January 13, 2015, Buenos Aires, Argentina -- I had half a day this morning in Santiago before my short flight to Buenos Aires, so Fred Homer and I visited a mostly evaporated wetland behind a brickworks for a couple of hours at sunrise. We scraped up a few new birds: Black-headed Duck, Burrowing Owl, Harris's Hawk, Cinnamon Teal, Cattle Egret, White-faced Ibis, Cinereous Harrier, and Grassland Yellow-Finch, bumping my overall tally to an even 200 species. We saw lots of other birds, too, and it was a great spot to hang out, but we found nothing else new--I've nearly exhausted the birds of central Chile in the past three days! (Not literally, of course.)
So, this afternoon, I left Santiago in a contrail, and soon landed in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Marcelo Gavensky (a youngish local birder) and his friend Martin (who volunteered to come along as our driver) were waiting when I arrived. The three of us are planning to spend the next two days in the Entre Rios province of Argentina, about 200 kilometers north of Buenos Aires. We got stuck at the airport, though--the car rental agency won't hand over our keys without a certain type of credit card on file to secure a warranty, even though the car has been prepaid. They won't accept any of our half-dozen different cards or take cash! After a couple hours of negotiations about this, we ended up waiting for a friend of Marcelo's to drive 40 minutes to the airport so we could use his card as collateral insurance. "Welcome to Argentina!" Martin says, with a smile.
It looks like another late night and early morning, but I'm amped for the next 48 hours--the bird list for this region is mouthwatering. Assuming we figure out the transport, tomorrow is going to be a long, productive, amazing day.
New birds today: 8
Year list: 200