Guided by Andrés Vásquez. This was a set departure tour.
NW Argentina is a very special place on Earth not to mention Iguazu Falls. Every time I lead this tour I ask myself why is it not much more popular among birders being a destination that has the perfect combination of MEGA BIRDS (some of the most sought-after species in South America), jaw-dropping LANDSCAPES, and world-class WINE at cheap prices (it’s one of the main wine producers in the hemisphere). It is weird but every time I try to tell people how great this tour is, I always feel words are not enough to properly describe it, I always feel like regardless of the nice adjectives I can use I am always under-selling it. I guess NW Argentina is one of those places you cannot describe; you have to live it for yourself and try to absorb as much as possible in the process.
This year particularly was probably the best tour since I have been guiding it given the amount of normally hard birds to find that we found with surprising ease. After 14 birding days we managed to see many superb birds from high Andes, the Chaco, the yungas and the subtropical rainforest. The photographic opportunities were excellent, and we often had superb light and cooperative birds posing in front of our cameras. It was easy to get shots of a large percentage of the birds not to mention dramatic landscapes.
Highlights included, apart from this Black Siskin (photo above) that is always on the target list of our clients, Diademed Sandpiper-Plover, Rufous-throated Dipper, Tawny-throated Dotterel, Puna Rhea, Ornate, Andean and Elegant Crested- Tinamous, Least and Gray-breasted Seedsnipes, Chaco Owl, Montane Forest Screech-Owl, Scissor-tailed Nightjar, tons of Andean Condors, Red-tailed Comets, Wedge-tailed and White-sided Hillstars, 17 species of ducks, 37 of ovenbirds, colorful finches (including sierra-finches, warbling-finches, yellowfinches, etc.), Giant Coot, 4 species of toucan, and all the Northwest Argentina endemics. It was simply superb; I hope we can match this next year but the bar is quite high now.