Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

November 27, 2010

Entre Rios Birds

Filed under: South America — Tags: , , — admin @ 1:05 pm

Gualeguaychu Birds

Last evening I went for a walk over to the other side of the river at Gualeguaychu in Entre Rios, Argentina. I was not intending to take any photos of birds, but happened to walk past this duck pond where there some birds that came close enough to get a shot on my point and shoot camera.

The Black-necked Swan is closely related to the Black Swan (Cygnus atratus) of Australasia. It is found in southern South America, in Chile and Argentina and is partly migratory with some birds wintering in Paraguay and southern Brazil.

Black-necked Swan
Black- necked Swan (Cygnus melancoryphus)

There were a few of these little ducks swimming around quite close to the shore, so I managed to get off a pretty dirty photo. I had a good look on Arthur Grossets website but I could not identify this one. Do you know what it is¿ I have a feeling that it might be some kind of hybrid/domestic variation.

ID required
Ringed Teal (Callonetta leucophrys)

This tree was on an island in the middle of the pond and it was absolutely full of what looked like egrets and some kind of cormorant. I could not see close enough to tell what they were exactly.

Tree full of Cormorants and Egrets
A tree full of Cormorants and Egrets

Thanks to

November 3, 2010

Puno Birding

Filed under: South America — Tags: , , — admin @ 5:06 pm

Birds of Puno, Lake Titicaca, Peru

Last night I went down to the waterfront at Puno to see what birds I could find. I wandered off along the lake from the port area towards the south. There were lots of these Yellow-winged Blackbirds flying in and out of the reeds and feeding on the mud-flats before the lake. I could not find much evidence of their yellow patches on their wings. I am thinking it might be a breeding plumage thing.

Yellow-winged Blackbird
Yellow-winged Blackbird (male) (Angelaius thilius)

And here is the female. The female has quite a lot of streaking on the belly and front.

Yellow-winged Blackbird
Yellow-winged Blackbird (female) (Angelaius thilius)

The other bird I saw on the mud-flats was the White-winged Cinclodes. I had seen similar to this bird on the Bolivian side of the lake at Copacabana.

White-winged Cinclodes
White-winged Cinclodes (Cinclodes atacamensis)

At first I thought this Plumbeous Rail was an Andean Moorhean, but the bill was too long and not stumpy enough. The Plumbeous Rail is distributed from Peru across to Brazil and down to Tierra del Fuego. They like marshes and ponds surrounded by dense vegetation.

Plumbeous Rail
Plumbeous Rail (Pardirallus sanguinolentus)

The Greater Yellowlegs breeds in the boreal forsts of Canada and Alaska and migrate to the USA and South America. They eat mainly insects and small fish.

Greater Yellowlegs
Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleauca)

The Puna Ibis is a member of the Threskiornithidae family of Ibises. They are found in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, and Peru. Its natural habitat is swamps.

Puna Ibis
Puna Ibis – Yanavico – (Plegadis ridgwayi)

Other birds I saw were the Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus), Speckled Teal, Andean Gull and Puna Teal.

Puno bird list

Common Moorhen
White-winged Cinclodes
Speckled Teal
Andean Gull
Ywllow-winged Blackbird
Puna Ibis
Puna Teal
Greater Yellowlegs
Plumbeous Rail

October 25, 2010

Lobitos, North Peru 3

Filed under: South America — Tags: , , , — admin @ 12:52 pm

More Lobitos Surf and Birds

Los Lobitos tube, Northern Peru

I really like this photo

This guy is as deep as you can get and still be seen

Something different

Some green water for a change


Oasis hummingbird
Oasis Hummingbird

ID required
Cinereous Finch (Piezorhina cinerea)

October 9, 2010

Lima Birds

Filed under: South America — Tags: , , — admin @ 2:20 am

Birds of Lima, Peru

Ater Paracas, I caught the bus to Lima and got a bed in a hostel in Barranco, Lima, which is on the beach. These photos were taken from the roof of the hostel over the two days that I was staying there. I was quite surprised by the number of birds that were around the city.

Black Vulture
Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus)

There were lots of Black Vultures flying about overhead in Lima. It is quite a daunting experience, especially if you are not used to having vultures wheeling over you.

Black Vulture
Black Vulture

I really like the flaming red background on this photo. There was a plot of land below that was covered in red flowers.

Croaking Ground-Dove
Croaking Ground-Dove (Columbina cruziana)

The Croaking Ground-doves were coming onto the roof of the hostel where I was taking the photos. They were really close and allowed me to get this great shot.
Croaking Ground-Dove
Croaking Ground-dove

Tropical Kingbird (Tyrannus melancholicus) has a range from Arizona to central Argentina. They are widespread, common and adaptable.

Tropical Kingbird
Tropical Kingbird (Tyrannus melancholicus)

The Bananaquit (Coereba flaveloa pacifica) is a small nectar-eating bird that is found in the warmer parts of the Americas and is fairly common.

Bananaquit (Coereba flaveloa pacifica)

The other birds that I saw were the Rufous-collared Sparrow, House Sparrow and Pacific Dove. After Lima, I caught the all-day bus to Trujillo and arrived in Huanchaco about 11 in the night. Today I went for my first surf in Peru, but my surfboard is too small for me. doh! Tomorrow I am going to try and swap it or rent a bigger board and then head for Chicama.

October 7, 2010

Birds of Islas Ballestas, Peru

Filed under: South America — Tags: , , — admin @ 4:29 am

Islas Ballestas Birds

Inca Tern
Zarcillo (Larosterna inca) – Inca Tern.

Inca Tern
Inca Tern

Peruvian Pelican
Peruvian Pelican (Pelecanus thagus)

Guanay Cormorant
Guanay Cormorant (Phalacrocorax bougainvillii)

Red-legged Cormorant
Chuita – Red-legged Cormorant (Phalacrocorax gaimardi)

Humboldt Penguin
Humboldt Penguin

sea-lion cub.
Sea-lion cub

October 6, 2010

Paracas National Reserve Birding

Filed under: South America — Tags: , , — admin @ 2:43 pm

Paracas Nature Reserve

The Paracas National Reserve is located in Ica province of southern Peru. It is a peninsular which juts out into the cold Pacific Ocean but is a desert. It hardly every rains here and the land has remained constant for 45 million years. There is no river or creeks or flash floods to erode the landscape, so it stays pretty much the same except for the effects of the wind.

id required. nfi

The Atacama Desert of Peru butts right up against the ocean and there is only any life at the edge of the ocean, where you will find hordes of birds and a few lizards.

Peruvian Booby
Peruvian Booby (Sula variegata) – Piquero

Turkey Vulture
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)

American Oystercatcher
American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus)

Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius)

Hudsonian Whimbrel
Hudsonian Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus hudsonicus)


El Chaco, Paracas NP

Filed under: South America — Tags: , , — admin @ 3:44 am

El Chaco Birding.

El chaco is the town and port at the entrance to Paracas Nature Reserve in Southern Peru. This morning after I arrived here, I went for a walk along the beach front and photographed heaps of new birds. It is quite remarkable here. There are birds everywhere. I will probably only stay here two days but you could easily spend a week or so here, the bird life is so rich and diverse.

Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)

Belcher’s Gull juveniles have a dark brown hood and breast with pale fringes to the upperparts. They are very similar to the southern Australian Pacific Gull, which I thought they were at first. And also, they are very similar to the Kelp Gull. They have many names and have gone through a few splits. I think the official name now is Belcher’s Gull. They were also know as Band-tailed Gull and Peruvian Gull. In Spanish, they are called La Gaviota Peruana. This juvenile was picking around in the rubbish tip near the beach. There were quite a few birds there having a scrounge.

Belcher's Gull
Belcher’s Gull (Larus belcheri), juvenile

Pacific Dove (Zenaida meloda)

Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)

American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus)

Hudsonian Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus hudsonicus) in flight


Grey Gull (Larus modestus), Gaviota garuma

List of birds usually seen in this area

Inca Tern
Black and American Oystercatchers
Band-tailed Gull
Humboldt Penguin
Guanay Cormorant – black and white
Chuita Cormorant – greyish – Red-legged Cormorant Phalacrocorax gaimardi
Peruvian Booby
Chilean Flamingo
Franklin’s Gull (Larus pipixcan)- Gaviota de Franklin
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura), Jote de cabeza colorado, Redhead gallinazo.

October 2, 2010

Bird of Lake Titicaca, Bolivia

Filed under: South America — Tags: , — admin @ 3:14 am

Copacabana and Isla del Sol, Bolivia.

The Puna Teal is found on the Andean altiplano. Its Chilean name is Pato puna. They have a black cap that extends to below the eyes. Their lower face and neck are creamy white.

Puna Teal
Puna Teal (Anas puna)

Andean Cooot. The Chilean name is Tagua andina. It is found mainly in altitudes from 2100 to 4700 meters from Colombia to North-west Argentina.

Andean Coot
Andean Coot (Fulica ardesiaca)

The Andean Gull (Larus serranus) is found on high altitude lakes. They are very similar to the Brown-hooded Gull, which I thought they were until I read the literature. In flight it shows a distinctive white patch on the primaries. In non-breeding plumage the head is white with a spot behind the eye. The Chilean name is Gaviota andina. (Photo to come)

Speckled Teal
Speckled Teal

Bare-faced Ground-dove (Metriopelia ceciliae). Chilean name: Tórtolita boliviana.

Bare-faced Ground-dove
Bare-faced Ground-dove

I am pretty sure that I have also seen the Black-hooded Sierra-finch (Phrygilus atriceps) in Patagonia, but there is another similar bird, so I could be wrong about that one. doh! Chilean name: Cometocino del norte.

Black-hooded Sierra-finch
Black-hooded Sierra-finch

The next few birds are from Isla del Sol, on Lake Titicaca. I am not sure about this one. I think it could be just a common sparrow but have not had time to check.

id needed
ID needed

There were heaps of pigs on the beach and this one was getting a bit ahead of himself, I reckon.

um, rude photo.
Miss Piggy and suitor

The Andean Lapwing (Vanellus resplendens) is found high in the Andes, generally in puna wetlands and water ways. The Chilean name is Queltehue de la Puna.

Andean Lapwing
Andean Lapwing (Vanellus resplendens)

White-winged Cinclodes (Cinclodes atacamensis). Chilean name: Churrete de alas blancas

White-winged Cinclodes
White-winged Cinclodes(Cinclodes atacamensis)

Thanks to Arthur Grossets website on South American birds for the invaluable help in identifying these birds.

September 23, 2010

Finally Get To Salta

Filed under: South America — Tags: , — admin @ 10:36 pm

It’s a long way to Salta

I finally made it to Salta in North-west Argentina. I made a massive misculation on the buses and it was a 2 day bus ride and not one. I should have stopped in Mendoza for a night and broken the journey up into two stages. I misread the times on the schedules and thought I would be there the next morning. The first night I was freaking out because we were in Neuquen and it was like 2 in the morning and I am thinking I am going to miss my 11pm bus from Mendoza. I cannot believe the number of bus terminals I have been to in the past two days. They are just a blur. You even have to pay to go the toilets at the terminals. You give the attendant 50 centavos and they give you this great chunk of toilet paper. In one toilet they put kerosene in the piss troughs. That was a nice smell. Although it is a bit of a toss-up between the smell of stale urine and kerosene.

Salta, North-west Argentina

Ha ha that digression was funny. How very rude! I ended up in Mendoza the next morning and only had a two hour wait in the terminal for the next overnight bus. I spent the time at a cafe using their Wi-Fi and trying to rearrange all my hostel bookings. The country really changed north of Mendoza around near La Rioja. It is very dry and desert-like. It reminds me of the Australian outback, similar to the Wimmera or Mallee country. There are low bushes and very stumpy trees and they stretch for miles and miles. I would hate to get lost in that country. It seems very harsh and unforgiving. We had some rain during the night Catamarca way and today it is overcast and quite muggy.

I got a taxi to the Hostel La Salamanca and it only cost 5 pesos. Its only about three or four blocks from the bus terminal. As soon as I checked in I hit the sack for a snooze. A shower was even better and then I went for a walk to Centro. North-west Argentina is heaps different from Patagonia. I think I am starting to see the real South America. Patagonia and Buenos Aires are so European. Salta Centro is very busy with heaps of shops. I strayed into a market and got accosted by hawkers wanting me to buy some of their stuff. I was not used to that. I must learn how to deal with that sort of thing again.

I was hearing a few birds from my window so I got out the camera and took some photos of some swallows wheeling about over-head. I do not know what sort they are yet. I have to look on the internet to get an identification. They look pretty similar to our Australian swallows, but. Blasted WiFi keeps cutting out on me. Will have to do it later. I finally got some internet connection and it seems to be a Blue-and white Swallow which has a Spanish name of Golondrina Barranquera.

Blue-and-white Swallow
Blue-and-white Swallow (Pygochelidon cyanoleuca)

I went for a walk in the park and saw heaps of sparrows, and then heard a Great Kiskadee and tracked him down. I had been hearing one all the time in my room but I had failed to connect the dots. A Southern Crested Caracara flew past and landed in a tree. I think I had seen him earlier wheeling overhead. There were heaps of raptors on the road on the buses the last hop – mainly Chimangos, Andean Condors and probably American Kestrels. I even saw a caracara by the road.

After a walk around the park, I went for a ride on a gondola up a mountain. I was hoping to see some birds up there, but the bush had been burnt out and was looking really sparse. Anyway, I was too tired to enjoy being a tourist and just went through the motions. There is a photo of the city I took from the gondola up the page somewhere.

Salta bird list

Great Kiskadee
House Sparrow
Southern Crested Caracara
Blue-and-white Swallow
Eared Dove

September 13, 2010

Birding at Arroyo Esquel

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Arroyo Esquel Birding.

This morning I took off birding instead of skiing. I thought it might have been too icy up the mountain but it turned out all right. But anyway, I had a great day photographing birds and found lots of new ones. As soon as I crossed the street I spotted a Shiny Cowbird up in a tree near a house. I then walked along the train line to the Arroyo Esquel and headed up-stream. There were a couple of Teros at the start and also an Eared Dove having a feed on the grass.

Further up the creek, I spotted some Teros hassling a pair of Brown-hooded Gulls and about 3 Speckled Teals. The Spanish name for the Speckled Teal is Pato Barcino.

Speckled Teal
Speckled Teal (Anas flavirostris)

I went further up the valley and followed some birds up the hill where I spotted a few Long-tailed Meadowlarks. Their Spanish name is Loica Común.

Long-tailed Meadowlark
Long-tailed Meadowlark (Sturnella loyca)

I think this one is a young bird or a female.

Long-tailed Meadowlark
Long-tailed Meadowlark

There was a Grey-hooded Sierra-finch up the hill as well. The Spanish name for them is Comesebo Andino.

Gray-hooded Sierra-Finch
Gray-hooded Sierra-Finch (Phrygilus gayi) .

I think this bird is a House Wren, but I am not really positive about it. The Spanish name is Ratona Común.

House Wren
House Wren (Troglodytes aedon)

Here is a Chilean Flicker and the spanish name is Carpintero Pitio. It is funny how the woodpeckers are called Carpinteros which means carpenter. I guess it makes sense, because they are both working on the wood.

Chilean Flicker
Chilean Flicker (Colaptes pitius)

There were a few Austral Thrush up the hill as well. I came down and followed the creek back to the road and then followed the train line for a while until I spotted an American Kestrel flying past.

American Kestrel
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)

He flew past and settled on the top of a branch. The spanish name for the American Kestrel is Halconcito Colorado.

American Kestrel
Haloncito Colorado

I managed to slowly walk up to him and he did not get spooked at all.

American Kestrel
American Kestrel

And at the end of my walk a flock of about ten Black-chinned Siskin flew out of the bushes next to the train track and settled on a bunch of bushes. The spanish name for them is Cabecitanegra Austral.

Black-chinned Siskin
Black-skinned Siskin(Carduelis barbata)

Arroyo Esquel bird list 12/9/2010

Shiny Cowbird
Eared Dove
Speckled Teal
Southern Lapwing
Brown-hooded Gull
Long-tailed Meadowlark
Gray-hooded Sierra-finch
House Wren
Chilean Flicker
Austral Thrush
American Kestrel
Black-chinned Siskin

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