OF THE ANDES
FOR THE BIRDS: 18º S, Arica to Lauca National Park, ends Arica or Iquique
3 to 5 days
Arica, Putre, Parque Nacional Lauca, extension to Ramsar Site
all year, also can be adjusted to begin and end tour in Arica. Habitats
include near-shore marine, rocky and sandy beaches, small estuary, native and
agricultural vegetation of the transverse valleys, precordillera
cactus scrub, high Andes lakes and cushion bogs, salt flats, and Polylepis.
1: Start Arica:
Beach birding for our only geo-political
endemic, the Chilean Seaside-cinclodes, ("the most maritime of all
passerine birds") and for oystercatchers, Inca Terns, turnstones, Surfbirds, etc.
optional boat trip to Humboldt Penguin colony or marine environs of Arica.
Instead of boat trip,
choose more time for observing or photographing hummingbirds, in a
garden especially dedicated to hummer and butterfly flowers.
visit to tiny estuary for herons, shorebirds,
ducks, coots, and shorebirds. Then up to Putre stopping along the way
to look for Peruvian
Flycatcher, Peruvian Pygmy-Owl, and the new genera and species
that begin with the ascent up
the foothills of the Andes. Overnight in Putre, at 3,550
Morning in Parque Nacional Lauca,
bogs and tola-grassland habitat.
Afternoon birding in cactus-scrub and Polylepis
habitats in the gorges near Putre.
Diademed Sandpiper-plover, Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe,
Black-throated Flowerpiercer, White-fronted, Rufous-napped, Puna
and Ochre-naped ground-tyrants, White-winged Cinclodes, Ornate
Tinamou, White-throated Sierra-Finch, White-throated
Earthcreeper, Mountain Parakeet, D’Orbigny’s and
White-browed chat-tyrants, Magellanic Horned Owl,
Straight-billed Earthcreeper, Aplomado Falcon, Golden-billed
Saltator, other ground tyrants, earthcreepers, tit-tyrants,
canasteros, sierra finches, seedeaters and hummingbirds.
Possible Giant Conebill, Thick-billed Siskin,
Rufous-webbed Tyrant, Peruvian Pygmy Owl.
Day 3: Parque
Nacional Lauca, wetland assemblages at Lago Chungará and
Parinacota bofedal, tola grassland and riparian habitats. National Monument
Parinacota Village for an
optional stop to see the lovely frescoes on the church walls.
Chilean, Andean, James’ flamingos, Puna Tinamou,
White-tailed Shrike-Tyrant, Puna Rhea, Puna Teal, Giant and
Andean coots, Variable
Hawk, Puna Ibis, Mt. Caracara, Black Siskin, Bright-rumped
Yellow-Finch, Puna Plover, Puna Snipe, Andean Flicker, avocets, lapwings, ducks,
grebes, canasteros, tit-spinetails.
day for the Atacama Desert visiting
mesquite (Prosopis), and the transverse valleys that provide
corridors for altitudinal migration.
Tamarugo Conebill, Pied-crested Tit-Tyrant, Andean Swift,
Scale-throated Earthcreeper, Plain-mantled Tit-Spinetail,
Slender-billed Finch, Chestnut-Throated Seedeater, Oasis Hummingbird,
Chilean Woodstar, Croaking Ground-Dove and other arid-land birds. End
tour in Iquique.
Includes lunches, bottled water, use of spotting scope(s), bird
lists, mammal lists, transportation,
thermos jugs, etc. Price for tour depends on group size, please
inquire. This itinerary available all year. This tour
can also include wildflowers of the
Atacama, which are found along the route in certain seasons.
Accommodations not included but we can help with recommendations.
Pied-crested Tit-tyrant, Anairetes reguloides,
left, and Slender-billed Finch, Xenospingus concolor,
Site Salar de Surire extension, 4WD: 1 or 2
days, starts and ends in Putre
Surire is the best
place for flamingo photography, thermal baths, and for seeing
Puna Rhea and Puna Tinamou. The Surire
trip can include a night in the refugio at
4,300 meters above sea level. Or we can leave early
from Putre and make the round trip in a full day. Surire is an excellent example of an altiplano salar
and an important breeding locality for Andean, Chilean, and a
few James' flamingos. Nearby Polylepis
tarapacana copses may yield some surprises, and there's a
chance for Rufous-webbed Tyrant, Puna Yellow-Finch,
Red-backed Sierra-Finch, Puna Snipe, Gray-bellied Shrike-Tyrant,
Thick-billed Siskin, Tawny-throated Dotterel, the black
subspecies (Phrygilus fruticeti coracinus) of the Mourning Sierra-Finch. At the Salar we
like to look for armadillos and cuys, and to observe the
(seasonal) colonies of nesting flamingos, albeit from
afar. Although Surire is a Natural Monument and
Ramsar Site, extensive borax mining occurs there and some parts
of the year there are many huge trucks that produce dust.
But then the miners maintain the road; we wouldn't be able to
visit the site without that crucial road
DAYS FOR THE BIRDS
Arica -- lowland transverse
Putre -- PN Lauca
for those short on time, or for those who have already seen
some of our birds in Peru or Bolivia. Mostly new birds each day as we gain in
2 nights. Starts in Arica, BK guides.
Day 1: Starts early morning, beaches, transverse
valleys, riparian habitat, overnight Putre.
Day 2: In the ravines, terraces, and
microhabitats of the precordillera, overnight Putre.
Day 3: In the altiplano portion of Parque
Nacional Lauca. Tour ends in Putre or Arica or
you can stay in Parque Lauca on your own after the tour for additional
Puna Ibis, Plegadis ridgwayi
in the setting sun, Lago Chungará
© B. Knapton
How to save money on birding tours: choose a
"semi-independent" tour. There are several options,
for instance you can take the bus to Putre, and/or take the bus back
to Arica, thus saving tour costs on those independent days.
Another way to save money for those with rental cars, Barb's guide
service is now available in 2 forms, short day and long day. Please
opportunity for Lauca and Putre, good for semi-independent birders. Time to really look at birds,
observe behavior, practice your ID skills, do some photography, sketching, hike around, and breathe good
fresh air in the Andes. Partly guided, partly
independent, can be any number of days.
independent: guided tour precordillera and Parque
Day 1: Come to Putre on public bus, leaves Arica at 6:45
am. Arrives Putre 10 am. No guide service this day, you
bird or hike on your own, overnight in Putre.
Day 2: More birding on your own, walking around Putre,
acclimatizing to the altitude. Overnight Putre.
Day 3: Guided tour with BK to Polylepis grove and other precordilleran habitats
near Putre. Chance to go
over ID's of birds seen on independent days. Overnight Putre.
Day 4: To Lauca Park with BK. Diademed Sandpiper-plover,
visit cushion bogs,
wetlands as described above. Optional visit to historic Parinacota.
Back to Putre for the night.
Day 5: Morning hiking, birding, etc. Guided or
unguided. Take bus down to Arica at 1:30 pm.
Day tour from Arica
(all low elevation)
This 1 day tour with BK concentrates on habitats
in Arica and nearby valleys. Sandy
and rocky beaches, watered valleys, estuary, hummingbird areas, olive plantations, introduction to native vegetation of
the Atacama Desert.
Includes optional beach walks to seabird
roosts and historic guano collection sites. Good option for those
who have only 1 day to spend in Arica, or for those who prefer not to
ascend to higher elevations. Great for cruise ship travelers who
are tired of the same old "city tour" and would
prefer to have a private nature tour.