We picked up the car on Friday, March 8 and went exploring north of town. We drove 3 ½ hours on a very winding road which had one birding highlight – a roadside lake with a few species including an Andean Gull. Our destination was Purnamarca - a touristy little town with lots of handicrafts imported from Peru as well as nice views of some colorful hills. While the others enjoyed a leisurely lunch, I went in search of birds and was pleased to find a Blue-capped Puffleg. After lunch, we continued to the small town of Tilarca where there are some pre-Inca ruins. I took a quick look at the ruins but was distracted by the birds. A female Red-tailed Comet (it would have been nice to see the male with its long tail) landed nearby and there were a couple of Chiguanco Thrushes in the bushes.
|Quebrada de las Conchas|
|Burrowing Parrots (this photo taken in Talampaya; at Quilmes Ruins, parrots had dark bellies)|
|Canyon in Talampaya National Park|
|Rainbow Canyon in Talampay National Park|
The drive to Mendoza was through desert with very few birds – occasional vultures and caracas were the only birds to be seen. In Mendoza, we have been concentrating on the wine though I did see a Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle on this morning’s city tour.