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ULTIMATE CHILE

Thursday 26th October - Wednesday 15th November 2017

Mark Pearman

Diademed Sandpiper-plover (Alistair McNee)

Diademed Sandpiper-plover (Alistair McNee)

Once again, Ultimate Chile produced all of the mainland Chilean endemics, all eight tapaculos, some the size of a puffin, and an astonishing wader spectacle of 33 species, including Diademed Sandpiper-Plover, Magellanic Plover, Peruvian Thick-knee, Tawny-throated and Rufous-chested Dotterels, Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe and Puna Snipe. Our two main pelagics, and various ferry crossings, delivered 17 species of tubenose with highlights of Northern Royal Albatross, Buller's Albatross, Markham’s Storm Petrel and some 140 Pincoya Storm Petrels, not to mention six Sei Whales right beside our boat.

In all, we observed 283 species (of which 26 were only seen on the extension) plus an interesting haul of 18 species of mammal. As we travelled almost the entire spine of Chile we sampled three major biomes including several vast wilderness areas, from the Atacama desert to the high Andes and through Patagonian forests to the Magellanic and Fuegian tundra steppe. Other unforgettable highlights, from north to south, included Puna Tinamou, the critically endangered Chilean Woodstar, Tamarugo Conebill, Andean and James's Flamingos, White-throated Sierra Finch, Magellanic Woodpecker, Burrowing Parrot, Spectacled Duck, White-throated Hawk, Rufous-legged Owl, Des Murs’ Wiretail and the recently split Patagonian Forest Earthcreeper. For many, the extension was the cherry topping with two Pumas hunting in daylight, a visit to South America's only King Penguin colony, Ruddy-headed Goose, Magellanic Plover, both dotterels, Austral Rail, Magellanic Horned Owl, White-bridled and Yellow-bridled Finches, not to mention the impressive scenery of Torres del Paine. We enjoyed decent weather almost throughout including the notorious extreme south. Accommodations were very comfortable, our logistics ran smoothly and we enjoyed tasty local quisine and fine wines which lead to a hugely successful tour.

The sensational Moustached Turca is a "size 5" endemic tapaculo (Alistair McNee)

The sensational Moustached Turca is a "size 5" endemic tapaculo (Alistair McNee)