Argentina Lunch Spot With Great Birds

February 8, 2024 was a travel day for us during our Foods and Wines of Chile and Argentina tour with Field Guides.  We left the little border town of Uspalatta after breakfast and traveled east toward the Province of Mendoza.  We birded along the way and then came to our lunch spot, the Pueblo Del Rio Mountain Lodge.  I don’t know how our guide Marcello ever found this place, but it had wonderful food and a great variety of birds.  We pulled off the main road and got out of the van on the gravel road that led to the lodge’s restaurant; sometimes we just got off the van and went into the restaurant but this time we birded as we made our way down the road.  In the few minutes it took us to get to the door I picked up three lifers!

The first lifer I saw was a Red-tailed Comet.  This showy hummingbird flew around our heads and perched just long enough for a pic or two.


The next bird we saw was rare – a Steinbach’s Canastero.  When I went to load this picture into eBird I noticed that this species has only been reported 692 times and  120 pictures of it have been submitted (compare this to 21.5 Million reports and 183,300 pictures of the American Robin).  This is one reason why I try to take pictures of as many birds as I can when birding abroad because I feel like I can contribute to the scientific community’s knowledge base when I can share an image like this one of a bird that is rarely seen.


Another Lifer and rarely reported bird we saw there was a Brown-capped Tit-Spinetail.  This bird has a rufous-brown coloration and a long, forked tail.  eBird only had 3282 reports of this bird and this was the 405th image of one submitted.


There were non-Lifer birds along the way as well.  Although very common, this White-crested Elanea posed nicely for me right outside the entrance to the restaurant.


A Rufous Hornero landed just off the driveway.


Perched up in a tree over one of the cabins was a Chimango Caracara.  This large bird of prey was scanning the area below for a quick and easy lunch.  These birds were the most common raptors we saw in Argentina.


We finally made it to the restaurant and Marcello ordered a bottle (or three) of wine (this was the “Birds and Wines” tour).  For my lunch I selected a delicious goat stew.  It was excellent!


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