Sunrise Birding LLC - Birding & Wildlife Tours
Home | Tours | Trip Reports | News |  Team |  Calendar | Links | Contact | Store | Mailing List
Burrowing Parrot by Pablo Petracci.SOUTHERN ARGENTINA!
October 22 - 31, 2020

Featuring:
The Valdés Peninsula, Los Glaciares National Park,
Moreno Glacier, Le Martial Glacier, Tierra del Fuego National Park, Beagle Channel and more!

Trip Cost and Travel Planning>    Registration Form>
Contact gina@sunrisebirding.com to reserve your space!

The southernmost tip of the American Continent is a land of vast solitudes and unexplored wilderness. An immense geographical region flanked by the Atlantic Ocean on the east, and the Pacific on the west, Patagonia spans north to south from the Colorado River in Argentina and Reloncaví Sound in Chile, to the Beagle Channel and Cape Horn.

Magellanic WoodpeckerThis tour will explore the steppes and forests of Argentine Patagonia and southern Argentina, searching for their unique birds and other wildlife. Patagonia hosts 60 bird species Moreno Glacier by Pablo Petracci.almost restricted or endemic to the region. The Patagonian forests are home to spectacular birds like Magellanic Woodpecker, and Lesser Horned Owl, but Andean Patagonia is also unique for its spectacular scenery, including such spectacular glaciers like the Moreno, which we’ll have the chance to see at Los Glaciares National Park.

 

Southern Argentina is also an incredible place for marine mammals, with the Valdés Peninsula standing out as the only breeding colony of Southern Elephant Seal in the entire continent. This is also the main breeding area for Southern Right Whale, and home to the famous sea-lion hunting Orcas that made the substance of innumerable nature films.

No trip to Patagonia is complete without paying a visit to Ushuaia, the southernmost city on earth. Here, we will explore the forests and islands seen and described by Charles Darwin in the early 19th century.


Thorn-tailed Rayadito by Steve Bird.

Some of the wildlife highlights of this tour:
Burrowing Parrot, Carbonated Sierra Finch, Hudson’s Black Tyrant, Rusty-backed Monjita, Sandy Gallito, Cinnamon Warbling Finch, White-throated Cacholote, Magellanic Penguin, Magellanic Plover, Magellanic Woodpecker, Magellanic Tapaculo, Yellow-bridled Finch, Ochre-naped Ground Tyrant, Grey-flanked Cinclodes, Flying Steamer Duck, Fuegian Steamer Duck, Ashy-headed Goose, Thorn-tailed Rayadito, Rufous-legged Owl, Austral Pygmy-owl, Gentoo Penguin, Southern Giant Petrel, Magellanic and Common Diving Petrels, Black-browed Albatross, Southern Right Whale, Elephant Seal and more!


Join us for a wild adventure in
southern Argentina!

Photos above: Burrowing Parrot by Pablo Petracci; Moreno Glacier by Pablo Petracci; Magellanic Woodpecker by Luis Segura; Whale watching off the Valdez Peninsula; Thorn-tailed Rayadito by Steve Bird.


ITINERARY


Day 1 – Trelew to Las Grutas
Burrowing Parrot by Steve Bird. Our tour commences this morning at the airport of Trelew (Airport code: REL, flights connect from Buenos Aires), where we ’ll meet and drive northwards to Las Grutas, a small city located in the Province of Río Negro, on the shores of San Matías Gulf. This particular location of northeastern Patagonia is the southernmost limit for several Argentine birds distribution range, including many endemics, so we will spend the balance of the day looking for birds like Carbonated Sierra Finch, Hudson’s Black Tyrant, Rusty-backed Monjita and many others. This area is also the stronghold of a bird that normally turns out being one of people’s tour favorites: Burrowing Parrot; a common resident that we will certainly not miss! We will spend one night at a nice hotel in town.

 

Sandy Gallito by Luis SeguraDay 2 – Las Grutas to Puerto Pirámides
We will make an early start this morning to go birding in the surroundings of the hotel before breakfast. Our goal will be to try and find other endemic birds, like Sandy Gallito, Cinnamon Warbling Finch and White-throated Cacholote. After having breakfast at the hotel, we will spend the balance of the morning birding San Antonio and Las Grutas looking for birds that we might have missed, and finally have lunch here before beginning our way south to Puerto Pirámides, the only existent village inside the Valdés Peninsula, where we will spend the following two nights. On arrival we will check into our hotel and, time permitting, go birding in the surroundings of town.

 

Day 3 – Valdés Peninsula
We will spend the day exploring south and central Valdés Peninsula. This fantastic reserve is home to the largest breeding population of Southern Right Whales on Earth. More than 800 individuals spend up to 9 months a year in the pristine waters of this remote paradise. Along with the whales, 32,000 Southern Elephant Seals, 8,000 Southern Sea Lions and huge numbers of different dolphins and porpoises share this environment as well.


Southern Right Whale by Luis SeguraDiverse land mammals inhabit this unique Peninsula as well. Herds of Guanaco roam freely, and being protected, they are really abundant here. The Mara, or Patagonian Cavy, is by far the largest rodent in Patagonia. They live and reproduce inside the Valdés Peninsula and we expect to find them especially on the way to Punta Delgada, the south-easternmost point of the peninsula. We will enjoy lunch at Punta Delgada, and then go visiting the Elephant Seal Colony in their private beach. From Punta Delgada we will return to Puerto Pirámides, where we hope to take an early evening boat tour to go watching Southern Right Whale.

 

Day 4 – Valdés Peninsula to Trelew
We will leave Puerto Pirámides early this morning and drive north to go visiting Punta Norte, the north-easternmost point of the Valdés Peninsula. Besides going to the general visitor area, we will also visit a private property to see a Magellanic Penguin nesting colony. Around 50,000 penguins nest inside the Valdés, and this colony is one of the biggest in the area.

Magellanic Penguins by Steve Bird.
Magellanic Penguins dig their own nesting burrows under bushes or in open areas not far from the shore. They get easily accustomed to the presence of humans in their breeding grounds and do not run away from the visitors, thus providing fantastic photo opportunities, with penguins standing right next to our feet! A smaller cousin of the Mara, the Patagonian Lesser Cavy, is frequently found taking the sun just outside Magellanic Penguin burrows, where they find shelter. Two species of armadillos live here as well. They are normally very tame and do not hesitate to get close to humans and try for an easy snack; yet more easy photo ops for avid nature photographers! After visiting Punta Norte, we’ll return to Puerto Pirámides for lunch and then drive all the way back to Trelew, where we’ll spend the balance of the afternoon birding in the surroundings of town. We’ll spend the night in Trelew.

 

Day 5 – Trelew to El Calafate
A short drive this morning will take us from the hotel to Trelew city airport. We will take our morning flight to El Calafate, where we hope to arrive around noon, in time for checking into our hotel in town and have lunch. This afternoon we will go birding Laguna Nímez, a small lagoon not far from Calafate city center, on the shores of Lake Argentino. This lagoon is surrounded by reed beds and gives shelter to such wonderful birds like Black-necked Swan, Chilean Flamingo, Andean Ruddy Duck, South American Snipe, Upland Goose and the rare and scarce Magellanic Plover. We will spend the following two nights in El Calafate.

 

Day 6 – Los Glaciares National Park
Moreno Glacier by Pablo PetracciEl Calafate is the main gateway to one of the most spectacular landscapes of Argentine Patagonia: the Austral Andean Glaciers. Los Glaciares National Park was created in 1937 to preserve this unique wilderness, its pristine Southern Beech forests, Andean lakes and 13 spectacular glaciers. Glaciar Perito Moreno is, by far, the best known and most visited of them all. It easily accessible by land, and a series of trails and lookouts in front of it provide breathtaking close-up views and superb photo opportunities.

A boat tour allows visitors to get a different perspective of this magnificent glacier, so we will certainly seize the opportunity and go for it! The Moreno is one of the few glaciers in our continent that advances and recedes constantly. One of its huge vertical ice walls, a five-kilometer long one, sinks into the Canal de los Témpanos (Channel of the Icebergs). This channel connects one of the arms of Magellanic Tapaculo by Steve Bird.Lake Argentino -called Rico  with its main body, and Moreno Glacier does fully cross it, usually once every 4 to 10 years, becoming an actual impounding dam that prevents water passage and causes an unusual rise in the waters of Rico Arm. The water pressure finally digs a tunnel through the ice dam, forcing it to collapse and fall, producing a phenomenon known as the “rupture” of the glacier. This spectacular show congregates hundreds of glacier enthusiasts the world over, who eagerly wait for the ice bridge to break down. But there is no need to wait for so long to be astounded by the glacier. Huge masses of ice constantly collapse from the front wall; their thundering fall being welcomed by people’s spontaneous applause at all times.

The glacier was named after Francisco P. Moreno, a famous Argentine explorer, well known in this country as the father of the National Parks. One of his greatest achievements was the discovery of Lake Argentino.

Wildlife is also very special in this part of the world, and birds are no exception. The road between El Calafate and Los Glaciares is flanked by rocky cliffs, with the snow-covered peaks of the majestic Andes in the background. This is home to the Andean Condor, master of the Andean skies, who will surely escort us all the way to the park, where we’ll look for other spectacular birds like Magellanic Woodpecker, Spectacled Duck, Magellanic Tapaculo and Rufous-tailed Plantcutter to name but a few.

 

Yellow-bridled Finch by Steve Bird.Day 7 – El Calafate to Ushuaia
We will bid farewell to El Calafate this morning and drive to the local airport for taking our flight to Ushuaia. After landing at the southernmost city on earth, we will transfer to our hotel on the shores of the Beagle Channel, check in for the following three nights and have lunch. This afternoon we will make a short tour to Le Martial Glacier, where we hope to take a chair lift and get above the timberline an look for some very localized bird species, like Yellow-bridled Finch, Ochre-naped Ground Tyrant and Grey-flanked Cinclodes. The view from this place is really spectacular, and we will have the chance to get wonderful pictures of Ushuaia, the Beagle Channel and the Chilean island of Navarino.

 

Day 8 – Tierra del Fuego National Park
Today we will set off after breakfast for a full day tour to Tierra del Fuego National Park. Located 8 kilometers west of Ushuaia, this park was created in 1960 to protect a vast relict of coastal Southern Beech forest, and its particular wildlife. Several native mammal species make their home within the boundaries of the park, with Fuegian or Culpeo Fox, Southern Sea-Otter, and Southern River Otter standing out of the rest because of their highly restricted distribution range in Argentina. Unfortunately foreign mammals like Canadian Beaver, European Rabbit and Muskrat were introduced here in the early 20th century, causing serious damage to this fragile sub-Antarctic ecosystem.

The park authorities have been working hard to keep their populations low and under control, but thus far they failed to eradicate these undesired invaders. This national park it reputedly the best place in Argentina for Magellanic Woodpecker, but it’s also great for birds like Flying Steamer Duck, Fuegian Steamer Duck, Kelp Goose, Ashy-headed Goose, White-throated Treerunner, Black-faced Ibis, Thorn-tailed Rayadito and three owl species: Lesser Horned, Rufous-legged and Austral Pygmy.

 

Black-browed Albatross by Steve Bird.Day 9 – Beagle Channel and Estancia Harberton
Today is special for those who enjoy seabird watching. We will leave our hotel after breakfast and drive to Ushuaia City port, where we will board a motor catamaran for a tour along the Beagle Channel that will take us east of Ushuaia, all the way to Estancia Harberton. There are several Southern Sea Lion and Southern Fur Seal colonies on the seashores and small islets of the Beagle Channel.

Seabirds are abundant here as well. Imperial and Rock Shags, Magellanic and Gentoo Penguins, South American Tern, Dolphin Gull, Southern Giant Petrel, Magellanic and Common Diving Petrels, Black-browed Albatross, Southern Fulmar and many others turn this place into a birders paradise.

After having lunch on board the catamaran we will disembark in Estancia Harberton, the first farm of Tierra del Fuego, established by Rev. Thomas Bridges in 1886. A local guide will Long-tailed Meadowlark by Steve Bird.show us around, and we will also have time to do some birding and visit the local marine mammal museum. We will return to Ushuaia by bus in the late afternoon.

 

Day 10 – Ushuaia, end of tour
We will spend our last morning in Patagonia birding in the surroundings of our hotel, and then drive to the city center for having lunch at a local restaurant and to enjoy some free time for walking around Ushuaia. We will drive to Ushuaia International Airport in the afternoon, where the tour ends.

 

LEADERS: Gina Nichol, Steve Bird, & local guides

Photos in itinerary: Burrowing Parrot by Steve Bird; Sandy Gallito by Luis Segura; Southern Right Whale by Luis Segura; Magellanic Penguins by Steve Bird; Moreno Glacier by Pablo Petracci; Magellanic Tapaculo by Steve Bird; Yellow-bridled Finch by Steve Bird; Black-browed Albatross by Steve Bird; Long-tailed Meadowlark by Steve Bird; Below, Magellanic Plover by Steve Bird.

Magellanic Plover by Steve Bird.SOUTHERN ARGENTINA
October 22 - 31, 2020

Registration Form>    
Contact gina@sunrisebirding.com to reserve your space!

TOUR PRICE:  US$TBA per person, double occupancy from Trelew, Argentina (Airport code: REL). Note: This tour begins in Trelew and ends in Ushuaia (Airport code: USH). Price based on exchange rates at the time the tour was posted (**see note below).

Single occupancy: $TBA per person.

Deposit: $500.00 per person. Note: Tour deposits can be paid by credit card via PayPal. 
Use this link
to make your credit card payment. 
Please advise gina@sunrisebirding.com when you have made payment. 

Included in cost:
• Group pickup at airport and transfer on arrival day.
• Meals from lunch on Day 1 until lunch on Day 10. Please bear in mind that breakfast in Argentina is NOT American style, and it normally includes only a hot beverage, toast, croissants, butter and jam. Lunches are mostly picnics/box lunches depending on the itinerary.
• Drinking water on board the vehicles while on tour.
• Accommodations on a twin/double room basis. All rooms en-suite.
• Admission fees to all national parks and nature reserves.
• Local English-speaking birding/naturalist/leader. Local guides in some areas as well as local leader.
• Whale watching boat excursion at the Valdés Peninsula on a shared boat basis.
• Motor catamaran excursion on the Beagle Channel on a shared boat basis.
• Boat tour at the Moreno Glacier on a shared boat basis.
• Detailed pre-trip materials and checklist

Not included: International and domestic airfare; Drinks other than bottled water; Items of a personal nature such as visa fees and personal travel insurance, gratuities, telephone calls, laundry, etc.; Personal travel and medical insurance; Anything not stated on "Included".

RESERVATIONS: Contact gina@sunrisebirding.com to reserve your space!  Then follow up with your completed registration form and deposit of $500 per person per tour within two weeks to secure your place. Credit card deposits are possible with no added fees.   Please inquire.   Reservations are held with a deposit on a first-come, first-served basis.   
>Download and print the Registration Form 

Once the tour is confirmed to go ahead, we will send you information about booking your flights. Please do not book flights until you receive this information from us and are notified that the trip has sufficient numbers to run. Final payment is due June 22, 2020.

**Please note: Tour prices are based on quoted costs from ground operators (in their local currency), estimated fuel costs, and the rate of exchange the time of itinerary publication. The erratic nature to global financial markets makes it difficult to predict changes in costs and foreign currency exchange rates over the long term. Since tours are priced well in advance of the actual operation of the tour, tour costs, fuel costs and exchange rates can change, sometimes drastically. Depending on the extent of such changes, it may be necessary to implement a surcharge on this tour. If a surcharge is necessary, every effort will be made to minimize the amount.

Cancellations and Refunds: All cancellations must be made in writing. In the event that you must cancel your booking at any stage, all payments you have made to Sunrise Birding, LLC will be retained by us, except at our discretion. You may have the opportunity to transfer your booking to another tour or another person, provided you are unavoidably prevented from coming on the tour. In this case, you will bear any extra costs that such changes may incur. There are no refunds once the trip is confirmed to go ahead and no refunds will be made for unused meals, accommodations, or other trip features. Sunrise Birding, LLC cannot accept liability for airline cancellations or delays or penalties incurred by the purchase of non-refundable airline tickets or other expenses incurred by tour participants in preparing for this tour.

Insurance: Sunrise Birding, LLC recommends that you purchase a travel protection plan to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. Travel protection plans can include coverage for Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Emergency Medical and Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation, Trip Delay, Baggage Delay and more.

For more information on the available plans or to enroll, click on the link below or contact Travelex Insurance Services at 800-228-9792 and reference location number 07-0025.

The product descriptions provided here are only brief summaries. The full coverage terms and details, including limitations and exclusions, are contained in the insurance policy. Travelex CA Agency License #0D10209. All products listed are underwritten by, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company. 11.17 E7N

Questions? Contact Gina Nichol at gina@sunrisebirding.com 
Phone: 203.453.6724