Birding Trip Reports & Customer Comments
Birding Trip Reports
Bauke Kortleve (September 2017)
From 9 till 13 September 2017 I booked a birding trip with Albatross Birding. The trip consisted of 5 days birding central Chile in the Santiago Región Metropolitana and Valparaíso regions, including a Pelagic trip from Valparaíso. In total we observed 148 species (including 128 lifers for me) and we observed all the target species. There were many highlights: The pelagic trip with excellent views of Northern Royal Albatross, Salvin's Albatross, Slender-billed Prion and many more pelagic species. The marine otters observed from the coast were fantastic! Also the great views of the usually very difficult Black Rail were another highlight. We observed all 7 central chilean endemics including brilliant views of Moustached Turca and Chilean Tinamou. The El Yeso trip was a wonderful experience with the gorgeous Diademed Sandpiper Plovers and singing and displaying Grey-Breasted Seedsnipes around. The picknick in the high Andes was a great experience!
To get an impression see my pictures on:
Everything was perfectly organized by the Albatross birding team. Fernando Díaz was my guide and he is very experienced, enthousiastic and great company. It's also great that he and his team are involved in many research and conservation projects for birds like the Diademed Sandpiper Plover. I can highly recommend Albatross birding to everyone who wants a first class birding experience!
Bauke Kortleve, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Gillian Matthew (February 2017)
Thank you for an awesome day's birding in the high Andes' Yeso Valley yesterday, Fernando Díaz. The birds especially the Diadem Sandpiper-Plover were amazing, and the scenery was surreal. It seems almost unbelievable it was so fantastic. I will be back for more. You are a wonderful guide!
Robert and Susie Falkner (January 2017)
Greetings from La Paz…..
Thank you Fred for organising this trip for me, and thank you Eduardo for a wonderful time in Chile and for producing such a great report. Susie and I so much enjoyed our time with you – she’ll never become a true birder, but you have inspired her to get much better at photographing birds and animals.
I still haven’t seen the Magellanic Woodpecker, that damned Tapaculo, a few penguins and the Red-legged Owl , so maybe we’ll be back in the not too distant future to enjoy more Chilean hospitality
Carl Chapman (January 2017)
It would be unfair not to mention the great time we had with Fernando Medrano last weekend. What a great birder he is. You are very lucky to have him at Albatross Birding.
Not only did he see to it that we saw key species but he also gave us help with travel and accommodation and was always a true gentleman.
We had a great time!
J and M Roberts, (November/December 2016)
Thank you all for a tour which we both enjoyed to the full. No major issues arose!
‘highlights’ to mention here! The Flickr albums at:
... give a good illustration of the many of the highlights.
The itinerary organised with Fred worked well. As Fred was in England at the time we were making the plans, we were able to speak conveniently on the telephone at a time to suit both parties. All the items which we suggested as desiderata were included, and we were very well
pleased with the areas we visited.
We had a very enjoyable time with Rodrigo, and we are very grateful to him for the huge input that he made in terms of the planning and execution, the driving and guiding, the bird-finding, etc.,etc., and the information provided, etc. We would be delighted to travel again with Rodrigo!
We had a great time with Marcela. We enjoyed her guiding, and made good use of her knowledge, particularly of the plants. Her driver was also excellent.
We had a superb day with Fernando Díaz into the Farellones area, enjoyed his company, and his bird-finding abilities!
The trackers and guides at Torres del Paine were uniformly excellent.
Bob Proniewych (November 2016)
"Thanks for the trip report I will have to download and print it out so I can have a hardcopy to look over.
Fernando Medrano and I had a really great trip. I so hope he did to. Haha.
He did get a lifer. The White-throated Hawk. The accommodations were great, the food delicious and more then enough, the weather and scenery the best, but most importantly, the guide Fernando not only is a great birder, he even hears the birds unlike me who is a visual birder, but was great company also. If and when you see him send my regards. I'll have to email him too".
Duncan Ritchie (November 2016)
"Fernando Díaz. I wanted to thank you very much for a wonderful trip. I thought it was excellent. The trip was well organised and you worked so hard to ensure we saw my target birds. Also you were good company (as long as I remembered not to try to eat at the same speed you do!) and I thought we got along very well. It was a pleasure birding with you and I’m sure we shall see each other again. Keep in touch".
Michèle et Jean Malecha (November 2016)
Nous sommes très satisfaits des prestations d'Albatross tant à Santiago le 13 novembre qu'en Patagonie et Terre de Feu. Les trois guides que nous avons eus, Paola, Eduardo et Chris, étaient très compétents et s'assuraient toujours que nous ayons bien vu les différentes espèces rencontrées. Ils étaient en outre très attentifs à notre bien être et ont rendu ce voyage très agréable. Encore un grand merci à tous.
Soyez assuré que nous recommanderons Albatross à nos amis ornithologues".
Bonnie Bedzin (October 2016)
"Fred, and Rodrigo Silva,
Thank you so much for the superb trip report. Right now it is all still so vivid in my mind. But I know that as time goes by I will want to be able to look at the details and here they are!
The four days with Rodrigo were fantastic. I not only got to see our two target tapaculos, but I got my ears tuned in to Chilean birds and had great looks at so many species.
Really, it was everything I had hoped for, plus so much more. On the main trip Alvaro would ask if I had seen this or that bird with Rodrigo--eventually he said, "You had a great trip." I said, "Yes I did."
Cara Borre, Asta Tobiassen& Nicholas Hamill (October 2016)
Thanks again for the great time and expertise with the birds. Rodrigo is a gem! Like a Diademed Sandpiper-Plover!
Greg Johnson (October 2016)
"Fred and Fernando Díaz,
Just wanted to let you know we had a fantastic 2 days birding with you guys! Fernando is a great birder and Edwin was also very helpful. We saw much more than we had hoped for. Also really appreciate your change in the coast birding route to show us the Humboldt penguins. We also saw the Inca terns which was another species high on my list".
Mary Trevor and Toni Kaus (September 2016)
It was a wonderful day, all that I hoped for. Thanks for persisting on the tinimou. All the walks were fun and gave Toni and me the chance to really be in the Andes. Hope tour next group is fun, and that you get to southwestetn US someday. Again, thanks for a great day".
Rosemary and Paul (September 2016)
"Dear Fernando Díaz
Thanks you so much for a really wonderful trip, superb scenary, good food and lots of really special birds. We enjoyed every minute of it.
All the best for you own birding adventures".
John and Bronwen Collen (September 2016)
"Many thanks for the report, which does indeed bring back good memories. We had a great day, the weather and birds cooperated, and Eduardo was a very pleasant and knowledgeable guide. In fact, it's hard to see how it could have been improved - it doesn't come much better than a fresh fish lunch at the coast with Peruvian boobies overhead and a seaside cinclodes on the rocks alongside!"
Arjan Dwarshuis - The Biggest year (August 2016)
"I had a fantastic time in Central Chile with Fernando Diaz from Albatross Birding. For my record breaking Biggest Year we tracked down all the specialties in a single day, an amazing score. Since we had done so well on that first day Fernando proved his flexibility by taking me 500 kilometers South to the northern edge of the Patagonian Forest to look for amazing birds like the Des Mur's Wiretail, the Chestnut-throated Huet-Huet and de Chucau Tapaculo. For me the Tapaculos were the highlight of the trip with 7 species of 4 different genera. For anyone planning a trip to Chile, Fernando is your man and Albatross Birding your company! Thanks for a fantastic trip"!
Marge Anderson (August 2016)
I can't thank you enough for the AWESOME birding experience in the Andes. My Facebook friends are jealous!
I really appreciate the extra care you took to capture even the most evasive species. You're a great guide".
Bill Hildebrandt and Mabel Quinto (August 2016)
"My wife Mabel and I enjoyed the day birding with our guide, Fernando Díaz at La Campana National Park. We saw all of our target birds endemic to Chile in a most beautiful habitat, while seeing Chilean Palms in their natural habitat. It was a most satisfying day with an excellent guide. We highly recommend booking with Albatross Birding and Nature Tours".
Keith Reid and Alek Terauds (May 2016)
"Gracias Fernando Díaz!
If you want to go birding with a professional birder then Fernando is your man. For this day trip we left it completely up to Fernando and it was great; his birding knowledge, enthusiasm and packed lunch preparation are all quite fantastic. The perfect antidote to sitting in a meeting all week".
Dotty Calabrese and Donna Clarke (February 2016)
"Thank you so much Eduardo for the wonderful day of birding in the Valparaiso/Santiago area. The list is great! We enjoyed it so much. Your special attention to the lunch and snacks was also greatly appreciated! You are an excellent guide.
Ian Reid (January 2016)
"Rodrigo thanks for the help with ID of the raptor. And thanks again for an excellent day. Fabulous to see so much in such spectacular scenery and in such good company. I do hope we can bird together on some future occasion.
Jay Zahner (January 2016)
"I would be remiss if I did not write to tell you of our great satisfaction with Paola. She provided us with a very complete and thorough day of birding. Her knowledge of the birds was extensive. In addition, she is an excellent auditory birder- something which I, with diminished hearing, decidedly am not. Finally, and best of all, Paola is a very nice person who gave us a great day regardless of our birding success. Many thanks to her and to you".
Jay Pruett (Jenuary 2016)
"It was wonderful birding with Fernando Dáaz and seeing all of the avian treasures that you have there in Central Chile. It was also good to hear about the great conservation work being done by you and others to help assure that those same bird species will still be around for birders to see 100 years from now".
Tim Shelmerdine (December 2015)
"Thank you, Fred, for setting me up with this trip and a great guide. I could not be happier with Albatross Tours. Rodrigo Silva was knowledgeable, personable and communicative the entire three days we were birding together. He put me on great birds -- he may or may not tell you we had amazing views of White-throated Tapaculo, Dusky Tapaculo, Chilean Tinamou (minutes out in the open), and Diademed Sandpiper-Piper (3). And we enjoyed very good views of many more. My time with Rodrigo was more like birding with a friend than a guide.
You can count me as a very satisfied customer, and I hope circumstances allow me to book another tour with you again soon.
All the best,
Don Brown (December 2015)
"Rodrigo and Paola did very good work for me. I wish to thank them and also communicate a personal message to each of them. Thank you also, for the excellent planning and execution of my time in the Santiago area".
Debbie and Joe Hilaire (Central Chile, November 2015)
"From the moment we stepped off the plane in Chile, Albatross Birding tours took over and provided us with an exceptional birding experience. Fernando Diaz was brilliant, taking care of us with confidence and skill. From the hotels, to the food and transportation, all was of a very high standard. The scenery and wines of Chile were the icing on the cake. Each day brought new and fantastic birds, never missing any, and that is because of local guides and companies like Albatross. I have found over the years that my best birding experiences have been with the people who live and bird these places every day. You cannot go wrong by choosing an outfit like Albatross Birding and a guide like Fernando.
I could not have asked for more".
Rachel Lawson (November 2015)
"I just got back to Seattle, and I want to let you know how much I enjoyed my day with Paola Soublette. She is an excellent and knowledgeable guide, and very congenial company. I will not hesitate to recommend her and Albatross Birding to friends that are traveling to Chile. Thanks so much for your help in arranging this day for Faye and me. We had a great time!"
Linley and Roger McGlashan (October 2015)
"It was early in 2015 when I first contacted Albatross Birding, to arrange a short birding trip within Chile. Over the next few months emails passed back and forth between Fred Homer and myself, as we fine tuned the arrangments, finally settling on four days centred on Santiago. I was put in touch with Fernando Diaz, who was to be our guide, for the final details as to locations, species etc. Unfortunately, I was never able to meet Fred, though I did enjoy his emails.
We, my wife and I, first met Fernando on the 5th of October, and for the next four days spent a most interesting and rewarding time in his company.
Locations that we birded include The Farellones (Andes), Lampa/Batuco Marshes, La Campana National Park, and on our last day the Maipo Estuary, finally being delivered to Vina del Mar at our request. Not only was Fernando an excellent Bird Guide, but was good company, and always happy to provide us
with insights into Chile and its people. His SUV was well maintained, and driven with consideration for his passengers.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Fernando, amd Fred, for a once in a lifetime experience, and reccommend them, and Albatross, to anyone considering birding in Chile"
Nick Shoemaker (May 2015)
On my second day in South America, I was lucky enough to join a birding tour with Santiago’s finest bird guide. Thanks to some very lucky last-minute logistical magic and the fantastic response time of Fred Homer of Albatross Birding and Nature Tours, I got to spend a day searching for Chilean endemic species in the mountains above Santiago. Along with two other birders from the UK and Australia, I was picked up an hour before sunrise by Fernando Diaz – Chilean bird guide extraordinaire. Fernando is among the foremost birders in Chile, and his passion is evident in his work!
The day’s itinerary saw us work our way up the Andes from Santiago to Valle Nevado at 3000m (~10,000ft). Nearly every bird I saw was new to me (a ‘lifer’ in bird lingo). At Valle Nevado we came nearly beak-to-face with a lazy congregation of Andean Condors. With a ten foot wingspan and a life expectancy of fifty or more years, these are quite the impressive animals!
Derek and Elizabeth Rogers (February 2015)
"We knew Albatross Birding and Nature Tours was a good outfit when their team immediately responded to our query while planning our trip to Chile. Their Team (Thanks Fred!) was tremendously helpful in answering our questions, talking logistics and providing us with good options and ideas for our trip. Having a communicative and personable company representative is extremely important to us, especially when traveling to an unfamiliar part of the world. We eventually settled on a day trip to the El Yeso Valley for the one day that we spent in the Santiago area. The trip exceeded our expectations and our guide Fernando Diaz was the reason the trip was so successful. Fun, friendly and knowledgeable, Fernando took us under his wing for an unforgettable day of birding in the valley. We managed all of our target species, and more. What’s also appealing is that the guides at Albatross play an active role in bird conservation and are some of the leading experts on Chile’s avifauna. So if you are looking for a communicative, efficient and knowledgeable company you can’t go wrong with Albatross.”
Lana Batts (February 2015)
"We had a great day with Rodrigo -- he was outstanding and so patient….. Already the envy of the Montana Audubon. So well worth it".
Marie Carr (November 2014)
"This Trip report is a fabulous document to have. Since I've never gone on a bird trip like this before, I have nothing to compare it to, but it's a great souvenir for me. Thanks for your amazing attention to detail and the 5 Star experience! I hope to go on another Albatross trip again sometime. Please pass my compliments and great appreciation on to Fernando. That guy is the most patient person I have ever met! : )
Linda and Bill Macaulay (October 2014)
"We had a wonderful trip to Central Chile with Fred. He is very knowledgeable about the birds, habitats and the country. Fred knows the locations for all of the birds, makes fabulous picnic lunches, and finds the most scenic places to eat them. And he is great company. We have seen a lot of birds but walking up to a pair Diademed Sandpiper Plovers with a nest in an incredibly scenic area was very special. Fred and Heraldo managed to get us views of every Tapaculo in the country with good views of all of them! We had amazing views of the Huet-Huets. We highly recommend birding in Chile and with Albatross Birding & Nature Tours!"
Malcolm and Trish Lund (November 2014)
Just wanted to let you know we had a great time out with Daniel today. The sites were all very kind to us, and we ended up with 60+ species on the day. Very enjoyable, and Daniel was great".
Martin Sharp (November 2014)
Once again many thanks for 2 thoroughly enjoyable days of birding. Beautiful places, great birds and excellent company. Couldn't have hoped for a better experience.
All the best !
Anne Carrick (December 2014)
"As to birding with Paola on Friday, it was fabulous! Paola is a very pleasant person, and a very knowledgeable guide, and I had excellent views of moustached turca, condor, variable hawk and mountain caracara. Also very good views of mourning, band-tailed and grey-hooded sierra-finch and brief views of white sided hillstar and giant hummingbird. Total of 31 species. A bonus was very good view of a habituated culpeo fox on the way back down the mountain. . I also got great photos of a number of birds".
Ian Darling, Central Chile (January 2014)
I would like to thank you very much for giving me such an enjoyable and memorable weeks birding. Your knowledge and company was a delight as was your willingness to do the driving! I could not have asked for a better week particularly finishing with the pelagic!
with kindest regards!".
Jill Dening (December 2013)
"We did all enjoy the time we spent together, very very much. Fantastic scenery, fantastic birds, fantastic company. And we hope there will be more of it one day. You opened so many doors for us by virtue of your explanations and your understanding of the language. These doors would have been closed to us had we been alone. Words of gratitude and appreciation are insufficient".
Anne Whitehouse (May 2013)
"In three days with Fred in Central Chile we had some of the most memorable experiences of the whole trip. We saw Chile's only eagle, Humboldt penguins at a little-known nesting site, the charismatic Spectacled Tyrant, the Plumbeous Rail with its extraordinary green beak, the graceful White-backed Stilt and the tiny Many-coloured Rush Tyrant– amongst many many more".
Ron and Judye Morris, day trip around Santiago (March 2012)
"I wanted to thank Fernando for an excellent birding trip. The endemic quest itinerary was very good for what we wanted to see. We found his identification skills outstanding as well as his skill in finding the birds and putting us on them. We appreciate that he was sensitive to what we wanted to accomplish on the trip and worked with us to meet these goals. His personable and professional attitude contributed to making this an excellent trip. Please feel free to use this on your website. I highly recommend your services to anyone wishing to bird the Santiago area. I just hope that you will have time for another tour the next time we come to Santiago!".
Bruce Watson, day trip around Santiago (March 2012)
"I went on a one day trip out of Santiago with Fernando as my guide. We were birding at the first hint of light at the foot of the Andes. We saw many birds there including the Chilean Tinamou and Mockingbird. As we moved higher up the mountain, we saw Crag Chilia, White Throated Tapaculo and Andean Condor first soaring above us and later circling below us. We left the Andes for the Lampas wetlands where we saw many species including the South American Painted Snipe and Many-colored Rush Tyrant. We identified 66 species of birds in a few hours. Fernando was a fabulous guide with great knowledge of the birds of the area, where to find them and how to entice them to put on a show. I highly recommend Fernando as a guide".
Barbara and Ger Trask, a week around Santiago (January 2012)
"Ger and I wanted to thank you again for a wonderful week of birding in Chile. Feña has outstanding skills as a birder and was a wonderful companion throughout. We also appreciated his knowledge of the Chilean flora! Our favorite places, as you might imagine, were El Yeso, Lircay NP, and Yerba Loca, but we wouldn't have wanted to miss the lowlands or the Farellones route or the excitement of the pelagic trip. The balance of ecosystems and the order of the excursions was perfect. Our final species tally was 149, of which 42 were lifers for both of us! Among our many favorites were the Diademed Sandpiper-Plover in its spectacular and unique habitat, our successful sloshing hunt for the beautiful South American Painted-Snipe, the up-close-and-personal views of so many Andean condors where skiers will be congregating next winter, the enormous and graceful Albatrosses (both Royal and Salvin's) especially when contrasted with the bouncy, fluttery little Wilson's Storm-Petrels, the surprise appearance of the humpback whale, the multiple great sightings of the Chestnut-Throated Huet-Huet, the Moustached Turca climbing up to take a cocky stance on its perch, the beautiful and charming Chucao Tapacoulo and Crag Chilia, the remarkable tail of the cute little Desmur's Wiretail, the indefatigable call of the petite, mousy Dusky Tapacoulo (I counted 165 repeats in just one recording session!), the many nuanced versions of your Ground-Tyrants, the agitated crowd of immature Many-Colored Rush-Tyrants, the Gray-Breasted Seedsnipe with its day-old chicks, the close-up views of the nesting Black-Winged Ground-Dove with its sweet orange teardrop, the raucous flocks of Burrowing Parakeets, and the hammering trio of Magellanic Woodpeckers. And I haven't even mentioned the owls and flushed nightjars!
It was truly a great trip. Thank you both for organizing it and making it so fun and memorable!".
Phil Gunson, day trip around Santiago (October 2011)
"I am just writing to say that I very much enjoyed my day out in Chile with Fernando and my British compatriots. Fernando is an excellent guide and very good company, and he did a great job of finding us the species we were looking for and identifying them with speed and accuracy. I was particularly happy that we were able to see Chilean Tinamou, Rufous-tailed Plantcutter, Crag Chilia and Dusky-tailed Canastero. I don't know when I will next be in Chile, but I will certainly be in contact with you if a trip does come up, so I can enjoy some more of the country's wonderful birdlife".
Philip and Mey Critchlow, Chile (2009), SE Brazil (2011) and N Peru (2011)
"Fabrice Schmitt is an extremely competent birding guide, for beginner or expert. He has a detailed knowledge of birds, their behavior and in which habitat individual species are likely to be found. He knows specific locations for the more sought after species. He recognizes the songs and calls and his hearing is superb. His eyes miss nothing. Above all, he is persistent, painstaking and determined to locate an individual bird if at all possible. He is friendly and dedicated to making your trip a success and enjoyable.
We have now had Fabrice as guide in Chile, SE Brazil and N Peru. In addition, he has led trips to Argentina, other areas of Peru, Columbia and Bolivia. You could not ask for a better leader than Fabrice anywhere in South America".
Jonathan Franzen, Central Chile (January 2011)
"Fabrice is not merely one of Chile's top birders and bird-conservation activists, nor merely a tireless and congenial finder of every species on a visiting birder's target list. He's also the kind of bird guide who can really make things happen-- conjure up wonderful surprises in seemingly unpromising circumstances. I highly recommend him".
Mike Danzenbaker and Lee Hung, Chile (Oct-Nov. 2010)
"Fabrice is a very knowledgeable and personable birding guide and we thoroughly enjoyed our time with him. He has a comprehensive knowledge of Chile’s birds and where and how to find them. He also is very familiar with the country’s other fauna and flora, and has many insights into its culture. It’s going to take quite a while to go through all the photos; Fabrice has a good understanding of the needs of a photographer. We wouldn’t hesitate to go birding with him again in Chile, or elsewhere in South America".