Before we began doing our godwit surveys, we had to have a little fun. Before leaving Chiloe, we went to the Puñihuil Penguinera, a famous penguin colony known for harboring both Magellanic (Spheniscus magellanicus) and Humboldt Penguins (S. humboldti).
Views of and around the Puñihuil Penguinera.
Magellanic (above) and Humboldt Penguins (below) in the penguin breeding colony off of Chiloe
One of the coolest "geese" in the world... the Kelp Goose (Chloephaga hybrida). Above, three young birds. Below, an adult female with a Humboldt Penguin staring on.
Some other cool sightings around the Puñihuil Penguinera included, but were not limited to: Red-legged Cormorants (Phalacrocorax gaimardi) (above); Marine Otter (Lontra felina) (second); Flightless Steamer Duck female and chicks (third); and Blackish Oystercatcher (Haematopodus ater) (below)
Before leaving the island of Chiloe, we saw some beautiful scenery on the island...
...and some awesome birds to boot...
Out of focus picture of a Thorn-tailed Rayadito, an awesome Furnariid that is a cross between a Brown Creeper and a chickadee in behavior
Black-necked Swans (Cygnus melancoryphus)
A pair of Ausral Pygmy Owls (Glaucidium nanum)
The ever present Chimango Caracara (Milvago chimango), the crow of Chile (above), and the Southern Caracara (Caracara plancus) (below)
A flock of several thousand Hudsonian Godwits
Black-faced Ibis (Theristicus melanopis), an ever present, and noisy addition to the Chilean avifauna
Slender-billed Parakeets (Enicognathus leptorhynchus), one of the most awesome birds around Chiloe
A cute family group of Flightless Steamer Ducks
Black-chinned Siskin (Spinus barbata)
Chilean Flamingos (Phoenicoptera chilensis)
Coscoroba Swan (Coscoroba coscoroba) - these birds, while superficially very similar to swans, but may not be closely related to swans
By far, the most stunning place for godwits was a place called Chamisa, which was a huge mudflat on the outskirts of Puerto Montt. This is a location that on a normal year holds roughly 6,000 godwits, and ~1,000 Whimbrels. This year, however was special, and Nate and I counted roughly 9,000 godwits! We are not entirely sure why this was, but it was incredible to see so many godwits in one place.
The extensive mudlfats at Chamisa, with many algae collectors.
A large flock of hundreds of Hudsonian Godwits
A large feeding flock of Hudsonian Godwits, Surfbirds, and gulls.
When we were done with our godwit surveys, we had one full day to ourselves. Never having been to South America, I wanted to see as many different habitats as possible, as well as a chance to see a Magellanic Woodpecker (Campephilus magellanicus). That meant getting up in elevation and into some good forest. We decided to go to Parque Nacional Puyehue, in the foothills of the Andes. We chose this particular site because it had easy access to high elevation habitats. Needless to say , it was an amazing place, with many cool birds, but no big woodpeckers.
A fast flowing mountain stream... that can only mean one thing...
...Torrent Ducks (Merganetta armata)!!!!
The inside of an old, volcano crater
Dark-faced Ground Tyrant (Muscisaxicola maclovianus), a bird more like a thrush or pipit than a flycatcher
Bar-winged Cinclodes (Cinclodes fuscus)
A view of the Andes from the top of a volcano
All in all, my trip to Chile was amazing, and I certainly learned a lot. I hope you've enjoyed my posts about my trip. It was an incredible opportunity, and awesome to see and study Hudsonian Godwits on their wintering grounds.