From Colca to Titicaca
We set off from Arequipa early on Saturday morning, visiting a nearby valley which contained lots of new and lovely birds - four species of Hummingbird, two Canasteros including an out-of-normal-range Canyon Canastero (our guide was even more excited that I!), several Sierra-finches, Golden-billed Saltator (great bird) and many more. I could have stayed at this spot all day as it was full of birds but we had to make tracks to the high Andes. Our trip up to the plateau was interrupted by several productive stops... and not just for birds - herds of Vicunas, Alpaca and Llama as well as some stunning scenery (including a smoking volcano). On the rough track to Chivay we saw plenty of water birds and birds typical of that high altitude, Bright-rumped and Puna Yellow Finches were bonny, Andean Flicker, Bar-winged and White-throated Cinclodes, White-fronted Grount Tyrant, Giant Coot, Grey Seedsnipe to name but a few. Then Raul announced that there was a chance of Diademed Sandpiper Plover at the pass (4800m altitude). I went all weak at the knees at the prospect - we gave it a good try but after 30 minutes I was not feeling well and Bernie had gone a whiter shade of pale so we had to make a hasty decesnt to Chivay (only 3600m !!!!). We rested there after a long day and enjoyed some risque local dancing! Sunday 6th. We´re off to see the Condors. Both of us aren´t too bad after some Coca ´stuff´. More good birds on the way. At 8:30 we´re at the place and there´s an adult Andean Condor! WOW! Then there´s another five (juveniles). The awating crowds were treated to an Oscar winning display. Couple that with Andean Hillstars and Andean Swifts, adult Black-chested Buzzard Eagle and a Black-necked Woodpecker (Raul in raptures again!) and we were very happy people. We had a second go at the DSP and got some great new birds but sadly not that one. We had to make tracks for the long trip to Puno (Chilean Flamingo and more birds on the way). We got to Puno very tired and bade farewell to Raul who had been excellent company and helped us find over 60 new birds.