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SOUTHERN & CENTRAL ARGENTINA

Saturday 16th November - Friday 6th December 2013

Mark Pearman

Eleven superb Hooded Grebes on a remote volcanic cauldron lake was one of the very top prizes for participants of this tour. Although the tarmac is getting ever closer to the grebe, and it is now even possible to sometimes reach them by minibus, their numbers have dwindled to less than a thousand birds due to various natural and man-influenced factors. Time is running out for the Hooded Grebe and its threat status was recently elevated to Critically Endangered. Prior to this, another major highlight was our protracted views of a trio of Killer Whales with a female seizing an Elephant Seal pup from the beach, and teaching its calf this attack method which is unrecorded elsewhere on the planet. But that was not all…. an (until now) unheard-of viewable Dot-winged Crake walk-about and now regular Red-and-white Crake show, plus stunning looks at such range-restricted or threatened species as Salinas Monjita, Straight-billed Reedhaunter, Pampas Meadowlark, Sandy Gallito, Patagonian Tinamou, Magellanic Plover, Austral Rail, White-bridled Finch and Ruddy-headed Goose made this an outstanding tour, tough to exceed in terms of quality. A few bonus birds in the form of threatened Black-and–white Monjita and King Penguin came our way amongst 329 species seen, as did the numerous eye-catching Patagonian specialties such as Spectacled Duck, Magellanic Woodpecker, Rufous-chested Dotterel, Magellanic Horned Owl and Chocolate-vented Tyrant to name but a few, while the endless vast windswept terrain, teeming shag, penguin and piniped colonies, succulent grilled beef and lamb dishes, impressive wines not to mention the remoteness of Patagonia all added to the atmosphere of this memorable experience.