Up on high

We’re back at sea level after a couple of days in the Lauca National Park.  The birding was hard at 15000 feet, but the place was just astonishingly beautiful.

Peruvian Thick-knee
Giant Hummingbird
Southern Mountain Viscacha
Bare-faced Ground Dove
White-throated Earthcreeper
Lauca National Park
Punta Flamingo
Giant Coot
White-tufted Grebe
Andean Avocet

No wrecks and nobody drownded

The waves were indeed piddling and small in today’s pelagic trip out to the continental shelf ~20 km from Iquique.  This made for a comfortable ride, but rather limited our bird list, but a Salvin’s and a White-capped Albatross were good, as was the supporting cast of Storm Petrels and other goodies.

White-chinned Petrel
Elliot’s Storm Petrel
Northern Giant Petrel
White-capped Albatross
Humboldt Penguin

Dust and Hummers

Day 1 of the tour saw us start of at Arica and travel to Iquique by way of a moonscape.  There were some birds in amongst the dust, though, including a trio of cracking Hummingbirds.

Chilean Woodstar
Oasis Hummingbird
Peruvian Sheartail
Tamarugo Conebill

It begins

Our trip to Chile is up and running, but slowly. A 14 hour flight with practically no sleep, followed by a 12 hour transfer in Santiago isn’t the stuff to get the pulse racing. Fortunately, the approach to Santiago gave stunning views of the Andes, including long views of Aconcagua, and there are far worse places to be stuck than Santiago airport. A small garden outside the domestic terminal has given us 4 lifers, and flyover Andean Condors were a surprise.

The camera stayed packed until an incredibly confiding Dark-bellied Cinclodes, another lifer, started feeding on a wall only a few feet from us. 

Austral Thrush
Dark-bellied Cinlcodes
The Garden just outside the domestic terminal at Santiago airport

The calm before the storm

Our last weekend in Sussex for a while, before we head off to Chile next weekend, has been quiet.  A walk up to Cissbury Ring today didn’t produce much, but it’s always nice to see a Dartford Warbler, which has given me a chance to play with my new sharpening and resizing software.  The moth traps of late have been quiet, but there are a few moths that are relatively uncommon for us.

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Dartford Warbler
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Barred Sallow
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Green-brindled Crescent
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A dash to Climping today to see the Barred Warbler that was still there, having been found yesterday.  It was a brisk 12 miles there, and only a short wait before it showed appallingly (as Barred Warblers do).  Fortunately, we didn’t have too long to wait before it gave a few rather better views.  The 12 miles back was rather slower.


A long weekend at my brother and sister-in-law’s rather fine new caravan in Flamborough promised much birdwise: October is a brilliant time for birds on the east coast.  Alas, the birds weren’t aware of this, and we struggled on the sea, with only a couple of Sooty and four Manx Shearwaters to show for three days of seawatching, although a Grey Phalarope that flew in to see us was a nice surprise.  On land, there were a number of Yellow-browed Warblers, but, although they were audible, they only showed for a fraction of a second.  The undisputed star of the trip was a very tame Merlin that just sat and cleaned the blood off its bill and feet while we photographed it.

To hear about a Black-necked Grebe a couple of miles from home while we were away was frustrating, particularly as it seemed to have left while we were on our way home.  Fortunately, it hung around and gave us decent views tonight after work.

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A Grey Wagtail at home
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Grey Seals having fun
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Tree Sparrow
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Long-tailed Tit
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Black-necked Grebe