A) BIRDING TOUR IN PUERTO MADRYN
Season: October to March
Program: Half Day tour or Full day tour
Duration: 5 hours (Hald day tour) and 8 hours (Full day tour)
It takes us about half an hour drive to reach San Andres private ranch which has several miles of sea coast where we will look for Giant Petrel, several species of terns, Rock and King Cormorants and American Oystecatcher.
We will spend time looking for other special birds such as Least Seedsnipe or Tawny-throated Dotterelwhich stop in the fields while migrating. In the grassy patches we have found Grassland Yellow Finches, Rofous-collared Sparrow, Long-tailed Meadowlark, Patagonian Mockingbird, just to mention a few species. Other birds found are Lesser Rhea, Elegant-crested Tinamou, Southern Martins, Burrowing Owl, Peregrine Falcon, Variable Hawk, Chimango Cara-Cara, Shiny Cowbirds.
The patches of creosore which grow on this ranch always surprise us with some species, lately we found several pairs of the endemic Carbonated Sierra Finch nesting and displaying. Shorebirds such as Two-banded Plover may be seen. During the winter months you can find the Dark-faced Ground Tyrant, the Austral Negrito, Plain-mantled Tit-Spinetail, Canasteros and both Earthcreepers are other birds we will look for today. By sunset we will be sitting near a small lighthouse tasting a Patagonian Malbec wine and savoring some Argentine cheese, olives and almonds.
During these field days we may also see guanaco, mara, skunk, cuis, tuco-tuco, foxes as they are all out there. On the shores of San Andres ranch we will find Southern Sea Lions and Keep our eyes open for other sea mammals and penguins that live in these waters.
B) BIRDING TOUR IN PUERTO MADRYN
Season: October to March
Program: 3 Days-2 Nights
Day 1: Upon arrival to Trelew’s airport head south to Puerto Madryn, situated on the shores of the Golfo Nuevo, one of the 2 gulfs the Peninsula Valdes forms.
Check in to the Hotel Peninsula Valdes, situated on the waterfront, a four star hotel with a buffet breakfast and a small Spa. Enjoy an evening stroll while admiring the intense blue waters and the sunset colors.
Day 2: PUNTA TOMBO PENGUIN COLONY Head south to the Magellanic Penguin colony of Punta Tombo where 240,000 pairs nest. Not only will you marvel when walking in amongst the Penguins but will also spot Darwin’s Rhea, Elegant-crested Tinamou, and the endemic White-headed Flightless Steamer Duck. A few pairs of Great Skuas nest at Punta Tombo and prey on the penguin eggs and chicks. You begin to become familiar with the Patagonian steppe which seems barren to the eye, but always surprises you with it’s minute flowers and creatures such as hairy armadillos.
At dusk we bird the Chubut River valley where Great Kiskadee, Chimango Cara-Cara, Southern Lapwing, Yellow-billed Pintail and Red-crested Cardenal, Rufous Hornero are possibilities. Before returning to Puerto Madryn we may stop at a lagoon to look for other ducks, grebes and swans. Hotel Peninsula Valdes in Puerto Madryn.
Day 3: PENINSULA VALDES This morning we enter the Peninsula Valdes Nature Reserve, a narrow strip of land, extending into the Atlantic Ocean, sandwiched between the San Jose and Nuevo Gulfs. Get your binoculars ready to search for some of the 180 species of sea and land birds that inhabit this barren windswept land. Some of these birds are endemic species, not large or strikingly colorful but found in no other country or region: these are Carbonated Sierra Finch, Patagonian Yellow Finch, Rusty-backed Monjita and Band-tailed Earthcreeper. We continue to reach the East coast of Peninsula Valdes, precisely to Caleta Valdes, where we spend the morning watching the elephant seal pups, we must keep an eye on the ocean as we may spot orcas. We will take a whale watching boat trip early in the afternoon. This area is an extense grassland the land mammals we may encounter are the graceful guanacos, the maras, and in the way of birds the possibilities are Patagonian Mockingbird, Long-tailed Meadowlark, with luck a Tawny-throated Dotterel or a Least Seedsnipe, Burrowing Owl, Common Miner, Scale-throated Earthcreeper, the Patagonian Yellow-Finch and the very common Rufous-collared Sparrow. We spend the morning watching the elephant seal pups. We will look for shorebirds and sea birds such as American Oystercatcher, Rock and Imperial Cormorants, South American, Royal and Cayenne Terns, Crested Ducks are found on the rocky shores. We return to the Hotel in time to enjoy the sunset with such an open big sky.