23 June 2018

Ushuaia, southern Argentina

23rd to 28th March 2018

Having booked the “Atlantic Odyssey 2018” voyage we returned to Ushuaia again.


Hotel Tolkeyen, where we stayed


Chilean Skuas - Stercorarius chilensis

We had two four-hour sessions by boat in the Beagle channel.  A variety of boats large and small are available to take visitors sightseeing along what must be one of the most picturesque bodies of water in the world.

One of the faster catamarans

We had opted for a slower, smaller boat;- “El Che” - with a view to photographing Magellanic Diving-Petrels, but saw none.  

"El Che" seafront office

Instead there were plenty of other things to look at. 

Imperial Shag - Phalacrocorax atriceps

Imperial Shag - Phalacrocorax atriceps

South American Terns - Sterna hirundinacea

South American Tern - Sterna hirundinacea

South American Sea Lion

Humpback Whale fluke - too close !

Tour boat near Les Eclaireurs lighthouse

South American Sea Lion

Magellanic Penguin (juv) - Spheniscus magellanicus

Southern Giant-Petrel - Macronectes giganteus

Chilean Skua - Stercorarius chilensis

Black-browed Albatross - Thalassarche melanophris

Southern Fulmar - Fulmarus glacialoides

Blackish Cinclodes - Cinclodes antarcticus

We had a couple of hours at Ushuaia’s rubbish dump east of town, where White-throated Caracaras topped our list of sought-after birds.  This is an easy trip by taxi or hired car.

White-throated Caracara - Phalcoboenus albogularis

Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle - Geranoaetus melanoleucus

Southern Caracara - Caracara plancus

Our excursion to Garibaldi Pass for White-bellied Seedsnipe was unsuccessful, despite Steve Smith’s thorough directions.  

Seedsnipe habitat....


An afternoon in Tierra Del Fuego National Park was memorable for clear weather and stunning scenery, as well as some good birds.

Tierra Del Fuego National Park

View across Beagle channel from the NP



Flightless Steamer Ducks - Tachyeres pteneres

Grey-flanked Cinclodes - Cinclodes oustaleti




Magellanic Woodpecker - Campephilus magellanicus

Magellanic Woodpecker - Campephilus magellanicus

A well-spent few days to get over our jet lag, and to ready ourselves for boarding the ship. 

Sorry about all the CAPITALS - I don't know how blogger has done that......




12 March 2018

In praise of - Oriental Pratincole (Glareola maldivarum)

In spring, Oriental Pratincoles pass through Hong Kong between the end of February and mid-May. A couple of days ago, I had the luck to come across a pond with twenty or more of these birds wheeling around taking insects in the late afternoon sunshine.

In flight they are surprisingly erratic - at least that's my excuse for not getting more shots in focus.

The low sun angle made it possible to appreciate the cinnamon-coloured underwing lining of this species.

Oriental Pratincole - Glareola maldivarum

Oriental Pratincole - Glareola maldivarum

Oriental Pratincole - Glareola maldivarum

Oriental Pratincole - Glareola maldivarum

Oriental Pratincole - Glareola maldivarum

Oriental Pratincole - Glareola maldivarum

Oriental Pratincole - Glareola maldivarum

Oriental Pratincole - Glareola maldivarum

Oriental Pratincole - Glareola maldivarum

Oriental Pratincole - Glareola maldivarum

Oriental Pratincole - Glareola maldivarum

Oriental Pratincole - Glareola maldivarum

A wader that flies like a swallow - what's not to like ?


3 March 2018

Southern Ecuador

It's lucky that this blog isn't read for its topicality.

Here are some shots from the final leg of our South America trip, in southern Ecuador, back in November 2017.

We booked through Mindo Bird Tours, and the three reserves we visited are operated by the Jocotoco Foundation.

Accommodation was simple but comfortable, and profits are ploughed back into buying more habitat and educational programmes.

White-tailed Jay - Cyanocorax mystacalis
Our first stop was Urraca Lodge, inside Jorube Reserve.  A dry forest site at the southern end of Ecuador with Peru visible to the south.

Dining Area, Urraca Lodge
Blackish-headed Spinetail - Sinallaxis tithys

Pale-browed Tinamou - Crypturellus transfasciatus

Our next stop was Umbrellabird Lodge, Buenaventura.   These photos were all taken from the lodge viewing deck !

Long-wattled Umbrellabird - Cephalopterus penduliger

Black-and-White Owl - Ciccaba nigrolineata

Chestnut-mandibled Toucan - Ramphastos swainsonii

And finally to Casa Simpson Lodge, in Tapichalaca, adjacent to Ecuador's Podocarpus National Park.

Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanager - Dubusia taeniata

Chestnut-naped Antpitta - Grallaria nuchalis

Casa Simpson blends in with its' surroundings.

Casa Simpson


This is the view of the lowlands from along the thirty-minute walk to the Antpitta site...


The world-famous Jocotoco Antpittas are well-worth a birders' pilgrimage to go and see them. They are charismatic, handsome and touchingly confiding.

It's remarkable to think that they were unknown to science until well into the 1990s.

Jocotoco Antpitta - Grallaria ridgelyi
Birding can bring so many surprises.