Thursday 19 June 2014

Reserva Ecologica Vincente Lopez, Buenos Aires, June 2014

Reserva Ecologica Vincente Lopez is a small park on the shore of the Rio Plata/South Atlantic Ocean, to the north of the city of Buenos Aires. It includes lawns looking out across the water with a lightly wooded area in the north. The main attraction is a fenced area that contains thicker woods surrounding a small lake with a short boardwalk through its marshy top end.

I arrived here today in the late afternoon hoping that the gate to the fenced sanctuary would still be open. It opens at 09.00 until 17.00, every day. I took a clockwise route quickly totting up birds including Rufous-collared Sparrow, Rufous-bellied Thrush and Blue-and-Yellow Tanager.

The lake was completely covered with weed. Greater Kiskadees, Rufous Horneros and even Cattle Tyrants fed from the floating vegetation. A single Wattled Jacana must have felt that it was on very solid ground. 
The bridge that crosses a corner of the lake has fallen into disrepair, but it can still be partially used to get out over the water for a good view of the lake. Today, it was so choked that any ducks or water-birds would have moved on to find clearer water elsewhere.

The trail passes through a ribbon of thick woods that surround the lake. A pair of Grey-necked Wood-Rail was seen through the fence before the trail drops down onto the short boardwalk. This proved to be the hot-spot of the evening.  Sayaca Tanager, Masked Gnatcatcher, Black-capped Warbling-Finch, Tropical Parula and Small-billed Elaenia were all noted here in a frantic few moments.

By the time I reached the gate to go home, it was nearly 17.00 but the gate was already closed and padlocked. I was just about to shimmy over the top (it would have probably looked more ungainly than “shimmy” might suggest) when I took a second look at the mechanism. Though locked, the padlock was not engaged in the locking bar and I was able to escape in a much more dignified manner than might otherwise have been the case. 

Bird list for Reserva Ecologica Vincente Lopez; 26

Southern Caracara 1, Chimango Caracara 2, Grey-necked Wood-Rail 2, Wattled Jacana 1, Kelp Gull 2, Pale-vented Pigeon 2, Picazuro Pigeon 40, Nanday Parakeet 15, Monk Parakeet 4, Gilded Hummingbird 1, Green-barred Woodpecker 1, Rufous Hornero 5, Small-billed Elaenia 3, Cattle Tyrant 2, Great Kiskadee 10, House Wren 4, Masked Gnatcatcher 6, Rufous-bellied Thrush 20, Chalk-browed Mockingbird 6, European Starling 5, Tropical Parula 2, Blue-and-yellow Tanager 2, Greyish Saltator 1, Black-capped Warbling Finch 1, Rufous-collared Sparrow 6, Variable Oriole 2.

This reserve is only very small and would be unlikely to keep a keen birder occupied for more than a couple of hours. It is a good follow-on site if you are visiting Ribera Norte, just up the road (or a good alternative if Ribera Norte is closed due to flooding as is sometimes the case). The entrance is across the tram lines at Google Earth ref; 34 2925.54S 58 28 52.19W. Follow the path around to the right to find the fenced sanctuary beyond the running track. There is no security provision at Vincente Lopez. 
The railway runs from the main station Retiro in Buenos Aires city to Tigre. Get off at La Lucila Station and continue north for 4 blocks and turn right at the underpass onto Av. Parana. The reserve is 1.25 kms east from here.

For a previous post from Vincente Lopez, follow the link below;
Visit the dedicated Central and SouthAmerica page for more posts from Buenos Aires including Costanera Sur and Ribera Norte.

Birding, Birdwatching in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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