13 Mar 2018

13 Mar 18 - Chile: The El Tatio Geysers

It is worth planning to arrive at the El Tatio geysers from mid-morning onwards. All the tour groups like to leave San Pedro de Atacama before dawn, so that their punters arrive at the geysers at dawn. Supposedly, this is better. But it also means the geysers are filled with lots of visitors. I arriving later in the morning & there were only two other cars there. Clearly, this will be better for Birding, due to the lack of disturbance. Additionally, it was well worth driving along the road to the geysers in the day light, as there were plenty of places that were stopping for Birding. Once I had sorted my permit & my my entrance fee, then I was allowed to have a look around. I quickly found a selection of Sierra-finches around the furthest car park from San Petro de Atacama.
Rufous-naped Ground-tyrant
Rufous-naped Ground-tyrant: They fill the niche in the Andes that Wheatears occupy in the Old World
Rufous-naped Ground-tyrant: Some of the New World Tyrant Flycatchers can be really tedious to look at or have to identify, but I can never say that about one of the Ground-tyrants
Red-backed Sierra-finch: Adult. They occur in the Andes of SW Bolivia, North Chile & NW Argentina
Red-backed Sierra-finch: Adult. They really are a stunning looking Sierra-finch
Red-backed Sierra-finch: Adult
Black-hooded Sierra-finch: Male. With many of the Sierra-finches feeding around the car park, the option of using the car as a hide & an empty car park really helped on this occasion
Black-hooded Sierra-finch: Male
Plumbeous Sierra-finch: Male
Plumbeous Sierra-finch: Female
Ash-breasted Sierra-finch: Female
Having spent some time trying to get some reasonable photos of the Rufous-naped Ground-tyrant & the Sierra-finches, I decided I had better have a look around the geysers as they looked pretty good. With the mountain backdrop & bright sunlight, they were superb. It was even better as there was no problem with other people wanting to get in the backgrounds.
El Tatio geysers
El Tatio geysers
El Tatio geysers
El Tatio geysers: Some were more active than others
El Tatio geysers: The line of rocks indicated the safe approach distance
El Tatio geysers
El Tatio geysers
El Tatio geysers
El Tatio geysers
El Tatio geysers
El Tatio geysers: Some were just minor disturbances in mud puddles
It was now lunchtime & I needed to return to San Pedro de Atacama. It was it going to take me a couple of hours to get back to town, including Birding stops.