|Birding trip report NW Argentina Nov-Dec 2014|
|John van der Woude www.jvanderw.nl - see also photo section of this trip|
|For this trip Nollie and I drove all the way from Buenos Aires up to the far northwest, and back along a different route. We had not expected to get that far, but as we got a huge free upgrade for the rental car at Sixt in downtown BA, we had no problem in driving that far because the car was very comfortable. The trip was from 23 November to 16 December (including flights from/to Amsterdam), and the weather was generally good. For hotels we often consulted booking.com and for smaller towns the extensive hotel listing in the Firestone Road Atlas we bought in BA. We had the OSM road map downloaded into our own Garmin car navigator.|
|The trip was meant to cover as many habitats as possible in NW Argentina. So that is the wide Paraná river plain marshes (2-4 on map below), the coast of the huge inland Mar Chiquita lagoon (5), extensive chaco woodlands (6), subtropical yungas forests (8, 11, 13), higher altitude open puna (8, 9, 12), salt lake (15), wooded hill country (14, 16), the very special granitic plateau west of Cordoba (17), and lower pampas with or without lagoons (18, 19, 20).|
|Below the general map are specific maps of these sites, taken from Google. I have also provided some links to my eBird listings, and at the bottom of this page is a species list (265 species). The photo section shows the scenery of the various birding sites. For details about which species are possible at the various sites, it is best to check eBird.org via Explore Data > Explore Hotspots. Or for finding target species: Explore Data > Species Maps. My checklists are all found via Species Maps, and they are mostly not under Hotspots as I prefer to give exact locations instead of a general area as the Hotspots are.|
1. Buenos Aires international airport (EZE)
2. Otamendi nature reserve
3. Paraná floodplains from Rosario to Victoria
4. Pre-Delta national park
5. Miramar at the Laguna Mar Chiquita
6. Añatuya chaco area
7. Rio Hondo dam
8. Tafi del Valle yungas to puna
9. Quilmes to Cafayate
10. Cafayate to Salta
11. Yungas between Salta and San Salvador de Jujuy
12. Puna above Humahuaca
13. Calilegua national park (yungas)
14. Rosario de la Frontera hill country
15. Saliñas Grandes
16. Capilla del Monte valley
17. Pampa de Achala
18. El Morro
19. Lagoon east of Rufino
20. Lagoons near Lobos
Otamendi nature reserve.
1. Leave highway 9 (Buenos Aires to Rosario) here for Ing. Otamendi.
2. Office of nature reserve plus a short trail in the drier woods.
3. Start (just after crossing the railway) of birding road through open marsh.
All the way good to 4 and beyond. Both reedhaunters here.
Paraná floodplain between Rosario and Victoria:
1. Highway 9 from Buenos Aires. Keep direction Victoria.
2. Start of highway to Victoria. Try all places where you can stop (not many) up to 3.
3. Lagoons at the east end of the floodplain.
4. Pre-Delta national park (see below).
5. Road to the city of Paraná, now connected by a tunnel to Santa Fé.
Pre-Delta national park.
1. Quiet road from the east entrance of Diamante.
2. Office, small shop and parking.
3. Nature trail from parking first goes to this lagoon, then on to 4 etc.
4. Good old wet forest.
5. Viewing platform at bigger lagoon.
6. Trail goes back along river.
Miramar at the Laguna Mar Chiquita.
1. Approach road from Balnéaria.
2. Information centre.
3. Our hotel Andaluhe Posada, recommended. Near -30.916569, -62.679509
4. Good boulevard birding.
5. Viewpoint for small river mouth, at -30.921935, -62.684658
6. Restaurant area around -30.914171, -62.676901
7. Route to 8.
8. Bird tower, parking and trail into wide river mouth. At -30.946571, -62.712146
9. Find this small road going north
10. Small river mouth.
The low woods between 9 and 10 had Dinelli's Doradito, esp. where you obviously park the car, at -30.896690, -62.654382
The chaco area at Añatuya, province Santiago del Estero.
Any solid green area on this image is good, but you have to find trails, tracks or very quiet roads leading into it. We found a few but more are possible than given here. This is an amazing area where few birders go because of its location far from the usual birding routes. Nevertheless, the Chaco national park far northeast will be better, but is hard to combine with NW Argentina.
1. Añatuya with hotels and restaurants.
2, 4 and 5. Tracks/ small roads into the chaco.
3. Café/restaurant in Quimili.
6. Road to the city of Santiago del Estero.
Tafi del Valle, yungas and high altitude valley.
1. Main road 38 from San Miguel de Tucumán.
2. Anywhere along this climbing road is good subtropical yungas, but here we had Yellow-striped Brush-Finch, at -27.0431 -65.6664
3. Bridge and short remnant of old road: Rufous-throated Dipper and Torrent Duck, at -26.9846 -65.6643
4. Our Hotel Tafi, close to the river.
5. Check all gullies traversing this road between 4 and 7. At the gully at -26.7764 -65.7295 we had Tucumán Mountain-Finch.
6. El Infernillo, good for several specialties.
7. Cliffs with sierra-finches. The road goes on to Quilmes and Cafayate.
1. Road descending from pass north of Tafi, look for lone trees.
2. Sandy area, half open with trees, follow track at info panel. Sandy Gallito.
3. Quilmes archeological site with some birds.
Between 3 and 4 look for Burrowing Parrot.
4. In Cafayate take road east (later northeast) to Salta. Very scenic.
From Salta to San Salvador de Jujuy.
1. Choose here for two directions to Jujuy: the fast road via 1a and 1b, or the old, narrow and winding road along 2 and 3. I think the fast road is easily 4 times faster.
2. Good subtropical yungas forest for several km along the many bends in the road. At -24.5036 -65.3200 we had our first Fulvous-headed Brush-Finch.
3. Small town of El Carmen, simple accommodation and restaurants. We stayed here for the night in order to go back to 2 in the morning.
4. Follow on to Jujuy.
North of Humahuaca on the open high altitude puna.
1. The town of Humahuaca has several accommodation options, but we were not very lucky there. Tilcara, 45 km more south along the fast highway, is often regarded as a better place to stay.
2, 3, 4. Birding can be good anywhere along this highway to Abra Pampa, with wide shoulders so it's easy to park and walk into the open terrain. We did not go much further than 4.
2. Here at -23.0723 -65.3875 we had Rufous-banded Miner, Brown-capped Tit-Spinetail, Chiguanco Thrush, Black-hooded Sierra-Finch, Mourning Sierra-Finch, Ash-breasted Sierra-Finch.
3. Here at -23.0319 -65.3792 we had Giant Hummingbird, Aplomado Falcon, Mountain Parakeet, Streak-fronted Thornbird, Cordilleran Canastero, Gray-bellied Shrike-Tyrant, Brown-backed Mockingbird, Black-hooded Sierra-Finch, Mourning Sierra-Finch, Ash-breasted Sierra-Finch, Puna Yellow-Finch.
4. At stop at -22.9588 -65.4261 produced Ornate Tinamou, Mourning Sierra-Finch and Plain-colored Seedeater.
Calilegua national park. Possibly the best subtropical yungas forest in Argentina.
1. Hotel Posada del Sol in Libertador Gral. San Martin (Gral. is for General). Recommended, also for info.
2. Turn left immediately after the bridge.
3. Entrance of national park.
4. Drier forest in the lower part (Cream-backed Woodpecker, Giant Antshrike).
5. Subtropical yungas forest in the higher parts (many yungas specialties).
6. Cloud forest here at -23.6823 -64.9017
Near 6 Nollie discovered a juvenile Fulvous-headed Brush-Finch. The juvenile plumage of this species appeared to be undescribed yet, so by placing photos of the bird on the International Bird Collection website of the Handbook of the Birds of the World it is now referred to in the online version of the HBW (HBW Alive). [Zie de Dutch Birding website voor een verhaal over deze ontdekking; http://www.dutchbirding.nl/news.php?id=987 ]
Termas hotel grounds east of Rosario de la Frontera.
1. Road from Rosario de la Frontera. At the big roundabout SW of Rosario, take the road going SE. After 2 km keep left on this road. Then another 1.5 km until point 1. Some birding in the half-open area between 1 and 2.
2. Take the entrance road to the hotel. The hotel seems a public area (with sacred statues) and I think this will remain so after the restauration going on when we were there. Otherwise just have a coffee there or so.
3. Park here.
4. Start of trail into the hill forest.
5. Some half-open patches.
6. Some old trees, along the statues. Black-banded Woodcreeper.
Saliñas Grandes NNW of Cordoba.
1. Main road from Recreo north to Dean Funes south.
2. Centre of Lucio V. Mansilla. We tried the dirt road going SE from here but did not get very far, muddy etc.
3. Leave main road here and take the small dirt road going NW.
4. Park here a little beyond the railway crossing, out in the open.
5. We walked to 5 and back through seemingly right habitat for Saliñas Monjita but found none. See photo section.
Capilla del Monte area N of Cordoba. Half-open wooded hills.
1. Find this road out of the centre.
2. Pay small entrance fee here somewhere.
3. Car park.
4. Café at the other side of the river, walk over small bridge. Before the bridge you can also walk a little along the river west.
5. Walk along the campsite.
This area was just nice for some morning birding before we moved on to the Pampa de Achala. Please do not underestimate the time for travelling from here to the Achala. Many many villages and towns have to be passed. On hindsight it may have been better to just drive from the Saliñas Grandes to Cordoba and take the ring road there to the city of Villa Carlos Paz.
Still, we had some nice birds along a side road going west from the main road at 5 km S of Capilla del Monte. Here we had our first Long-tailed Meadowlark of the trip. But we saw the meadowlarks again on the Achala.
Pampa de Achala west of Cordoba. A high plateau of old granitic rocks, grass and streams. Two endemic cinclodes.
0. Road from Villa Carlos Paz.
1. Our hotel in San Antonio de Arredondo, the Posada Shalimar, very quiet with large garden at the river. Recommended but cheaper options available. I think we had a good deal there via booking.com.
2. Alternative road, some good birding and very quiet.
3. The famous café on top of the plateau. Best birding around here and west. Both endemic cinclodes nearby.
4. Old road going a little uphill from just west of 3. Good birding but road surface soon rather bad. A bull was on the road (soon, a track).
5. From 3 to 5, check all sorts of habitat, dry and wet. From 5 west down to the town of Mina Clavero, with impressive views all the way. Much warmer once below at the foot of this massive plateau.
El Morro N of Mercedes and east of San Luis. A nice stopover, not meant as a special birding site, but it could be rewarding.
1. Road 148 from Villa Dolores and Mina Clavero.
2. We stayed in La Toma, simple accommodation. A few restaurants.
3. Small historic village of San José del Morro. If accommodation and food would be available here, this would be a nice place to stay.
4. Good dirt road east of the village, with constant view of the El Morro volcano. Some dry pampa birding here, like Firewood-gatherer.
5. Drive on to Mercedes and take highway 7 there to Buenos Aires.
Lagoon east of Rufino, along highway 7.
1. Highway 7 from Rufino.
2. Take quiet road south here.
3. Good views of the grassy old lagoon surface.
4. If possible have a stop here somewhere.
5. Drive on to Buenos Aires.
|Lists from My eBird
Some of the checklists I submitted to eBird.org with an Android app from the field. Other stake-outs have been mentioned in the texts at the local maps. See the introduction above how to find my other checklists if needed.
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S21042440 Near Añatuya. Many Chaco specialties.
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S21042503 Higher altitude birds above Tafi del Valle.
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S21042797 Yungas between Salta and ujuy.
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S21043818 Some birds at the Rosario de la Frontera site
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S21043873 A roadside stop in chaco south of Rosario de la Frontera.
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S21043914 Species at the Capilla del Monte site
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S21043939 The side road 5 km S of Capilla del Monte
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S21043947 Pampa de Achala
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S21044173 Pampa de Achala
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S21044175 Pampa de Achala
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S21044188 Pampa de Achala
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S21044215 Pampa de Achala
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S21044262 One of the stops at site 20, the lagoons S of Buenos Aires.
A simple species list with some annotations. For some target species see the texts at the maps and at eBird links above. Esp. for the high-altitude species in the far northwest, see at the photos above.
Ornate Tinamou Andean Tinamou Chaco Chachalaca - in the chaco near Añatuya Dusky-legged Guan Pied-billed Grebe Great Grebe Neotropic Cormorant Black-crowned Night-Heron Whistling Heron Cocoi Heron Snowy Egret Great Egret Cattle Egret Striated heron White-faced Ibis Roseate Spoonbill American Woodstork Maguari Stork - Rio Hondo Black Vulture Turley Vulture Andean Condor Chilean Flamingo - Miramar Southern Screamer - Victoria Coscoroba Swan Black-bellied Whistling-Duck Torrent Duck - Tafi del Valle Speckled Teal White-cheeked Pintail Yellow-billed Pintail Rosy-billed Pochard Snail Kite Swallow-tailed Kite Plumbeous Kite Roadside Hawk Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle Swainson's Hawk - group of 400 lingering near Añatuya Variable Hawk Southern Crested Caracara Yellow-headed Caracara Chimango Caracara Spot-winged Falconet - in the chaco near Añatuya American Kestrel Aplomado Falcon - in the chaco near Añatuya Peregrine Falcon Plumbeous Rail - Tafi del Valle Giant Woodrail - Otamendi Common Gallinule Red-fronted Coot Limpkin Wattled Jacana White-backed Stilt Southern Lapwing Semi-palmated Plover Collared Plover - Miramar South American Snipe Upland Sandpiper - in the chaco near Añatuya Greater Yellowlegs Lesser Yellowlegs Wilson's Phalarope - hundreds at Miramar Andean Gull Grey-hooded Gull Brown-hooded Gull Large-billed Tern Gull-billed Tern Yellow-billed Tern Black Skimmer Picazuro Pigeon Spot-winged Pigeon Eared Dove Picui Ground-Dove Bare-faced Ground-Dove - Tafi del Valle Bare-eyed Ground-Dove Black-winged Ground-Dove - Tafi del Valle Burrowing Parrot - Cafayate Monk Parakeet Mountain Parakeet Scaly-headed Parrot Turquoise-fronted Parrot Green-cheeked Parakeet Burrowing Parakeet Blue-crowned Parakeet Dark-billed Cuckoo Smooth-billed Ani Guira Cuckoo Striped Cuckoo ferruginous Pygmy-Owl Burrowing Owl Scissor-tailed Nightjar White-collared Swift Andean Swift Glittering-bellied Emerald Fork-tailed Woodnymph Gilded Sapphire Red-tailed Comet - Tafi del Valle and later Giant Hummingbird White-bellied Hummingbird Ringed Kingfisher Green Kingfisher Toco Toucan White-barred Piculet Checkered Woodpecker Golden-olive Woodpecker Green-barred Woodpecker Andean Flicker Field Flicker Cream-backed Woodpecker Common Miner - Tafi del Valle Rufous-banded Miner - Humahuaca Chaco Earthcreeper - in the chaco near Añatuya Buff-breasted Earthcreeper Rufous Hornero Crested Hornero - in the chaco near Añatuya Buff-winged Cinclodes Cordoba Cinclodes - Pampa de Achala Olrog's Cinclodes - Pampa de Achala Little Thornbird Greater Thornbird - Pre-Delta NP Streak-fronted Thornbird Buff-browed Foliage-gleaner Brown-capped Tit-Spinetail Tufted Tit-Spinetail - in the chaco near Añatuya Plain-mantled Tit-Spinetail Wren-like Rushbird Curve-billed Reedhaunter - Otamendi Straight-billed Reedhaunter - Otamendi Firewood-gatherer Lark-like Brushrunner - Miramar and in the chaco near Añatuya Short-billed Canastero - in the chaco near Añatuya Rusty-vented Canastero - Humahuaca Steinbach's Canastero - Tafi del Valle Puna Canastero - Tafi del Valle Cordilleran Canastero Brown Cacholote - Miramar Chotoy Spinetail - Miramar Sooty-fronted Spinetail Pale-breasted Spinetail - in the chaco near Añatuya Azara's Spinetail Stripe-crowned Spinetail - in the chaco near Añatuya Scimitar-billed Woodcreeper - Victoria Olivaceous Woodcreeper Black-banded Woodcreeper - Rosario de la Frontera Narrow-billed Woodcreeper - Victoria Giant Antshrike - Calilegua NP Great Antshrike Rufous-capped Antshrike Variable Antshrike Stripe-backed Antbird - in the chaco near Añatuya Olive-crowned Crescentchest White-throated Antpitta Sandy Gallito White-browed Tapaculo - Tafi del Valle Buff-banded Tyrannulet White-throated Tyrannulet Dinelli's Doradito - Miramar (several flycatcher species only in the chaco near Añatuya) Suiriri Flycatcher Large Elaenia White-crested Elaenia Small-billed Elaenia Slaty Elaenia White-crested Tyrannulet Sclater's Tyrannulet Southern Beardless Tyrannulet White-bellied Tyrannulet Tawny-crowned Pygmy-Tyrant - Miramar Greater Wagtail-Tyrant - in the chaco near Añatuya Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrant Blue-billed Black-Tyrant - Otamendi Spectacled Tyrant Cattle Tyrant Gray-bellied Shrike-Tyrant - Humahuaca White Monjita - in the chaco near Añatuya Black Phoebe White-browed Chat-Tyrant - Tafi del Valle Swainson's Flycatcher Brown-crested Flycatcher Tropical Kingbird Streaked Flycatcher Great Kiskadee Crowned Slaty Flycatcher - in the chaco near Añatuya Fork-tailed Flycatcher White-winged Becard - Pre-Delta NP White-tipped Plantcutter - in the chaco near Añatuya Rufous-browed Peppershrike - Pre-Delta NP Red-eyed Vireo Grey-breasted Martin Southern Martin Brown-chested Martin White-rumped Swallow Blue-and-white Swallow House Wren Mountain Wren Sedge Wren Rufous-throated Dipper - Tafi del Valle Masked Gnatcatcher Swainson's Thrush Slaty Thrush Chiguanco Thrush Rufous-belleid Thrush Creamy-bellied Thrush Chalk-browed Mockingbird Patagonian Mockingbird - towards Cafayate Brown-backed Mockingbird - Humahuaca European Starling Correndera Pipit Short-billed Pipit - Tafi del Valle Hellmayr's Pipit - Tafi del Valle Masked Yellowthroat Golden-crowned Warbler Tropical Parula Two-banded Warbler Brown-capped Whitestart Orange-headed Tanager Fawn-breasted Tanager Sayaca Tanager Blue-and-yellow Tanager (several sierra-finch species both above Tafi del Valle as above Humahuaca) Black-hooded Sierra-Finch Gray-hooded Sierra-Finch - Tafi del Valle Plumbeous Sierra-Finch Mourning Sierra-Finch Ash-breasted Sierra-Finch Black-crested Finch Black-and-rufous Warbling-Finch - Otamendi Red-rumped Warbling-Finch - Otameni Rusty-browed Warbling-Finch Ringed Warbling-Finch - in the chaco near Añatuya Black-capped Warbling-Finch - Miramar Blue-black Grassquit Tucuman Mountain-Finch - Tafi del Valle Puna Yellow-Finch Saffron Finch Grassland Yellow-Finch Great Pampa-Finch Yellow-billed Cardinal Red-crested Cardinal Rusty-collared Seedeater - in the chaco near Añatuya Double-collared Seedeater Band-tailed Seedeater - Tafi del Valle Plain-colored Seedeater Red-crested Finch (Red-pileated Finch) - in the chaco near Añatuya Many-colored Chaco Finch - mainly in the chaco near Añatuya Greyish Saltator Green-winged Saltator Golden-billed Saltator Saffron-billed Sparrow Fulvous-headed Brush-Finch - yungas Salta and Calilegua NP Yellow-striped Brush-Finch - Tafi del Valle Stripe-headed Brush-Finch - Tafi del Valle Stripe-capped Sparrow - in the chaco near Añatuya Grassland Sparrow Rufous-collared Sparrow Common Chlorospingus Ultramarine Grosbeak Variable Oriole Unicolored Blackbird - Victoria, Pre-Delta NP Yellow-winged Blackbird - Otamendi White-browed Blackbird Brown-and-yellow Marshbird - Otamendi Baywing Shiny Cowbird Screaming Cowbird Long-tailed Meadowlark - Capilla del Monte and Pampa de Achala Golden-winged Cacique Crested Oropendola Thick-billed Siskin Hooded Siskin Black Siskin - above Tafi del Valle
|To the photos of the birding sites|