Birdwatching in Esteros del Iberá

Lake Cruise:

One of our highly trained local rangers will sail us across the pristine waters of the Iberá Lake to reach the winding channels formed by the “embalsados” or “floating islands”. These are floating mats of vegetation capable of supporting tall marsh plants, shrubs and even certain trees; where capybaras and marsh deers -most likely ridden by a cattle tyrant- graze peacefully at all times and where the everpresent “yacare caimans” hide awaiting their next catch, close to the bulky odd-looking crested screamer-who obligingly carry out their breeding cycle in full view of the human eye.

This is the perfect habitat too for the myriad of birds that are to be found in this unique environment, where more than 400 species make of the Iberá Marshland their home.

The lagoon is teeming with winged fishermen : the three species of kingfishers, cormorants and anhingas; egrets ,herons and fishing hawks(black collard and great black hawk); snail kites , limpkins, seasonal terns(large-billed and yellow-billed and may be black skimmers)and more. All displaying their various catching techniques right before our eyes. Brazilian ducks, jacanas, giant wood-rails and common gallinules are everpresent, but it is also possible to spot purple, azure and spot-flanked gallinules as well. We will also be defied by the shrilling sounds of different kinds of crakes calling from inside the vegetation thickets.

The profuse reed banks and the colourful water vegetation are the home of other remarkable birds: the scarlet-head blackbird, the white headed marsh tyrant,the yellow-browed tyrant , the yellow billed cardinal ,the black-capped danacobiuos and the many coloured rush tyrant ,amongst many others like an interesting variety of thornbirds, the yellow throated spinetail and the sooty tyrannulet. Each outing offering a new possibility of something exciting to see at any time of day!


Overland Drive:

A coarse farm-road will take our 4 by 4 vehicle through grasslands, ricefields, marshes, open homogeneous woods and the caranday palm tree savanna.

The variety of habitats we will traverse will give us the opportunity for watching a collection of very interesting birds: mixed flocks of white-browed blackbirds, yellow-rumped marshbirds, shiny cowbirds and red-crested cardinals, bands of picui ground-doves, yellow-finches and seed-eaters in the open fields; storks (maguari, wood and an eventual jabiru), herons and egrets (including white-necked, striated, whistling herons, and tiger-bittens), ibises (plumbeous and bare-faced ), ducks (Brazilian, varied whistling ducks, maybe even a muscovy duck) and jacanas in the marshy areas; long-winged and cinereous harriers gliding low over any of the fields.

In fields where the ground is dry, flocks of common rheas are to be seen, and some pair of burrowing owls will make an appearance. Along the road, fence-poles and small trees will serve as watch-outs for the white and the grey monjitas, guira-cuckoos, roadside hawks, chimango and crested caracaras and, quite likely, to a savanna hawk or an aplomado falcon. And walking in front of the car, surely, a spotted tinamou.

As we get-off the vehicle and walk into the ñandubay and palm-tree parkland we shall be met by numerous flickers (field flickers and green-barred woodpecker), and we shall add yellow cardinals, scimitar-billed woodcreepers, brown cacholotes and, maybe, the great horned owl to our list of encounters.

With the help of our friendly local experts we are sure to enlarge our list of birds and make this outing an unforgetable experience .

Forest Trek:

The Iberá Wetlands are dotted about by small hammocks (roundish land-raises) which are covered by a wet forest, that shares many of the traits of the true “rain-forest” yet with a more modest height.

A winding trail takes us into the interior of several of such forest-copses amidst myrtle trees, strangler figs, “ pindó” palms, buttress-rooted “alecrines”, hanging lianas and aerial gardens made of the many epiphytes which carpet every horizontal branch where our walking adventure begins.

Our proficiently trained guide will be very helpful when trying to spot out the many feathered inhabitants of these forests who are more heard than seen, but who often expose themselves at the edges and clearings; like the three grossbeaked saltators, the squirrel-cuckoo, the white-lined and the sayaca tanagers, the blue-billed black-tyrant, the pearly-vented toddy-tyrant, the solitary black and the golden-winged caciques, the becards, the variable antshrike, the tiny and busy fellows such as the masked gnatcatcher, the tropical parula and the white-rimmed warbler, and, attracted by the flowering trees, the hummingbirds (mainly, but not exclusively, the gilded sapphire and the glittering-bellied emerald).

The typical sounds of cooing or wood-hammering will guide us, in the interior of the forest, to the white-tipped dove or the picazuro pigeon or to one of the many woodpeckers (the checkered, the cream-backed, the little or the whitebarred piculet, among others).The noisy plush-crested jay will be calling as if to attract our attention.

Along the path, coming across the timid grey brocket-deer or the nine-banded armadillo is a reasonable probability, and more so detecting, on the trees above us, the resident clan of black howler-monkeys.

On marching from one forest patch to the next, the trail takes us across some stretches of grassland, home of the great pampa-finch and of many other seedeaters .

Now our list will be almost complete as we have covered all the different habitats that this unique land offers to its visitors, ensureing an unmatchable experience.



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