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ARGENTINA

PHOTO PAGE

 

Red-tailed Comet found at high altitude as well as wet yungas forest.

Our last tour to Northwest Argentina saw us passing through an amazing set of habitats. From high altitude salt lakes, breeding grounds for three flamingo species and the fabled Diademed Sandpiper-plover, down to the jungle of Iguaz˙, possibly the greatest natural feature in the world?

After the high altiplano of the Andes, we passed through the monte desert home of the Burrowing Parrot before entering incredible sandstone-sculptured valleys. We then paused at a salt lake, home to the endemic Salinas Monjita , climbed wet yungas forest to encounter Torrent Ducks, Fasciated Tiger Heron and various parrots before reaching the high green plateau home of Andean Lapwings and Burrowing Owls.

The cactus-filled hillsides provided shelter for Andean Flickers and Magellanic Horned Owls, as we continued to the forested hills containing Trogans, Toucans and Tanagers. Finally we reached Iguaz˙ where a night walk to see Potoos topped a day of butterfly filled forests and flocks of Great Dusky Swifts.

This bird dives through the cataract to nest in the cliffs. At first one thinks that they must dodge the water, but at close range, we saw the birds cling to the rocks taking the full force of the water as a refreshing bath!

The following pictures were all taken on our last tour to Argentina. Other pictures taken by clients can be found on our photo page.

 

 

 

 

This sequence shows a White-winged Black Tyrant displaying.

The male launches his body into the air from a perch, flips over & lands on the same perch.

 

 

The cactus-covered hillside above the famous Cafayate wine-producing region  is a good place to look for condors.

 

 

 

James's Flamingo is probably the rarest of the Worlds flamingos and also one of the hardest to track down.

 

 

Grey-hooded Sierra Finch - a confiding bird of the dry Andean hills.

 

 

 

Green vegetation is restricted to the riverbank as we passed through Quebrada de las Conchos. But recent rain brought a flourish of life in the monte desert.

 

 

This Magellanic Horned Owl was being mobbed by Black Siskins, thornbirds and hummers.

 

 

 

When the sun hits the comet's tail, the colours are incredibly metallic-looking.

 

 

Below is a sequence of photographs showing the behaviour of  the incredible Great Dusky Swift.

 

 

 

 

 

IGUAZ┌

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Would you take a shower in one of the World's largest waterfalls !!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snail Kite in front of Iguaz˙ & carrying a snail - below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Great Egret waits at the bottom of the falls.

 

 

Burrowing Owls are common in  many areas - even beside airport runways!

 

 

The Andean Flicker has a whopping bill. They feed among Llamas grazing the short grassy Andean hillsides.

 

 

Robust Woodpeckers are among the giants in this family.

 

 

 

 

Blonde crested Woodpecker - one of the highlights at Iguaz˙.

 

 

The Rusty Flowerpiercer has a strange shaped bill. We found this one feeding with hummingbirds.

 

 

What it lacks in colour, it makes up for in size, the Giant Hummingbird is as big as a thrush and flies like a large swift.

 

 

The Salinas Monjita only breeds on the edges of certain Argentinean salt pans. This male was in full display; a sight rarely seen

- even by experienced Argentinean birders.

 

Scissor-tailed Nightjar was one of three nightjar species seen during our night-time excursions.

The Six-banded Armadillo below was one of the nocturnal mammalian highlights. It was quickly followed by a very large Peccary.

 

 

This Grey Potoo was singing by our hotel.

 

 

Talampaya National Park was a great backdrop to our search for desert-loving endemics.

 

 

Fasciated Tiger-Heron is a rarely seen bird of forested streams in Argentina and was even a lifer for our local guide.

 

 

 

One of several Torrent Ducks that braved the Andean rapids.

 

 

 

 

Calilegua is a massive forested National Park with amazing diversity. Who would believe that Condors are common above the forest!

 

 

Mountain Wren.

 

The White-barred Piculet is a tiny, tiny woodpecker - almost tit-like in behaviour.

 

 

Sharp-tailed Streamcreepers take over from Dippers in clean streams that run through South American forests.

 

 

Dramatic Andean scenery where we found Condors, Seedsnipe and Diademed Sandpiper-plovers all in one superb day!

 

 

After 2009, our Northwest Argentina Tour will be rested and is likely to be replaced by a tour of the pampas and wetlands.

So join us for this spectacular trip.

 

 

 

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The photographs below were taken by Phil on his 2007 visit to Argentina.

Having visited Tierra del Fuego, Patagonia and the wetlands of eastern Argentina, we decided that the Northwest was the most interesting part of Argentina for birds. Here most of the endemics occur and so we launched a successful tour there in 2007. Following some privileged information, we decided to make this year's tour really special.

The Diademed Sandpiper-plover is probably the most enigmatic wader in the world. Found only in a few bogs in the High Andes. Those that search for them visit Peru and Chile, often without success. Our local guides new of a single location in Argentina where this bird appeared to be regularly seen. Phil recently visited the site and not only found a pair with chicks, but together with his friend Hector went on to find a new site for the species as back-up for our forthcoming tour here. At a third site, another pair also had youngsters.

Below the magnificent soaring Condors he located three species of flamingos on the salt lakes of the altiplano, so we now have all the ingredients for a great day out in the Argentinean Andes as part of our trip to the seldom visited Northwest.

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Andean, James's & Chilean Flamingos breed on remote salt lakes in the mountains.

 

The Andean Condor is relatively common in Northwest Argentina. Phil found 14 bathing together by a stream in February 2008.

Andean & James's Flamingos breed in the salt-lakes that nestle between Argentina's tallest peaks. Birdwatching in Argentina takes you to some of the most remote sites on the continent.

 

Andean Flamingos (left) and James's Flamingos (right).

 

This Diademed Sandpiper-Plover has a watchful eye on the condor above.

 

The high altiplano is one of the driest places on earth. The Diademed Sandpiper-plover spends its entire life in high elevation bogs hidden in small valleys.

 

 

Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe feed in high altitude bogs and among the scree-slopes. We found three species of seedsnipe here.

 

The Puna Tinamou is one of the hardest birds to find - It is so difficult that this was a tick for our excited local guide Hector!

 

 

Guanaco & Vicu˝a are the main prey of the secretive Puma that exist here.

 

 

There is something magical about seeing flamingos in a snowy landscape rather than an estuary in baking heat.

 

This saline lagoon holds breeding flamingos. The shore is crusted with salt deposits.

 

At the request of our clients, we will be arranging an extension to the famous falls at Iguašu.

Phil took a helicopter ride over them to take these pictures. You can see that the site is truly spectacular.

The nearby forest is at the southern end of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, one of South America's most threatened habitats. Birding here is excellent with several mammals on offer too.

Black Vultures cruise the falls in search of victims that don't survive the drop. This would be a good tour to bring your non-birding partner!

 

 

The Band-tailed Manikin is not easy to locate but Phil found two species of manikin leking during his visit.

 

Butterflies cruise the rides in search of animal droppings to feed on.

 

 

The Coati Mundi is common at Iguašu.

 

 

A large family unit scampered across the forest trail, probably 25 animals all-told.

 

Curl-crested Jays waited by a park bench looking for unwanted sandwiches.

 

The Gilded Sapphire is just one of many hummingbirds found in forests around Iguašu Falls.

male Black-throated Mango with the female below.

 

 

Having seen birds and otters along the path to the 'Devil's Throat', the power of the falls made this day unforgettable.

 

 

Waterproof optics are an advantage here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

A visit to the Brazilian side provided a different view but fewer birds.

 

 

The Southern Ant-pipit is very shy bird and although often heard, they are difficult to see well in the gloom of a shady forest.

The Swallow-tailed Manikins were very vocal. This male led Phil to a lek site.

Trogons are typical of lush South American forests

 

Tamalpaya in the northwest is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The sandstone gorge is a spectacular setting in which to search for endemic birds like the Sandy Galito.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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