7 Feb 2024

Antarctic Expedition. Part 1. Buenos Aries

In 1982, whilst still at University,I applied for and was accepted to join the British Antarctic Survey as an ornithologist. Unfortunately I never go there as Argentina invaded the Falkland's and all BAS staff were returned home. I ended up working in Finland instead before moving back to the UK and meeting my future lovely wife! There was a silver lining after all. I've been harbouring a wish to visit the frozen continent for many years and finally decided to book up to go on an 18 day cruise with Oceanwide Expeditions on the MV Plancius sailing out of Ushuaia. Firstly though I had to get there! 

Taking advice from friends who'd done the trip in previous years I flew from Manchester to Heathrow and then onto Buenos Aries where  I spent the night before flying south to Ushuaia. Unbelievably Steve Griffin, who I first met on the Shetlands, was doing the same trip but on the sister ship the Ortelius. He was imbedded in a tour group with Naturetrek and they were leaving Ushuaia the day before I was. We were on the same flight and I'd arranged to stay at the same hotel so we could catch up later. 

The Hotel Madero was walking distance from the Reserva Ecologica Costanera Sur which provided us wit ha good introduction to Argentinian bird life! Steves group had an informal walk arranged around the reserve and I was able to tag along. 

I hadn't allowed for the fact that Buenos Aries is blisteringly hot during their summer and only had clothes suitable for cooler climates sos I was sweltering by the time we'd walked the short distance from the hotel to the reserve.

It was a great few hours and we managed to see 53 species of which 47 were new to me! 

Black and Rufous Warbling Finch

Brown-breasted martin

Chalk- browed Mockingbird

Chivi Vireo

Rofous-collared Sparrpw

Double-collared Seedeater

Golden-billed Saltator

Greater Kiskadee

Greyish Baywing


Narrow-billed Woodcreeper

Rufous Hornero

Saffron Finch

Monk Parakeet

Red-crested Cardinal

Southern Screamer

Tropical Parula

Wattled Jacana

Yellow-billed Cardinal

After having very little sleep on the plane I was knackered. The combination of tiredness and heat took it out of me so after returning to the hotel and having a well earned shower I joined Steve in the bar for a couple of beers and some food before hitting my bed! Tomorrow was going to be another day of travel in which I had to again negotiate with robbing taxi drivers to get to the domestic airport before my flight to Ushuaia.

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