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This short tour of Tierra del Fuego gives you the opportunity to explore southern Patagonia and the Tierra del Fuego National Park from the world’s most southerly city, Ushuaia. Apart from the sheer beauty of the area, including snow-capped peaks, mountain streams, and large beech forests, there is an assortment of important bird species which will be targeted. High on this list will be the huge Magellanic Woodpecker, which inhabits beech forests in Tierra del Fuego National Park, as well as White-bellied Seedsnipe, which is found above the tree line on a nearby mountain pass. Other range-restricted species which we hope to find include Flying Steamer Duck, Andean Goose, Yellow-bridled Finch, and Patagonian Sierra Finch.
This trip is as pre-tour to our 20-day Birding Cruise Antarctica and only runs if the latter becomes a guaranteed departure.
Itinerary (4 days/3 nights)
Day 1. Ushuaia
After arriving at the Malvinas Argentinas International Airport in Ushuaia you will be transferred to your hotel, which is located along the edge of the Beagle Channel. Depending on what time flights arrive, the afternoon will be spent birding the coastal areas, where we expect to see Kelp and Dolphin Gulls, Black-browed Albatross, South American Tern, Magellanic and Blackish Oystercatchers, Austral Negrito, Chilean Swallow, Blackish Cinclodes, and Flying Steamer Duck among others.
Overnight: Hotel Tolkeyen, Ushuaia
Day 2. Lago Escondido and Garibaldi Pass
After breakfast we will head east along the National Route No. 3 highway beyond the city, where the landscape changes drastically to include mountain ranges, valleys, peat bogs, beaver dams, as well as various beech forests. On the Garibaldi Pass (430 meters/1419 feet above sea level) we will hike above the treeline to search for the localized White-bellied Seedsnipe. This bird can be hit-and-miss at times, and if we miss it today we will have another shot on our final morning. Other noteworthy species we hope to encounter today include Rock Shag, Imperial Shag, Kelp Goose, Upland Goose, Fuegian Steamer Duck, Flying Steamer Duck, Crested Duck, Chiloe Wigeon, Turkey Vulture, Andean Condor, Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle, Southern Crested Caracara, White-throated Caracara, Chimango Caracara, Chilean Skua, Grey-flanked Cinclodes, Buff-winged Cinclodes, Thorn-tailed Rayadito, Ochre-naped Ground Tyrant, Dark-faced Ground Tyrant, White-crested Elaenia, Austral Thrush, and Yellow-bridled Finch.
Overnight: Hotel Tolkeyen, Ushuaia.
Day 3. Tierra del Fuego National Park
After breakfast we will head out for the day’s birding into the Tierra del Fuego National Park, where giant woodpeckers, ibises, and other birds can be seen in the southern beech forests. The coastal areas also offer some fantastic birding, where we hope to find Kelp Goose and Flying Steamer Duck. The day’s birding could also produce the following important bird species: Great Grebe, Neotropic Cormorant, Black-faced Ibis, Black-necked Swan, Upland Goose, Ashy-headed Goose, Bronze-winged Duck, Crested Duck, Yellow-billed Pintail, Yellow-billed Teal, Chiloe Wigeon, Black-chested Buzzard–Eagle, Chilean Hawk, American Kestrel, Plumbeous Rail, South American Snipe, Austral Parakeet, Austral Pygmy Owl, Ringed Kingfisher, Magellanic Woodpecker, Magellanic Tapaculo, Patagonian Tyrant, Fire-eyed Diucon, White-crested Elaenia, Tufted Tit-Tyrant, House Wren, Austral Blackbird, Patagonian Sierra Finch, and Black-chinned Siskin.
Overnight: Hotel Tolkeyen, Ushuaia.
Day 4. Ushuaia
Depending on flight times we will spend the morning birding around Ushuaia cleaning up on any targets we may have missed the last few days (perhaps another trip to look for White-bellied Seedsnipe if we missed it on our first attempt) and then transfer to the harbor to board the M/V Hondius for the start of the Antarctic birding cruise.
Please note that itinerary cannot be guaranteed as it is only a rough guide and can be changed (usually slightly) due to factors such as availability of accommodation, updated information on the state of accommodation, roads, or birding sites, the discretion of the guides and other factors.
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