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ARGENTINA:

IGUAZU, IBERA, BUENOS AIRES, SAN LUIS


02-12 December 2005

By Francis Toldi  (with John Toldi)
 

Between December 2 and 12, 2005 I had the great pleasure to be birding in Argentina with my brother, John Toldi.  With limited time in this large and diverse country, we restricted our birding to four areas:  Iguazu, the edge of the Ibera marshes, Costanera Sur reserve in Buenos Aires and southeastern San Luis Province in the western central area of Argentina.  Rather than give a full blow-by-blow account of the trip I will describe some of my general impressions together with some logistical comments for each area, then provide some comments on birder’s resources for Argentina generally.  I have also included an annotated list of all species noted.  I did prepare a daily narrative trip report, which I can e-mail upon request.

Iguazu National Park.

The National Park that includes and surrounds Iguazu Falls is justly famed as both a scenic and birding destination.  Many trip reports and readily available birdfinding resources describe the birding options in this area, so I won’t describe the area in detail.  See the annotated list for coverage of all species noted here.   Here are a few observations to assist with planning:

- We hired Daniel Somay as a guide for one of our days here.  This was money well spent.  We made contact through Explorador Expediciones (offices at the Sheraton Iguazú, telephone (03757) 421632; e-mail daniel.somay@rainforestevt.com.ar).  Daniel was an excellent guide, with a good knowledge of the local birds (by sight and by vocalization) and where to find them.  He also had excellent equipment, including tape for playback and digital pre-recorded calls, and knew just when—and when not—to use them.  I did not feel like he overused the tape as some guides do.  Without his knowledge and equipment we would not have seen many of the more secretive birds.

- An independent birder can hope to do quite well in the National Park.  A guide or a lot of personal experience and tape equipment is probably necessary to see the skulking species, but an independent birder can do quite well on his or her own with everything else.

- The Sheraton is very expensive, but a marvelous location for a birder, since it is right in the middle of everything.  This is especially true if you don’t have a car.  It also allows earlier access onto some of the trails near the Sheraton such as the Macuco and Yacaratia Trails.  It is not entirely clear how early one may enter those trails without the company of a guide, but 7:30 a.m. seems to be the official “opening” time.  I have heard varying reports on how strictly this is enforced. There is decent birding along the main road before then, especially in a wet, brushy area near the entrance to the Yacaratia Trail.

- There are many excellent hotels back in Puerto Iguazu at all price ranges, from inexpensive hostels, to simple but clean mid-range hotels, to higher end “full service” hotels.  Although it was the high season when we were there, other than the Sheraton everyone seemed to have plenty of room.  If you are staying in Puerto Iguazu it is helpful to have a car of your own (rentals at the airport).  A car also allows easier access to Road 101 and other outlying areas.

- A basic birding itinerary for Iguazu should include at a minimum some quality time along the Macuco Trail, Road 101 (the unpaved but decent quality road that leads into the National Park from a point a few kilometers from the airport), and around the Falls and main visitor center.  Notwithstanding the joy of watching Great Dusky Swifts cavorting about in the misty canyon around the Falls, any birder who doesn’t have the time to look at the Falls themselves needs to have a good long think about life’s priorities.   Note that some of the side tracks along Road 101 require prior permission (or be in the company of a local guide) to enter, but there is no shortage of good habitat right along Road 101 and the open side tracks.

- Be sure to include a stop at the Jardin de Picaflores (Hummingbird Garden) in Puerto Iguazu.  Hummingbirds can be tough in the forest, and publicly available feeders are not too common in this part of the world.  For directions see the report at http://www.surfbirds.com/trip_report.php?id=697 (but note that it isn’t quite as obvious as it looks.  We followed these directions, then wandered around for a couple of blocks before locating the actual garden).  This lovely spot is the private garden of a Puerto Iguazú family, now open to the public upon payment of a modest A$5 per person.   One simply sits quietly on a comfortable bench and watches the whir and zip of dozens of hummingbirds coming to the many feeders placed about the yard.  Marile Castillo, the proprietress, is very friendly and will often sit with guests and talk about the hummingbirds and the garden.  She knows the bird names and a few key terms in English, but otherwise Spanish is required for conversation.  In an hour at the garden we had terrific views of VERSICOLORED EMERALD (including one smaller than small juvenile still perched on a twig begging for food), GILDED HUMMINGBIRD, PLANALTO HERMIT (only came in once in a while—so shy for such a big hummer), BLACK-THROATED MANGO, VIOLET-CAPPED WOODNYMPH, and VERSICOLORED EMERALD.  Also at the feeders were the seed-spill riff-raff, including RUDDY GROUND DOVE, EARED DOVE, SHINY COWBIRD and SAFFRON FINCH.  A pair of SAYACA TANAGERS made an appearance, and a BLUE-FRONTED PARROT flashed by (we didn’t get a good look at it, but saw one later in the National Park).  Other trip reports have mentioned other good species here including Black Jacobin.

Esteros del Ibera

More general observations:

- The edge of this area is about a 4-5 hour drive from Iguazu.    The closest larger airport (with standard commercial flights) is Posadas, perhaps an hour and a half drive away.  Highway 12 is an excellent road, usually one or two lanes on each side, no potholes, and not too crowded.  It is a toll road, but the total tolls in about a 200 Km drive was A$10 or so.  Be careful at the junction on to South 105 (junction about 10 Km east of Posadas)—from Highway 12 westbound the junction is not marked at all—it is a simple cutoff right before the police checkpoint.  We continued on past the checkpoint on Highway 12 and in to the Posadas outskirts before realizing our error.  Highway 105 is well marked from Posadas (i.e. heading eastbound on Highway 12).  Also note that we had a PLAIN-BREASTED GROUND DOVE (rare in Argentina) right at this intersection.

- At the town of San Jose Boqueron turn off on to Highway 14 (rather than around on 105 through Santo Tome).   Highway 14 is in fine condition and it will shave off some kilometers as compared to going through Santo Tome. 

- The intersection of Road 40, the route in to Carlos Pellegrini and the Ibera marshes, is fairly obvious.  The road was a maintained dirt road, with the surface covered by the ubiquitous gravely red dirt.  The recent rains made the shoulders a little soft, but the road surface itself was well drained and quite drivable in our little rental car.  I would not have wanted to be on the road while it was raining.  Frequent deep ruts showed what the surface looked like just a day before.  The road continued like this for about 46 Kilometers, passing through excellent open country habitat with outstanding birds.  After the bridge over the Rio Aguapey the road is no longer maintained.  The gravel coating is gone and the natural sandy surface is all you get.  Even a full day after the rains the sand was still very soft.  After about two kilometers of this, and realizing that the road surface would continue this way for at least another 40 kilometers or so, we decided to abandon further efforts to drive this way and instead concentrate on the very birdy segment we had already passed through.  Just turning the car around on this stretch—during which we almost got badly stuck—reinforced our decision not to continue on that road with the car we had.  With a short schedule this is probably adequate, but with more time it is probably better to rent 4WD and drive deeper in to Ibera proper.  We had the feeling that however good the birding, we were only on the fringe of the area.   Ibera deserves a trip of its own, not this little spot-check into the margins, but I’ll take what I can get!

- Santo Tome makes a good base for excursions into the area we covered, even if it is not exactly high on the list of most-visited destinations for North American travelers.  If you can get deeper into the marshes, Carlos Pellegrini would probably be much better, not to mention more scenic.  If you do find yourself in Santo Tome, you will have to do some looking to find food and lodging.   We located two hotels, one noisy looking place near the bus station and one simple, quiet place on edge of town.  One of the guidebooks mentions what sounds like a more upscale place somewhere in the town, but we didn’t find it (and didn’t have any instructions for finding it at the time).   We chose “quiet and simple”, and had a very peaceful night.  The hotel didn’t seem to have any name other than “Hotel”.  It is located near the intersection of Av. Alvear and Av. San Martin.  Driving south on Highway 14 from the Road 40/Pellegrini intersection, there is a sign indicating a cutoff into Santo Tome.  Follow that road for a couple of kilometers until you reach a stoplight (two decent grocery stores right at this corner).  At this stoplight turn left (north) on Av. Alvear and you will see the hotel sign on the right within a few hundred meters of your turn.  Just beyond the hotel is Av. San Martin.  We also located  what seemed like the only restaurant in town (OK, I’m sure there were more, but we couldn’t find them), down Av. San Martin in the “city center.”  The restaurant was an Italian one, “El Tuscano.”  We had delicious pizza and good, large bottles of cold Argentine beer.   It was a very friendly place and we felt quite comfortable there. 


The following is a master list of species we found on our four passes over Road 40 (in and out in the late afternoon of December 6, in and out on the morning of December 7) listed by kilometer point.  There are no kilometer markers on the road, so be sure to set “0” at the intersection of Highway 14 and Road 40 (the Pellegrini Road).   Also see the comments for many of these species in the separate annotated species list.  When key species were seen only on one occasion I’ve noted it in the annotations.  For very common birds I only note the first time we found that species.  Many species occurred frequently along the road.  This was birding at its best:  excellent viewing conditions, a steady stream of great birds, an ideal birding companion, and pretty, scenic country.  It is open country birding, so you don’t have the magnificent forest, but there is still plenty of habitat out in the plains.  Some portions are heavily cultivated and fairly birdless, but much is still in very good condition.  Our only major disappointment was that we couldn’t find a Strange-tailed Tyrant, one of the birds that lured us to this location, and which had been reliably reported from this area, albeit some years earlier and at a different time of year.  Perhaps they are more localized during the breeding season as many species are, and one must go deeper into their preferred habitat to find them at this time of year.

Anyway, here’s the list.  See additional comments on specific birds in the annotated species list.  Since this is mostly just a list of species I’ve dropped the contrasting all caps format I use to highlight birds in the narrative parts of this report.

Km 0 – Red-Crested Cardinal, Sayaca Tanager, Hooded Siskin

Km 0.8 – Great Pampa-Finch, Greater Thornbird

Km 1.0 – Chimango Caracara, Wood Stork

Km 2.1 – Striated Heron, White-necked Heron, Savannah Hawk, Southern Crested Caracara, Southern Lapwing, Smooth-billed Ani, Monk Parakeet, Eared Dove, Rufous-sided Crake (heard only), White-rumped Swallow, Hooded Siskin, Ochre-breasted Pipit, Grassland Yellow-Finch, Wedge-tailed Grass-Finch, White-fronted Blackbird,  Yellow-rumped Marshbird

Km 2.5 – Ochre-breasted Pipit (probably a different bird)

Km 2.7 – Giant Woodrail, Lesser Grass-Finch

Km 3.3 – Grassland Sparrow

Km 4.6 – White-tailed Hawk;  Also saw European Hare here (introduced)

Km 5.1 – Bare-faced Ibis, Maguari Stork, White-faced Tree Duck, South American Stilt

Km 5.2 – Whistling Heron, Brazilian Duck, Masked Gnatcatcher, Double-collared Seedeater

Km 5.4 – Ruddy Ground Dove, Saffron Finch, Yellowish Pipit

Km 6.2 – Tawny-headed Swallow

Km 7.6 – Neotropical Cormorant, Roadside Hawk, Long-winged Harrier (dark phase)

Km 7.9 – Cattle Egret

Km 8.5 – Ringed Kingfisher

Km 8.7 – American Kestrel; also large cattle herd in the middle of the road, following by gauchos with their characteristic “cowboy berets” and alert, on-the-job herding dogs!

Km 9.2 – Long-winged Harrier (light phase), Black-and-white Monjita, White-browed Blackbird, Brown-and-yellow Marshbird, Saffron-cowled Blackbird; we called this place “blackbird acres”—note that they would disappear for periods of time into the tall weeds and then reappear minutes later.

Km 10 – Snowy Egret, Wood Stork, Rufous-sided Crake (heard another), White-tipped Dove, Little Thornbird, White-headed Marsh-Tyrant; also saw Pampa Cavy (guinea pigs) here

Km 10.4 – Black-crowned Night Heron

Km 12.2 – Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Black Vulture

Km 12.3 – Jabiru Stork (evening of 12/6 only)

Km 18.2 – Chilean Flamingo, Snail Kite

Km 18.5 – Dark-billed Cuckoo, Yellow-chinned Spinetail, Chestnut Seedeater, Marsh Seed-Finch

Km 18.8 – Limpkin (evening of 12/6 only)

Km 19.0 – Long-tailed Reed-Finch

Km – 19.2 – Greater Kiskadee, Rufous-collared Sparrow

Km 19.5 – Roseate Spoonbill, Brazillian Duck Chestnut Seedeater

Km 27.8 – Greater Rhea

Km 29.0 – Spotted Nothura, Southern Rough-winged Swallow, White-fronted Blackbird; also saw large Tegu Lizard and Gray Fox (with 2 adorable pups) in this vicinity

Km 30.5 – Black-chested Buzzard Eagle, Wattled Jacana

Km 35.3 – White-rumped Hawk (juvenile), Burrowing Owl

Km 45.4 – Picui Ground Dove

Km 45.8 – (at bridge over Rio Aguapey) Spotted Sandpiper, Campo Flicker, Blue-and-white Swallow, White-winged Swallow, Gray-breasted Martin, White Monjita


Buenos Aires (Costanera Sur).

Newly arrived birders who are amped up on “just arrived adrenalin” can find some good, if pretty common, birds along the verges and trees of Buenos Aires boulevards.  At the domestic air terminal we were thrilled to see EUROPEAN STARLINGS were flying about, along with some unidentifiable swallows silhouetted against the bright sky.  Starlings are apparently a fairly recent arrival in the area, but sure seem to be doing well!  We also saw EARED DOVE, CHALK-BROWED MOCKINGBIRD, RUFOUS-BELLIED THRUSH and SAFFRON FINCH on the sidewalk just outside the terminal.

Fortunately you don’t have to go far to see REALLY good birds.  Costanera Sur is within walking, easy bus-ride or cheap cab-ride distance from most places birders might be staying in Buenos Aires.  The park is well maintained, heavily used and enjoyed by many different types of people, including  families, joggers, walkers, solitude-seekers, lovers and—yes—birders.  I was pleased to see what appeared to be a large number of local birders out and about as well, and not just visiting gringos like us.  The backdrop of downtown BA on one side and the mighty La Plata River on the other is quite magnificent.  Also remarkable is the amount of quality habitat and the large number of species at this location.  See the annotated list for details on the 75+ we saw at this location in a morning and early afternoon at this great place.  Highlights included SOUTHERN SCREAMER, BLACK-HEADED DUCK, LAKE DUCK, 9 species of shorebird (probably due to unusually low water occasioned by a drought—great for shorebirds, but not so good for waterfowl and gallinules), SPECTACLED TYRANT, GLAUCOUS-BLUE GROSBEAK and many other species.  We only had (10 power) binoculars.  A scope would have been nice, though not critical, and we could see everything except the smaller shorebirds well enough.  Bring your own snacks and water, and change for the soda machine at the main entrance.  You might want to consider doing what we did, and following up with a meal at one of the many nearby restaurants.  We tried  La Caballeriza at Puerto Madero, a nice part of the old port area that has been fixed up for shopping, dining and general tourism.  We timed it so that we hit the last of the lunch rush at around 3:00 p.m.  We were probably the last seated in the full restaurant, but when we left we were the only ones there.  OK, so we did stay for over two hours!  We had more marvelous Argentine beef, potatoes, a fresh salad and a terrific Malbec.


San Luis Province.

It is pointless to give precise directions to the areas we birded in San Luis because they were all on private lands not open to the public.  In any case, most birders would choose to go further north, where some interesting endemics are more likely.  I am including some descriptions of the birds we found in this area because this corner of Argentina is so rarely birded.  Even though much of our time in this area was on “family time” with birding only in early morning and late afternoon, we still managed to find a lot of great birds.  Despite my joy in seeking and finding special birds in various places around the world, the long hours of pleasure I get before a trip plotting out course, reviewing trip reports, checklists and advice from friends, there is something really exciting in just going somewhere and seeing what you can find there.  Try it sometime!   The annotated list tells the full story, but here are the highlights.

The habitat was primarily chaco scrub—mostly small gnarly mesquite-like thorn trees, with grasslands interspersed.  There were also a number of ponds, mostly with fairly low water due to an ongoing and quite serious drought.  The property was an active cattle ranch, but well-managed with due regard for the limits of grazing density and natural landscape.  

As we entered the ranch before dawn  a BAND-WINGED NIGHTJAR flushed from the roadside.  Pulling into the ranch complex we were delighted with a full view of a SCISSOR-TAILED NIGHTJAR in the headlights of the truck.  After sunrise we spent a few hours birding the property, with highlights for the morning including DARWIN’S NOTHURA, SILVERY GREBE, WHITE-TUFTED GREBE, BUFF-NECKED IBIS, CHILEAN FLAMINGO (what a gorgeous bird in flight), BLACK-NECKED SWAN, SOUTHERN WIGEON, WHITE-CHEEKED PINTIL, CINNAMON TEAL, RED SHOVELER, SPOT-WINGED FALCONET (lurking around the MONK PARAKEET nests at dawn—I loved watching the nest colonies in the big trees right over the ranch house), SCALED PIGEON, CHECKERED WOODPECKER, NARROW-BILLED WOODCREEPER (I never could find a Scimtar-billed, which John has seen commonly around the ranch house trees), TUFTED TIT-SPINETAIL, PALE-BREASTED SPINETAIL, STRIPE-CROWNED SPINETAIL, BROWN CHACOLOTE, WHITE-TIPPED PLANTCUTTER (I really loved the “creaky branch” call of these guys), SOUTHERN SCRUB FLYCATCHER, WHITE-BELLIED TYRANNULET, BRAN-COLORED FLYCATCHER, GREATER WAGTAIL-TYRANT, VERMILLION FLYCATCHER (an old friend), SOUTHERN MARTIN, LONG-TAILED MEADOWLARK, BLUE-AND-YELLOW TANAGER and COMMON DIUCA FINCH. 

By around 5:00 p.m. it was cooling down a bit.  We borrowed one of the ranch trucks and drove out to some ponds and scrublands further away from the ranch house.  We found some new birds to go along with the repeat sightings of many on the morning’s list.  The new ones included:  GREATER RHEA (an adult with 13 young trotting along behind!), SPOTTED NOTHURA, DARWIN’S NOTHURA (darn, those little tinamous are tough!  We called them “UTO’s” or “Unidentifiable Tinamou Objects”), GOLDEN-BREASTED WOODPECKER (lumped with Green-barred, I believe), SHORT-BILLED CANASTERO, CRESTED HORNERO, WHITE MONJITA, WHITE-BANDED MOCKINGBIRD.  Among the other critters we saw were European Hare and European Rabbit, both introduced.

We devoted the next morning as well to birds. Mostly we saw the same birds as the day before.  We were growing more confident in identifying vocalizations, always a nice phase on a trip.  The new birds consisted of ELEGANT-CRESTED TINAMOU (no doubt on that one!), RED-WINGED TINAMOU, STRIPED CUCKOO, BLUE-CROWNED PARAKEET (only a single bird), LARK-LIKE BUSHRUNNER, WHITE-CRESTED ELAENIA and SMALL-BILLED ELAENIA (see notes on these two species in the Annotated List),  and a pretty good look at some SCREAMING COWBIRDS.  We also found the skeletal remains of a Greater Rhea, a very interesting sight.

All packed up and waiting to leave, we stepped out back for some photos.  A BRUSHLAND TINAMOU ran right by us—the last of the UTO’s in the area that I hadn’t seen yet, and what should have been the easiest to find!  That signaled the end of the birding for this trip.


RESOURCES:

There are a variety of resources for the traveling birder in Argentina.  Although they are not as comprehensive as exist for other South American countries, there are still very decent quality materials available.  This is a brief overview (with annotations) of the reference materials that we used on our trip.

Books

Birds of Argentina & Uruguay,  T. Narosky and D. Yzurieta (Vazquez Mazzini Editores:  Buenos Aires, 1993).  The second English edition was the real workhorse for this trip.  At first glance this is not a very appealing field guide.  The illustrations look terrible and the text is terse and abbreviated.  The binding is poor and the guide will fall apart with heavy field use.  However, actually using the guide greatly improved my impressions of it.  Narosky’s descriptions are extremely helpful.  He consistently draws the user to the precise marks one needs to make key distinctions, similar species, etc.  We found ourselves thinking that being in the field with Mr. Narosky would be an incredible experience! The biggest problem with the illustrations, I believe, is the printing rather than the drawings themselves.  Poor Mr. Yzurieta must have been livid over what the publisher did to his paintings and drawings.  As is, they are usable, but better if supplemented (see below).

Aves de Argentina y Uruguay, same authors.  This is the same guide in its original Spanish.  Now in a spiffy new (2003) edition, this guide has been greatly improved.  If only there was an English translation of this revised version!  The printers did a much better job, although many pages seem too dark, and illustrations of certain families still leave something to be desired.  The generally darker, sharper, print greatly improves the helpful background habitat sketches.  The taxonomy is updated, species added, order changed and range maps significantly revised.  This is a much better guide than it was before, and really helped us once we found a copy in the Sheraton Iguazu gift shop.  Note that the Narosky species numbers are different in this version than in the English edition.

The Birds of South America,  Robert Ridgely and Guy Tudor (University of Texas Press:  Austin, 1989 and 1994).  I color photocopied key plates for certain species (especially funariids, pipits, finches) as well as some of the text from this volume as a supplement to Narosky.  We found the combination to work very well. Some of our identifications were only possible after cross-checking this source.  A larger group could probably afford the weight luxury of bringing the actual volumes, but that would have made my pack heavier than it already was.  I am very reluctant to cut out plates unless I have the advantage of a second copy that can stay intact.

Vida y Color (Life and Color) series, text and photos by Maria Luisa Petraglia de Bolzon and Norberto Domingo Bolzon.  I found the Iguazu (2000) and the Ibera (2003) editions to be very helpful.  The bulk of the text is in Spanish, but there is an English language text translation in the back, and species names are given in Spanish, Latin and English.  In addition to interesting general narrative on the natural history of these regions, there are helpful lists of mammals, birds and other flora and fauna, with small but nice photographs of many of the species listed.  We bought our copies in the Sheraton Iguazu gift shop and used them as a supplement to our field guides.

Birds of Chile, Alvaro Jaramillo (Princeton Univesity Press:  Princeton, 2003).  This marvelous book is quite useful as a supplemental resource for Argentina, especially for the western and southern provinces.

Neotropical Rainforest Mammals, Louise Emmons (University of Chicago Press:  Chicago, 1990).  Very helpful for the Iguazu area, but the southern areas of this trip are beyond the coverage of this volume.

Where to Watch Birds in South America, by Nigel Wheatley (Princeton University Press:  Princeton, 1995).  Perhaps a little general, perhaps a bit dated, but this is still an extremely useful book for trip planning, for working up study lists of target species and, of course, for birding when in the covered locations.  As with all bird finding guides it is important to remember that the lists are of POSSIBLE species, not necessarily a list of LIKELY birds.  You can’t get discouraged if you don’t see everything listed for the region you just visited.

Rough Guide to Argentina.  Of the many general travel guides to Argentina this seemed to me to be the best of the lot, or at least the most suitable for birders and our typical destinations in this country.  Undoubtedly others could be just as good.

Maps

Rough Guide Map to Argentina.  I liked this one best of the various country maps I looked at prior to departure.  It is durable, waterproof and has good coverage of the areas I visited

Automapa series.  We used the provincial maps for Corrientes and Misiones from this series, which were fine.  We bought them in Argentina, but surely they must be available SOMEWHERE in the USA or Britain or perhaps available at a website.

Tapes

Canto de las Aves, by Roberto Straneck.  I bought and brought with me the entire series of bird call tapes, consisting of 8 cassettes and matching booklets.  They were a little bulky, but very useful.  I prefer tapes when they are organized taxonomically rather than by biogeographical region, such as this series, but I’ll take what I can get!  The recordings are clear and of sufficient length.  A few of the tracks on the cassettes don’t match up with the order in the booklets.  Someone more technologically sophisticated than I am would record these on to his or her i-pod or mini-disk, then have them all available for immediate recall.  I purchased my set from Bird Songs International at http://www.birdsongs.com/.  Since the closure of that operation, perhaps you can find them at Wildsounds,  http://www.wildsounds.co.uk/.

Checklists

Field Check-list to the Birds of Argentina, Roberto Straneck (L.O.L.A:  Buenos Aires, no date).  This quadrilingual (Latin, Spanish, English, German) checklist was useful for reference and planning.

The Birds of Argentina, compiled by Russell Rogers for the International Field Checklist Series.  This checklist includes English and Latin names, plus columns for daily marks.  The format is greatly reduced in size, though, making it hard to put much of anything but a checkmark in a given space (I usually like to put in numbers of individuals or other code marks), plus it is out of date, so I don’t really recommend its use.  There were also some perplexing omissions of common birds (e.g. Brown-headed Gull, Masked Yellowthroat, Yellow-winged Blackbird).  Next time I’ll make my own checklist using web resources.

Avibase, Checklists of the World (accessed via Denis Lapage’s Bird Links to the World, http://www.bsc-eoc.org/links/links.jsp.  Current taxonomy with English, Latin and world status (threatened, vulnerable, etc.). 


Web Resources

Too many to list here concisely.  Check for trip reports at Blake Maybank’s trip reports site http://maybank.tripod.com/SouthAmerica/Argentina-Index.htm and Traveling Birder http://www.travellingbirder.com/tripreports/tripreports2.php?id=2.   “Where do you want to go Birding Today”  is always a good stop http://www.camacdonald.com/birding/saargentina.htm.  Not surprisingly, there are many reports and descriptions for Iguazu and Buenos Aires, but few for Ibera or remote San Luis—not exactly a main stop on most birding itineraries! 

Just try a Google search of your location plus “bird” and “report” for yet more interesting reports.  Tour company descriptions can also be interesting.

If traveling on your own, don’t forget to check www.birdingpal.com for a possible birding companion.  Some guides are also listed there (Daniel Somay has a nice listing for his guide services there).

Transportation

- For traveling within the country there are a number of options, depending on the time available, the trip budget and the distance of the locations.  Domestic air travel is not as expensive as we had expected, but don’t overlook the excellent network of long range overnight buses.   They leave from an enormous terminal in Buenos Aires and are well-timed to allow a night departure with a morning arrival at the destination.  The seats tilt back far enough to allow a reasonable chance for a good night’s sleep.

- Car rental is always a possibility, and cars are available, but for the independent traveler I would recommend only renting for local transportation with the longer stretches covered by bus or plane.

TRIP SPECIES LIST

The species list for this trip can be viewed by clicking here.

Francis Toldi
Burlingame, CA
francismail@dpisf.com

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