Welcome to Birdquest
Saturday 20th November - Friday 10th December 2010
For well over a decade of tours to this long slither of land, Birdquest remains the only company which has enjoyed a 100% record of seeing all of the mainland endemics including Chilean Woodstar which has regained its endemic status, all of the tapaculo species including the giant huet-huets and turca, and of course the outstanding enigmatic Diademed Sandpiper-Plover. On Chile 2010 we also enjoyed a superb selection of other specialities including Puna Tinamou, Andean Avocet, South American Painted-Snipe, three species of Seedsnipe, all three flamingos, Rufous-legged Owl, Des Murs’ Wiretail, the poorly known Tamarugo Conebill and the delightful Pied-crested Tit-Tyrant. The southern extension ensured many other quality species such as Tawny-throated and Rufous-chested Dotterels, Austral Rail, Magellanic Plover, Ruddy-headed Goose, Magellanic Horned Owl, White-bridled and extraordinary numbers of Yellow-bridled Finches and was rounded off with the first visit by a tour company to South America’s unique and only recently discovered King Penguin hauling ground. Chile tours are not only about land birds and we recorded twelve species of tubenose on our two pelagics and various ferry crossings. Our efforts were rewarded with as many as eight Royals and twenty Buller’s Albatrosses, and a record-breaking sixty Masatierra Petrels all off central Chile, while the major surprise came in the form of a soon-to-be-described new species of storm-petrel observed at close range off Chiloe Island. In all we saw 274 species (excluding “forms”, subspecies, or future splits not wanting to overstate ourselves) and enjoyed magnificent scenery from high altitude Puna lakes and snow-capped volcanoes, the Atacama desert through Patagonian forest to Patagonian and Fuegian steppe, and the magnificent Torres del Paine national park. Hotels, meals and wines were excellent throughout and the Chileans offered great hospitality.