Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Promenading at Costanera Sur, Buenos Aires, December 2012

Pick up is at lunch-time today which gives me a few hours in the morning to visit Costanera Sur and improve on my total for the trip. Having already posted separately for the reserve and the promenade, I am now content to join them together on a single page. If you want more specific post on either, follow the links above or see the links at the end of the page. At 05.30 a guard came sluggishly out from his sentry box at the north-east end of the promenade to confirm that the gates there would remain closed until 08.00 on this Sunday morning. Jumping the fence had been a feasible and popular option on my last trip to Buenos Aires, but this gate appears to have become an official entrance now and warrants its own guard.

 
So I pounded the promenade for a couple of hours and found the same number of birds with a few missing and a few added. Picazuro Pigeons, Eared Doves and Shiny Blackbirds were still abundant on the pavements and flying over. Masked Yellowthroats and Masked Gnatcatchers were again common in the reeds and bushes beyond the wall.



A big Saturday night had spilled over into Sunday morning for a few exuberant revellers who were still dancing at the parrillons which had stayed open to accommodate their yeasty needs. A few that were still able to, acknowledged me with a wave while others drag-raced along the road. Much had been made of personal security in Buenos Aires, but the biggest problem I had was having the sun in my eyes all the way along the promenade. At the far end a small patch of water held a couple of Wattled Jacanas which allowed a slightly closer approach this morning. Amongst the Yellow-billed Teals, I was able to pick out a Silver Teal. House Wrens continued to be common and easily photographed.


The light was better on the return journey to the gate. A few joggers and walkers had started to show and most of the revellers had moved on. The gate was open when I returned at 08.00. Immediately inside the gate, I found the nest of a Rufous Hornero and stopped for a while to watch it coming and going.
 
 
I followed the path towards the river and found a few more Yellow-billed Teals on the left. Grass growing up by the side of the path attracted Double-collared Seedeaters and a pair of Narrow-billed Woodcreepers passed quickly through, probing the bark of the Tipu Trees as they went.

 
 
I had to refer back to the field guide when a pair of unusual birds passed through. It reminded me of an Australian finch, but turned out to be a Blue-and-yellow Tanager. It kept to the deep shade and I was surprised to get a photo. It must look fantastic in better light.

 
 
A Glittering-bellied Emerald buzzed around in the shade, feeding from the flowers of a tipu sapling. Getting it in the frame was tricky. I would have loved to get that photograph properly.


I only made it to the corner by the river before I had to return and get ready to fly home. A Red-crested Cardinal was the last bird before turning back.

 

Birds seen; 42
Silver Teal 1, Yellow-billed Teal 12, Rufescent Tiger-heron 1, Great Egret 7, Snowy Egret 1, Southern Caracara 1, Chimango Caracara 1, Southern Lapwing 2, Wattled Jacana 2, Picazuro Pigeon 80, Eared Dove 45, Nanday Parakeet 6, Monk Parakeet 8, Guira Cuckoo 2, Glittering–bellied Emerald 3, Checkered Woodpecker 2, Rufous Hornero 30, Narrow-billed Woodcreeper 2, Great Kiskadee 9, Gray-breasted Martin 2, Brown-chested Martin 10, White-rumped Swallow 22, House Wren 22, Masked Gnatcatcher 5, Rufous-breasted Thrush 20, Creamy-bellied Thrush 5, Chalk-browed Mockingbird 14, Blue-and-yellow Tanager 2, Golden-billed Saltator 1, European Starling 20, Masked Yellowthroat 4, Black-and-rufous Warbling-finch 9, Double-collared Seedeater 11, Safron Finch 2, Red-crested Cardinal 4, Rufous-collared Sparrow 23, Yellow-winged Blackbird 3, Chestnut-capped Blackbird 2, Bay-winged Cowbird 3, Shiny Cowbird 60, Hooded Siskin 9, House Sparrow 15.




Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve covers more than 800 acres on the bank of the Rio Plata in Buenos Aires. It started as a magnificent promenade where the good people of BA could come to bathe. It lost favour as the water quality in the river deteriorated and swimming fell out of fashion. Landfill and reclamation separated the promenade from the riverbank and subsequent silting gave Nature the chance to colonise and flourish. The reclaimed area became a protected reserve and was awarded Ramsar status in 2005.

The promenade still exists, though it is now over half a mile inland. It makes a fine walk on a warm afternoon, adjacent to the Ave Int. Hernan M. Geralt. For 2kms, the wide pavement looks down on a stretch of marsh and reeds. A few years ago rains would raise the level sufficiently for open water to attract many species of duck, but the water is much reduced now. Only tiny areas at the south-eastern end remain free from reeds but are likely to silt up altogether in the future.

Two gates allow visitors into the reserve. One can be found at each end of the promenade, but the one at the south-eastern end (Google Earth ref; 34°36'59.71"S 58°21'18.78"W) is the main gate by the Visitors’ Centre. The gate at the ferry terminal end of the promenade (at Google Earth ref; 34°35'56.65"S 58°21'44.70"W) is more of a back door and does not always open as advertised.
For more specific details of Reserva Ecologica Costanera Sur and the promenade, please refer to the posts below or follow the links;