heard the word Chile. I was tempted to go to just for the passport stamp, but I sensed he was keen I didn’t, so saying “Rentacar no Chile!” whilst waving my hands negatively was the ideal pacifier, and he then let me through. I stopped at the eastern end of Lago Curruhue Grande, where there was a fishing camp, and managed to find a Grey-flanked Cinclodes, as well as several Great Grebes out on the water. On the whole though, there didn’t seem to be many birds, though I found some Mourning Sierra-finch at another stop. A few miles further on you come to the southernmost Araucaria stand in the world. You arrive almost by surprise, one minute there are no trees, the next it’s the only thing you see.

I parked up and enjoyed a magical walk through a dense, if small stand of ancient trees, with many fallen, and pleasingly quite a few younger trees. Fresh seed is scattered all about, and it is forbidden to collect it. I picked up a sharp stone for digging, planted eleven fertile seeds in various spots around the immediate vicinity, figuring that wasn’t collecting. If I went back now I would remember almost exactly where I planted most of them, so I wonder if anything will come of it.

You walk though the Pehuen until you reach a bluff above the lake. More wonderful views. At this point I was closer to Chile than I had ever been, perhaps only 10 miles, but I didn’t go. Instead I turned back east towards Junin and went birding, and found yet another Furnarid after about half a mile. I had stopped because I had seen some black birds fly into some trees, and was hoping that they were Austral Blackbird. Indeed they were, but I also heard a soft call behind me and turning around saw a bird from my guidebook that I had only dreamed of seeing – De Murs’s Wiretail. This is a tiny bird, smaller than a Goldcrest, but with a tail three times the length of the body, made up of only a very few modified feathers that are very narrow, hence the name. I got excellent views for several minutes as the bird fed in the bushes by the road. This was one of the highlights of the trip.

At another location a few miles further on, where the road crosses a river, I stopped and went for a walk on some stony and sandy ground alongside the water. In the bushes here I found Grey-headed Sierra-finch, and an excellent Striped Woodpecker, the austral counterpart to the Checkered Woodpecker at Ceibas. I saw many other birds on the drive back, but no new ones.

Back at San Martin, Charlie had not enjoyed a frustrating morning of Argentine bureaucracy. He had duly queued up to pay the parking ticket, only to be told he then needed to walk to another office the other side of town, get it stamped, and then come back and queue again to actually pay it. Quite rightly he decided to stuff it, and went and did something else, this after all was a holiday. I can’t remember what we did for the rest of the day, I think we just went for a walk near San Martin, and had steak for dinner. For the first time in Patagonia it rained – and rained loads. The streets all but disappeared. Up until that point though we had enjoyed blue skies day after day, so we were not complaining.

The following morning we went for a couple of quick walks, one up to the top of the outcrop that overlooks San Martin and Lago Lacar. This starts from near the water treatment works, and is a moderate climb. Part of the walk takes you into the land belonging to the indigenous tribe of the area, so you have to pay a small fee. The view from the top is good, if not quite as spectacular as the Llao Llao one. Returning to town, we checked out of our hotel and started the drive back to Bariloche. Whilst it would have been great to do the Seven Lakes Drive again, we decided we needed a change of scenery, and so took route 63 to the east of Lanin NP over the Paso Cordoba, to rejoin the main road north of the town of Nahuel Huapi. This proved to be excellent not just from a landscape perspective but also for birds, and only a few miles out of San Martin we drove past a group of California Quail, and had superb views of a Black-chested Buzzard-eagle sat on a road sign, which were able to approach really closely using the car as a hide. The scenery was one of towering pinnacles of rock, high drama, and a great winding road through mountain passes. Charlie was doing the driving, and I was on Condor look-out. The first large raptor that required an emergency stop was another Black-chested Buzzard-eagle. The second emergency braking was for the real deal, a huge bird in the sky. I jumped out of the still moving Toyota, and was quickly able to see the white collar and shout “Condor!”. Charlie showed an impressive turn of speed for a non-birder, and was at my side in moments. I passed the bins and he got decent views as well. Mission accomplished! The Andean Condors – there were two - never came very close, but they were staggeringly impressive. Looking at them from a distance could not convey size, but you watched them knowing the wingspan was 11ft, and somehow pieced it all together as these birds soared in circles. One eventually landed on one of the rocky pinnacles, and I blasted off a couple of shots. You can just about tell they are Condors if you squint….

We saw two more Condors a little further on, and arrived back at the airport in Bariloche highly pleased with ourselves, and having thoroughly enjoyed our stay in the area. Our plane was delayed by a couple of hours, so I went birding around the airport, and picked up three new species. A mobile Plain-mantled Tit-spinetail on the perimeter fence, Austral Negrito right next to the parking lot, and Great Shrike-Tyrant near the entrance booths. Also present were plenty of Long-tailed Meadowlarks. We sorted out the parking ticket with the poor guy from Avis, who would subsequently need to go and present the car paperwork back at San Martin to pay it, and headed back to Buenos Aires. Spontaneous applause greeted our successful landing.

Sunday 2nd March
We had the morning in Buenos Aires, and so I decided to check out the parks that had seemed so good the previous weekend. All the parks I visited were in the Palermo district, near the Hippodrome, and had ponds which I thought looked promising. I took a taxi over there - the yellow and black radio taxis in Buenos Aires are plentiful and cheap, some places warn tourists against using them, but I never experienced any problems, despite being loaded with kit - and had a poke around. Again it felt very European, and Sunday morning is fitness morning - the entire population was out jogging. It was raining on and off, but remained warm. I found Pied-billed Grebe, Mallard, and Rosy-billed Pochard on one pond. On the edge of the pond a Yellow-billed Cardinal showed really well, and there were quite a few European Starlings around. At the Hippodrome itself, near the railway tracks, I found a few Crested Mynas, and then on the grass a number of Campo Flickers (aka Field Flicker) foraging in the manner of Green Woodpeckers. Rufous-bellied Thrush, Rufous Hornero, and Chalk-browed Mockingbird were everywhere. Finally, on a pond near the Zoo I came across a pair of Black-necked Swans. I decided to cut through the Zoo to get back to my hotel, and within the ground, though seemingly not part of the collection, were a couple of Coscoroba Swans, and a White-cheeked Pintail, taking advantage of a lot of free food. I could not be certain they were wild birds, so enjoyed but did not tick them. I also didn't tick the Mute Swan or Canada Geese that clearly were captive.

Final Thoughts
My trip total was 188 different species, which surpassed my wildest expectations. However it was not the number of species, but more the sheer abundance of birds. Whilst the best birding in the Buenos Aires area is clearly a little way outside the city, you should not neglect it. A two hour walk around some densely populated parks in the middle of what is a massive urban area produced 10 new species at the very end of a long trip, and perhaps 40 different species over-all. A visit to Costenara Sur could easily add 70+ birds to your life list. So even if you're there for a lay-over, you can do some quality birding. Northern Patagonia has an entirely different range of species, most of which are unique the narrow Andean strip, and is worth a visit for the scenery alone.

If you went to Argentina purely for birding, for 2-3 weeks, and also managed to get to the extreme south, the Valdes Peninsula, and up to the rainforests near the Brazilian border, I believe it would be possible to see over 300 species, possibly as many as 400. It is a long (and expensive) journey, but once in the country things are relatively cheap. Eat only steak.

The enthusiastic and knowledgeable Alec Earnshaw can be contacted through his excellent website, which will also give you a great introduction to the birds you will likely see. I can't recommend his guiding services highly enough. If you go birding in the Buenos Aires area, you would do well to contact him. He has impeccable credentials, is on the board of Aves Argentinas (similar to the BTO I think), spoke perfect English, and is one of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet.  We conversed a great deal before my arrival about what I should bring, and what sites we might visit, what birds we could see and so on. He probably spent many hours writing amazingly detailed emails about the various possibilities before I even set foot in the country. His fees might seem high initially, but in fact are not when you work it out per hour.

In my opinion there is no single quality guide to the birds of Argentina. There are essentially two choices, The Collins “Guide to the Birds of Southern South America and Antarctica ”, and then “Birds of Argentina and Uruguay” by Tito Narosky  - an English version. The layout and text of the Narosky is excellent, but is severely let down by the illustrations, which are in no way good enough for a foreign birder not sure of what he or she has seen. The illustrations in the Collins are better, though still not top notch, but the layout is a pain as the illustrations are higgledy-piggledy, and the range-maps are all at the back, away from the birds - again highly unhelpful for the foreign birder. I took the Narosky, which did me ok, but I wished I had the Collins. Probably had I had the Collins, I would have been wishing for the Narosky.

Trip List

Common Name                        Species                                    Location                      
Greater Rhea
Rhea americana
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Pied-billed Grebe
Podilymbus podiceps
Buenos Aires
White-tufted Grebe
Rollandia rolland
Buenos Aires
Great Grebe
Podiceps major
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Silvery Grebe
Podiceps occipitalis
Lago Mascardi, Rio Negro
Neotropic Cormorant
Phalacrocorax brasilianus
Buenos Aires & Patagonia
Cocoi Heron
Ardea cocoi
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Great Egret
Ardea alba
Otamendi, Buenos Aires Province
Snowy Egret
Egretta thula
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Cattle Egret
Bubulcus ibis
Otamendi, Buenos Aires Province
Striated Heron
Butorides striata
Otamendi, Buenos Aires Province
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Nycticorax nycticorax
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Rufescent Tiger-Heron
Tigrisoma lineatum
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Wood Stork
Mycteria Americana
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Maguari Stork
Ciconia maguari
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Black-faced Ibis
Theristicus melanopis
Llao Llao, Neuquen & Lanin NP
Bare-faced Ibis
Phimosus infuscatus
Ceibas, Entre Rios
White-faced Ibis
Plegadis chihi
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Roseate Spoonbill
Platalea ajaja
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Southern Screamer
Chauna torquata
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Black-necked Swan
Cygnus melancoryphus
Buenos Aires
Upland Goose
Chloephaga picta
Nahuel Huapi NP, Neuquen
Ashy-headed Goose
Chloephaga poliocephala
Llao Llao, Neuquen
Anas platyrhynchos
Buenos Aires
Brazilian Teal
Amazonetta brasiliensis
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Chiloe Wigeon
Anas sibilatrix
San Martin de los Andes, Neuquen
Speckled Teal
Anas flavirostris
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Yellow-billed Pintail
Anas georgica
Llao Llao, Neuquen & San Martin de los Andes
Silver Teal
Anas versicolor
Otamendi, Buenos Aires Province
Rosy-billed Pochard
Netta peposaca
Buenos Aires
Black Vulture
Coragyps atratus
Bariloche, Rio Negro
Turkey Vulture
Cathartes aura
Lago Lacar, Neuquen
Andean Condor
Vultur gryphus
Paso Cordoba, Neuquen
Snail Kite
Rostrhamus sociabilis
Ceibas, Entre Rios & Costenara Sur, Buenos Aires
Long-winged Harrier
Circus buffoni
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Cinereous Harrier
Circus cinereus
Cerro Catedral, Rio Negro
Savanna Hawk
Buteogallus meridionalis
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle
Geranoaetus melanoleucus
Nahuel Huapi, Rio Negro & RP 63, Neuquen
Roadside Hawk
Buteo magnirostris
Otamendi, Buenos Aires Province
Red-backed Hawk
Buteo polyosoma
Cerro Catedral, Rio Negro
Southern Caracara
Caracara plancus
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Chimango Caracara
Milvago chimango
Otamendi, Buenos Aires Province & Patagonia
American Kestrel
Falco sparverius
RN 231 , Neuquen
Aplomado Falcon
Falco femoralis
Lago Lacar, Neuquen
Peregrine Falcon
Falco peregrinus
Lago Lacar, Neuquen
California Quail
Callipepla californica
RP 63, Neuquen
Aramus guarauna
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Giant Wood-Rail
Aramides ypecaha
Ceibas, Entre Rios & Costenara Sur, Buenos Aires
Plumbeous Rail
Pardirallus sanguinolentus
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Common Gallinule
Gallinula chloropus
Vicente Lopez NR, Buenos Aires
Spot-flanked Gallinule
Gallinula melanops
Ceibas, Entre Rios
White-winged Coot
Fulica leucoptera
Buenos Aires
Red-gartered Coot
Fulica armillata
Vicente Lopez NR, Buenos Aires
Wattled Jacana
Jacana jacana
Ceibas, Entre Rios
White-backed Stilt
Himantopus melanurus
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Southern Lapwing
Vanellus chilensis
Buenos Aires
Common Snipe
Gallinago gallinago
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Greater Yellowlegs
Tringa melanoleuca
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Pectoral Sandpiper
Calidris melanotus
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Kelp Gull
Larus dominicanus
Buenos Aires
Brown-hooded Gull
Larus maculipennis
Buenos Aires
Picazuro Pigeon
Patagioenas picazuro
Otamendi, Buenos Aires Province
Spot-winged Pigeon
Patagioenas maculosa
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Eared Dove
Zenaida auriculata
Buenos Aires
Picui Ground-Dove
Columbina picui
Ceibas, Entre Rios
White-tipped Dove
Leptotila verreauxi
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Austral Parakeet
Enicognathus ferrugineus
Llao Llao, Neuquen
Monk Parakeet
Myiopsitta monachus
Buenos Aires
Dark-billed Cuckoo
Coccyzus melacoryphus
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Guira Cuckoo
Guira guira
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Burrowing Owl
Athene cunicularia
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Nacunda Nighthawk
Podager nacunda
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Glittering-bellied Emerald
Chlorostilbon aureoventris
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Gilded Sapphire
Hylocharis chrysura
Otamendi, Buenos Aires Province
Ringed Kingfisher
Megaceryle torquatus
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Green Kingfisher
Chloroceryle americana
Otamendi, Buenos Aires Province
White-fronted Woodpecker
Melanerpes cactorum
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Striped Woodpecker
Picoides lignarius
Lanin NP, Neuquen
Checkered Woodpecker
Picoides mixtus
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Green-barred Woodpecker
Colaptes melanochloros
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Campo Flicker
Colaptes campestris
Buenos Aires
Magellanic Woodpecker
Campephilus magellanicus
Lago Lacar, Neuquen
Bar-winged Cinclodes
Cinclodes fuscus
Lanin NP, Neuquen
Dark-bellied Cinclodes
Cinclodes patagonicus
Lanin NP, Neuquen
Rufous Hornero
Furnarius rufus
Buenos Aires & everywhere nearby
Curve-billed Reedhaunter
Limnornis curvirostris
Otamendi, Buenos Aires Province
Straight-billed Reedhaunter
Limnornis rectirostris
Otamendi, Buenos Aires Province
Wren-like Rushbird
Phleocryptes melanops
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Thorn-tailed Rayadito
Aphrastura spinicauda
Llao Llao, Neuquen & throughout Patagonia
Tufted Tit-Spinetail
Leptasthenura platensis
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Plain-mantled Tit-Spinetail
Leptasthenura aegithaloides
Bariloche airport, Rio Negro
Des Murs' Wiretail
Sylviorthorhynchus desmursii
Lanin NP, Neuquen
Chotoy Spinetail
Schoeniophylax phryganophilus
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Sooty-fronted Spinetail
Synallaxis frontalis
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Pale-breasted Spinetail
Synallaxis albescens
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Chicli Spinetail
Synallaxis spixi
Otamendi, Buenos Aires Province
Sulphur-bearded Spinetail
Cranioleuca sulphurifera
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Stripe-crowned Spinetail
Cranioleuca pyrrhophia
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Yellow-chinned Spinetail
Certhiaxis cinnamomeus
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Cordilleran Canastero
Asthenes modesta
Lanin NP, Neuquen
Short-billed Canastero
Asthenes baeri
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Little Thornbird
Phacellodomus sibilatrix
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Freckle-breasted Thornbird
Phacellodomus striaticollis
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Anumbius annumbi
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Lark-like Brushrunner
Coryphistera alaudina
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Brown Cacholote
Pseudoseisura lophotes
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Scimitar-billed Woodcreeper
Drymornis bridgesii
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Narrow-billed Woodcreeper
Lepidocolaptes angustirostris
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Rufous-capped Antshrike
Thamnophilus ruficapillus
Otamendi, Buenos Aires Province
Black-throated Huet-huet
Pteroptochos tarnii
Llao Llao, Neuquen
Chucao Tapaculo
Scelorchilus rubecula
Llao Llao, Neuquen
White-tipped Plantcutter
Phytotoma rutila
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Rufous-tailed Plantcutter
Phytotoma rara
RN 231, Neuquen
White-crested Elaenia
Elaenia albiceps
Cerro Catedral, Rio Negro & throughout Patagonia
Small-billed Elaenia
Elaenia parvirostris
Otamendi, Buenos Aires Province
Suiriri Flycatcher
Suiriri suiriri
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Sooty Tyrannulet
Serpophaga nigricans
Ceibas, Entre Rios
White-crested Tyrannulet
Serpophaga subcristata
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Warbling Doradito
Pseudocolopteryx flaviventris
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Bran-colored Flycatcher
Myiophobus fasciatus
Otamendi, Buenos Aires Province
Vermilion Flycatcher
Pyrocephalus rubinus
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Austral Negrito
Lessonia rufa
Bariloche airport, Rio Negro
Spectacled Tyrant
Hymenops perspicillatus
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Yellow-browed Tyrant
Satrapa icterophrys
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Fire-eyed Diucon
Xolmis pyrope
Lago Lacar, Neuquen
White Monjita
Xolmis irupero
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Great Shrike-Tyrant
Agriornis lividus
Bariloche airport, Rio Negro
Dark-faced Ground-Tyrant
Muscisaxicola maclovianus
Cerro Catedral, Rio Negro
White-browed Ground-Tyrant
Muscisaxicola albilora
Cerro Catedral, Rio Negro
Cattle Tyrant
Machetornis rixosa
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Great Kiskadee
Pitangus sulphuratus
Ceibas, Entre Rios & Costenara Sur, Buenos Aires
Streaked Flycatcher
Myiodynastes maculatus
Otamendi, Buenos Aires Province
Crowned Slaty Flycatcher
Griseotyrannus aurantioatrocristatus
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Tropical Kingbird
Tyrannus melancholicus
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Fork-tailed Flycatcher
Tyrannus savana
Ceibas, Entre Rios & Costenara Sur, Buenos Aires
White-naped Xenopsaris
Xenopsaris albinucha
Ceibas, Entre Rios
White-winged Becard
Pachyramphus polychopterus
Otamendi, Buenos Aires Province
White-rumped Swallow
Tachycineta leucorrhoa
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Chilean Swallow
Tachycineta meyeni
Lago Mascardi, Rio Negro
Brown-chested Martin
Progne tapera
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Blue-and-white Swallow
Notiochelidon cyanoleuca
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Barn Swallow
Hirundo rustica
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Cliff Swallow
Petrochelidon pyrrhonota
Otamendi, Buenos Aires Province
Yellowish Pipit
Anthus lutescens
Ceibas, Entre Rios
House Wren
Troglodytes aedon
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Chalk-browed Mockingbird
Mimus saturninus
Ceibas, Entre Rios & Buenos Aires
Rufous-bellied Thrush
Turdus rufiventris
Ceibas, Entre Rios & Buenos Aires
Austral Thrush
Turdus falcklandii
Llao Llao, Neuquen
Creamy-bellied Thrush
Turdus amaurochalinus
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Masked Gnatcatcher
Polioptila dumicola
Ceibas, Entre Rios & Otamendi
Crested Myna
Acridotheres cristatellus
Buenos Aires
Eurasian Starling
Sturnus vulgaris
Buenos Aires
House Sparrow
Passer domesticus
Vincente Lopez NR, Buenos Aires
Red-eyed Vireo
Vireo olivaceus
Otamendi, Buenos Aires Province
Rufous-browed Peppershrike
Cyclarhis gujanensis
Otamendi, Buenos Aires Province
Hooded Siskin
Carduelis magellanica
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Black-chinned Siskin
Carduelis barbata
Lanin NP, Neuquen
Tropical Parula
Parula pitiayumi
Otamendi, Buenos Aires Province
Masked Yellowthroat
Geothlypis aequinoctialis
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Golden-crowned Warbler
Basileuterus culicivorus
Vicente Lopez NR, Buenos Aires
Sayaca Tanager
Thraupis sayaca
Ceibas, Entre Rios & Otamendi
Blue-and-yellow Tanager
Thraupis bonariensis
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Diademed Tanager
Stephanophorus diadematus
Otamendi, Buenos Aires Province
Grey-hooded Sierra-Finch
Phrygilus gayi
Lanin NP, Neuquen
Mourning Sierra-Finch
Phrygilus fruticeti
Lanin NP, Neuquen
Long-tailed Reed-Finch
Donacospiza albifrons
Otamendi, Buenos Aires Province
Common Diuca-Finch
Diuca diuca
Lanin NP, Neuquen
Black-and-rufous Warbling-Finch
Poospiza nigrorufa
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Black-capped Warbling-Finch
Poospiza melanoleuca
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Double-collared Seedeater
Sporophila caerulescens
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Saffron Finch
Sicalis flaveola
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Great Pampa-Finch
Embernagra platensis
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Red-crested Cardinal
Paroaria coronata
Ceibas, Entre Rios & Buenos Aires
Yellow-billed Cardinal
Paroaria capitata
Buenos Aires
Rufous-collared Sparrow
Zonotrichia capensis
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Greyish Saltator
Saltator coerulescens
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Golden-billed Saltator
Saltator aurantiirostris
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Unicolored Blackbird
Agelasticus cyanopus
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Yellow-winged Blackbird
Agelasticus thilius
Ceibas, Entre Rios
White-browed Blackbird
Sturnella superciliaris
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Long-tailed Meadowlark
Sturnella loyca
Lanin NP, Neuquen
Shiny Cowbird
Molothrus bonariensis
Ceibas, Entre Rios & Vicente Lopez NR, Buenos Aires
Epaulet Oriole
Icterus cayanensis
Otamendi, Buenos Aires Province
Solitary Cacique
Cacicus solitarius
Otamendi, Buenos Aires Province
Brown-and-yellow Marshbird
Pseudoleistes virescens
Ceibas, Entre Rios
Scarlet-headed Blackbird
Amblyramphus holosericeus
Otamendi, Buenos Aires Province
Austral Blackbird
Curaeus curaeus
Lanin NP, Neuquen
Bay-winged Cowbird
Agelaioides badius
Ceibas, Entre Rios & Costenara Sur, Buenos Aires

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