The advancement and recession of glacial ice during and since the last Ice Age thousands of years ago, plus eternal winds from the west, have given shape to a steppe full of contrasting beauties. At first, the vast grasslands may remind you of the desolation and lifelessness of a dessert, but in a second, when you pay attention to your hearing, you’ll notice a whole array of singings and callings coming from the bushes.
Notes: This is a flexible tour, ideal for people with a short time in the city.
Starting from Punta Arenas, we take the northern road, and in 250 kms (150 miles) we’ll reach the border with Argentina. Luckily, birds don't know about borders, so many "Argentinian" visitors can be found in this place.
Long flat steppes are the perfect landscape if you are a good runner, and that’s the case with Darwin's (Lesser) Rhea. At 1.5 meters tall (4½ feet), this bird is a symbol of the Patagonian culture. Also, a variety of loons can be found here, and it’s always a good place for Red Shoveler, Cinnamon Teal, Buff-winged Cinclodes and Austral Negrito.
On this trip, our target list will be topped by the rare and sole member of a Pluvianellidae family, the Magellanic Plover, a scarce bird which uses a local lagoon as a nesting ground.
Fortunately, there are a few kilometers of road by the coast, so we will have good chances to look for Magellanic Oystercatcher, Dolphin Gull, Chilean Skua, Flightless Steamer Duck, Kelp Goose and more…
At the end, when we are close to the border, we start to look for the specialities, in this case the restricted (according to the distribution in Chile) Band-tailed Earthcreeper, the beautiful Tawny-chested Dottorel, Austral Canastero, White-bridled Finch and Least Seedsnipe among others.