Winery Birds

When you go to wineries in California they invariably have a winery dog – some old dog that lays around the gift shop right in everybody’s way.  In fact, there are picture books of winery dogs available at those same gift shops (usually placed on the counter between you and the dog laying on the floor).  In Argentina I was much more interested in the winery birds.

After a one-nightstand in Uspallata, we spent the next two nights at the Salentein Winery Lodge.  The lodge only had 10 rooms and aside from our group, there was only one or two other guests staying there.  Karen and I had a very big room which came with a complimentary bottle of Salentein’s great Malbec wine.  We arrived at the lodge at dusk and we were entertained by a pair of Fork-tailed Flycatchers making big loops over the vineyard, snatching bugs out of the air (alas it was too dark for pics).  After settling into our rooms we all met at the restaurant for a five-course meal paired with five different Salentein wines.

Early the next morning we took a bird walk on the grounds behind the lodge; the terrain reminded me of the Texas scrublands with low bushes and scruffy plants scattered across the ground.  The birds were sparse but we were able to get good looks at a Chiguano Thrush perched up on a telephone line.


The White-tipped Plantcutter is known for using its blunt beak to gnaw off the stem of a plant and then feeding on the leaves and/or flowers.


The Chaco Earthcreeper has a disproportionately long bill to forage for insects and grasshoppers on the ground.


We had our best looks yet of a Golden-billed Saltator on the Salentein grounds, as it sang away on a high perch.


I was hoping to get some better looks of the Fork-tailed Flycatcher and I was not disappointed.  Just look at how long its tail is compared to the length of the body!  Also note the golden strip going down the length of its crown.


I had to get a BIF shot of this unusual bird and an opportunity came a day or two later.  I tracked this on as it glided through the trees.


More birds from Argentina coming soon!


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