I had beed put in contact with Mark Pearman by Paul Smith with a view to having a days birding searching for some of the more difficult species in the area. Mark came to live in Argentina twenty-five years ago and is a respected ornithologist and tour guide. Anita and I were picked up from our hotel at seven and the race was on to get out of the city before the traffic chaos began.
Prior to the trip I had sent Mark a list of birds that were lifers and he had memorised this giving me a likely hit list for the day. The target bird of the day was to be the Red and White Crake which is a tricky species to see!
We made our way to Punta Lara a nature reserve which as well as acres of prime wetland featured a graveyard for stolen / wrecked cars. The early morning start also added an eerie mist which lurked between patches of reeds.
A Bar-winged Cinclodes was the first lifer on the list followed by a Spectacled Tyrant that showed amazing white wings when in flight. Freckled-breasted Thornbird, Sulphur-bearded Spinetail, Spix’s Spinetail and Long-tailed Reed-finch were soon added to this rapidly growing list.
A pair of White-tipped Plantcutter showed complete contrast in plumage between the male and female who traded places as they watched our every move.
As we reached a taller area of reeds the target for this area a Curve-billed Reedhaunter wasted no time in announcing itself posing for pictures in the thick reeds.
We made of way through a small wooded area which seemed quiet and then viewed the River Plate which had numerous Brown-hooded and the odd Kelp Gull. It also had what was to be the bonus bird of the day a Spot-winged Pigeon which seemed to amuse Mark as I ticked this bird and ran!