Tuesday 4 June 2013

Wader Quest in the High Andes.

We met with mixed success in the high part of the Andes in the Puna valleys. The first day we headed up to a place called Huachupampa in the Santa Eulalia Valley. We didn't see any waders at all, but then we hardly expected to, this first stop was to get us acclimatised to the altitude before heading to the top at over 4,000m!

High Andes at over 4,000m
So the next morning we drove along precipitous roads until we reached the high peaks and the bogs in Puna grassland. It was here that we were set loose to look for the prize bird of this part of the world, the Diademend Sandpiper Plover. As we were searching we came across our second seedsnipe, Grey Breasted.

Grey-breasted Seedsnipe
Then I flushed a bird and it flew around and landed in front of Elis, it was our target the Diademend Sandpiper Plover.

Diademed Sandpiper Plover
After so much anticipation and thinking about this bird, I even dreamed about it the night before, we were finally face to face with one for real, it was an amazing moment that was easily on a par with seeing the spoonies for the first time.

Diademed Sandpiper Plover
From the point that we saw the Diademend Sandpiper Plover we had to walk a long way in order to reach the road again without having to climb which would have killed us at that altitude. We decided to walk along the bog edge. In doing so we flushed a number of snipe...

Flushed Puna Snipe

Elis then saw one hiding in the grass, this was the best view we got of these birds, but we flushed many more, each rising from just in front of us calling. They were all Puna Snipe.

Puna Snipe
We also saw our first Andean Lapwings, they were mostly at a distance but we did get them fly quite close to us.

Andean Lapwings
From this site we headed for Junin to spend the night and in the morning went to Junin Lake to look for Andean Avocet, Puna Plover and hopefully Andean Snipe, sadly we saw none of them and a misunderstanding between the three languages being used simultaneously meant that only Elis saw the famous Junin Grebe! Not my best mornong ever. However we did get some close photos of the lovely Andean Lapwing...

Andean Lapwing
and Elis got this rather better photo of a Puna Snipe.

Puna Snipe
We thought that Junin Lake would be one of those places we could spend many days simply birding along the road there was so much to see and the scenery was magnificent looking across the lake valley to the mountains on the other side with dramatic clouds glowering over them.

Looking over Lake Junin
Here is the Peruvian contingent of Wader Quest Peru; Renzo Zeppilli, Augusto Lescano Bazan and Paula Quiros. We greatly enjoyed their company and the guiding skills of Renzo, without whom we would not have found as much as we did.

Renzo, Augusto and Paula.

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