The best wildlife shots of my trip to Coastal Patagonia
- February 2006 -

This page is a part of my FOTOSAVES site - which holds a comprehensive collection of photos of birds and other wild animals of Argentina. Once you've finished looking at this page please check out the Portal in English. If you are particularly interested in the birds of Argentina then head straight to the Birds Main Page. Thanks! - Alec Earnshaw

White-winged Black-Tyrant (Knipolegus aterrimus)
Performing a territorial display to defend its female and chicks.
Photographed near Puerto Madryn, Chubut.
( Wait until this page has fully loaded and then watch the animation above)

Driving in Patagonia - always long distances...

We made a 10-day trip from Buenos Aires to the coast of north and central Patagonia. The drive down took 2 days, staying over at Viedma. We spent 4 full days in Camarones (province of Chubut). We then set off on a 4-day return leg. Our first day of the drive was spent doing the earth road to Trelew (via Cabo Raso), continuing to Puerto Madryn, where we spent 2 nights in order to have a full day here. We then set north stopping over at Pedro Luro (in the south of the province of Buenos Aires).

I was armed with a new toy: a Panasonic Lumix FZ30 digital camera, and two 1-GByte SD memory cards to fill with images. I had set my sights on getting pictures of the birds that live in the "patagonian steppe", which at the latitude of Camarones is more like an infinite ocean of bushes. These are mostly small brown birds of the furnarid family - my favorite - that hide in the thorny bushes and are not often seen. ("Normal" people would not be too excited about these LBJs even if they did get to see them, there being other larger and more conspicuous birds to see in Patagonia.) I worked for hours every day to expose them and get as close as possible to have good shots. I was out early, faced the heat and cold, wind and sun, listening to the faintest of calls, and always working my way around the bushes so that, if luck should happen or technique should work, I would have good light on the bird.

I feel this objective was well achieved, considering the brevity of the trip. I got good to excellent shots of 5 of the six furnarids that one can expect to see, as well as several tyrants (better than expected, with great shots of a Black-Tyrant and a Shrike Tyrant that I had previously never even seen well) and finches (only very few good shots, but covered a number of species). Notably I missed getting the icterid so common in Patagonia, the Long-tailed Meadowlark.

I did not intend to do too much in terms of sea- or shore-birds (in part because the camera is not ideally suited for these much longer shots), but nevertheless I got a few good ones.

Birdingwise, I was hoping to get some lifers, but the camera kept me too busy and so I dipped on most of them - also as the time spent in Las Grutas area was greatly shortened. Perhaps the most interesting sighting was a Chiguanco Thrush seen in Camarones. This species is apparently spreading further south of its usual range and this is possibly the first time that this bird has been identified there. I did get a photo of one in Sierra Grande, Río Negro, north of Puerto Madryn.

We had wonderful weather. I took over 1,000 photos, the best of which I present here - 95 in all. I have included the few mammals and reptiles seen, but insects were too few to be meaningful.

The birds are arranged in systematic order. Most of the shots were taken in the Camarones area, so you can assume this by default, unless otherwise indicated.

Due to the new and better camera, most of the shots were far superior to what I had previously achieved. This is helping to raise the standard of my website ( that has hundreds of photos of Argentine birds. The trip produced 9 new species for the site.

Many thanks for visiting this page - Alec Earnshaw
Copyright (C) 2006 - A. Earnshaw

The patagonian coastline has wonderful scenery that is lost into the distance...
Here is where many "non passerines" live: penguins, duck, gulls, cormorants, etc.


Magellanic Penguin
Taken at Reserva Faunística Cabo Dos Bahías near Camarones

In February the one-year-old chicks return to land to molt. The feathers then cover the breeding grounds!

Lesser Rhea
Elegant-crested Tinamou

Cormorants - King and Rock Cormorants at Cabo Raso

Chilean Flamingoes - La Salada lagoon at Pedro Luro

- Crested Duck (both at a lagoon within the town of Puerto Madryn) and Chubut Steamer Duck

Plovers and shorebirds and seabirds
- Southern Lapwing (patagonian race) and White-backed Stilt (Puerto Madryn lagoon)

- American Oystercatcher adult and chick (beach near San Antonio Este)

- Lesser Yellowlegs, at Puerto Madryn lagoon

- Kelp Gull (2), Brown-hooded Gull (Puerto Madryn lagoon) and Dolphin Gull

- South American Tern

Spot-winged Pigeon (Río Negro province)

Burrowing Parrot (at Pedro Luro)


The arid bushland of the often colorful patagonian steppe is home to an unexpected assortment of passerines.

Furnarids - Ovenbirds

Many furnarids seem to live very happily in a world of thornbushes ¿How is it that they never get hurt?

Patagonian Canastero

Sharp-billed (or Lesser) Canastero, near Puerto Madryn

Plain-mantled Tit-Spinetail

Scale-throated Earthcreeper

Band-tailed Eremobius

Lesser (or Least) Shrike-Tyrant

White-winged Black-Tyrant, near Puerto Madryn (1 male, and 2 of male chicks)
Positively ID's by Mark Pearman - Thanks Mark!

Greater Wagtail-Tyrant (La Salada lagoon, near Pedro Luro)

Austral negrito: a male (in Río Negro province) and two females (in Camarones)

Tufted Tit-Tyrant (at Las Grutas)

Mockingbirds - Patagonian Mockingbird

Thrushes - Austral Thrush (at Pedro Luro and Puerto Madryn) and Chiguanco Thrush (at Sierra Grande)

Emberizid Finches
Rufous-collared Sparrow (San Antonio Oeste), Common Diuca-Finch and Golden-billed Saltator (San Antonio O.)

Grey-hooded Sierra-Finch (male and female) and juvenile of this or Patagonian Yellow-Finch

Mourning Sierra Finch (male, female and juvenile male)

Carbonated Sierra-Finch (female) near Puerto Madryn



If Camarones had a flag, this is what it would look like:

Pichi Armadillo

Least Cavy

European Hare (introduced species)


Patagonian Tortoise (Las Grutas)

Lizards (Liolaemus) (at San Antonio Este y Puerto Madryn)

The waters of the Golfo Nuevo reflect pink from the clouds above during the last patagonian sunset of this trip.