Visit to Copiapó, CHILE
21 - 25 May 2008
This page is a small collection of the bird photos I was able to take during a 3-day visit to this locality for my job.
Fortunately, due to the unusual work hours, I was able to spend the morning hours out in the country and so obtained a number of decent shots, quite in spite of the scarcity of species and birds, partly due to the season (it was Autumn) but also because this town borders the Atacama desert, which is one of the driest places in the world.
I arrived at Copiapó on the night of the 21st, and set back to Buenos Aires on the evening of the 24th, but due to the plane being late to Santiago I missed my connecting flight so was put up for the night, finally returning to BA on the morning of the 25th.
- 22: Brief walk from the hotel to the dry river (which has been dry for 6 years) and ending up at a garden cemetery, perhaps the only place in the town with a green lawn.
- 23: Initially a 1-hour visit to the hillside just north of the town. Then a drive up the Copiapó river valley, passing Tierras Amarillas and reaching Los Loros.
- 24: Back to the hills N. of the town, continuing the drive up to the top, passed the Lourdes sanctuary, and riving around this mountain, returning to the valley in the area of Galleguillos, near the old airport. In the afternoon, visit to the "El Pretil" mini zoo.
This page has 81 photos covering 19 bird species (2 of which are not known for Argentina).
I was able to get my first photos of 6 new species which are recorded in Argentina.
Thanks for visiting this page - Alec Earnshaw
Main front page: www.fotosaves.com.ar
(Click to enlarge photo) Landscape shots around Copiapó (date shown in brackets) Dawn view of Copiapó taken from the hills N. of he town.
At this spot I got 2 Ground-Tyrants and Band-tailed Sierra-Finch. (23)
Nearly the same view taken next day, earlier and with thick fog blanketing the town below. (24) This slope is an illegal tip. The rubbish continues for about a mile. (24) This is a view taken from the top of the road. The mountains around are impressive, but... no birds! We drove for about 15 km around the mountain along unspoilt arid country, and I frequently got out of the car to inspect, but never saw nor a heard a single bird - not one! (24) A little further along the road returns to the valley. Here the fog seems to be contained by the hills in the front. Fortunately once we got back to the valley, birds began to exist again. (24) It being so arid out of the town, it is no wonder that I found a number of species enjoying the watered gardens in the cemetery. There were lapwings, Austral Thush, Pacific Dove, House Wren, Bar-winged Cinclodes, and a bunch of Common Diuca-Finches, as well as the very common Rufuous-collared Sparrow. Walking back to the hotel I saw Chilean Mockingbird and Picui Ground-Dove. (22) Driving up the valley towards Los Loros the view is attractive and surreal: the grape farms extend all along the flat areas, with hardly a yard left to where the bare, dry mountains surge skyward. Back to the arid landscape! We took a dirt side road into the mountains, about half way between Copiapó and Los Loros, hoping to find here a number of dwellers of the arid hilltops: Earth-creepers, Miners, etc. None of these showed. (23) I only found one species here: a fairly large group of Greenish Yellow-finch. I climbed a hill and took 6 photos all around - 360º of arid countryside. This is one of the shots. (23) A tall hill near the Copiapó river. It has been dry since 2002 due to the mining and irrigation, and also due to the changing cycles of the glaciers up in the Andes as a result of climate change. (24)
The Atacama desert is one of the driest areas of the world. There are places here where rain has never been recorded. This is the road to the airport, and again, not one bird! (24)
The airport is quite aptly named "Aeropuerto del Desierto de Atacama" as it is built on the sand, on which I had a 5-minute walk. No birds, but I collected a few samples of empty land-snail shells . In the distance is the airport control tower. Returning to BA and before climbing over the Andes, the early-monrning light tainted the sky yellowish. (25)
Mini zoo "El Pretil" At this small zoo I was able to photograph the S. American camelidos (Guanaco, Vicuña, Llama and Alpaca), as well as the Andean Goose and Crested Duck, which I guess are rarely found in zoos. Amongst other things they have Chilean pumas, an African lion, 3 African ostridges and a pair of Emus!
In bordeaux is the common name if birds as used in Chile (when different to the name used in Argentina)
Bandurria Austral - Theristicus melanopis - Black-faced Ibis - Bandurria
It was strange to see these in the desert - one would expect to see them closer to wetlands.
Jote Cabeza Colorada - Cathartes aura - Turkey Vulture
Guayata - Chloephaga melanoptera - Andean Goose - Piuquén - (Zoo "El Pretil")
Pato Crestón o Juarjual - Lophonetta specularoides - Crested Duck- (Zoo "El Pretil")
Gavilán Mixto - Parabuteo unicinctus - Bay-winged Hawk or Harris's Hawk - Peuco
Aguilucho Común - Buteo polyosoma - Red-backed Hawk - Aguilucho
Paloma Ala Blanca - Zenaida meloda - Pacific Dove
Torcacita Común - Columbina picui - Picui Ground-Dove - Tortolina Cuyana
Tortolita Quiguagua - Columbina cruziana - Croaking Ground-Dove
Picaflor del Norte - Rhodopis vesper - Oasis Hummingbird
Romolinera Común - Cinclodes fuscus - Bar-winged Cinclodes - Churrete Acanelado
Dormilona Gris - Muscisaxicola rufivertex - Rufous-naped Ground-Tyrant - Dormilona de Nuca Rojiza
Dormilona Chica - Muscisaxicola maculirostris - Spot-billed Ground-Tyrant
Cachudito Pico Negro - Anairetes parulus - Tufted Tit-Tyrant - Cachudito
Tenca - Mimus tenca - Chilean Mockingbird
Yal Platero - Phrygilus alaudinus - Band-tailed Sierra-Finch - Platero
Diuca Común - Diuca diuca - Common Diuca-Finch
Jilguero Oliváceo - Sicalis olivascens - Greenish Yellow-Finch
Chingolo - Zonotrichia capensis - Rufous-collared Sparrow - Chincol
OTHER BIRDS SEEN BUT NOT PHOTOGRAPHED:
Cattle Tyrant, American Kestrel, Southern Lapwing, Eared Dove, Rock Pigeon,
Plain-mantled Tit-Spinetail, Rufous-tailed Plantcutter, House Wren, Austral Thrush, House Sparrow, and Grey-hooded Sierra-Finch.
Vicuña - Vicugna vicugna - Vicuña - (Zoo "El Pretil")
Llama - Lama glama - Llama - (Zoo "El Pretil")
Alpaca - Lama pacos - Alpaca - (Zoo "El Pretil")
Nymphalidae - Vanessa carye
Main page of this site: www.fotosaves.com.ar