BIRDING TOURS

Birds of the South Atlantic

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LENGTH
8 days
DIFICULTY
Easy
SEASON
October to April
START
Comodoro Rivadavia
END
Comodoro Rivadavia
HABITATS
Marine, Intertidal, Wetlands, Steppe

OVERVIEW

Birding Tour covering the best hotspots of the Patagonian coast. From Comodoro Rivadavia, we will drive south to Puerto Deseado, on the estuary that captivated Darwin during his exploration of the Patagonian coast back in 1833. We will take a boat to Penguin Island to visit the only breeding colony of Rockhopper Penguin near the continent.

We will continue to Campament Darwin, a fantastic lodge built over the old house of an authentic Patagonian ranch. There we can go birding on different ecosystems: marine, intertidal, wetlands, steppe. Finally, we will drive north to Bahía Bustamante, another Patagonian ranch surrounded by the Southern Patagonia Marine National Park.

Magellanic Penguins
Magellanic Penguins

HIGHLIGHTS

Follow Darwin´s footsteps in Puerto Deseado Estuary

Wide variety of environments: marine, intertidal, wetlands, steppe

Rock Hopper colony in Penguin Island

Authentic Patagonian ranches at Campamento Darwin and Bahía Bustamante

Striking landscapes under the immensity of the Patagonian skies

TARGET SPECIES

Rockhopper Penguin, Magellanic Penguin, Lesser Rhea, Elegant-Crested Tinamou, Patagonian Tinamou, Black-browed Albatros, Southern Giant Petrel, Red-legged Cormorant, Rock Cormorant, Blue-eyed Cormorant, Black-faced Ibis, Chilean Flamingo, Black-necked Swan, Coscoroba Swan, Upland Goose, Crested Duck, Flying Steamer-Duck, Chubut Steamer-Duck, Black-chested Buzzard Eagle, American Oystercatcher, Magellanic Oystercatcher, Blakish Oystercatcher, Tawny-throated Dotterel, Two-banded Plover, Collared Plover, Baird´s Sandpiper, White-rumped Sandpiper, Hudsonian Godwit, Snowy Sheatbill, Least Seedsnipe, Gray-breasted Seedsnipe, Chilean Skua, Antarctic Skua, Olrog´s Gull, Dolphin Gull, South American Tern, Cayenne Tern, Burrowing Parrot, Magellanic Horned Owl, Band-tailed Earthcreeper, Lesser Canastero, Gray-bellied Shrike-Tyrant, Rufous-backed Negrito, Southern Martin, Patagonian Mockingbird, Patagonian Yellow-Finch, Grey-hooded Sierra-Finch, Mourning Sierra-Finch.

Blackish Oystercatchers
Blackish Oystercatchers

ITINERARY

DAY 1. COMODORO RIVADAVIA - PUERTO DESEADO

Reception at Comodoro Rivadavia airport and drive to Puerto Deseado. Afternoon birding on the beaches nearby the town, where we will have opportunities for Southern Giant Petrel, Flying Steamer-Duck, American Oystercatcher, Magellanic Oystercatcher, Blakish Oystercatcher, Two-banded Plover, Baird´s Sandpiper, Chilean Skua, Antarctic Skua and Dolphin Gull, among others. Overnight in Puerto Deseado.

DAY 2. PENGUIN ISLAND

We will take a boat tout to navigate in open waters to Penguin Island, declared a Marine Park for being one of the sites of greatest marine biodiversity in Patagonia. During the navigation, we will find a colony of South American Sea Lion, together with Snowy Sheatbill, Dolphin Gull, Cormorants and Skuas. Once we reach the islands we will get off the boat and start hiking surrounded by Magellanic Penguins, Oystercathers and Skuas to the top of the island, where there is and old lighthouse and the ruins of a sea lion hunting site. After going down to a small canyon we can see, a very short distance, the only accessible colony of Rockhopper Penguin on entire Patagonian coast. We will have lunch on the beach, where we will have opportunities for more sea lions, elephant seals, oystercatchers, skuas, gulls and petrels. On the navigation back to the town we will visit a breeding colony of South American Fur Seal, with opportunities for Commerson's Dolphin, Dusky Dolphin and Black-browed Albatros. Overnight in Puerto Deseado.

Rockhopper Penguin
Rockhopper Penguin

DAY 3. PUERTO DESEADO - CAMPAMENTO DARWIN

From Puerto Deseado we will drive, birding on the roadsides, to Campamento Darwin, build the old hull of the Estancia Cerro del Paso, located on the southern margin of Deseado estuary, 40 km from its mouth. During the afternoon we will visit the facilities of the old Estancia Cerro del Paso, visit the shearing shed, the stable, and go birding on self-guided trails, with opportunities for Lesser Rhea, Elegant-Crested Tinamou, Patagonian Tinamou, Least Seedsnipe, Burrowing Parrot, Band-tailed Earthcreeper, Patagonian Mockingbird and Mourning Sierra-Finch. Overnight at Campamento Darwin.

DAY 4. DESEADO ESTUARY

From Campamento Darwin we will take a boat along the Deseado Estuary. At the start navigating between islands and channels, we will search for Commerson's Dolphins, one of the smallest marine dolphins that sometimes can be seen very close from the boats. In the canyons over the estuary we will find the nesting colonies of Red-legged Cormorant, Rock Cormorant and Blue-eyed Cormorants that cab be seen and photographed from a vert short distance. Later we will reach Bird Island, where we will get off the boats. There we will fidn a nesting colony of more than 30,000 Magellanic Penguins. Finally, if the tide allows us, we will enter some of the canyons on the northern shore of the estuary, as well as through other islands wehre we can find Southern Giant Petrel, Flying Steamer-Duck, Blakish Oystercatcher, Snowy Sheatbill, Chilean Skua, Antarctic Skua, Dolphin Gull, South American Tern, Cayenne Tern and Hudsonian Godwit, among others. Overnight at Campamento Darwin.

Red-legged Cormorants
Red-legged Cormorants

DAY 5. CAMPAMENTO DARWIN - BAHÍA BUSTAMANTE

We will leave Campamento Darwin and drive north to Bahía Bustamante, a seaside Lodge surrounded by 360° of pure nature, in an area recognized by its relevant biological biodiversity. Only in a few places in the world it is possible to find such a number and diversity of seabirds and marine mammals, which is why it has been included in ´Patagonia Austral´ National Park & ´Blue Patagonia´ UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. It is also an IBAs (Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas). A wide variety of species inhabit different ecosystems: marine, intertidal, marshes, wetlands, steppe, etc. The islands and islets of the region, noted for their diversity of flora and substratum, and the richness of the marine wildlife, create ideal conditions for the seabirds to reproduce.

Chubut Steamer-Duck
Chubut Steamer-Duck

DAYS 6 & 7 . BAHÍA BUSTAMANTE

With a great number of geographical accidents, its sounds and its solitude, Bahia Bustamante Lodge is a paradise awaiting to be discovered. From its magnificent white sandy beaches and crystal clear water, framed by red rocks reaching inland, to its moonscapes of great deserts, it is a marine and earthly paradise inhabited by a great number of birds and mammals. Exploration activities in the area are proposed on a day-to-day basis, considering tides and weather conditions. During high tide hours we can navigate to Malaspina Cove and Vernacci Islands which are home to breeding coloines of Sea Lions (4,000 animals during breeding season) and Magellanic Penguins (100.000). We will find also the endemics Chubut Steamer Duck and Olrog's Gull, apart from oytercatchers, terns and cormorants. Depending on the season we can also find migratory shorebirds like Two-banded Plover, Collared Plover, Baird´s Sandpiper, White-rumped Sandpipera and Hudsonian Godwit. Other activities include drives to the peninsula and the Aristizabl Cape or treks on the Petrified Forest and the rock Canyon. Overnight in Bahía Bustamante Lodge.

DAY 8. BAHÍA BUSTAMANTE - COMODORO RIVADAVIA

Drive back to Comodoro Rivadavia to take the flight back.

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