Sunday 11th November. Out of sequence I know but I couldn’t resist this post. Having made a quicker than anticipated recovery from the wedding celebrations we managed a trip up to the ski resort above Santiago on Saturday afternoon and today we’ve been up the Yeso valley on what Joe described as the ‘traditional excursion to dip on Diademed Sandpiper-Plover’! Expectations were pretty low once we managed to navigate our way out of Santiago and up the road to the ski resorts of Farellones and El Colorado…. just an opportunity to blow out the cob-webs (or in my case, see off a whiskey induced hang-over!) However, in the space of a couple of hours we’d seen a superb cast of High Andean species including Magellanic Horned Owl, Yellow-rumped Siskin, Greater Yellow Finch, Black-fronted Ground-Tyrant, Grey-hooded Sierra Finch, Great Shrike Tyrant, Moustached Turca, Crag Chilia, White-sided Hillstar, Andean Condor and Aplamado Falcon. Today, our last day in Chile, we set out to find the legendary El Yeso valley, south east of Santiago – another road which penetrates deep into the High Andes, and reputedly the summer quarters of the mythical Diademed Sandpiper-Plover! After a near-perfect traverse of Santiago, we were climbing the 30k dirt road to the dam by 9.30am. On the way up we met a group of British birders on tour with ‘Ramblers’ and their Chilean bird guide – they were also on a quest for the DSP. The pressure was on. We only had Pearman and a couple of recent trip reports to go on, so we drove to the most likely location, where the inlet stream for the dam flows over wet bog, and commenced our search. Fabulous views of Grey-breasted Seedsnipe were only a temporary distraction and after an hour of searching the tributaries hopes were beginning to wane. I’d just got back to the car for a little light refreshment when there were frantic gesticulations from the Titmans. A rapid yomp across 300m of bog, loosing my sandal in the process, and there in the scope was an unbelievably exquisite Diademed Sandpiper-Plover! Not just one but two with two young chicks for good measure!! Just perfect. And here are the pictures to prove it…. A magnificent Magellanic Horned Owl, found whilst watching an Andean Condor! Greater Yellow Finch – only found in the Andes above 2000m Yellow-rumped Siskin, another High Andean speciality Moustached Turca, a Chilean endemic Crag Chilia, another endemic species Grey-breasted Seedsnipe …and now the one we’d all been waiting for – the mythical, the mysterious, the bloody beautiful Diademed Sandpiper-Plover! and it’s mate. That’s it for now, I’ve run out of internet time. Off to Australia on Monday (arr Tuesday). More blogging from there I hope.
[…] visiting birder, our 2016 itinerary prevented us visiting the most well know and accessible site at El Yeso ( still by no means ‘a walk in the park’ expedition, believe me!) so it was not a bird […]