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Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve – A Haven for Nature lovers

Buenos Aires, the amazing capital city of Argentina, has been welcoming millions of visitors from around the world with its fascinating attractions and diverse activities such as frenzied football games, excellent steaks and classy tango dancing. Apart from its many qualities, Buenos Aires is also renowned world over as an ideal destination for nature lovers. With its diverse flora and fauna, people passionate about ecotourism have made the city a prime destination on their South American itinerary.

If you have booked flights to Buenos Aires and planning to spend your holidays in the lap of nature, then make the Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve your first stop. It is among the biggest attractions in Argentina. The reserve is strategically located at quite a short distance, only 900 meters away from the Downtown and main financial center of the city. The Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve is quite expansive spanning in an area of 360 hectares, located to Puerto Madero’s east side.
 
Brief History
The Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve has a unique history of its own. It was initially opened as a seafront in 1918 with statues, bars and restaurants flourishing for over past several decades. It became a favorite haunt for local residents for relaxation, bathing and swimming in the Plata River. However, the area started falling into decay completely during the 1960s with many establishments closing down and people being warned against swimming because of highly polluted water of the river. The river became a dumping ground for debris from road and building construction projects until 1984. The incessant debris resulted in the draining of water from within rubble embankments and led to the formation of grasslands and ponds. A wide range of plant species also started growing here. The animals began arriving in this area in search of food and started settling down thus leading to a rich biological diversity.

With its rich biological diversity, the area became a major attraction for avid bird-watchers, nature lovers, students as well as joggers. The growing popularity of the area became a cause for concern for environmentalists and NGOs. The government was urged to protect the land. Finally, the Buenos Aires government bowed to the pressure of environmentalists and the people and decided to declare this area as an Ecological Reserve in 1986 thus leading to the birth of the now-famous “Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve”.

Present Status
The Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve is presently home to varied flora and fauna including above 50 types of butterflies, 9 amphibian species, 10 mammal species, 23 reptile species and nearly 300 bird species. The Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve is being presently visited by over one million tourists and nature lovers from different parts of the world.

Flora and Fauna
The resident birds commonly found at the Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve include Red-crested Cardinal, Guira Cuckoo, Monk Parakeet, Rufous-bellied Thrush, Greyish Baywing, Rufous-collared Sparrow, Chalk-browed Mockingbird, Argentina’s national bird Rufous Hornero, and many others.

The Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve has a well-maintained and extensive network of trails allowing visitors an opportunity to fully explore various existing habitats. These walking trails will take the visitors to the dense pampas grasslands and marshes where many secretive species can be found. These include Roadside Hawk, Picazuro Pigeon, Southern Caracaras, Chimango, Solitary Cacique, Ultramarine Grosbeak, Golden-billed Saltator, White-lined Tanager, Golden-crowned Warbler, Rufous-capped Antshrike, Narrow-billed Woodcreeper, Freckle-breasted Thornbird, Checkered and Green-barred Woodpeckers, Yellow-winged Blackbird, Long-tailed Reed-Finch, Spectacled Tyrant, Great Pampa-Finch, Wren-like Rushbird, Sulphur-bearded Spinetail, and Grey-necked Wood-Rail.

If you are ready to spend a half-day traversing approximately 2 miles of walking trail on some typical circuits, you will be able to see about 50 species of birds. When visiting the reserve during the spring you will be able to see around 124 bird species, while during the winter about 111 species of birds can be seen.

The water levels of the lagoons will however determine your bird-watching experience at the Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve. When the lagoons are completely filled with water you will be able to see Black-headed Duck, Lake Duck, Rosy-billed Pochard, Speckled Teal, Black-necked and Coscoroba Swans, Fulvous and White-faced Whistling-Ducks, Whistling Heron, Rufescent Tiger-Heron, and Wattled Jacana. All these can be seen on a day’s visit here.

The Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve is also home to some migrant birds as well. These include White-rumped Swallow, Brown-chested Martin, White-winged Becard, Streaked Flycatcher, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Tropical Kingbird, Vermilion Flycatcher, Gilded Sapphire, Glittering-bellied Emerald, and Dark-billed Cuckoo. The winter season is also the best time to visit the reserve as you will get the opportunity to see White-tipped Plantcutter, Grey-crowned Tyrannulet, Dark-faced Ground-Tyrant, Lesser Canastero, Bar-winged Cinclodes,and Chilean Swallow.

Some coastal birds waiting to be discovered here include Grey-hooded and Brown-hooded gulls, Kelp and Great Grebe. Shorebirds are found in very wet seasons. The prominent among them include Wilson's Phalarope, Hudsonian Godwit, South American Snipe, Stilt and White-rumped, Pectoral Sandpipers, Red Knot, Solitary Sandpiper, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, South-American Painted Snipe, Two-banded and Collared Plovers, American Golden-Plover, Rufous-chested Dotterel, and Black Skimmer.

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