Sunday 26 February 2023

Heading East Across The Chaco

I’ve written about the Chaco region before – that vast dry, scrubby area south of the Amazon which happens to cover much of central and northern Argentina. Laura and I had skirted the edge of the Chaco earlier in the trip, including near Laguna Salinas Grande and in the Salta area. But now that we had finished in the northwest, our route would take us eastwards through the heart of the Chaco. Awaiting us on the other side were the lush, humid environs of Misiones province in the far northeast of Argentina, an area characterized as Atlantic rainforest. But before that, we spent a few days traversing the Chaco and looking for some of its endemic wildlife. 

January 29, 2023 (continued)

We left Parque Nacional Calilegua by the late morning and spent most of the day driving south and then east. We weren’t sure how far we would make it, but in the end, we drove all the way to the town of Taco Pozo. Along the way, we broke up the drive with a brief stop near General Güemes during the hottest part of the early afternoon. We followed a road that penetrated some nice Chaco scrub south of town. 

We would have loved to spend a morning here. Alas, that wasn’t possible, and the overpriced and run-down accommodations in General Güemes made that decision easy for us. But our brief foray down the road produced several sightings of Cinereous Tyrant, an uncommon flycatcher that can be tricky to find in the Chaco. We also spotted a Red-legged Seriema on the way out, though the hoped-for Black-legged Seriema was a no-show. Of course, that wasn’t a big surprise given the time of day and the brief duration of our visit. 

Cinereous Tyrant (male) - General Güemes area, Salta, Argentina

It was late in the afternoon when we pulled into Taco Pozo and we easily found accommodations at a basic motel in town. The room was simple but the price was right. Since sunset was not forecast until after 8 PM, I had some time to do some exploring before dark. Laura stayed back at the hotel; the temperatures were, after all, in the mid-30s. 

My evening wanderings were initially unproductive, in part due to the quality of the roads. While the day had been hot and sunny, previous rains had encouraged the creation of deep ruts, some of which were impassible with my small car. Other roads were still flooded. 

I wasted most of the remaining daylight with these dead ends. In the end, I parked just off the highway west of town and clambered through a makeshift landfill towards a dirt road that ran to the north. While birding data for Taco Pozo is relatively limited, I had read about this particular road from previous trip reports. My friends Adam Timpf and David Bell had explored here during their visit in 2016, too. I spent the last hour of light walking briskly up this road, trying to make up as much ground before the sun set. 

Unidentified millipede - Taco Pozo, Chaco, Argentina

None of my main target birds cooperated (Quebracho Crested-Tinamou, Black-legged Seriema, Black-bodied Woodpecker) while I also struck out with the secondary targets (Turquoise-fronted Parrot, Stripe-backed Antbird). Still, it was a beautiful evening with plenty of birds, despite the heat. 

As night fell I prepared for nocturnal birds. I hadn’t made it as far as I would have liked, to an area where Chaco Owls had been reported. And my occasional trawling with playback did not produce any response. But I managed to find two new species. First, a trio of Scissor-tailed Nightjars, calling and flying around (I somehow managed to snag a flight shot of one!), and then, a Little Nightjar perched halfway up a tree. 

Scissor-tailed Nightjar - Taco Pozo, Chaco, Argentina

Little Nightjar - Taco Pozo, Chaco, Argentina

Other night birds included a total of eight Tropical Screech-Owls and three Common Potoos by voice, as well as a flyover Nacunda Nighthawk. But the real stars of the evening were the frogs. 

Frog diversity in the Chaco is relatively high, but during most of the year, this isn't obvious. Many species spend a significant percentage of their life underground, away from the unrelenting sun and dry conditions. During the summer, heavy rains spur every species to come to the surface to breed en masse. The heavy rains from a few days earlier must have triggered this, as I found quite a few species along the road and in the ephemeral puddles.

Weeping Frog (Physalaemus biligonigerus) - Taco Pozo, Chaco, Argentina

Lesser Snouted Tree Frog (Scinax nasicus) - Taco Pozo, Chaco, Argentina

The horned frogs were the stars of the show. This family, Ceratophryidae, has only twelve species, of which I had only seen one previously. All of the horned frogs are distinctive in shape and highly sought after by field-herpers like myself. And this evening, I found three species of horned frog! 

Cranwell's Horned Frog (Ceratophrys cranwelli) - Taco Pozo, Chaco, Argentina

Budgett’s Frog was one that I had wanted to see in the wild for years. It is a common species in the pet trade that I had been familiar with since I was a herpetoculture-obsessed youth. While I couldn’t get my hands on any, I found a few of them in a puddle, their distinctive faces staring back up at me. 

Budgett's Frog (Lepidobatrachus laevis) - Taco Pozo, Chaco, Argentina

The rarest horned frog was this one, Chacophrys pierottii. It is also endemic to a small region of the Chaco and it is rarely seen. 

Chaco Horned Frog (Chacophrys pierottii) - Taco Pozo, Chaco, Argentina

This was another interesting discovery: Elachistocleis haroi, which is a type of Narrowmouth Toad (family Microhylidae). It is also an infrequently observed species and one that I didn’t have on my radar. 

Elachistocleis haroi - Taco Pozo, Chaco, Argentina

Cururu Toad, which is closely related to the famous Cane Toad, was the most frequently encountered species on the road. Some of the specimens were monsters. 

Cururu Toad (Rhinella diptycha) - Taco Pozo, Chaco, Argentina

The most vividly-coloured anuran of the night was this Waxy Monkey Leaf Frog, which is another species I was familiar with from the pet trade. It was a dream come true to see one in the wild.

Waxy Monkey Leaf Frog (Phyllomedusa sauvagii) - Taco Pozo, Chaco, Argentina

My only regret was that I did not bring my macro lens, flash and diffuser with me. I had birds on the mind and didn’t expect the frogging to be this good, so I was limited to my big lens and my iPhone. 

Chaco Horned Frog (Chacophrys pierottii) - Taco Pozo, Chaco, Argentina

Chaco Granulated Toad (Rhinella major) - Taco Pozo, Chaco, Argentina

January 30, 2023

Laura and I were up early to beat the heat that is characteristic of the Chaco during the summer. But we needn’t have worried – overnight rain, heavy cloud cover and the threat of additional rain ensured that the temperatures stayed relatively reasonable for the entire morning. Laura and I drove east of town to a northbound road, and parked near the beginning where some deep ruts prevented further passage by car. 

Taco Pozo, Chaco, Argentina

And the birding was excellent. Within a few minutes of our arrival, several Black-legged Seriemas began vocalizing somewhere off in the distance. They would be a common constituent of the morning’s soundtrack, but we would, unfortunately, not see any. A partial miss. 

We had better luck with Quebracho Crested-Tinamous. This species has a limited range in northern Argentina and western Paraguay. We heard quite a few throughout the morning and were rewarded with a sighting of two individuals. 

Quebracho Crested-Tinamou - Taco Pozo, Chaco, Argentina

Turquoise-fronted Parrots flew by on occasion, while we also found a vocal pair of Stripe-backed Antbirds. We even located a few Cinereous Tyrants. 

Stripe-backed Antbird - Taco Pozo, Chaco, Argentina

Cinereous Tyrant (female) - Taco Pozo, Chaco, Argentina

We walked north for just over four kilometres before turning around and retracing our steps back. Unfortunately, our big miss was the Black-bodied Woodpecker which is a thinly-distributed Chaco endemic that we were running out of chances for. Numerous Cream-backed Woodpeckers flew over and each time, we had a brief moment of hope until we could clinch the identification. But in the end, we had to admit defeat. 

Cream-backed Woodpecker - Taco Pozo, Chaco, Argentina

Since we still had time before we needed to leave Taco Pozo, and the temperatures were surprisingly still bearable, we walked one other dirt road. This one also headed north but it was west of town, right at the provincial boundary. Via eBird, I had gleaned that there were records of Black-bodied Woodpecker and Black-legged Seriema from here. 

Hepatic Tanager - west of Taco Pozo, Chaco, Argentina

We again struck out with those species, but we found a few things of interest including our first good looks at some Crested Gallitos and our first Hepatic Tanager for Argentina. 

Crested Gallito - west of Taco Pozo, Chaco, Argentina

And with that we headed east, leaving Taco Pozo behind. The drive was fairly uneventful – just hundreds of kilometers of Chaco scrub. It was hot and windy at this point and birdlife was infrequent, but we observed Chaco Chachalacas for the first time as well as a few new birds for our Argentina lists – White-tailed Kite and White-tailed Hawk. 

Chaco Chachalaca - east of Taco Pozo, Chaco, Argentina

White-tailed Hawk - Concepción del Bermeja, Chaco, Argentina

That evening we made it as far as the town of Aviá Teraí before finding a place to rest for the night. I had done some sleuthing a few days earlier and discovered, from a trip report, a hotel which had records of Chaco Owl and Black-bodied Woodpecker. There weren’t many recent checklists from this site so I did not want to get my hopes up, but we inquired about a room. 

This ended up being our favourite hotel of the trip. The room and bed were very comfortable, the hotel was set upon forested grounds, there was a restaurant on site, and I was even able to set up my moth sheet! The property backed onto a nice little tract of Chaco forest, giving me hope that our target species resided here. 

That afternoon, we enjoyed watching the antics of a family of Black-and-gold Howler Monkeys from our front porch. 

Black-and-gold Howler - Hotel Las Curiosas, Aviá Teraí, Chaco, Argentina

Black-and-gold Howler - Hotel Las Curiosas, Aviá Teraí, Chaco, Argentina

The males are black, while the females and immatures are golden. They were a riot to watch…

Black-and-gold Howler - Hotel Las Curiosas, Aviá Teraí, Chaco, Argentina

The howlers seemed to enjoy teasing the resident dogs that lived at the hotel property. They would break off sticks and drop them on the dogs, and you could tell that it wasn't the first interaction that they had had with each other. 

Black-and-gold Howler - Hotel Las Curiosas, Aviá Teraí, Chaco, Argentina

Stand-off - Hotel Las Curiosas, Aviá Teraí, Chaco, Argentina

Black-and-gold Howler - Hotel Las Curiosas, Aviá Teraí, Chaco, Argentina

I stayed back at the room to work on photo editing, while Laura went for a walk around the grounds. My phone started ringing which could only mean one thing. Her frantic voice confirmed my suspicions: she had found Black-bodied Woodpeckers! I grabbed my camera and took off running…

Black-bodied Woodpecker - Hotel Las Curiosas, Aviá Teraí, Chaco, Argentina

I was in near disbelief, but there it was in front of us. A male Black-bodied Woodpecker. This rare species of woodpecker seemed rather mythical at this point, and I had pretty much given up hope of seeing it on this trip. But Laura had come through at the last moment, finding a pair of these gorgeous birds. 

Black-bodied Woodpecker - Hotel Las Curiosas, Aviá Teraí, Chaco, Argentina

The excitement for the day was not over. As night fell, Laura and I went for a stroll on the grounds in search of herps and Chaco Owls. Spoiler alert: we were successful on both fronts!

Leptodactylus latinasus - Hotel Las Curiosas, Aviá Teraí, Chaco, Argentina

Weeping Frog (Physalaemus biligonigerus) - Hotel Las Curiosas, Aviá Teraí, Chaco, Argentina

While the frog diversity wasn’t as high as the previous night, we found a half-dozen species breeding on the property including a few new ones for us. 

Pseudis sp. - Hotel Las Curiosas, Aviá Teraí, Chaco, Argentina

We also experienced an incredible moment with a trio of Chaco Owls! These were likely a mated pair and one of their offspring, and they came in and checked us out for a few minutes. We listened to their purring calls from the surrounding trees and could see one silhouetted by the moonlight. Just magical. 

Chaco Owl - Hotel Las Curiosas, Aviá Teraí, Chaco, Argentina

Chaco Owl - Hotel Las Curiosas, Aviá Teraí, Chaco, Argentina

Our walk produced a few more highlights, including Laura’s first Little Nightjar, a Common Potoo, and this handsome tarantula. 

Eupalaestrus sp. - Hotel Las Curiosas, Aviá Teraí, Chaco, Argentina

As I mentioned earlier, I set up my moth sheet/light against the forest edge as well. 

Up to this point in the trip we had stayed mainly in small hotels in towns, which did not really allow the opportunity for mothing escapades. This was actually the first time that I set up the sheet in Argentina. Though the action was relatively slow, I was happy to photograph moths and other insects for the first time in a long time and to marvel at some species that I had, surely, never seen before. 

Monday 20 February 2023

Parque Nacional Calilegua

Parque Nacional Calilegua protects around 76,000 hectares of east-slope yungas forest, making it the largest national park in northwestern Argentina. It would, therefore, feature prominently on our trip. Laura and I arrived in the general area during the afternoon of January 25, planning for three nights in the nearby city of Libertador General San Martin. 

Because we are taking six weeks to explore the northern half of Argentina, we have the luxury to linger in an area for some extra time. Most birding groups spend two nights in this area, but we had the time and were happy to stay for three. In the end, we pushed our departure back a day due to a minor bout of food poisoning, so we actually spent four nights here. And this was just enough time to find almost every single one of our target birds, plus a whole lot more!

Parque Nacional Calilegua, Jujuy, Argentina

January 25, 2023 (continued)

We found a decent hotel (Hotel del Ingenio) in a suburb just south of San Martin, located about thirty minutes from the park entrance gate. It was a hot and muggy afternoon and thunderstorms were darkening the skies in all directions. I did not let this dissuade me though, as there were lifers to be had in the park! Laura made the smart decision to take the rest of the afternoon off at the hotel, while I stupidly braved the elements. This part of Argentina receives more than its share of rain at this time of year, but I hoped for a large enough gap in the weather to fit some owling in. The Montane Forest Screech-Owl was the main target and it was supposedly common in the right habitats. 

My afternoon started well as the rain held off just long enough for a short hike along the lower elevations of the road, a few kilometres past the park gate. Like almost everywhere we have visited in Argentina, park entry was free. The road traversing through the park is actually a public road that eventually reaches Humahuaco, though that is around a ten hour drive on the bumpy road. This means that there is some light traffic along the road, but not enough to really hinder birding opportunities. 

Yellow-collared Macaw - Parque Nacional Calilegua, Jujuy, Argentina

Even in the gloomy conditions with a threat of rain, I turned up a few birds of note. The above Yellow-collared Macaw was a big highlight, while I also found my first Sick's Swifts and several Ochre-cheeked Spinetails. 

I drove uphill to the better owling areas, but the evening started to go downhill as night fell. The rain started, and then it increased in intensity. It would lighten up just enough for me to think that a break in the weather was imminent, preventing me from turning the car around and calling it quits. Eventually, I was far enough up the road that I was committed. And so once I reached my destination I waited, and waited, and waited, as it poured and lightning flashed all around. There was no break in the weather. 

Eventually, I realized that my endeavour was hopeless and so I started the long drive back down the mountain. But the fun was just getting started. I noticed some brake lights up ahead and quickly saw the problem - a large tree had fallen across the road, preventing any traffic from passing. The four occupants of the car - two brothers and their two adult sons - were already assessing the situation. Despite our cooperative efforts, the tree would not budge. We resorted to breaking off limbs, one by one, hoping that the remaining trunk would be more manoeuvrable. It was not. 

Salvation came in the form of a machete, lent to us by a vehicle stuck on the other side of the roadblock. This expedited the process and within the hour we had chopped off enough boughs that the rest of the marred tree could be moved. Success!

I waved goodbye to the other guys and merrily began driving down the mountain in the rain, when I came across this sight, only five minutes later. 

A minor roadblock - Parque Nacional Calilegua, Jujuy, Argentina

Luckily, this one was much more manageable. As the four muchachos and I were now experienced woodsmen, it only took us twenty minutes with the machete until we had cleared a path wide enough (barely) to squeeze a car past. And it was a very tight squeeze, with a sheer drop off on the other side. I white-knuckled it while fishtailing over the crushed boughs, just barely making it through the gap. 

Luckily, there was no more brush-clearing to be done that evening and I made it back to the hotel by midnight. All I had to show for my owling adventure were a few cuts on my hands and some soaked and muddied clothing. Ah well, you win some, you lose some.

January 26, 2023

Luckily, those ill-advised nocturnal escapades were the low point of our Calilegua adventures. Well, perhaps the food-poisoning was...more on that in a bit. But January 26 was an excellent day, at least!

We mainly birded the lower elevations, finding many of the interesting birds that reside in these lush forests. The Yellow-collared Macaws were in the same area and we found the reason why - they had a nest here with an adult-sized chick inside.

Yellow-collared Macaw - Parque Nacional Calilegua, Jujuy, Argentina

Yellow-collared Macaws - Parque Nacional Calilegua, Jujuy, Argentina

Macaws nest in tree cavities, but they do not excavate their own (how could they, with that beak?). They instead rely on existing cavities, such as ones made by woodpeckers. Below is a family portrait with all three individuals. What a way for Laura to see her lifer Yellow-collared Macaws!

Yellow-collared Macaws - Parque Nacional Calilegua, Jujuy, Argentina

While checking out the macaws, we came across another birder exploring this section of the road - Jessie Williamson, an American who was doing a blitz of northwestern Argentina with a rental car after she had led a field course in Patagonia. We hit it off with her and birded together whenever our paths crossed along the road for the rest of the day. 

Parque Nacional Calilegua, Jujuy, Argentina

The birding was pretty great all morning long and Laura and I found a few other things of note - our first Great Rufous Woodcreepers, Green-cheeked Parakeets and Planalto Hermits, and a lot of other fantastic species like Orange-headed Tanager, Moss-backed Sparrow, Toco Toucan, White-tipped Swift, Swallow-tailed Manakin and King Vulture. 

Great Rufous Woodcreeper - Parque Nacional Calilegua, Jujuy, Argentina

I don't usually find ducks perched in trees in the mountains. Behold, a wild Muscovy Duck. 

Muscovy Duck - Parque Nacional Calilegua, Jujuy, Argentina

This impressive tarantula (Acanthoscurria) was in mid-scuttle across the road when we intersected its path. 

Acanthoscurria sp. - Parque Nacional Calilegua, Jujuy, Argentina

Acanthoscurria sp. - Parque Nacional Calilegua, Jujuy, Argentina

A pair of Giant Antshrikes was a huge highlight for the three of us. Jessie was just up the road when Laura and I heard one singing so I hustled back to get her attention as it was one of her most-wanted species for the park. We were in for a show, as the male and female checked us out and the female sat out in the open for five minutes, singing back at us. 

Giant Antshrike - Parque Nacional Calilegua, Jujuy, Argentina

With her tiger-striped back and rufous mohawk, she was the unanimous choice for most attractive of the two sexes. 

Giant Antshrike - Parque Nacional Calilegua, Jujuy, Argentina

Toco Toucans are common in parts of northern Argentina, but that doesn't take away from how jaw-droppingly gorgeous they are. It's obvious why they are a top choice for murals and tourist brochures in this part of the world. 

Toco Toucan - Parque Nacional Calilegua, Jujuy, Argentina

As always, I turned to insects during the mid-day doldrums when birding slowed. Here are a few that I photographed this day. 

Soldier Grasshopper (Chromacris speciosa) - Parque Nacional Calilegua, Jujuy, Argentina

Thoas Swallowtail (Papilio thoas) - Parque Nacional Calilegua, Jujuy, Argentina

Jessie kept birding the road through the afternoon, while Laura and I were lazy birders that returned to the hotel for a siesta. We made plans, though, to meet up with Jessie in the evening for some owling. Hopefully, there would more more owls and less brush-clearing this time around. 

Laura and I bought lunch in town that included a delicious salad (it's not always easy to find food that is not just deep fried meat and carbs here in Argentina). After our nap we returned to the road, feeling refreshed. 

I noticed a very peculiar "stick" in the road that was holding one end up at a particular angle that looked rather snakey. I straddled the object and we were rather pleased to see that it was a snake, after all. It was a young Bothrops, that highly-venomous genus of viper that includes the famous Fer-de-Lance. This particular species is Bothrops diporus, the Painted Lancehead. 

Painted Lancehead (Bothrops diporus) - Parque Nacional Calilegua, Jujuy, Argentina

Bothrops have a fearsome reputation and some people insist that they are hyper-aggressive, but that is simply not true in my experience. Sure, they don't like being cornered and will look for a way out, but they prefer being left alone and will rely on their camouflage to escape detection. They certainly don't chase people down and attack! This one was happy to scurry off the road, a good place for it to go. 

Painted Lancehead (Bothrops diporus) - Parque Nacional Calilegua, Jujuy, Argentina

Unlike the previous evening, this night had perfect owling weather. It was calm and clear, with perfect listening conditions. We met up with Jessie and headed to the top of the road to begin our owling session. 

And we hadn't even exited the car when Laura spotted our main target! She had somehow noticed this young Montane Forest Screech-Owl sitting on a fence post beside the road. 

Montane Forest Screech-Owl - Parque Nacional Calilegua, Jujuy, Argentina

The baby soon flew off but we listened to its parents calling back and forth, along with a healthy dose of bill-clapping from the youngster(s). What a way to find a lifer owl!

The rest of the evening was just magical. While we didn't see a ton of owls, we heard many. Six species, to be exact. We noted Yungas Pygmy-Owl, Stygian Owl, Black-banded Owl and Spectacled Owl. 

The sixth and final species was a nemesis bird of sorts for us: the Buff-fronted Owl. This species has eluded us in several locations, most recently in southern Peru. But we heard a pair of them calling back and forth to each other and managed to obtain good views of one individual! It was a little distant, though, and I blew my photos. 

Buff-fronted Owl - Parque Nacional Calilegua, Jujuy, Argentina

We experienced some herp highlights as well. Jessie showed us a ditch where she had located breeding Yungas Red-bellied Toads earlier in the day. The breeding activities were still going strong.

Yungas Red-bellied Toads (Melanophryniscus rubriventris) - Parque Nacional Calilegua, Jujuy, Argentina

Yungas Red-bellied Toad (Melanophryniscus rubriventris) - Parque Nacional Calilegua, Jujuy, Argentina

Several other frog species were sharing the ditch with the Yungas Red-bellied Toads. 

Rufous Four-eyed Frog (Pleurodema borellii) - Parque Nacional Calilegua, Jujuy, Argentina

We discovered a few more frogs on the drive back down the mountain as well as our second snake of the night. This species is Paraphimophis rusticus, sometimes called the Brown Musurana. 

Rioja Tree Frog (Boana riojana) - Parque Nacional Calilegua, Jujuy, Argentina

Brown Musurana (Paraphimophis rusticus) - Parque Nacional Calilegua, Jujuy, Argentina

January 27, 2023

Laura and I focused on the upper elevations of the road since one main target - the Blue-capped Puffleg - still eluded us. It was a beautiful overcast day and the birding was pretty active. We spent a few hours at a particularly birdy stretch of road. 

Parque Nacional Calilegua, Jujuy, Argentina

It took some time but I was eventually rewarded with a couple of brief views of a male puffleg. But that wasn't even the day's highlight. During a mid-morning break in the clouds, a hefty raptor with a distinctive silhouette soared overhead - a Solitary Eagle! 

Solitary Eagle - Parque Nacional Calilegua, Jujuy, Argentina

This was only my second sighting of this magnificent species, following our lifer from along Manú Road last year. Solitary Eagles are fairly scarce in northwestern Argentina and I felt lucky that this one crossed paths with us. 

Laura and I found a few more Yungas Red-bellied Frogs, giving me a chance at some natural light photos. 

Yungas Red-bellied Toads (Melanophryniscus rubriventris) - Parque Nacional Calilegua, Jujuy, Argentina

Yungas Red-bellied Toads (Melanophryniscus rubriventris) - Parque Nacional Calilegua, Jujuy, Argentina

Laura noticed a dark shape glide into a tree, which morphed into a pair of Tucumán Parrots! As their name implies, this species is endemic to this ecoregion, and this was our last chance at them. A relief to finally catch up with them. 

Tucumán Parrot - Parque Nacional Calilegua, Jujuy, Argentina

The Large-tailed Dove is another range-restricted species found on the east slope of the Andes in Bolivia and northwestern Argentina. We had heard this species on numerous occasions earlier in the trip, but this was our first time actually observing one. 

Large-tailed Dove - Parque Nacional Calilegua, Jujuy, Argentina

The sun came out around lunchtime and several sun-loving species came out of the woodwork. I still need to figure out the lizard - this family, Gymnophthalmidae, can be quite tricky to identify since many of the species are poorly known. 

Cercosaura sp. - Parque Nacional Calilegua, Jujuy, Argentina

Cybdelis petronita - Parque Nacional Calilegua, Jujuy, Argentina

Laura and I were feeling unusually tired and sluggish, which we attributed to being a little run down from the lack of sleep and lots of walking over the previous days. We quit birding early as neither of us really had the energy to keep going. Our conditions deteriorated throughout the afternoon and evening and it was apparent that we had come down with some sort of food poisoning. Luckily, it was a relatively mild bout, but it kept us out of commission for around 36 hours and forced us to spend an extra night in the hotel. 

January 29, 2023

The previous day was a write-off and we only made one brief foray outside to pick up some soup from a grocery store. We happened to spot Laura's lifer Lined Seedeater on the drive, though! 

On January 29 we checked out of the hotel and headed back into the park for one last kick of the can. Both of us were feeling a little weak still, but we had enough energy to do some easy birding. 

Parque Nacional Calilegua, Jujuy, Argentina

The morning was a smashing success since we managed to find our last remaining target at Calilegua - the Black-capped Antwren. I managed amazing photos of it too...I mean, you can tell that it is a bird, right?

Black-capped Antwren - Parque Nacional Calilegua, Jujuy, Argentina

We also enjoyed our best views yet of Ochre-cheeked Spinetail, while I also heard my first Gray-headed Elaenia singing. 

Ochre-cheeked Spinetail - Parque Nacional Calilegua, Jujuy, Argentina

Ochre-cheeked Spinetail - Parque Nacional Calilegua, Jujuy, Argentina

I took the time to photograph a few butterfly species, while we also spent a few more moments with the Yellow-collared Macaw family. 

Epinome Cracker (Hamadryas epinome) - Parque Nacional Calilegua, Jujuy, Argentina

Polydamas Swallowtail (Battus polydamas) - Parque Nacional Calilegua, Jujuy, Argentina

Yellow-collared Macaws - Parque Nacional Calilegua, Jujuy, Argentina

Laura and I had loved exploring Parque Nacional Calilegua but it was finally time to move on towards our next destination. Our tour of the Andes in northwestern Argentina was over. Next up: the chaco.