Monday, 1 November 2021



We are now on the final leg of our trip, one which we have enjoyed very much, but still some important birding sites to visit on Terria del Fuego.                                            

                                   Laguna Cisnes on Tierra del Fuego

We found a pair of Magellanic Plovers Pluvianellus socialis on Laguna Cisnes. Near Threatened species and breeds in shallow, saline lakes, preferring shores with heavy salt deposits. Range: 0-300m.

We also found their nest on the beach, with one large green egg speckled with brown. We quickly departed from the area so that the plover could quickly return back to the nest.
The following morning we found 2 pairs on Laguna Cisnes & another pair on a nearby lake.

Another brilliant wader.

60 Imperial (Shag) Cormorants Phalacrocorax atriceps  were seen around Porvenir. Marine, cold Patagonian waters and they breed in large colonies on flat islands.

Good numbers of South American Terns Sterna hirundinacea were seen during our trip, including these 2 at Porvenir Harbour. Its the common and widespread tern in Chile. Strictly coastal but rarely far out to sea, and it is larger than other similar terns.
Brown-hooded Gull - Larus maculipennis Common in C. and S. Chile. Coastal.

Adult Brown-hooded Gull showing the distinctive under-wing pattern.

One South America (Magellanic) Snipe Gallinago paraguaiae found in a stream on Tierra del Fuego. Widespread and common in Chile, Range: 0-2000m.

Magellanic Oystercatcher Haematopus leucopodus Restricted to the south of the country. In the non-breeding season it moves to sandy coasts and muddy estuaries. During our trip Magellanic Oystercatcher were seen in small numbers in both the Puntre Arenas/Tierra del Fuego areas.

Showing the distinctive wing pattern on the
Magellanic Oystercatcher.

White-rumped Sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis Boreal breeder one of the two commom "peeps" in Chile.
Range 0-500m. During our trip, we saw up to 100 White Rumped Sandpipers on Tierra del Fuego, chiefly around the coast.

Baird's Sandpiper - Calidris bairdii Fond of high-Andean wetlands and shallow Patagonian ponds and mudflats. The most widespread "peep". Range 0-5000m. From our experience, White-rumpeds are seen chiefly on the coast and Bairds are seen more at inland locations.

Two Banded Plovers - Charadrius falklandicus During our trip, we recorded them on Punta Arenas and Terria del Fuego.

Dolphin Gull - Larus scoresbii uncommon gull of the extreme south coastal areas. Seventy Dolphin Gulls were seen behind Porvenir Harbour.
Two juvenile Dolphin Gulls.

Dolphin Gull in flight.

Flying Steamer-Ducks - Tachyeres patachonicus Can be seen on both marine and freshwater habitats.
We found 10 Flying Steamer-Ducks in Porvenir Harbour.

Upland Geese - Chloephaga picta Abundant goose of  Patagonia found in steppe, meadows and grassy areas within forest zone. We saw large numbers daily around Punta Arenas & Tierra del Fuego with a daily maximum of 800, also a pair were seen at El-Yeso.
Ruddy Headed Geese - Chloephaga rubidiceps Rare with only 800 individuals in Chile. We saw a pair of Ruddy Headed Geese on Tierra del Fuego.

Black Faced Ibis - Theristicus melanopis We had 60 Black Faced Ibis on their breeding cliffs on
Tierra del Fuego, but we did not approach to close.

Aplomado Falcon - Falco famoralis Inhabits all open or semi open areas, desert, farmland, Patagonian steppe etc. On our drive back to the car ferry terminal on Tierra del Fuego, we came across this adult Apolomado Falcon sat close to the road.

Megellanic Horned Owl - Bubo magellanicus A widespread large owl of various habitats. After staying up late the previous night looking for the Megellanic Horned Owl, it was a real bonus to flush one from the side of the road,and for it to land in a nearby bush, when we were driving to catch the ferry fromTierra del Fuego.  Yet another birding highlight for the trip.

We were now moving onto El-Yeso for a 2 night stay.

Four views taken at El-Yeso, we spent 2 days here.

Mountain type Lillies were common at El-Yeso.

The Dam at El-Yeso

Yellow Rumped Siskin - Carduelis uropygialis Present on high alpine slopes with shrubs and near stream courses. Range: 2500-4000 m. On our trip twenty Yellow Rumped Siskins were found at El-Yeso

White Browed Ground-Tryant - Muscisaxicola albilora Most abundant breeding ground-tyrant in C and SC Chile. Prefers moist and bog areas. We recorded up to 25 White Browed Ground-Tryants at El-Yeso.

Rufous-banded Miner - Geositta rufipennis Common in arid, treeless areas with boulders, cliffs or large banks. A large Miner with short primary extension and is stocky with a pot-bellied appearance. We only recorded them at El-Yeso, where up to 20 on a day could be found.

Ochre Naped Ground-Tryant - Muscisaxicola flavinucha Prefers moist sites with short grass on alpine habitats. Range: 2000-4500 m but has been seen in the extreme south as low as 500 m. Just 3 Ochre Naped Ground-Tryants were seen by ourselves all at El-Yeso.

Grey- hooded Sierra-Finch - Phrygilus gayi Open habitats , from deserts scrub to Andean slopes and Patagonian steppe. Grey Hooded Sierra-Fiches were common at El-Yeso and we also found them at other sites in Chile.
Grey-flanked Cinclodes - Cinclodes oustaleti  Breeds close to mountain streams and in winter it migrates to the coast. We found four at El-Yeso.
Grey Breasted Seedsnipe Thinocorus orbignuianus Widespread throughout its range but only occurs in mountains. Preferred habitats are grassy creek edges. Range: 500-5000m. 
Four of the race  orbignyianus Grey Breasted Seedsnipe were seen at El-Yeso.

Crag Chilia - Chilia melanura One of the star birds at El-Yeso is the Crag Chilia and after much searching we discovered a pair attending their nest. They are Endemic to Chile, chiefly terrestrial  and a resident on rocky cliffs and slopes in C. Chile. During the winter, some may move to lower elevations.  We enjoyed watching this pair of Crag Chilia's attending their nest at El-Yeso for around an hour and was another highlight of our trip.
Cinereous Ground-Tryant - Muscisaxcola maculirostris Andean slopes, preferring dry rocky areas. Range; 2500-4000 m. A blue-grey ground-tyrant with white underparts and no crown patch. During our trip we found six at El-Yeso.
Black-winged Ground-Dove - Metriopelia melanoptera The most wide-spread of the Ground-Doves occupying a variety of habitats. Main range: 1000-4000 m., but during the winter sometimes it moves to sea-level. At El-Yeso, we found them very common.

Black Chested Buzzard-Eagle - Geranoaetus melanoleucus Various habitats, but often near mountain slopes both in the Andes and coastal ranges. Range: 0-4000m.  We saw a number during our trip, but this one was soaring over El-Yeso, but unfortunately agaist the sun.
A pair of Diademed Sandpiper-Plover Phegornis mitchellii performed well for us at El-Yeso, and it was very pleasing to end our birding trip to Chile with our star-bird of the trip.
Our return flight back over the Andes to London.

Acknowledgements: Birds of Chile by Jaramillo, Burke and Beadle and The Birds of South America 2 vols by Ridgely and Tudor.