Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Laguna Nimez Nature Reserve, El Calafate, Argentina

Laguna Nimez Nature Reserve, El Calafate
There's nothing quite as frustrating to a photographer as being unable to take photos when the opportunity arises. That's how I felt on our first day when we walked through the bird refuge in El Calafate. I saw new and fabulous birds at every turn in that park, but, as you may recall from a previous post, the wind was so strong that I could barely hold my small point and shoot camera up to my eyes to take the photos, let alone bring out the big telephoto lens. So I hoped and hoped that we would be able to fit in another visit under better circumstances. We lucked out on our last day in El Calafate. The weather was sunny and clear with little wind and we had a few hours before our flight, so we spent a nice couple of hours walking the refuge and making amends for the first day. I was in heaven! The refuge is a real gem. It is located on the edge of Lago Argentino, just a few blocks from downtown in El Calafate. It was very inexpensive ($10 pesos, or about $2 dollars), and yet provided some of the better opportunities to view wildlife that we saw on this leg of the trip. There are well marked trails with excellent signs identifying birds and plants, several bird blinds at the edges of the lagoon, and enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff. They even loan binoculars!
Bird ID's

Plant ID's
The trails take you through marshland, lagoon, dune, lake, and dry grassy steppe habitat. We used their  informative brochure (in English!) for the self-guided tour. We saw ducks, geese, raptors and small songbirds, as well as flamingoes, swans, gulls and ibises. I could have spent all day there, but we had to leave for our next adventure. However, we packed a lot of bird watching into those few hours! Here's just a sampling of what we saw.

Chilean Flamingos against the Mountains

Southern Lapwing

Crested Duck

Black Faced Ibis

Long-tailed Meadowlark

Rufous-backed Negrito

Red-gartered Coot and Chicks

Andean Ruddy Duck

Cinereous Harrier

Chimango Caracara

Upland Goose Family

Spectacled Tyrant

Patagonian Mockingbird

Correndera Pipit

Did I Mention Chilean Flamingos? 
For more views of birds from this preserve, as well as other birds of Argentina, use this link to my Smugmug photo website.

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