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Chubut

C-V Tyrant
Chocolate-vented Tyrant Neoxolmis rufiventris ©James Lowen Website

To most birders Chubut, one of Argentina's Patagonian provinces, is just about Peninsula de Valdez. And while I do not doubt the extraordinary appeal of the place (it is, after all, a world heritage site) Chubut has a lot more to offer.

From the chance to see a Magellanic Woodpecker in its Andes slopes to the Chubut Steamer Ducks on its seashore, there are many great birding spots and many, many birds to see.I would like to share my knowledge about a few places near my hometown that have provided me with very many good birding moments. Sarmiento, a small, sleepy town west of Comodoro Rivadavia and is located at the centre of a large shallow valley. An irrigation system has brought trees and pastures to an otherwise rather barren landscape. [While in town check the plaza for Patagonian Thrush]. Perhaps the junction of water bodies and steppe account for its biodiversity. Most birds you will see along the main farming roads are familiar to those coming from the verdant pampas. Waterfowl are plentiful and the chances are you will see many duck species in one day. If you happen to be there in early fall look for mixed flocks of Chloephaga Geese. Check the wire fences for Long-tailed Meadowlark.

But the main two spots I would like to recommend are a bit further away. On the Lago Musters southwest shore you will find a large breeding colony of Black-necked Swans. There are so many, that you will see them from the road as hundreds of tiny white spots. Along the route (that goes to Esquel) you will find several dirt track entrances, ask for permission to enter at one of the small houses as the area is private. If your Spanish is poor maybe you would like to get some help. The fellows there have been known to be rather rude and not very friendly. As a native to the area I know that sometimes it is best to play it slow… maybe show them your birding book and make sure they understand that you will not do any hunting (that they might want to do themselves!). The shores host grebes, ducks, terns, waders, coots and many others. I have also seen Magellanic Plover there.

To reach the other spot you will need permission from the tourist office in town. Easy to find, it is right across from the Railway Water Tower along San Martin Ave. They have helpful and friendly staff (most of the time). Ask for permission to visit the Sarasola Caves. This is a cave system dating from the Jurassic Era. The site is about 35km west of the town and you can do both places at once as it is along the same road.

Usually a local guide will lead you there as unguided visits to the cave are not allowed. Let them know what you want to go there for. The caves are located at the top of a table mountain and to reach them you walk about 4km along a steep and narrow valley. It has a spring that attracts birds all year long. But what is best about it is the fact that there you will see birds usually located at much higher altitudes such as the Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe. Along the many species i have seen there are Tawny throated Dotterel, Blue winged ground Doves, miners, earth-creepers (Straight-bellied, Patagonian and Scale-throated); Des Mur's Wiretail, Canasteros (including the endemic Patagonian). Black-bellied Shrike Tyrant, Chocolate-vented Tyrant, Rusty-backed Monjita (endemic) Patagonian Yellow Finch along with Phrygilus Finches, Black-chinned Siskin, White-crested Elaenia, and many more. Check both the valley's forested area for finches and the table mountain tops for Patagonian Tinamou.

If you are in the area you may want to check the petrified forest, 20km to the south. Bird life is thin but there are Burrowing Parrots, Finches and Raptors. Check the ponds on the way too.I hope you have a great time. And, if it's windy…enjoy the pure air!

Contributor

A Birder

Sarmiento, Chubut – Argentina

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 291

As at July 2016

Useful Reading

Books, CDs, DVDs etc.

See the main Brazil page for guides etc. covering the whole country…

Guides & Tour Operators

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Birding Pal

Information

Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…

Luis Horacio Segura - Professional Tour Guide

Tour Operator

Professional Tour Guide of the Province of Chubut, Argentina. Birdwatching Tour Leader for Argentina and neighbor countries.

Trogon Tours

Tour Operator

Trogon Tours is the official nature travel company of Birding Argentina, the leading birding and nature specialists for southern South America since 2001… Birding Trips are available to ALL provinces!

Trip Reports

CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

Places to Stay

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Bahía Bustamante

Accommodation

Bahía Bustamante is a seaside village entirely surrounded by nature. It is located on the northern arch of San Jorge Gulf, an area characterised by its relevant biological biodiversity. There are few places in the world that house such an amount and diversity of seabirds and marine mammals…

Cabanas Arco Iris

Accommodation

In San Martin of the Andes, a beautiful tyrolean style village framed by impressive mountains, forests and lakes, we offer the charm and comfort of CABAÑAS ARCO IRIS (Rainbow Cabins).

Organisations

Club Observadores de Aves Namco/Golfo San Jorge

Website

Blog del COA Ñamco, que es un club de observadores de aves radicado en Comodoro Rivadavia, Provincia de Chubut, Patagonia, Argentina. Fundado en octubre de 2011 e integrante de la red de Aves Argentinas…

Reserves

Los Alerces National Park

Information

Satellite View

The park was created in 1937 in order to protect the alerce forest, and other typical examples of the flora of the Patagonian Andes. The National Park has the largest alerce forest of Argentina. Alerce is one of the longest-living trees in the world; some in the park are around 3,000 years old, with many of them over 1,000 years….

Parque Nacional Los Alerces

Website

Satellite View

El Parque alberga, a su vez, poblaciones de especies amenazadas de extinción como el huemul, el pudú, la paloma araucana y el gato huiña. Entre las aves más comunes se encuentra el chucao, un ave terrestre muy mansa, el carpintero negro patagónico, la cotorra austral y el zorzal patagónico…

Punta Tombo Penguin Reserve

Information

Satellite View

Home to the largest colony of Magellanic penguins in South America, Punta Tombo is a narrow peninsula that juts out into the South Atlantic. The 500 acre reserve here provides nesting ground to the penguin population…

Valdes Peninsula

Wiki

Satellite View

This is a place rich in fascinating wild life, plenty of animals, birds, and fish (most of them in the Birds Isle - Isla de los Pájaros ). Here it is possible to see sea elephants, cormorants, terns and even see the whales which come to breed each year between July and November. Sometimes propelled by their powerful tails, the whales leap completely out of the water and crash back causing enormous swirls of water…

Blogs

Aves del Golfo San Jorge

Blog

Bahia Bustamante

Blog

Hola, soy el Pato Vapor! En Bahía Bustamante encontré mi pequeño paraíso, con espacio, tranquilidad, comida rica y abundante. Mis pequeñas alas no me permiten volar, pero estoy feliz de vivir aquí. En Latín me llaman Tachyeres Leucocephalus. Esto lo he aprendido viviendo aquí, y escuchando los comentarios de la cantidad de turistas, biólogos y amantes de las aves que llegan para observarnos con sus lentes y cámaras…

Other Links

Aves del Chubut

Website

Esta pagina muestra todas las aves que existen en la Provincia del Chubut…

Esquel Aves

Website

Sitio sobre las aves de Esquel y de la Patagonia…

Megellanic Penguin Project

Webpage

The biggest threats to the Magellanic penguin are commercial fishing, oil pollution, and climate change. In the 1980s, more than 40,000 penguins died in Argentina each year because of oil pollution. Commercial fishing depletes the schools of fish penguins and other seabirds feed on, and penguins can get entangled in fishing nets. In Chile and Peru, some fisherman use penguins as fishing bait. Unregulated tourism and recreation activities can put additional strain on the penguins when they are breeding or resting on the beaches….