November 11, 2018
Today we were moving on, to the Iberá wetlands, one of Argentina’s premier birding sites. So again the group had breakfast in our room before heading out. We got into the van and headed north along the highway. Most of us fell asleep for a few hours, and when we woke up the highway was only a two-lane road. And then we turned off that onto a smaller road.
We went into the town of Mercedes to get gas for the van. The leaders found a gas station which didn’t look great, and the women had nothing good to say about the toilet. They rated it at -4 out of 10. Since it was lunch time, we looked for a park and Google led us to the Plaza de Mayo. It was a much nicer place, with tall trees and statues. It even had good wi-fi! And Karen found a surprising euphonia in one of the trees.
The road from Mercedes towards Iberá was paved for a while, and then there was construction to extend the paved section. After that it was a good dirt road. We stopped now and then to look for a variety of seedeaters and other birds, including the Strange-tailed Tyrant.
The Aguapé Lodge in Colonia Carlos Pellegrini was a very nice place. We had showers and did some laundry and generally got cleaned up. The lodge’s dinner was very nice as well, with good food and reasonable-sized portions.
November 12, 2018
This morning was a good day for an early-morning walk. We were up at 6 am and went over to the boardwalk by the park interpretive centre. Today there were a lot of birds, including several species of seedeater on the reeds offshore alone. And there were very few mosquitoes, too. (Although we had been told that we weren’t at risk from malaria anywhere in Argentina.)
After breakfast we all drove down the road about 50 kilometers to the hosteria at Rincón del Socorro. They were supposed to have a species of bird which is endangered because of being collected for the caged-bird industry. Tom tipped the staff and they allowed us to wander their grounds.
We wandered the grounds for a while, finding cool-looking Lark-like Brushrunners. And then Karen found one of our endangered birds, in a tree which we’d just been looking in!
The grounds of the hosteria were amazing. There were capybaras all down the four-kilometer entrance road, rheas all around the building, and other animals and birds all around.
On the way back to Carlos Pellegrini, Paul spotted a Jabiru in a field beside the road. How it was that nobody else in the van saw a giant stork right next to the road, that’s hard to explain. But Dylan backed the van up and there it was.
Then we had the afternoon off to catch up with photos and paperwork, and at 5:30 pm we went out for a two-hour boat tip around the lagoon. It was an interesting way to see the marsh wildlife and our driver knew a fair amount about the birds of the area. And luckily the weather was fine with no wind!
Next: Rincón del Socorro