We have visited Chile in the Chilean spring, a time of activity and rebirth. We have visited the important parts of Chile and we got a very good impression of this country.
We have spent some time in the Santiago region, before flying to Arica in the far north close to the border with Peru and Bolivia. Before going inland to Putre we have explored the coastal region and the Azapa Valley. From Putre, we have visited the Altiplano and have looked around the Chungara Lake at 4.500 m at the foot of the Parinacota Volcano. Spectacular views and interesting birds.
Back to the Santiago region, we travelled to Maipo Valley where we stayed some nights to explore Yeso Valley and other places. We also stayed some nights in Viña del Mar on the coast. From there we visited interesting places like La Campana National Park, Cartagena and Laguna el Peral. Unfortunately, we were not allowed by the Coastal authorities to leave Quintero harbour for a Pelagic trip.
We travelled south to Puerto Montt and did a day trip to the Chiloe Island. The main target was to visit the Penguin Colony at Puñihuil. Here we could get quite close (by boat) to various species of Cormorants and 2 species of Penguin, Humboldt and Magellanic. We also tried to visit the Alerce Andino National Park. Unfortunately, this was closed (unexpected) that day because of a strike of Park Guards.
The last part of this trip we spend in the most southern part of Chile. Our base was Las Arenas and from here we went to Tierra del Fuego by ferry to look for King Penguin. A bit risky because the ferry stops services often when the weather is not good enough. We were delayed on our way back, but finally, we could return to Punta Arenas.
The special highlight of this trip was a visit to Torres del Paine National Park. Again we had spectacular views and saw some great birds. What we missed was to see a Puma in the wild. Lately, we are not very lucky to find and photograph the big cats. Altogether we had a very interesting trip and we could photograph around 200 different birds and various mammals. Chile is a good place to go for photography. In most places, it is possible to get quite close to the birds.
Some photographic highlights were: Driving back from Torres del Paine National Park finding just next to the road a Condor family waiting for some Southern Caracaras to finish with a dead sheep and find and finding the Diademed Sandpiper-Plover sitting on its nest in Yeso Valley