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08/11/2006
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News from the field - Nov 2006

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News from the Field - Nov 2006

The breeding season is popping with activity and loud with song in the Southern Hemisphere. We have already finished several trips, and others are presently underway or about to depart. The October and November period is the peak of the season, and we wanted to tell you about some of our recent sightings.

We will start with our”backyard” in Buenos Aires. Busy, noisy, crowded as every metropolis, but for naturalists there is an amazing place called Costanera Sur. Remember the new bird checklist by German Pugnali? It is now printed and distributed… and we need another update! New records have been coming while we were compiling it, while it was passing through the editorial process, while it was in press, and a couple of days after it came out of it. Some new additions include Semipalmated Plover, Tropical Screech-Owl (there is a roosting site right behind the warden's house), and Guira Tanager (also in winter, is a first province record). Spring has started, and after the winter rains the lagoons are full of water and life. Wildlife is at its best now. Last Sunday, we had 78 species in just a couple of hours. There is a Solitary Cacique nesting, and several species of waders (some migrants stayed through the winter, such as a Hudsonian Godwit) can be found along the main lake shore. Painted Snipes stayed through the winter as well (two sightings by Juan Mazar Barnett), and a Southern Screamer was there a few weeks ago.

Now Juan is in the field, this time teamed up with Hernan Rodriguez Goñi. Yesterday, they had (together with the group), unbelievable views of the Yellow-breasted Crake at the Ibera Marshes. This after having an exciting encounter with a group of the endangered Seedeaters (Marsh, Red-rumped, Chestnut, all of them at the same spot!!) Soon they will be in Misiones, so who knows what they will find.

August and September were great in the Pantanal and Itatiaia, two of Brazil's most remarkable sites. At the Pantanal, Ignacio "Kini" Roesler reported full telescope views of THE bird of this region, Hyacinth Macaw. He also reported Helmeted Manakin and Band-tailed Antbird. In Itatiaia, he had Black Hawk-Eagle, Golden-winged Cotinga, Swallow-tailed Cotinga, and BLACK-LEGGED DACNIS (very rare!).

From the subtropics of northern Argentina, Diego Monteleone reported Red-faced Guan, Rufous-throated Dipper, and Slender-tailed Woodstar at the Yungas of Jujuy, and Vinaceous-breasted Parrot, Solitary Tinamou, Rusty-breasted Nunlet and Red Howler Monkey from the Araucaria forest of Misiones province. A couple of trips north of Buenos Aires and the delta of Entre Rios produced interesting sightings of marsh birds, including specialities of the area: Straight-billed and Curve-billed Reedhaunters.

Also from the Junior league of guides, Hector Slongo reports Little-blue Heron and Blue-winged Teal (both rare in Argentina). Other rare and localized birds seen in the northwest includes more than 30 Puna Flamingos, three very tame Rufous-bellied Saltator (photographed), Maquis Canastero, and the endemics of Tucuman: Yellow-striped Brush-Finch, White-browed Tapaculo and Buff-breasted Earthcreeper (this last seen together with Straight-billed and Scale-throated Earthcreepers). An earthcreeper workshop in the Andes!!

Three winter trips in Misiones produced telescope views of the endangered Black-fronted Piping-Guan, a NEW SITE for Long-trained Nightjar, and a very cooperative couple of Long-tufted Screech-Owls (photographed for the first time in Argentina). Another two discoveries are shaking the birding community in Argentina: Black-capped Piprites was rediscovered after 47 years, and a pair of Amethyst Woodstars (photographed and filmed) appeared very close to manakin's site. The area is also known now as one of the most reliable places for Thick-billed Saltator.
We paid special attention to Butterflies this year, and amongst many others, Ezequiel Nuñez Bustos found a rare and beautifull Black Lace (Chorinea heliconides) in Iguazu (see picture).

As we said in previous newsletters, Hernan Casañas is well known for his ability to find owls, and what follows proves it once again: He's got a NEW SITE for Chaco Owl in Salta, where a couple were seen in two trips on a row. He has also found (again!) and had excellent looks of one of the most sought after South American night birds: Buff-fronted Owl, this time in Calilegua national park, along with Hoy's Screech-Owl and Stygian Owl seen on the same night?). Following local instructions, he also found a new and very “accessible” place for Lesser Horned Owl around the popular village of Tafi del Valle.

Amongst the diurnal species he reports another highlight (seen just yesterday): Diademed Sandpiper Plover, on our favorite site on "this" side of the Andes, which has proved to be very reliable (80 % precision). He also adds Quebracho-crested Tinamou, Red-faced Guan (at the roost!), Sandy Gallito, Dinelli's Doradito, and the specials of his "home area", Cordoba: Spot-winged Falconet, Black-bodied Woodpecker, Salinas Monjita and Cordoba Cinclodes. Difficult to find in summer in Northern Argentina, Cinammom Warbling-finch was present near Ruinas de Quilmes in Tucuman province.

Our man in Patagonia doesn't need an introduction. For Santiago Imberti, what we understand as rare, difficult, uncommon, etc… falls between the "common" and "regular" categories. He reports the "usual" things from the cold and windswept latitudes of Patagonia: White-bellied Seedsnipe, TWENTY HOODED GREBES displaying at our favorite site on the Strobel plateau, A NEW SITE for Austral Rail and "several" nests of the Magellanic Plover. "Holy" Grebe, Austral "Grail", and "Magic" Plover again!

Further south and where the world ends, is the domain of Marcelo De Cruz, who has surprised us with more sightings of Rufous-tailed Hawk in Tierra del Fuego. Remember the one seen at the national park last year? It was there again (and again). Two more records at the beginning of the season.

We wish all the groups that are about to come keep seeing and reporting all and more of this spectacular wildlife, either at the end of the typical two week trips, or at the beginning of the expeditions to Antarctica.

The SNT Team

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Featured Tours

Northwest Argentina

Departures anytime from January to December
image Birding the diversity of the Andes
13 days / 12 nights

Southern Argentina Part I

Departures Anytime from October to March
image Pampas and Northern Patagonia
9 days / 8 nights

Southern Argentina Part II

Departures Anytime from October to March
image Southern Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego
8 days / 7 nights

Bolivian Highlights

Departures Anytime from April to October
image A birding trip from Santa Cruz to La Paz
14 days / 13 nights

Northeast Argentina

Departures anytime from January to December
image A Birding journey from Buenos Aires to Iguazú
13 days / 12 nights
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