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South America, Chile
Alternative names: Altos de Vilches, Vilches protected area, and any of these can be extended with "National Reserve"
This area is a reserve under the Chilean government organization CONAF. It contains some beautiful Notophagus (southern Beech) forest.
This area is noted for Chestnut-throated Huet-huet, other Tapaculos, and Magellanic Woodpecker. The area is also particularly good for seeing the Chilean endemics Chilean Pigeon and White-throated Treerunner.
Birds you can see here include:
Variable Hawk, California Quail, Chilean Pigeon, Austral Parakeet, Green-backed Firecrown, Striped Woodpecker, Chilean Flicker, Magellanic Woodpecker, Thorn-tailed Rayadito, White-throated Treerunner, Chestnut-throated Huet-huet, White-crested Elaenia, Fire-eyed Diucon, Chilean Swallow, Chilean Mockingbird, Austral Thrush, Black-chinned Siskin, Patagonian Sierra-Finch, Diuca Finch
This probably incomplete list includes birds seen along the access road.
Lizards seem abundant in this park.
History and Use
Areas of Interest
The ranger at the visitor center did not know the Huet-huet but told us that the "senderos" (trails) "Aliwenmahiuda" and "Chile" were the most bird rich trails. Incidentally, they were also relatively close to the entrance. For the distant parts of the park is it probably necessary to go expedition style, it seemed like a big place.
Access and Facilities
The village of Vilches is located east of the town of Talca and the village of San Clemente in Chile. From Vilches, follow the gravel road straight ahead through Altos the Vilches until reaching the CONAF controlled area. If arriving at 9 am or later, then the gate will be open, and you can proceed a few hundred yards further until a parking area at the left. Shortly after is the visitor center where you pay the appropriate fee. If arriving early, there is a parking lot and a visitor center to the right just before the gate where a break can be had.
It is also possible to camp inside the park, and that seems to be the only way to be there at sunset.
The village of Vilches contains several options for accommodation, mostly it seems for camping or cabins.