Friday, March 13, 2009



This morning we awoke to a dusting of snow on the jagged peaks of the mountains, and steady rain throughout the day. Nevertheless, we managed to bird the entire day. Hundreds of BLACK-BROWED ALBATROSSES plied the Beagle Channel along with SOUTHERN GIANT PETRELS (20), CHILEAN SKUAS (100), SOUTH AMERICAN TERNS (100), ROCK, IMPERIAL and NEOTROPIC SHAGS. On the road, we saw GRAY-FLANKED CINCLODES (1) and DARK-FACED GROUND TYRANTS (2). The "old" dump has not existed for years, but driving along the road to the new dump, we were able to see CHIMANGO CARACARA (50), SOUTHERN CRESTED CARACARA (18), and the much sought after WHITE-THROATED CARACARA (6). In addition, about 800 KELP GULSS and a handful of DOLPHIN GULLS were at the dump. A bonus bird, perched in a tree near the road was a BLACK-CHESTED BUZZARD EAGLE! This was the closest I have ever been to a buzzard eagle. After a quick breakfast in town, and a visit to our favorite natural history ```bookshop, a business meeting at Hotel Albatros, and pumping some air into a deflating tire, we headed to Tierra del Fuego National Park.

Birdlife was incredibly quiet inside the park. Maybe, it was the rain. Chimangos were everywhere, and I started to call them, Chickenmangos. Pishing finally brought on the THORN-TAILED RAYADITOS— at least 50 or more, all but landing on my head. They very much remind me of the little Bushtits in California, mobbing like crazy. Four of five, WHITE-THROATED TREERUNNERS were so agitated that they made their little cricket like sounds. Half a dozen AUSTRAL THRUSHES were feeding on some dark blue berries. Along the many lakes we found GREAT GREBES (6+ 2HY), YELLOW-BILLED PINTAILS (12), CHILOE WIDGEONS (4), FLYING STEAMER DUCKS (2), but missed the Spectacled Duck. Several UPLAND GEESE, along with 3 goslings were feeding along the roadside, ever so tame! We managed a couple of GRAY-HOODED SIERRA FINCHES, and several RUFOUS-COLLARED SPARROWS. Our big miss of the day was the Magellanic Woodpecker! We checked several places where we have seen them in past years with no luck. We stopped at a spot where we have previously seen Rufous-legged Owl at night— and, immediately heard the rayaditos mobbing an owl!! But, darned if we could see any owl in the thick, dark forest. It was a very long day, with a late dinner in town.

A few corrections on yesterday's log entry! Hey, I'm blaming it on jet lag! Seriously, there are a few identification snags that always get me in this area. The reported Ashy-headed Geese of yesterday, were in fact, Upland Geese. And, the steamer ducks always seem so difficult, but I think that we saw both Flying and Flightless Steamer Ducks, yesterday. Hey, I know the two that were at the lake today, were Flying Steamer Ducks, else how the heck did they get there! We do not have a spotting scope with us. And, the reported Silvery Grebe, was in reality a WHITE-TUFTED GREBE (no ID problem there, I was just brain dead).

Well, tomorrow, we hope to get up to the Martial Glacier to hunt for the White-bellied Seedsnipe, which I have never seen, but the weather forecast does not sound promising at all! Well, there you have it— a few hours of birding yesterday— when it was balmy, and we were casually sitting on the beach photographing the waterfowl, and a full day of birding today in rain, rain, rain.

At 4 pm tomorrow, we shall board Professor Multanovskiy and set off for the Drake Passage! For now, I hope that you will enjoy Don Doolittle's image of the raindrop covered BLACK-CHESTED BUZZARD EAGLE!

Til' tomorrow,




PO Box 190, Hollister, CA 95024

Antarctica, South Georgia, & The Falkland Islands: January 5-24, 2010

Exclusive charter with Debra Shearwater

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