Remembering to a fabulous birding in a fabulous Chilean forest

Just weeks before I make all my bird images retired, I found one of the crappiest bird image I have ever taken on a fantastic bird species. Here is a very short story of that birding moment back from 2005.

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Araucaria is an Andean pine tree species which was typical at the edge of the Nahuelbuta National Park. © György Szimuly

I travelled to Chile in November 2005 with a very good birding friend of mine, Zoltán Ecsedi. Zoli is an awesome birder with lots of knowledge on birds and conservation as well as guiding. One of our target was to find two excellent tapaculo species in the Nahuelbuta National Park, central Chile on the last day of November. The beautiful park hold several good bird species but the main target was to find the Des Murs’s Wiretail, the spectacular Black-throated Huet-huet and the Chucao Tapaculo.

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Fabulous mossy forest in the Nehuelbuta National Park, c Chile. © György Szimuly

The trail to the best spots run through an Araucaria forest. We felt we were on a time travel. The whole are with this forest looked so ancient and remote. When the habitat turned into a beautiful mossy forest we thought we are closing the spot where we can see the birds. As usual for every tapaculos it was extremely hard to locate them in the dense undergrowth. Sometimes we felt they were calling from the canopy but in the next seconds they called from the ground. Finally the Black-throated Huet-huet provided an excellent view for minutes in the bush just next to the trail. Not far from this spot a Chucao Tapaculo called and suddenly jumped on a dead trunk in a very dark part of the trail. I fired my camera but the result was far from pleasant. Anyway I took a few frames just for remembering those moments.

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Chucao Tapaculo (Scelorchilus rubecula) was showing well for a short time for the camera. © György Szimuly

Hardest of all the three targets was the wiretail. This bird behaved like a mouse. There were several attempts to find it in the dense bamboo-like thin grass but we had no chance until it popped out from the vegetation to a dry stick. It was one of the most challenging birding ever.

Other birds seen in the National park was Red-backed Hawk, Southern Caracara, Eared Dove, Austral Parakeet, Green-backed Firecrown, Magellanic Woodpecker, Chilean Flicker, Dark-bellied Cinclodes, White-throated Treerunner, Thorn-tailed Rayadito, Des Murs’s Wiretail, Black-throated Huet-huet, Chucao Tapaculo, Ochre-flanked Tapaculo, Fire-eyed Diucon, White-crested Elaenia, Chilean Swallow, House Wren, Austral Thrush, Long-tailed Meadowlark, Patagonian Sierra-Finch, Common Diuca-Finch, Rufous-collared Sparrow.

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