10 Jan 2023

10 Jan 23 - Argentina - Heading Back To Buenos Aires

After an early morning look around Mar Chiquita, I left the small town & took the longer coastal route up to the outer part of the Rio de la Plata coastline, before heading West along the coast to Buenos Aires. Invariably, there were a few roadside stops along the way. The first planned stop was some wet pools by the side of the small Villa Gesell flying club, where there had been an old eBird record of South American Painted Snipe. Although I failed to see a South American Painted Snipe, visiting historic sites allowed me to spent time in some good Birding locations.
Chiloe Wigeon: This monotypic species occurs in the South of South America & the Falkland Islands
Chiloe Wigeon: With a Red-fronted Coot in the background
The ponds were quickly checked as they weren't that extensive. I was back in the car & heading North again to another road heading inland towards the Pinamar airport. There were more roadside pools to check, as well as, some interesting marshy fields. There was a good selection of species: but they were generally species I had already seen in the previous two days.
Southern Screamer: This monotypic species occurs from the wet lowlands of South East Peru to South Brazil & North Argentina
Rufescent Tiger Heron: This is the marmoratum subspecies which occurs from central Bolivia to East Brazil & North East Argentina
Ovenbird Nest: A number of the Ovenbird family make these impressive mud nests. This one looks like it could be a Rufous Hornero nest
The first of a number of signs about the Falklands: I'm writing this Blog Post just after Argentina has elected a new populist President: who soon after being elected was making unilateral statements about Argentina's ownership of the Falklands. The next few years might be rocky between the UK and Argentina
It was time to move on again. The next stop was an estuary at General Lavalle, followed by stops at a number of interesting roadside wet areas on the main road to the West of the town.
Maguari Stork: This monotypic species occurs on the tropical plains & marshes to the East of the Andes
Maguari Stork
The next and last Birding spot for the day was a return visit to the impressive wetland area of San Miguel del Monte on the edge of Buenos Aires. I had spent several hours checking this great-looking area two days early. I hoped that if I stayed till dusk on this visit, that there might be more chance of seeing the South American Painted Snipe that had been seen after Christmas. It wasn't to be, but it's difficult to know if this had been a chance sighting or there was one hanging around, but nobody had looked for it since.
Roseate Spoonbill: This monotypic species occurs from the Southern United States & West Indies to Brazil & North Argentina
South American Snipe: This is the nominate paraguaiae subspecies which occurs from East Colombia to the Guianas, Brazil & North Argentina
South American Snipe: This will be a bonus Tick when I convert my World List to using IOC taxonomy, as the IOC splits the two South American Snipe subspecies as Pantanal Snipe & Magellanic Snipe. I had only seen Magellanic Snipe on previous visits to South America
South American Snipe
I had a lunchtime flight the following day to Ushuaia. It would have been tight to have a final look around San Miguel del Monte the following morning & ensure I could make the flight. Therefore, I decided to drive to the other Buenos Aires wetland of Laguna San Vincente, as it was closer to the airport: albeit it was still one hour of driving to get there. I arrived well after dark and found what I thought was a quiet, dark side street to park the car for the evening. Unfortunately, it wasn't quiet enough & I was awaken at 02:00 in the morning to explain in my limited Spanish, what I was doing there to a couple of local cops. Explanations over, I was allowed to go back to sleep in the car. I had an hour of Birding at the Laguna the following morning, before I left for the airport. It had been a good mini-break with about one hundred species seen in the three days on coastal side of Buenos Aires.
The view at dusk from the bedsit
It was an uneventful flight and after a thirty minutes wait, a lady showed up with the hire car I had booked for the two days around Ushuaia. It took some time that evening to find the self-contained studio flat that I was renting, but I finally found it. It would have been easier to find a hotel. However, I was also doing my best to minimise my socialising with other people, as the last thing I wanted to do was to catch C19 and not be allowed onto the Falklands, South Georgia & Antarctica cruise.