Old City Tour Details
The Old City tour is a short walking excursion through the beautiful historical quarters of Colonia del Sacramento. It has a low difficulty and is suitable for all ages, although you might want to watch your step on uneven cobblestone streets. Although most of the tour visits urbanized areas, some 20-30 bird species can be expected.
We start off at the Plaza Matriz, in the heart of the Old City. A number of species roost here, including the cosmopolitan Rock Pigeons, House Sparrows, and European Starlings, alongside native Monk Parakeets and Shiny Cowbirds. Parakeet nests are notorious multi-chambered appartments made of thorny twigs, they can be found in many places, but look high in the palm trees of the square. You also can´t miss the Rufous Horneros walking elegantly about, often very close to people.
From there we head to the yacht port, where we may spot Kelp and Brown-hooded gulls, and Great Grebes if we´re lucky. There are bathrooms available here. After that, we walk back along the coast, passing "Las Rocas" Beach and searching the waterside vegetation and gardens for common native species that have adapted well to urban settings. Rufous-collared Sparrows and Great Kiskadees are almost guaranteed. We will pass by some beatiful "Ceibo", one of the coral trees, which in summer have bundles of bright red flowers, the national flower of Uruguay and neighbouring Argentina. In this season be on the lookout for the Guilded Hummingbird and the Glittering-bellied Emerald darting around for nectar.
Off we go, past the historical wall and through the colonial gate. Grey-breasted Martins nest in the crevices of the wall during the summer. Our final visit is to the "Parque Lineal AFE", a nice green park full of native trees bordering the river, in front of the old railway station. Chalk-browed mockingbirds and impressive Red-crested Cardinals patroll the grass for any crumbs visitors leave behind. This is a great place to look for passerines in the thorny "tala", "molle", and "coronilla"trees. Noisy Masked Gnatcatchers, nervous Stripe-crowned Spinetails, and White-crested Tyrannulets join colorful Tropical Parulas in mixed-species flocks that explore the canopy. Sayaca and Blue-and-Yellow Tanagers are a treat to the eyes. Spring marks the arrival of Short-billed Elaenias and the astonishing Vermilion Flycatcher. In winter, the White-banded Mockingbird has been spotted here, a migrant from Patagonia. The tour ends with a light picnic and some refreshments, bathrooms are also available. From here it´s a short walk back to the starting point.
If you are still hungry for more birding, try combining this circuit with a visit to Las Delicias Urban Wetland, it´s all within walking distance. You´ll be looking at a different habitat with extra bird species, including some wetland rarities. The Old City tour can also be coordinated in tandem with a more traditional City Tour visiting the historical landmarks and learning about the Portuguese and Spanish legacies of the colonial period. Colonia Birding does not offer such tours, but a combo can be arranged with another guide.
The tour includes:
- Spanish/English bilingual guiding services
- Picnic and refreshments
- Bird species checklist
Please keep in mind that:
- Bad weather conditions may cause the tour to be canceled
- Consider bringing your own binoculars, as of yet we don´t have any we can lend you
- Smoking and littering is not allowed during tours
- At the moment, tours are only held during the weekend