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Magellanic Woodpecker. Photo by Steve Bird. CHILE & ARGENTINA
Birds & Wine!

                   November 7 - 18, 2021

Contact [email protected] to reserve your space!

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Join us for a unique and special journey across the Andes, specially designed to discover the wealth of birds and landscapes of the central regions of Chile and Argentina as well as the wines that have given these New World countries their well-deserved fame into the international scene!


On this fascinating trip we will discover the bird life (and the wines) of both slopes of the majestic Andes by exploring the central regions of Chile and Argentina. We will commence our adventure birding along the Pacific coast of Chile and in search of the wealth of shorebirds and seabirds of the rich waters of the Humboldt Current.  Here, we will have the unique opportunity to find its more emblematic pelagic seabirds, including many species of albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters.

 

Moustached Turca. On land, the central region of Chile is characterized by dense ‘matorral’ (equivalent to California’s ‘chaparral’) vegetation where we expect to see the majority of Chile’s terrestrial endemic birds. A short exploration south to the northern limit of Patagonia’s temperate forests, will allow us to find some striking tapaculos and hopefully Magellanic Woodpecker.

 

An impressive crossing over the Andes will be the ‘grand finale’ and allow us to reach Argentina and its rich and diverse avifauna. We will have the time to explore from the Andean piedmont down to the xeric ‘Monte’ Desert and its many specialties.

 

But we can’t forget the wine! We have prepared an in-depth wine tasting program, visiting the most remarkable and traditional wineries of Maipo, Casablanca and Colchagua valleys in Chile as well as around Mendoza, in Argentina. This trip has been designed for the birder and for the nature enthusiast alike, who wants to combine some time in the field with wine tasting activities. The landscapes and the culture of both countries are equally fascinating and you will have the opportunity to learn a lot about Argentina and Chile from your local leader. Salud! Cheers!

 

From skulking tapaculos to imposing albatrosses, from extraordinary hummingbirds to majestic condors, from Chilean Carmeneres to Argentine Malbecs, come and indulge yourself with a taste of Chile & Argentina, its birds and wines are the perfect excuse!

 


Diademed Sandpiper-PloverITINERARY
Day 1 · Arrival to Santiago
Our Birds & Wine tour begins! After meeting at Santiago airport, we will head to the Andean foothills, where will hopefully be rewarded with sightings of the endemic Crag Chilia plus our first Andean Condors, Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle, and several other Andean specialties such as Black-winged Ground Dove, Grey-flanked Cinclodes, Black-billed Shrike-Tyrant and Yellow-rumped Siskin. Careful scanning of grasslands and streams may produce the stunning Diademed Sandpiper-Plover, our main target species for the day. This is a lovely mountain spot where we will also have chances for Mountain Parakeet flocks. Overnight at Santiago (Lunch, Dinner)



Day 2 · To the coast: Maipo River mouth - Visit to Matetic Vineyards - El Peral Nature Reserve
Many-colored Rush TyrantToday, we will head north and to the coast in order to explore the Maipo River estuary and the productive coastal ponds and marshes nearby. At the tiny El Peral Nature Reserve we will concentrate in finding the cryptic-colored Stripe-backed Bittern, the brood-parasitic Black-headed Duck, and the striking Many-colored Rush Tyrant. We will also have a chance to find the scarce and restricted Ticking Doradito. After a rewarding morning, we will visit the splendid facility of Matetic vineyards, where a top-quality tasting of whites and interesting blends waits for us. Just before reaching our seaside hotel, we will inspect the rocky coast for the endemic Chilean Seaside Cinclodes and a variety of Humboldt Current seabird specialties.
Overnight Viña del Mar (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)



Day 3 · Pelagic trip off Valparaíso - Visit Emiliana vineyards, Casablanca Valley
Today we will make an unforgettable visit to the cold and rich waters of the Humboldt Current, considered to be one of the world’s finest pelagic birding locations. We can expect to see a great variety of tubenoses such as Black-browed and Salvin’s Albatrosses. On recent trips we have often recorded Buller’s, Chatham, Wandering (Antipodean) and both Northern and Southern Royal albatrosses. We should also find Southern and Northern Giant Petrels, Pintado, Masatierra, Juan Fernandez, White-chinned and Westland Petrels, Pink-footed, Buller’s and Sooty Shearwaters, Wilson’s Storm Petrel, and Peruvian Diving Petrel. Other seabirds we may encounter include Red (Grey) Phalarope, Sabine’s Gull and Chilean Skua.

For marine mammals, although difficult to predict, Orca, Sperm Whale and large pods of Dusky and Southern Right-Whale Dolphins are often spotted. We will have repeated sightings of the abundant South American Sea Lion.

During the afternoon we will continue exploring the coastal areas, visiting a protected breeding colony of Humboldt Penguin; we hope to be able to see the scarce and range-restricted Southern Sea Otter here, too. Before ending the day we’ll stop at a coastal marsh to see a variety of waterfowl including Red Shoveler, Yellow-billed Pintail, Speckled Teal and Chiloe Wigeon, all three lowland coot species, Spot-flanked Gallinule and Plumbeous Rail, which surprisingly for a rallid is quite easy to spot as it often walks in the open.  Overnight Viña del Mar (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)



Day 4 · Crossing the Andes into Argentina - Birding Uspallata area
Andean Condor photo by Steve Bird.Time to make our Andes crossing! Today we will drive along the International road towards Argentina. At this latitude the majestic Andes Range reaches its maximum altitude and forms a really impressive geological boundary between the two countries. The mountains divide not just their cultures but also their biodiversity, and we will witness this as the day progresses. The ‘Snail’ or Caracol, is a portion of the road consisting of multiple ascending bends that will give us access to Cristo Redentor tunnel and eventually into Argentina.

 

After the border formalities, we will have the chance to bird the eastern foothills of the Andes. The bird assemblage is similar to Chile’s, although it drastically changes as we descend in Red-tailed Comet by Gina Nichol. altitude. We hope to enjoy impressive views of the highest peak in the Americas and both Southern and Western Hemispheres, Mount Aconcagua (22,837 ft – 6,961 m). The birding will be quite productive here; Mountain Caracara, Grey-breasted Seedsnipe, White-sided Hillstar, Rufous-banded and Creamy-rumped Miners, Black-billed Shrike-Tyrant, Cinereous, Black-fronted, White-browed and Rufous-naped Ground Tyrants plus Greater Yellow Finch, Band-tailed Sierra Finch and Yellow-rumped Siskin can all be found in this setting. Andean Condor, a true icon of the Andes, is also quite abundant here.

 

The Valley of Uspallata will offer a proper birding welcome to this ‘Gaucho’ nation. The orchards and poplar groves hold a number of species that are absent in the Chilean side. Among the species that we hope to see this afternoon, will be White-collared Swift, the striking Red-tailed Comet, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Great Kiskadee, White-winged Black-Tyrant, Chaco Earthcreeper, Patagonian Mockingbird, White-tipped Plantcutter, and the delightful Rufous-sided Warbling-Finch. Overnight Vila del Rio (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)



Day 5 · Birding Uspallata area - Drive to Mendoza - Visit Zuccardi vineyards
Welcome to the land of Malbec! Two thirds of the whole Argentine wine is produced in the Mendoza province, and the Malbec is certainly its best ambassador in the international scene. We will spend the morning exploring Straneck’s Tyrannuleta couple of vineyards in the area surrounding Mendoza city, San Lujan de Cuyo. This wine region of Argentina has no influence from the ocean and has more continental weather patterns, the summers being hotter and having much cooler winters than in Chile. There is plenty of water coming from the mountains and these offer ideal conditions for the production of interesting wines with unique features. Together with the Malbecs, other fine wines are produced here including Cabs and Tempranillo. Overnight Mendoza (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)



Day 6 · Birding Mendoza area towards San Juan
The Monte Desert is a vast scrub community extending broadly throughout the length and breadth of Argentina and of course, holds many delights for the bird enthusiast. We will explore the plains located east of Mendoza, into the adjacent province of San Luis, to discover the well-supplied array of specialties of this scrub desert; this includes unique tapaculos such as Crested and
Sandy Gallitos plus other interesting passerines including the endemic Steinbach’s Canastero, White-throated Cacholote, Tufted Tit-Spinetail, the recently-described Straneck’s Tyrannulet and the lovely Cinnamon Warbling-Finch, among several others. Overnight Mendoza (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

 


Day 7 · Visit Krontiras vineyards - Drive to Malargüe
This morning we will head to the southern part of Mendoza province. Sandy Gallito, Chaco Earthcreeper, White-tipped Plantcutter and Yellow-billed Tit-Tyrant will be among our targets for the area. We will also explore Llancanelo park where there is a large selection of water birds including a breeding colony of Chilean flamingo, Black-necked and Coscoroba Swans. Overnight Hotel Malargüe, Malargüe (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)


Burrowing Parrot
Day 8 · Drive to Vilches - Crossing the Andes - Colbun Lake
We will head back to Chile, using the scenic Pehuenche Pass. We will investigate the waterfalls around Maule Lake in search of White-collared Swift, a recent addition to Chilean avifauna. During the morning we will explore the nearby man-made Lake Colbun; here we’ll scan the rocky slopes looking for noisy flocks of the threatened endemic race of Burrowing Parrot. Overnight Vilches (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)



Magellanic TapaculoDay 9 · Altos de Lircay Nature Reserve
Altos de Lircay Nature Reserve – located in an area better known as Vilches – holds the northernmost southern beech (Nothofagus) forests. Nowadays, these woodlands, deriving from ancient tree lineage, are just found as relict communities in temperate regions of the Southern Hemisphere, in distant places like New Zealand, Australia and New Caledonia. These temperate woodlands are home for a number of unique forest-dwelling birds. Among others, today we shall be looking for Rufous-legged Owl, Magellanic Woodpecker, White-throated Hawk (and Rufous-tailed Hawk, if we are lucky), White-throated Treerunner and the quasi-endemic Chestnut-throated Huet-huet. Other tapaculos we will be trying to find are the striking Chucao Tapaculo and the skulking Magellanic Tapaculo. Overnight Vilches (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)



Day 10 · Drive to Santa Cruz - Visit to Santa Cruz vineyards
Later, we will descend to the central valley, to immerse ourselves in one of the most famous wine-making regions of Chile – the Colchagua Valley. Santa Cruz is literally the center of the wine industry of this famed region and is a picturesque little town, where we will learn a lot of the culture of this part of the country. The lovely Hotel Santa Cruz will be our base for the following nights, providing us with the chance to explore the museum and its fascinating collections of the pre-history and history of Chile. This afternoon we will explore the homonymous Santa Cruz vineyards to enjoy a sampling of reds and whites and the lovely vistas; we will be visiting the vineyards by the end of the growing season. Along the dirt roads we will try to find the largest of the New World tyrant-flycatchers, the voracious Great Shrike-Tyrant. Overnight Santa Cruz (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)



Day 11 · Colchagua Valley visiting Viu Manent,
Montes and Casa Silva Vineyards

Colchagua Valley and its ‘terroir’ are synonymous to full-bodied and richly flavored red wines, including Carmenere and Cabernet Sauvignon, although praised Merlot and Syrah have been produced in recent years. Today, we have planned to visit at least three top-quality wine properties of the valley including Montes, Viu Manent and Casa Silva for tastings.  Overnight Santa Cruz (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)



Day 12 · Drive to Santiago - Birding Lampa / Batuco
Visit Viña Concha y Toro / Connecting flights home

This morning will drive a short distance north of Santiago airport to visit some lowland marshes. The conditions over the last decade have been very dry and consequently, this has affected the extent of the marshland. Anyway, our targets here will be the rare South American Painted Snipe, Rosy-billed Pochard, White-cheeked Pintail and Cocoi Heron.

During the afternoon, we will visit Viña Concha y Toro, located at the well-known Maipo Valley. This centenary winery is one of the oldest and largest operations in Chile; we will be delighted to learn about the variety of famed Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere they produce. One of their most famous wines, Casillero del Diablo, The Devil’s Cellar, honors the place we will visit, an old and impressive underground cellar where the landlord used to hide his best wines, telling his employees that the Devil himself dwelled in this dark and mysterious place.
(Breakfast)

 

Leaders:  Steve Bird, Gina Nichol and local guide

 

Red-legged CormorantCHILE & ARGENTINA
Birds & Wine!

November 7 & 18, 2021
Contact [email protected] to reserve your space!
Registration Form>    

TOUR PRICE**:  US$5295.00 per person based on double occupancy and a minimum of 8 persons from Santiago, Chile (Airport code: SCL).
Single supplement: US$795.00 per person.

Deposit: $1000.00 per person per tour. Note: Tour deposits can be paid by credit card via PayPal. 
Use this link
to make your credit card payment.  Please advise [email protected] when you have made payment. 

Included in cost:  All accommodations, meals, wine tastings and guide services as stated in the itinerary, private ground transportation during the tour, pelagic trip off Valparaiso (c. 6 hours), and park entrance fees.

Not included: International flights, tipping for drivers and guides, travel insurance, entrance tax to Chile, excess baggage charges, private excursions, à la carte dishes, snacks, drinks, laundry, telephone calls and anything else of a purely personal nature.


RESERVATIONS: Contact [email protected] to reserve your space!  Then follow up with your completed registration form and deposit of $1000 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 & 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 July 7, 2021. Check or bank transfer are preferred but credit card payments are possible (surcharges of up to 5% are added depending on amount to cover credit card company fees). 

 

**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 [email protected]