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Day 2 (Monday 21
st)

     El Calafate


  El Calafate map  

Landing in ElCalafate from Buenos Aires is literally like a breath of fresh air. The entire area is Patagonian Steppe, which is very dry and fairly uniform, with the town of El Calafate the only significant outpost for the locality. The town is located next to the turquoise waters of Lake Argentinos, in a bay which curves round to then incorporate the small wetland nature reserve (open 9-5, as admission ARG $100 to non residents). We landed early afternoon, and by the time we had transferred to the hotel, finally managed to see some birds by late afternoon.  A couple of hours walking alongside the reserve and its immediate environs dug up a good selection of the local specialities. Even just out of the hotel, a group of Black–faced Ibis were on the local golf course, and a single dark capped Austral Thrush was closer to.

The real birding started when we reached what looked like an extensive salt marsh type of habitat approaching the shores of the lake. A small bridged stream held a few Crested Duck, but of even more interest were the pairs of Upland Geese scattered around. Occasional pairs of Austral Negritos were quite flighty but out in the open, which contrasted with the first of a handful of much more obliging Spectacled Tyrants. In the distance we could now make out the small collection of Chilean Flamingos on the enclosed pool of the nature reserve, with sporadic Black-faced Ibis flying in. Small numbers of Long–tailed Meadowlarks were stunning (and noisy), belying their name which should have favoured Crimson-breasted Meadowlark. After a couple of Southern Crested Caracaras flew by, perhaps the stars of the show were the Chimango Caracaras and Cinereous Harriers. The former were very active in both sides of the road we followed, often in twos and threes quartering the scrub. The harriers favoured a small area of reeds on the landward side of the road, and were demonstrating that Spring in the Southern Hemisphere is definitely here by the courtship displays and mating rituals. On the return, the only extra birds added were a Correndera Pipit on one of the fence posts, and a single Yellow-billed Pintail in a small pool next to the road.

El Calafate El Calafate nature reserve
El Calafate Laguna Nimez Reserve
Austral Negrito Black-faced ibis Chilean Flamingo
Austral Negrito Black-faced Ibis Chilean Flamingo
Chiloe Wigeon Chimango Caracara Cinereous Harrier
Chiloe Wigeon Chimango Caracara Cinereous Harrier
Correndera Pipit Crested Duck
Correndera Pipit Crested Duck
Long-tailed Meadowlark Rufous-collared Sparrow Southern Lapwing
Long-tailed Meadowlark Rufous-collared Sparow Southern Lapwing
Spectacled Tyrant Upland Goose Yellow-billed Pintail
Spectacled Tyrant Upland Goose Yellow-billed Pintail

Home

Paintings gallery

Video clips

Images

DVD

Contact

Site map

Links

Content

Introduction

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Species list

Text only