PO Box 9021, Wilmington, DE 19809, USA
E-mail: font@focusonnature.com
Phone: Toll-free in USA 1-8
 or 302/529-1876


A Focus On Nature Tour


For Birds and Other Nature
 in a Beautiful Country


In Central and Southern Chile
for large and small and unusual birds,
from the sea to the mountains and in between.

Including Chiloe Island

In 2014, to be our 21st year for this tour.

Among the birds: 

Pintados and other Petrels, Albatrosses
(we've seen as many as 9 species), Condors, 
Rayaditos, Negritos, Tapaculos, including a Turca & Huet–huets and a Chilia. 
Also: a Diucon and Diuca-Finches. the Diademed Plover,
 and a number of birds either "Magellanic" or "Austral"

(tours: FON/CH-1 ’16)

January 8-17, 2016

in the Andes, a Pelagic Trip,
& the Lake District & Chiloe Island in Southern Chile

Tour to be led by Armas Hill,
who has birded in Chile many times
since the first of all FONT tours,
which was in Chile in 1990. 


A List & Photo Gallery of Chile Birds, in 2 Parts: 

Part 1: Tinamous to Coots
     Part 2: Thick-knee to Saltator

Chilean Albatrosses & Other Seabirds

Mammals of Chile (with some photos) 

Amphibians & Reptiles in Chile & Argentina

Butterflies in Chile     The Diverse Plant-Life of Chile

Some Highlights from Previous FONT Chile Tours

A Photo Gallery from a Previous FONT Tour
in Central & Southern Chile

A Feature with Some Poems about Birds 
by Pablo Neruda
(with photos)


Itinerary  (prices follow):

Tour CH-1:  in Central & Southern Chile   

Fri: Jan. 8   Arrival in the morning in Santiago, Chile (after overnight flight departing North America, Thu, Jan. 7).  
Birding during the afternoon up in the Andes east of Santiago, where during our first day we could well see Andean Condors and one of the Chilean tapaculos known as the Moustached Turca. in addition to various ground-tyrants and other birds of the mountains including canasteros, miners, and earthcreepers. Overnight in Santiago.  
Also, this day, for those who wish, a visit to a house of the late Pablo Neruda, the Nobel Prize winner who wrote poems about many of Chile's birds. His house and library is close to our hotel. 

An Andean Condor photographed by Alan Brady,
during the first FONT tour in Chile in 1990.

Sat: Jan. 9
   Our birding and exploration, this day, will be in the Andes, a couple hours or so southeast of Santiago. We'll visit in the area of Reservoir el Yeso.  In this area of beautiful scenery, we'll see a number of high Andean birds. Among the birds there, we'll seek the rare and attractive Diademed Plover, that's been seen during 12 FONT tours since 1990. 
Another most-interesting bird in the area is the endemic Crag Chilia a denizen of cliff-sides. On the ground, there will be various ground-tyrants, sierra-finches, and the Gray-breasted Seedsnipe. In the overhead sky, we’re again apt to see large Andean Condors soaring in the thermals. After a full-day of birding, mostly in the mountains, we'll overnight in a setting of hilly Chilean countryside southeast of Santiago.

The area of the Yeso Valley in the Andes in central Chile,
where over the years we've seen the specialty bird
in the photo below, the Diademed Plover.

This Diademed Plover was photographed
by Alan Brady during the first FONT tour,
in Chile in November 1990.

Sun: Jan. 10  More birding, this morning, in the mountains and hills east of Santiago. We'll ascend another road up into the Andes, where we should see more turcas and tyrants, and an assortment of finches and furnarids, in addition to such targets as the Giant Hummingbird, Dusky-tailed Canastero (a Chilean endemic), and maybe Mountain Caracara. More condors may again be seen.
By mid-day, we'll be heading south toward the small Chilean city of Rancagua. East of there, in the afternoon we'll be seeing yet another cast of avian characters, the star of which should be the Burrowing Parakeet. Although it's a parakeet, it's large - as large as small macaw. And it's colorful, with an assortment of colors including yellow, blue, red, olive, gray, and white. And although the species is not endemic to Chile (it is also in parts of Argentina), it is in Chile an endangered subspecies that is very localized. So, a wonderful bird to see, and after we do, we'll overnight in Rancagua.              
Mon: Jan. 11  In the morning, we'll start our drive south, leaving behind the vineyards of central Chile, and heading toward where it's less dry and more green in the regions of Los Rios and Los Lagos, the regions of the rivers and the lakes. The rivers are filled with water from melted snow in the Andes, flowing to the sea. In the area of one of the rivers, the Rio Bio Bio, there is a transition from the native "Mediterranean-type" flora & fauna of Chile to the "Patagonian".
South of the Bio Bio, we'll be visiting this afternoon and the next morning, the national park of Conguillio and the national reserve Malalcaheullo. We'll spend the night at a hotel in the country, nestled between those two places. 
In the region, in addition to an assortment of fine birds, we'll see wonderful forests of Araucaria trees, and scenery more than fine, that's absolutely wonderful, with snow-covered volcanoes having names Llaima and Lonquimay
If we're lucky, after dark, in this area and our next during the tour, we may see a nice mammal, such as a Kodkod (a wild cat) or a Lesser Grison that were seen during our tour, in this region, in November 2011.        

Tue: Jan. 12  After our morning in the areas of Conguillio and Malalcahuello, we'll go a bit further south to the area of another national park, called Puyehue
In this beautiful area of forests and mountains, we should encounter some wonderful wildlife. It's a prime area for various tapaculos (including the Chucao and the Huet-Huet) in addition to an intriguing bird, the Des Mur's Wiretail. Additional birds of note could be the Rufous-tailed Hawk and the Spectacled (or Bronze-winged) Duck. 
Mammals in the area range from the small Monito del Monte to the Puma. The Monito del Monte, a marsupial, is quite interesting as it is the only surviving member of an ancient order of mammals, the Microbiotheria, and it is closely related to the Australasian marsupials. The mammal likes stands of bamboo in the Nothofagus forest where we'll be hearing the echoing, hollow calls of the tapaculos.

Wed:  Jan. 13   We'll go further into one of the most beautiful regions anywhere on earth, the "Lake District", with not just lakes, but with even more striking snow-capped volcanoes, clear rushing streams, and lush green forests. This region is a northern, and forested, part of Patagonia. All of the natural features just mentioned (snow-capped mountain, rushing river, and native forest) occur in the fantastically scenic area of the Vicente Perez Rosales National Park. Our overnight accommodation will near the park, on the shore of Lake Llanquihue, close to forest where birds include the magnificent Magellanic Woodpecker. Nearby, along the river, pairs of Torrent Ducks reside. Often, this time of year, they are seen with their young ducklings. Overnight in Puerto Montt.  

A pair of Torrent Ducks 
photographed by Alan Brady, 
during the November 1990 FONT Chile Tour

Thu: Jan. 14  Not far south of Puerto Montt, we'll be taking an early morning ferry to Chiloe Island
During our previous tours, from that ferry to the island, there were shearwaters, terns, gulls, and pelicans in the sky. In the water, there were sea-lions and penguins propelling in the water close to the boat. 
During one tour, we were fortunate to see a species of storm-petrel said to be new to science.

A Ferry to Chiloe Island
photographed during the FONT Chile Tour in November 2011

Link to information about the  "new storm-petrel" seen from the Chiloe Ferry
during the FONT Chile Tour in December 2009

On Chiloe Island, again, as we have in the past, we'll visit a penguin colony along the seacoast, where two species nest, the Magellanic and the Humboldt Penguins.  
Also at that scenic spot are Rock Cormorants and Imperial Shags, Flightless Steamer-Ducks, and Kelp Geese. An interesting animal also occurs: the Marine Otter, a rare species related to the Sea Otter of North America. All of these we see from a boat close to the cluster of rocky islets where the birds and otter live.
We'll spend the night in that picturesque area of coastal Chiloe Island, to be in position early the next morning for another boat-trip further from shore during which we could see an assortment of seabirds, including hopefully albatrosses of multiple species, and the Blue Whale that occurs in that area during the Austral Summer. 
The Blue Whale is the largest creature on our planet, and it is rare. So, of course, it would be good to see as would be a Royal Albatross with one of the longest wingspans in the world, as wide as 11 feet.

A Blue Whale
(photo by Armas Hill)

Fri: Jan. 15  Most of this day will be spent with more birding and exploration on Chiloe Island, including an area of a national park, where there is a fine indigenous forest. 
In the forest on the island, in the past, we've been treated to male and female Magellanic Woodpeckers
A Chilean endemic, the Slender-billed Parakeet will be conspicuous, as it tends to call loudly as it flies.
When seen well, it's an interesting bird with a long upper bill, and a short lower one. 
On bodies of water, a great bird to see is aptly named the Great Grebe.  
In various habitats, this day we should see a number of birds (including some subspecies endemic to Chiloe). 

Not endemic to Chiloe or Chile, but a seasonal visitor that's on the island in large numbers, is the Hudsonian Godwit. It's interesting that the large number of them there accounts for as many as 25% of the species' total population.

On Chiloe Island, during our tours, we had a "full-deck" of 3 species of oystercatchers: Magellanic, Blackish, and American.  
Chiloe is a rural and tranquil island that's good for birds, with an assortment of habitats. A bird there that particularly deserves mention, as it is a Chiloe namesake, is the Southern Wigeon, that's often called, in the books, the Chiloe Wigeon
We'll have a second overnight on Chiloe Island. 

Sat: Jan. 16  This day we'll be heading north, having again taken an early morning ferry from Chiloe. Mid-day we'll do some birding and have lunch in the riverport city of Valdivia. 
The birding will be in an area of extensive reedbeds and wetlands, where a number of bird species occur including the Cocoi Heron, White-tufted Grebe, Spectacled Tyrant, Yellow-winged Blackbird, but maybe the best of all (and certainly the smallest of them), the colorful Many-colored Rush Tyrant, known in Spanish as the "Siete Colores de la Laguna", the "Seven Colors of the Lake".

Lunch will be seafood (if preferred) by the river. After lunch, there will be a boat-ride in a large area of  wetland that's been a reserve since it was recognized as such by UNESCO in 1981, The reserve has a name, the "Santuario de la Naturaleza Carlos Anwander". The flooded wetland was formed after an earthquake in 1960. During the boat-ride, we should see, as have previously: many Black-necked Swans, ducks, coots, grebes, and colonies of Brown-hooded Gulls and Snowy-crowned Terns.
Afterwards, we'll continue our northward journey, with an overnight at a nice hotel in Los Angeles
This "Los Angeles" is in Chile, but the hotel will be as nice as nearly any in California.                  

Sun: Jan. 17  We continue the final part of our drive north to Santiago, to be at the airport in the evening for the international flights departing Chile (arriving in North America the following morning, Mon, Jan. 18).  


Tour CH-1 (in Central & Southern Chile): 
January 9-18:  
US $2,995 per person.
Single supplement (when available): US $395.

All overnight accommodations.
Ground transportation within Chile. 
Meals: breakfasts & lunches (Jan 9-17)
Services of an expert birding leader, familiar with the birds and the localities.

Does not include:  
Air transportation to/from Chile. 
Drinks and any items of a personal nature. 
Airport taxes. 

A deposit of US $500 is required to reserve a place on this tour