November 5, 2018
(Later that day)
The motorway went south through the pampas, flat and agricultural. We stopped a few times beside the highway to check out interesting birds; at one point we stopped suddenly and backed up to see a Chiloe Wigeon which Tom had spotted in a roadside pond. We arrived in San Clemente del Tuyú at about 7:30 pm. We checked into the Morales Hotel and got settled into our room.
Soon we all went out to look for a dinner place. But San Clemente is a beach holiday town, so in spring there wasn’t much open. Finally we found a Middle Eastern restaurant, where a lot of us had shawarmas.
November 6, 2018
This morning we were up at 5:30 am and on the road by 6 am, so that we could look for the birds which were most active in the early morning. We were looking for marsh birds, which was hard because they were small birds which were usually partly hidden in the vegetation.
The Warbling Doradito was the first one that we found. There were a lot of others, but the prize-winner was the Dot-winged Crake. Even Tom had never seen one before. But not only did we see one, we saw it crossing the road. Twice. And it had three chicks which crossed the road along with it. All of this was just about unprecedented!
We had breakfast back at the hotel at 8 am and then headed out to Punta Rasa to check out the gulls and terns and shorebirds. There was a great variety of all of them and we spent quite a while looking at American Golden-Plovers to see if any of them were Black-bellied Plovers. (They weren’t.)
We ended up by visiting a grassy area behind a military radar station before heading for lunch near the marina. The two of us ordered some kind of fish, and it was huge!
Late in the afternoon we went up to a reserve just outside of the town. It was very windy so we didn’t see all of the birds we hoped to see. It wasn’t all wasted, though, because there were Correndera Pipits flying and singing. But as we returned to the van we met two park rangers who told us that the area was closed to the public. Fortunately they were very nice about it as they escorted us out.
For dinner the group found a pizza restaurant open. The two of us weren’t very hungry so we just ordered a small pizza to share. Even that was too much. But at least it was good pizza, better than the mediocre pizzas we’d had so far in Argentina.
November 7, 2018
We were on the road at 6 am again to drive to Punta Rasa, and on the way there we saw mostly the same birds as we did yesterday. But there were a few new birds today.
We had breakfast at the hotel and then loaded up the van. We stopped at the reserve we’d been thrown out of yesterday but this time we stayed outside the locked gate. This time, though, we did find the Wren-like Rushbird there and Rosemary spotted a tinamou way down the path which turned out to be a Spotted Nothura.
Now our time in San Clemente was over and we were moving on. But first we had to stop in Buenos Aires so that Richard could pick up his temporary passport. The drive to the embassy was mostly clear sailing except for one small section which was total chaos, and we arrived there at 2:15 pm. Richard got his passport with no problems and we carried on to the town of Campana.
Next: Campana and Otamendi