Tuesday 31 December 2019 54 °F
WARNING: LONG PHOTO-STORY POST WITH AWESOME BIRDS!!!
Today fellow Irish birders Joe, Jim, Daermush, Billy, Tom, Aiden, and I took a birding tour of the Ushuaia, Argentina area with our fantastic guide Esteban! Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world, and also a great place for birding — we had several target species for the day, foremost of which was the prehistoric Magellanic Woodpecker!
Beautiful Ushuaia and our steadfast ship, the Coral Princess.
Once within Tierra del Fuego National Park, our first noteworthy sighting was not of a bird, but a Gray Fox — an introduced species to the area!
Lifer #1: WHITE-THROATED TREERUNNER!
Lifer #2: AUSTRAL PYGMY-OWL, a complete surprise — this one posed just mere feet away from the group for almost five incredible minutes!
Why hello there!
Let’s play “find the owl”
Lifer #3: THORN-TAILED RAYABITO!
Magellan Fungus, a common bulbous sight on the smaller trees of the area:
Lifer #4: ASHY-HEADED GOOSE:
Lifer #5: FUEGIAN FLIGHTLESS STEAMER DUCK:
The common RUFOUS-COLLARED SPARROW showed in abundance.
Including juveniles of the species:
Lifer #6: AUSTRAL BLACKBIRD:
Lifer #7: ANDEAN SIERRA FINCH — incredible bird species!
Lifer #8: BLACK-CHINNED SISKIN
Lifer #9: AUSTRAL NEGRITO:
This national park marks the southern end of the recently-completed Pan-American Highway!
Lifer #10: WHITE-CRESTED ELAENIA:
Then, right after Esteban said he thought he heard our target bird, the Magellanic Woodpecker, Billy spotted one in the nearby grove of mixed live/dead trees! W O W! Magellanic Woodpecker — maybe my #1 bird I was hoping to get on this trip, in the bag! These photos showcase two male birds (the females are completely black on the head).
WOWOWOW INCREDIBLE! Lifer #11 for the day!
- 12: CHILEAN SWALLOW
- 13: AUSTRAL PARAKEET
Tierra del Fuego National Park is absolutely breathtaking.
Amazingly, Aiden spotted a BLACK-BROWED ALBATROSS flying around all the way across the bay:
TUFTED TIT-TYRANT, lifer #14 for the day!
Lifer #15: FIRE-EYED DIUCON
Lifer #16: GREAT GREBE
Lifer #17: ANDEAN CONDOR!!! Super cool sighting since we are, of course, at the far southern tip of this renowned bird’s range — the Andean Condor might be considered by some to be a “flagship” bird species of South America!!!
Lifer #18: SOUTHERN CRESTED CARACARA:
SOUTH AMERICAN TERN:
Lifer #19: PATAGONIAN SNIPE:
With a SOUTHERN LAPWING in the background:
Then, a DOLPHIN GULL flew up, providing the perfect opportunity to photograph a bird above Ushuaia and the surrounding mountains:
Lifer #20: FLYING STEAMER-DUCK, differentiated from the Flightless because the female (right) has a pale bill (not orange).
Lifer #21: a distant BLACK-CHESTED BUZZARD-EAGLE!
Lifer #22: WHITE-THROATED CARACARA at the most scenic place in Ushuaia: a garbage dump!!!
KELP GOOSE, male:
And the much more striking female:
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON in his breeding-season garb:
And if you know me, you know that the birding NEVER STOPS! I kept watch from the ship as we sailed through the amazingly-scenic Beagle Channel in the evening:
Surprisingly, seabirds abounded along the inland channels (probably due to their saltwater contents). Here is one of many BLACK-BROWED ALBATROSS seen this evening:
MAGELLANIC PENGUIN, awesome!!
There were several juveniles around too, proving a successful breeding season here for the penguins — yay!
And the Beagle Channel, which winds through Patagonia, did NOT disappoint! Hanging glaciers, rugged cliffs, and waterfalls — it’s all here!
WHAT A DAY! Bird-of-the-day to the Magellanic Woodpecker with runner-up to the Austral Pygmy-Owl! Stay tuned: tomorrow, my family & I get a guided birding tour of Punta Arenas, Chile!
World Life List: 1077 Species (22 life birds today)