Keith and Alek attended a meeting in Santiago and after this had finished rewarded themselves with a day of good birding with Albatross birding and Nature Tours.
The Albatross itinerary was designed to give a very varied fall birding day in two very different habitats. The first was a famous country National Park, La Campana, with trees and shrubs and the second, Batuco Lagoon, an excellent wetland habitat.
We made an early start from the hotel they were staying at and drove out to La Campana. This park is “famous” because the British Naturalist Charles Darwin visited this area in his epic journey around the world.
Darwin climbed the steep slopes of La Campana and was amazed and impressed that looking east he could see the snowy tops of the majestic Andes mountains and looking west he could see the Pacific Ocean !
We decided to enter into the park by the Ocoa entry, because this area has a rich mix of vegetation that include slopes covered by xerophytic vegetation with giant endemic Chilean Palms and other areas of Mediterranean forest.
There was abundant bird life with good sightings of three of the Chilean endemic Dusky-tailed canastero, Mustached Turca and White-throated Tapaculo.
Two more transient pleasures were the austral migrants Patagonian Tyrant and the noisy and busy Patagonian-forest Earthcreeper ( a recent split from the Scale-throated Earthcreeper). This is the best time of year to see this specie as it winters in the lowland areas of central Chile.
After an enjoyable and rewarding morning walking the trails we had our picnic and headed south down the Panamericana highway (Ruta 5) on our way to Batuco.
We spent the rest of the day birding the Batuco Lagoon which was enjoyably full of birds! Near to the entry we found several flocks of Andean Geese who come here in winter greater numbers than anywhere else in the Santiago valley.
Close to the shore we enjoyed a group of at least 6 Least Seedsnipe and also 2 resident species, the secretive Black-headed Duck and the jewel like Many-colored Rush-Tyrant.
We left the lagoon area and visited the nearby sewage treatment plant where the stars of the show were a flock of White-faced Ibis.
Then it was a short drive back to Santiago to relax after an excellent birding day.
Coscoroba Swan - Coscoroba coscoroba
Andean Goose - Oressochen melanopterus
Chiloe Wigeon - Anas sibilatrix
Cinnamon Teal - Anas cyanoptera
Red Shoveler - Anas platalea
White-cheeked Pintail - Anas bahamensis
Yellow-billed Pintail - Anas georgica
Yellow-billed Teal - Anas flavirostris
Black-headed Duck - Heteronetta atricapilla
Lake Duck - Oxyura vittata
NEW WORLD QUAILS
California Quail - Callipepla californica
White-tufted Grebe - Rollandia Rolland
Neotropic Cormorant - Phalacrocorax brasilianus
Cocoi Heron - Ardea cocoi
Great Egret - Ardea alba
Snowy Egret - Egretta thula
Cattle Egret - Bubulcus ibis
Cocoi Heron - Ardea cocoa
White-faced Ibis - Plegadis chihi
Harris's Hawk - Parabuteo unicinctus
Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle - Geranoaetus melanoleucus
White-tailed Kite - Elanus leucurus leucurus
Spot-flanked Gallinule - Porphyriops melanops
Plumbeous Rail (H) - Pardirallus sanguinolentus
Red-gartered Coot - Fulica armillata
Red-fronted Coot - Fulica rufifrons
White-winged Coot - Fulica leucoptera
AVOCET and STILTS
Black-necked Stilt - Himantopus mexicanus
Southern Lapwing - Vanellus chilensis
Greater Yellowlegs - Tringa melanoleuca
Least Seedsnipe - Thinocorus rumicivorus
Brown-hooded Gull - Chroicocephalus maculipennis
Kelp Gull - Larus dominicanus
Chilean Pigeon - Patagioenas araucana
Picui Ground-Dove - Columbina picui
Eared Dove - Zenaida auriculata
Austral Pygmy-Owl - Glaucidium nana
Burrowing Owl - Athene cunicularia
Short-eared Owl - Asio flammeus
Green-backed Firecrown - Sephanoides sephaniodes
Striped Woodpecker - Veniliornis lignarius
Chilean Flicker - Colaptes pitius
Chimango Caracara - Milvago chimango
Moustached Turca - Pteroptochos megapodius
White-throated Tapaculo - Scelorchilus albicollis
Patagonian Forest Earthcreeper - Upucerthia saturatior
Cream-winged Cinclodes - Cinclodes albiventris
Thorn-tailed Rayadito - Aphrastura spinicauda
Plain-mantled Tit-Spinetail - Leptasthenura aegithaloides
Dusky-tailed Canastero - Pseudasthenes humicola
Tufted Tit-Tyrant - Anairetes parulus
Many-colored Rush Tyrant - Tachuris rubrigastra
Austral Negrito - Lessonia rufa
Dark-faced Ground-Tyrant - Muscisaxicola maclovianus
Patagonian Tyrant - Colorhamphus parvirostris
Chilean Swallow - Tachycineta meyeni
House Wren - Troglodytes aedon
Austral Thrush - Turdus falcklandii
Chilean Mockingbird - Mimus thenca
Correndera Pipit - Anthus correndera
Common Diuca-Finch - Diuca diuca
Grassland Yellow-Finch -Sicalis luteola
Rufous-collared Sparrow - Zonotrichia capensis
Long-tailed Meadowlark - Sturnella loyca
Austral Blackbird - Curaeus curaeus
Yellow-winged Blackbird - Agelasticus thilius
Black-chinned Siskin - Spinus barbatus
OLD WORLD SPARROWS
House Sparrow - Passer domesticus
Fence Degu - Octodon degus