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SAN MARTIN (Compass)

Lat:00o00´S/00o00´W ha topography msl 
Protected/registered status 
Best Time for visit (26th & 29th June, 2006)


Birding Site Guide

In the Valqui guide, it said that Alto Nieva was 14km further down from Abra Patricia whereas in fact it is only about 10km. All the old km markers have also been changed. From Valle Hermoso which is now at km368, another 2-3km down between km370 and 371 you cross Puente Nieva. This spot is meant to be quite good birding but we passed here at midday and it was pretty quiet. At about km373 you pass some cliffs on the right of the road which have Cliff Flycatcher and White-tipped Swifts. After this on the left, there is a locked gate where the road bends round to the right. The key (and a guide) can be organized with the Guardaparques up at the Restaurante Chanchita. This gate is the start of a couple of trails into the new ECOAN Abra Patricia Reserve. 

Go through the gate and left takes you up to a mirador with a spectacular view over the valley below. I saw Chectnut-collared Swifts from here and this is one of the spots where Royal Sunangel can be seen. From here, one trail continues along the ridge. A short distance along here is where we saw Royal Sunangel several times at just 2-3 metres. This trail goes on for some time before getting very steep, overgrown and ending in a clearing at the end. Along this trail I had Long-tailed Sylph, Bar-winged Wood-Wren and Yellow-throated Tanager. If you don't see the Royal Sunangel here, go back to the road and look up the slope on the other side where it had also been seen. Still no luck, walk several hundred metres back along the road to where the road cuts through the ridge which has similar habitat. 

Back at the gate, you can take anoter trail down to the right which comes to a clearing and continues on into a small patch of good forest. At the bottom we saw Green-fronted Lancebill and Rufous-vented Whitetip. At the top and on the way down, I saw some mixed flocks including Rufous-crested, Flame-faced and Silver-backed Tanagers, Bluish and Deep-blue Flowerpiercers and Black-and-green Fruiteater. One evening I walked the other way from Alto Nieva, up a hill and round to the left. After this there is a small trail on the left that goes down then up again into forest. In Valqui it is marked as the trail to the Type-locality of the Ochre-fronted Antpitta. I went here at night owling but only saw Lyra-tailed Nightjar. 

In Alto Nieva, ask for a man named Jose who has a small shop. He also owns a building next door that used to be a restaurant. It has an earth floor where you can pitch a tent. I payed him 10s for the use. I saw 41 species including 4 lifers. 

Species seen

Other Fauna 
A total of -- species of mammals. 

There are -- recorded species of amphibians and reptiles. 


Author: Charles Hesse