Sunday, April 10, 2011

Yerba Loca Nature Reserve

In the mountains just out of Santiago on the way to the ski slopes is Yerba Loca Nature Reserve, a beautiful reserve encompassing a long valley ascending through the mountains. It super close to Santiago and easy to get to even if you don't have a car. It took me only 30 minutes to get to the entrance on a bus and then a taxi. My visit only lasted 5 hours, but was able to see 26 species.
We chose the trail that goes to Condor Plateau. My first surprise was a Crag Chilia in a dry creekbed. Soon after a small flock of Gray-headed Sierra finches perched close by and were kind enough to let us take a few photos.
The resounding call of the Mustached Turca fills the valley with powerful descending notes giving the place a great vibe. Mixed flocks of Mourning Sierra-Finch, Band-tailed Sierra-Finch and Rufous-collared Sparrow scrambled about beside the path. Within the first hour of walking I already had seen three endemics: Chilean Mockingbird, Crag Chilia and Chilean Tinamou. Plus the scenery is quite spectacular. So all in all this site is great place to visit on a short trip to Santiago or if you don't have access to a car.

Santiago covered in clouds
Crag Chilia

Gray-headed Sierra-Finch

- Chilean Tinamou
- California Quail
- Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle
- Harris's Hawk
- American Kestrel
- Eared Dove
- Green-backed Firecrown
- Striped Woodpecker
- Chilean Flicker
- Crag Chilia
- Buff-winged Cinclodes
- Gray-flanked Cinclodes
- Moustached Turca
- Tufted Tit-Tyrant
- Fire-eyed Diucon
- House Wren
- Austral Trush
- Chilean Mockingbird
- Gray-hooded Sierra-Finch
- Band-tailed Sierra-Finch
- Common Diuca-Finch
- Rufous-collared Sparrow
- Long-tailed Meadowlark
- Austral Blackbird


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  2. Fascinating, thanks for sharing.